The Magicians S2E5 Review: Cheat Day

reviews, TV

Cheat Day

Warnings: Spoilers


No one’s stories intersected this episode, so we’re going to keep this separated by sections (as some of you who follow my Vikings reviews know I sometimes do). I will say that for me this episode was a lot slower (despite a lot of things happening), and I felt that while some necessary storylines were pushed forward, certain plots took turns that I did not like at all. But more on that, later.


Penny spent this episode apart from the rest of the group, trying to sort out his new hands–which apparently don’t have the capability to do magic any longer. Henry gives him two options on what to do: go to see Myakofski in Brakebills South again and get help from that Russian, or completely leave Brakebills and the magic world for good. Penny chooses the former.

Myakofski basically gives Penny a few tasks to do: unknot a pile of knots and hack a giant table into sawdust with a tiny tool. Only if he does these things will the teacher assist. It seems almost sisyphean in nature, but Penny sets to it. Through him going through the tasks, we learn a bit more about his professor–namely that he is forever banished to Brakebills South because he slept with the wrong student.


Finally, Penny finishes with his task, and the reason for it is revealed: Myakofski knows about magic dying out, and as it will be a  “very bad time to be a magician” if that happens, he’s creating batteries that can store magic–and the things that Penny destroyed/undid? They had magic in them, releasing the magic into the battery.  In return for doing these tasks, the professor sends Penny back to Fillory to pick up some moss that can help his hands. So–another task. Get to traveling, Penny.


Back in the real world, Quentin is now working at an office job–the same one that Emily was placed into. Emily, if you remember, was the person that Charlie Quinn was trying to help before he became a niffin. So basically we have two people who quit magic because of Quinn’s ‘niffin-ing’ out. And let’s be honest–both of these people are selfish, in their own way. Charlie died because Emily changed her own face to be desirable to a man she loved, and Quentin…well, is Quentin, and never provided Alice the support she needed.

That is on full display in both of them, as they get drunk together and end up at Emily’s apartment. She declares it a “cheat day”, when they can do magic if they want–and does a spell that will give them their greatest desire in the other person, as long as they are wet. From here, Quentin ends up appearing as Myakofski–the very professor that Emily loved. Well, that mystery is solved. She wants to do nothing more than hug until Quentin is dry. However, when Emily appears as Alice, they (of course) end up having drunken sex. And in the morning, Quentin of course dashes off, having used Emily. They used each other, yes, but what Quentin did is worse, I think–and clearly just shows his real inability to see how his selfish behaviors affect others. As he’s heading to work, he sees a ghost of Alice, begging for help. What that means–I don’t know. But there is no way her story is done, yet.


The hardest storyline to sit through, and the one that upset me the most, was that of Kady and Jules. While looking through newspapers for any clue about the girl who banished Reynard 40 years ago, Jules ends up puking and, yeah, it’s exactly what you think–she’s pregnant. She freaks out and asks why it keeps getting worse. I agree, Jules, I don’t know why the writers keep putting you through this sort of thing. She wants to terminate the child, but Kady says there isn’t a safe magical way–so they should do it the normal way. I really love their growing friendship, and how supportive Kady is being of Jules through everything going on. She even reveals the night before the procedure that she had an abortion once–and that being alone is the worst part–and that Jules isn’t going to be alone in this. Best Bitches Forever, remember?

Of course, the appointment doesn’t go as planned, because it’s definitely Reynard’s baby. The doctor ends up killing herself and Kady has to come to Jules rescue. It’s a harrowing scene, and just heartbreaking. I’m honestly tired of seeing Jules as the shows’ whipping-girl; especially with them using rape and pregnancy as storylines like this. It’s really uncomfortable and problematic. While many other characters have been through traumatic things the past two seasons, it seems that Jules in particular has been singled out. I have a feeling this pregnancy will veer into body-horror territory (please prove me wrong), and even if it doesn’t, the lack of agency and power she has over her body regarding these things reminds me of comic storylines from decades ago. I thought we moved past this sort of thing. I will give the show credit for dealing with abortion as a natural and sometimes necessary thing–instead of making it some terrible, horrible choice. Of course, the fact that the doctor was punished/killed for trying to give Jules an abortion doesn’t really send the best message. But I doubt they were thinking about that. 


Jules isn’t the only one pregnant, either–Fen announces it by way of rabbit. Eliot is clearly not pleased, and honestly, why would he? He’s been forced into everything involving this situation from the very start. His father was also a terrible dad, so he’s afraid he’ll turn out the same way. Any discussion with Fen regarding this is cut short by an assassination attempt by, I shit you not, a Foo Fighter. Yes, the freedom fighters of Fillory call themselves Foo Fighters. Both Margo and I had a good laugh at that. Still, everyone wants him executed–and despite trying to find another way, Margo thinks that they need to do that, as well. Eliot, though–decides that there has to be another way. He wants to find another solution, which pisses Margo off, as he didn’t discuss it with her. Eliot is going to need Margo more than ever, so he should watch any rift he creates with her, because we find out something interesting:


Fen was sleeping with the Foo Fighter (named Baylor), and that she was one of them as well–and had been tasked to infiltrate the royals and bring them down. So…guess Fen isn’t such a nice person after all. Welp.


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