The Magicians’ season 2 premiere returns with a fast paced episode that quickly resolves the season one cliffhanger. Afterwards the episode (entitled Knight of Crowns) shifts gears and establishes plotlines for season two. The Magicians continues to rely upon the story structure established in season one, separate but interconnected journeys. Julia (Stella Maeve) has vowed to destroy Reynard the Fox. The Brakebills Gang (comprised of Quentin, Alice, Elliot, Margo, & Penny) are on a quest to vanquish The Beast and save Fillory. For viewers who enjoyed Julia interacting with Quentin and company in the season one finale, do not get your hopes up for a happy reunion any time soon. It is off to the ‘real world’ for Julia and her new found ally, Martin Chatwin aka The Beast (Charles Mesure)!
One of the show’s biggest strengths continues to be the chemistry between Quentin (Jason Ralph), Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley), Elliot (Hale Appleman), Margo (Summer Bishil), and Penny (Arjun Gupta). No one has forgotten Quentin/Margo/Elliot threesome from last season. However near death experiences always seems to help television characters work through their issues. Plus the group’s new standing in Fillory offers everyone a fresh start…except for Penny.
“Magic comes at a price.” The episode’s writer (and The Magician’s co-producer) Sara Gamble provided remedial lessons on this topic throughout the premiere. Minutes into Knight of Crowns Quentin had already made an ill-conceived attempt at getting aid from a familiar, but ominous looking witch. Unfortunately, Quentin pre-paid for services, that were not rendered, with his blood. Julia formalizes her alliance with Martin to destroy the trickster god Reynard the Fox at a Chuck E. Cheese style restaurant. Seconds into the pact Martin started looking for loopholes in their deal. Even Penny’s visit to the healing pools of Chatwin Spring was not without consequences. Penny’s rebuke of a native Fillorian, who helped him re-attach his hands, created a new problem. Unfortunately for Penny, his issue could not be resolved with a simple apology.
After formalizing their new partnership, Julia and The Beast slip into CSI mode. They investigate a crime scene that was similar to the massacre that Julia survived. Through this investigation Julia and Martin came to understand each other. The Beast attempts to use his newfound understanding of Julia to sway her to his side. Martin believes Julia could become stronger if she forgoes emotions (shade) that make her weak.
The episode’s crowning achievement occurred with the coronation of the new Fillorian Kings and Queens! Emotions bubbled to the surface and apologizes were offered as Elliot, Margo, Alice, and Quentin crown themselves. The quartet also bestows upon themselves titles such as “High Queen Margo the Destroyer” and “Queen Alice the Wise”. Though the coronation lacked flowers and a precession, the Knight of Crown’s (guardian of said crowns) showered the would-be rulers with 1990s trivia. Elliot’s familiarity with Patrick Swayze proved that he was worthy of being High King.
For fans of The Magicians, Knight of Crowns was a great start to season two. The characters may be flawed but they are not boring; the show is a nice twist on popular media properties: The Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter. Even if you are familiar with Lev Grossman’s novels, the series has a lot to offer. Sara Gamble and the other behind-the-scenes creators zigged when Grossman zagged. The Magicians continues to justify why viewers should take a chance on Syfy shows. Unfortunately this episode is not recommended for individuals coming into the show cold. If you want to enroll in Brakebills, you should watch season one through streaming services such as Netflix.