The Magicians S2E2: Hotel Spa Potions Review

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Hotel Spa Potions

Warning: Spoilers


The stakes are raised in this episode, as we realize what Martin’s power has truly cost Fillory (and the world of magic in general), and the danger that our heroes are in.


Everyone save Eliot (of course) heads back to Brakebills to try and determine exactly where all that battle magic has gone. Henry is waiting for them when they return, pleasantly surprised they are all alive. This is where we find out the true weight of the situation: due to Martin draining the Wellspring so much, Fillory’s magic is dying, and if Fillory’s magic dies, so does all magic everywhere.  …that’s not good.


Back in New York proper, we have Jules and Martin still trying to prepare to find Reynard. It seems Martin hasn’t really grown up, as he is obsessed with eating sugary cereal and singing…cabaret songs.

It’s clear that Charles Mesure (Martin’s actor) is a great singer, but let me tell you–his loud singing becomes highly annoying by the end of the episode. I know it is supposed to be, but it became annoying to the point of grating. I was really struggling to tolerate any scenes with him this episode. But I digress. Martin has a really nihilistic attitude about everything, which I am sure comes from his lack of shade–he feels nothing matters. Jules can fight all she wants, but she has no friends, and her ex-friends won’t be royals for long. Apparently, Martin was annoyed at not being a King of Fillory, so he put a curse on the castle. Which makes me worry for Eliot.


Speaking of Eliot…the bodies of the last rulers of Fillory were found very dead in the throne room, so it seems whatever Martin said is true: we just don’t know what sort of curse is occurring. Rupert Chatwin was the last good ruler of Fillory, and since then, Martin has been making sure all the other rulers have died off. Due to the dying magic in the kingdom, the people are starving as no one knows how to farm without magic. How convenient, then, that Eliot grew up on a farm–despite his desperately trying to bury that fact.


One of the things that I genuinely love about Eliot is that no matter how much he tries to act aloof and disaffected–he genuinely cares. So the new King of Fillory sets about teaching his subjects how to farm the correct, non-magical way. Which involves a great deal of shit–but hey, whatever works, right?


It should also be noted that Eliot tries to have a very interesting orgy with his new wife, Fen. While he can’t physically be with anyone else, he wished to be able to watch other couples while being with her. It’s clear there is one male guard in particular that he has his eyes on–but Fen is very much not interested, and in deference to her, Eliot sends the people away, and tries to make it work with her. I feel genuinely bad for him; while Fen seems like a nice girl, Eliot has been forced into this situation, to conform to a lifestyle and a sexual way of life that is so far removed from what he normally does. It’s coercive, but it’s what he has to do to try and help Fillory. It’s just hard to watch his spirit wilting away, bit by bit under the strain of all his new constraints, both as a King and a weird-shackled husband.


Back in New York, Martin states that the best way to catch and kill Reynard will be to use someone as bait. Despite Jules refusing the idea, Martin goes behind her back and grabs Marina–apparently Reynard likes powerful Hedge-witches, and Marina is the most powerful in the city, so she’s a perfect victim. But let’s be honest, Marina is no victim, and on top of that, Jules has no desire to use a woman who helped her right after her rape in such a scheme.

Marina, though, is now worried about the Reynard threat, and contacts another Hedge-witch in San Francisco, but by the time she reaches her, she’s been mutilated. It seems Reynard got there first. Terrified, she seeks refuge at Brakebills of all places, but Henry refuses her asylum. Because hey, he’s kind of an asshole, apparently. That’s nice. At least we found out Marina was his best student?


While all of this is going on, Martin is still trying to get Jules to rid herself of part of her shade, to destroy part of her humanity; it’s manipulative and makes me truly worry for Jules the longer she spends in Martin’s company. She does threaten him with the dagger again, at least.


What are Quentin and the gang doing during this episode? Trying to find a pixie named Bigby who used to teach battlemagic, of course!

Apparently it used to be taught at Brakebills, but it was outlawed after some incidents, and Bigby left in a huff. However, she’s a pixie, so she left little clues and tricks in the library for everyone to follow. It was really neat to see everyone working together, and to see how the Brakebills’ library works.


Penny also got some help with his hands, finally, from Professor Sunderland. There was some sexual tension there, as well, when Penny tried to seduce her (again), but I was really happy to see her tell him, “Maybe after you graduate”.

Margo brilliantly sorts out that Bigby is now in Rhode Island, so they head there. We find out that Bigby and Henry were totally fucking (a lot–oh like rabbits), and that Alice’s God-power is waning. If they are going to use this Beast-killing spell, they have to do it quickly, or they won’t be able to use it at all.


The group prepares for the spell, but before that happens, Quentin goes to find Jules. Their meeting, after all that has happened, has a sad sort of tension to it. It’s clear there is such a divide there now–different than before. He warns her that the spell they intend to use to kill the Beast could kill her too, if she isn’t far away. Jules tells Quentin if he tries to kill Martin before they kill Reynard, she’ll go after him, as well. He accuses her of being selfish, but in a way, they are being selfless and selfish: Quentin cares about the death of magic, Jules the death of people–but they both want revenge. It’s complicated, as are all the hardest things in life.


Once reunited in Brakebills, Alice, Quentin, Penny and Margo have to undergo a pretty gnarly torture session where they receive back tattoos with their names (which will give them power), and then have a Keiko demon inserted into their backs. The demon is a fire demon, so it hurts like hell, but hey, it will give them a better chance against the Beast. So it’s worth it–right?


Let’s hope so.


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