This The Magicians Recap Contains Spoilers for Season 3 Episode 5: “A Life in a Day”
Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “I can’t stand it to think my life is going so fast and I’m not really living it.” Episode 5 of The Magicians’ third season really takes this to heart. “A Life in a Day” would’ve been more appropriately titled “Feel All the Angst of a Life in a Day.”
Penny and Kady reunite, but it’s not a happy ending
After an awkward forced chat with Quentin, Alice announces she’s taking the key (and Penny) to take care of some business. Said business involves taking Penny to see Kady, or rather for Kady to see Penny, at the mental ward she’s been stuck. You’ll recall she was rushed to the hospital after Julia tried her best (with limited magic) to save her from a heroin overdose.
Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea ever to have Alice (who previously banged Penny) be the one to reveal to Kady her lover/boyfriend/significant other didn’t actually die. I mean, he definitely did die, but he might not be dead enough to justify Kady’s brokenness. Kady freaks out at the sight of him and isn’t at all pleased to see him. Saying that Kady is furious is an understatement.
I’ve always said I don’t like this couple, and I think it has to do with this toxicity. I understand that Kady’s mental state isn’t the best at the moment. I’ve lost people as dear to me as Penny is/was to her, and I’d probably not know how to react if they were to come back to life. But ultimately, I just think Kady doesn’t “love” Penny. Their relationship is more of a weird co-dependence. In short, Kady’s caught by some cameras screaming murder at what appears to be an empty room, and the doctors decide she’s a threat to herself and others.
Julia and Alice go for a drink
The one good thing about this segment, aside from Julia and Alice bonding, is that I think we’re finally done with the creepy possessions. Julia might be able to receive text messages or something less unsettling from her formerly anonymous stalker. The last we see of these messages is Alice being taken over while she’s chatting with Julia about Magic and religion. Alice drops all the books she’s holding, her eyes go blank, and she says something like “Alice needs your help.”
Julia understands this “need for help” as the girl needing somebody to talk to about being broken. Thanks to the events of….almost all of Julia’s adult life, she finds she can help her friend (?) over some drinks and some bonding time. At the bar, Alice laments how she used to be the best at one thing (magic), how it overpowered her, and how once she got herself back, that one thing (magic) was gone. She’s curious to know how Julia has some limited magic, but Julia thinks she’s better off not knowing.
Regardless, Alice convinces her to use the Truth key while staring at a mirror. In her reflection, Julia see’s Reynard’s eyes taking over hers. And of course, she’s transported into a sort of Upside Down bar where Lady Underground is waiting to talk to her. She explains she planted a seed (of Reynard’s power) in her and that it is up to her to use it. It’s safe to say that Julia is 0% okay with having her rapist’s power seed. But Lady Underground reminds her the chosen don’t want to be chosen. Once back at the real bar, Alice suggests there might be a way for Julia to pass on the seed to her.
Quentin and Eliot think they return to Fillory
And they do. Q and Eliot are indeed in Fillory, but in no way are they “back” in Fillory. If we’re following the rules of time, this is the first instance a Quentin Coldwater and an Eliot Waugh set foot on Fillorian grounds. You see, using the old clock and the first key, Q and Eliot have traveled to a Fillory that even precedes the Chatwins. Their quest is to solve a mosaic that should reveal the “beauty of all life.” The only thing they know is that by the time Jane Chatwin comes to solve the mosaic, somebody had already beat her to it.
Running with the assumption that their time-traveling selves are the puzzle solvers, Quentin divides up every tile by color. He runs a quick factorial calculation that lands him at far too many zeros, and next thing you know, Q and Eliot have been at this game for a whole year. With the tension of time passing with no further clues and them being stuck in olden day Fillory…well, Quentin and Eliot consummate their angst, so to speak.
However, not long after, a girl carrying peaches and plumbs shows up. She comes with a companion who is hunky-looking and obviously her boyfriend. Days, months, or years later, the girl returns heartbroken. Next thing you know, Quentin forms a family with her, there’s a kid involved, the girl dies, Quentin and Eliot bid the kid farewell when he becomes of age…and Eliot ages to the point of death. When Quentin goes to bury him, he finds a golden tile beneath the ground. He places it in the middle of the empty mosaic and is rewarded with the key. This, of course, happens just before Jane Chatwin shows up, asking Quentin for a key he knows he must hand over.
Margo gets to marry a prince
The Fairy Queen keeps making weird moves. At this point, we don’t know if she’s trying to save magic, forge Margo into a powerful queen, or is simply dicking around (for lack of a better phrase). Last episode, Margo was adamant on getting those wall shavings into the Fairy Queen’s bath. At first, her plan appears to be working as Tick successfully returns with a quarter of a jar worth of Fairy poison. Margo doesn’t want to waste their shot and asks him to double the amount. Which would’ve worked, had unexpected guests not camped out in the very poison hallway.
The guests are Margo’s future in-laws, subjects, and husband. At first, she’s reluctant to get married, not seeing the value in the four-thousand-men army they’d be getting out of this. Of course, Prince Ess makes an appearance, trying to win back Margo’s favor. While Margo doesn’t have much of a choice (being under the Fairy Queen’s thumb and all), she agrees to marry Prince Micah after realizing he’s a hot feminist.
Everything would’ve gone great, had Prince Micah’s underaged and creepy brother had not murdered him mid-ceremony. This forces Margo to marry the younger brother because of rules and stuff. At least she manages to scare the boy into not consummating the marriage by saying it’s Earthly custom to open all the wedding gifts first. Amongst the gifts, Margo finds a letter from Old Quentin, instructing her to find Jane Chatwin (a Jane Chatwin that lives in the outskirts of time in Fillory), retrieve the third key from her, and stop himself and Eliot (present day) from going to Fillory.
Of course, our Margo saves the day, and our trio finds their way back to Fillory so they can help Margo with her psycho husband problem. Except…when Eliot and Quentin find peaches and plumbs left behind from the wedding reception, they begin to remember their old life.
Season 3 is delivering solid episode after solid episode. This one made me feel worried, strained even. I’m glad they gave Penny a rest after his character-centric episode and that plot lines that were interesting but not that pressing were minimized. We hadn’t had an Eliot and Quentin sequence in a long, long time. And this used to be a central part of The Magicians in its early days. I do want to point out that this is the second time Eliot dies but then doesn’t die…and you know what they say. Third time’s the charm.
I did feel I needed a Xanax through most of this episode. But I’m going to have to agree with Miley Cyrus, who coincidentally said this during her “7 Things” song, and we’re looking for seven keys…Anyways, “You make me laugh, you make me cry, but I guess that’s both I’ll have to buy.”
This show is clearly affecting my brain.
Let’s wrap this up.
“A Life in the Day” Episode Vitals
MVP: Eliot, Quentin, and Margo
Biggest Annoyance: The whole time Penny and Quentin were stuck in Fillorian past
Favorite Moment: When Margo saves the day
Funniest Line: I didn’t laugh in this episode. I was too stressed.