Reviews: The Magicians - Season 1 Episode 7 - The Mayakovsky Circumstances

The Magicians keeps rolling on, with an episode that fans of the book have no doubt been waiting to see. 

Ok, guys and girls! Put all
your weed in the mason jar.
The end of last week's episode teased the students' travelling to Brakebills South in Antarctica, and this week's episode certainly didn’t disappoint in that regard.  But where other episodes are heavily Quentin or Alice or Julia-centric, this one really showed the strength of the ensemble, giving each member of the young cast meaningful things to do and even showing a bit of growth.

The students arrive at the afore-mentioned Brakebills South, overseen (and fully staffed) by a stubborn, eccentric professor named Mayakovsky.  Fueled by vodka and his disdain for Brakebills status quo, Mayakovsky pushes the students to their limits, with regard to both their growing magical ability and mental strength.  This leads some of the students to connect with magic and each other on a far more intimate level than ever before, forever changing some of their relationships.  Quentin and Alice are as usual the focus, but Penny (the excellent Arjun Gupta) gets plenty of well-earned attention as well, as he begins to learn the extent of his unique powers.

Another pair of characters that gets their best chance to shine yet this week is Elliot (Hale Appleman) and Margo (Summer Bishil).  Elliot and Margo (known as Janet in the books) serve as the series' comic relief, providing a refreshing break from Quentin's neuroses.  The characters are a bit older than Quentin, etc., and they tend to drift between seen-it-all ennui and the perverse joy of busting underclassmen's chops.  The duo's onscreen chemistry is flawless, as is the ease with which they inhabit their roles and perfectly embody Lev Grossman's characters.  It would be hard to argue that anyone else on the show is having as much fun as they are, which is saying something.

The Magicians has remained consistently entertaining throughout its short run, and shows no signs of slowing down.  it's a shame that the show doesn’t get the lavished attention that other genre shows on more high profile networks get, however deserving it might be.  Thought it has already gotten picked up by a second season and seems to be doing well by the standards of a network on Syfy's tier, the right word of mouth could really put it on the map.  Hopefully The Magicians is able to continue to find and grow a dedicated audience so dedicated viewers can spend even more time in the dangerous, magical world of Brakebills.


Mike Stec