'The Magicians' Comes to a Bittersweet End With "Fillory and Further"
The news a month or so ago that this season of The Magicians would be the last has magically made “Fillory and Further” not only the season finale, but the series finale as well. It’s hard to say goodbye to this world and the effed up magicians who inhabit it. But all good things must come to an end, and so last night we said farewell to Brakebills, to Fillory (especially Fillory), and to the magical world on Earth existing just beyond our mere muggle purview. For the last time, let’s sort through what happened this episode, and what it means for the characters we’ve come to love.
After opening gifts from Santa Claus (AKA Alice’s old prison cell neighbor, AKA the dude who rescued their butts after the World Seed heist last week), the gang gets down to trying to save Fillory. With mild protestations from time traveler Plum Chatwin, everyone agrees on a complex plan to get things done: some will go to Fillory to rapture the Fillorians out of there, while others will create a whole new world with the World Seed.
Penny and Julia, however, have their own “quest” this episode—surviving having a traveler baby. The two end up at Brakebills after Julia’s water breaks. Immediately after she gives birth, they hope to cut the magical umbilical cord between her and the baby so Julia doesn’t lose her mind. A crazy Fogg, back from the ethereal realm, appears to ruin things, however, but they soon find out that he’s remembering a previous time loop (brought to you by Plum Chatwin, who had enough time mojo left to redo the day after the first time went wrong), and is trying to save Julia and the baby’s life. A more-sane Fogg—aided by a crazy-holding cat—explains that both Julia and the baby can be saved if they reattach the magical umbilical cord to Penny instead. They do so, and all three end up healthy and well.
But back to the quest of that filled up the back half of the season—saving Fillory by destroying it. Margo, Eliot and Josh head to Fillory to collect its people in the arc snowglobe they got from Ember a couple of episodes ago. All seems to be going to plan until the Dark King magically transports Eliot to the Reaper realm. The Dark King (AKA Rupert Chatwin) is still determined to bring his lost love back, but wants Eliot to seal the door to the dead immediately afterwards, in an attempt to stop the destruction of all worlds. Eliot tries, but both he and the Dark King are doomed to fail when they find out that Rupert’s lost love is really the Beast in disguise (AKA Rupert’s brother Martin, AKA the Big Bad from the first two seasons of The Magicians). The Beast is still very bad—he keeps the door to the dead open and eagerly sets out to kill everyone on every world.
That brings us to Alice, Zelda, Kady and Fen. They’ve got the World Seed and are bunkered down in the Library’s Neitherlands branch to bring it to life. Before they can get started though, Fogg rushes through and steals the seed. Before they can get it back, they run into The Beast, who is eager to use the portals in the Neitherlands to travel to and conquer different realms. Zelda stays behind to hold them off while the others flee—she can close the portals, but won’t have enough time to do so before escaping herself. In a heartbreaking scene, The Beast kills her. Her sacrifice is not in vain, however, and The Beast is at least temporarily thwarted from going anywhere besides Fillory.
Meanwhile in Fillory, Margo and Josh have raptured everyone—the only thing left to do now is destroy the world. It’s Margo here who makes the final sacrifice. She makes Josh and Eliot (who has rejoined them along with a recently reformed Dark King) go back to New York while she makes the journey to the clock dwarf’s lair to turn time back and destroy the land. Josh and Eliot reluctantly agree while the Dark King stays in Fillory to keep his brother (AKA The Beast) occupied. Margo succeeds in turning the clock back and gets ready to die—the good news is there’s only one death allowed this episode (poor Zelda!), and she gets saved just in time by Penny, who is able to travel again when he’s holding his baby.
Fillory’s destruction, however, is offset by the creation of a new world—Fen, Josh, Alice and Margo get the World Seed from Fogg’s hiding place and begin the spell to create a new world (one that, among other things, will have a working wellspring to make magic work right again). Alice talks about internal circumstances, about how what we feel inside is the one thing we can truly control. And Fen, as the sole Fillorian in the group, realizes she wants this new world to leave behind the bad parts of Fillory (for example, entrenched misogyny) and take only the best parts of her homeworld as well as Earth. The four of them disappear, and the show ends with them living on this new world, about to release the Fillorians from the snowglobe and create a whole new civilization.
And so it ends. On the bright side, our characters (with the exception of poor Zelda) are in a good place. Margo, Josh, Fen and Alice are literally creating a new society in a world with fields of bacon; Eliot is now a professor and, with Charlton now residing in Hyman’s body, has the hope of having a healthy relationship; Kady is leading the hedges; and Penny and Julia, with the help of their traveler baby, are together again and eager to find their lost friends. They’ve all more or less figured themselves out. And that’s all anyone can hope for, really. And even though we’ll miss them, these characters and their stories are still here for us—those five seasons we’ve watched aren’t going anywhere, after all. I might start a re-watch next week, in fact. There’s no better time to relive their journey, which in all the ways that matter, will never truly end.
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