Episode Breakdown: Cheat Day


So that was depressing! I feel like the episode captured the ennui and unrest ever present in the novels. In fact, this episode really brought me back to the books and gave me the feeling like being an insider, as I watched the television plot circle back to the book subplots.

It was extremely hard for me to watch the Quentin scenes. They were so sad! However, I really appreciated how they brought everything full circle with how both Alice and her brother went Niffin. In fact, I thought there was a nice symmetry in having Quentin see the story of Alice’s lost brother through the eyes of the woman who cost him his life. And then the added pain that she still doesn’t quite care about that, as much as she misses Mayakovsky.

In my rereading of The Magicians I don’t really feel much for Penny, but in the show he really breaks up the action. In fact, I think I could watch a spin off that is the adventures of Penny and Mayakovsky. Watching Mayakovsky attempting to create a magical AA battery when the world of magic is thoroughly befouled is an amusing shake of the fist at the coming storm. I hope he and Penny work it out or go riding into a magical sunset together on the Cozy Horse.

I have nothing to really say about Eliot and Margo based on this episode. They are having conflicts, but they are also trying really hard. This might be the most effort they have shown since the series began. Also, I think maybe they should get the sloth to sleep outside of the castle from now on!

The Magicians television series I feel is skating along many social issues in our society and trying to show them just removed enough to get us to grapple with some uncomfortable truths. Julia Wicker’s arch seems to be one uncomfortable truth after another. This episode alone dealt with what to do when you cannot escape your abuser, especially when they have more social/magical capital than you; and abortion. The dialogue seemed to suggest that Reynard is protecting the baby, but is it also possible the baby is protecting itself? Either way there are some very vivid social messages. I wait to see where the writers go with their thoughts.

Cheat Day. It seems like all of the characters are trying to figure out what to do with magic and their roles in a world with and without magic. Each character is grappling with poor magical choices in the past and how to deal with the consequences now. Maybe it would be better to never have magic again, as Mayakovsky suggests to Penny. Hopefully, our protagonists will have some better days in the near future.

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