The Magicians

Season 1, Episode 01

Episode Title: Unauthorized Magic

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Omar.

The first episode of the Magicians, based on the best-seller series by Lev Grossman, starts with a man stepping out of a door into cloudy street, but on the other side of the threshold is a sunny garden. He waits to meet with a woman, who gives him a golden moth and tells him that “it” has almost found “them”, and he needs to get “them” to the school fast.

The scene changes and the viewer meets Quentin Coldwater, who admitted himself to a mental health clinic for a 60 hours’ observation under depression. While speaking with his psychologist the scene changes and we see him in party in his apartment and him reading the first book of his favorite series called Fillory and Further. His childhood and best friend Julia Wicker ask him where he went over the weekend, and lies telling her that he was with his parents.  The next day, Julia goes with him to his grad school interview for philosophy, instead they find his interviewer dead. The paramedics take him away and one of them is the woman that the man at the beginning met and gives Quentin a manuscript of the sixth Fillory and Further books. The Quentin and Julia have a fight over the book and each goes on the separate way.


While taking an elevator up, Julia notices that it starts to go down instead and it opens to a different place. At the same time, Quentin is trying to catch a sheet of the manuscript that flew away, he starts entering a small garden at night and he comes out of some sunny bushes. An older guy that introduces himself as Eliot and tells him that he is late and has to move fast or he will miss his exam to Brakebills University. In a room with other people the man from the beginning introduces himself as the Dean and tells them to begin the exam. Julia is also in the exam room and sees Quentin after the exam is finished.

Julia is told that she failed the exam and that she is going to have her memory whip, she asks to be given another chance, but is denied. While the person turns around to beginning his preparations, she cuts her arm in an attempt to remember later. Quentin on the other hand, is presented in front of a group of older people and is asked by Dean Fogg to do magic. Trying to impress them with a card illusion, he is told to do real magic and under pressure from the Dean the cards start to fly around and build a castle, and he passes out.


In a dream, Quentin is walking down a stone path at night and he arrives to the tree that has a clock that the Chatwin children found in Fillory and Further. There he meets Jane Chatwin that tells him that playing with time magic is difficult and can have consequences. She tells him that the “Beast” is coming for him and to stay in the garden path or the Beast will kill him and everyone else. Julia wakes up in the bed next to her boyfriend  remembering because of the scar on her arm, and she starts to type in a search engine for Brakebills University.

Quentin meets his new roommate Penny and accuses him of stealing the manuscript for Fillory and Further six, but is interrupted by Eliot that introduces his friend Margo and give him a turn of the school and the student body. During his classes he sees his classmate Alice Quinn perform magic in a demonstration. Penny meets Kady and later have sex with her and both float in the middle of sex. Margo tells Quentin that Alice comes from a family of magicians. He tries to speak to her and she coldly shut him down.


Quentin later receives an email from Julia’s boyfriend and calls him to learn that Julia has been acting weirdly lately. Eliot and Margo tag along to her birthday party. While talking privately, Julia tells him to tell Brakebills to test her again and that he remembers. She cast a small spell and tells him that she belongs in the school. He tries to let her see that magic might not be her thing and she should forget everything. While in the restroom, Julia is attacked by a guy that can do magic, she defends herself with her amplified spell and he tells her that he has been looks for her. He offers her a chance to learn magic, as Brakebills isn’t the only way to learn magic.



In another dream, Quentin meets Jane again and is told to get back on the path. He wakes up with a burning scar in his hand that looks like something that Alice was looking at before. He asks her what it is and she asks to help him cast a spell to contact her dead brother that went to Brakebills five years ago. Penny hears a voice that tells him that he needs to help them and Kady tags along. It seems that the summoning didn’t work and they leave it be. After leaving, they missed that a smiley face appear in the mirror.


The next day Julia follows the man to an abandoned warehouse to beginning her learning. Back in Brakedills, during class when the clock strikes noon, time stops inside the classroom. Everyone is stuck and can  only move their eyes. A man  comes out the mirror and his face is covered with flying moth and butterflies. He does magic and kills the professor, Dean Fogg gets in time and fights him only to also get paralyze. The beast takes his eyes out and bites his neck, while everyone watches unable to move. Quentin is able to move his fingers and drops his coin attracting the beast to him. The episode ends, with the beast in front of Quentin, he calls him by his name and says to him, ‘’there you are.”


“We all sign this waiver; I hope you read yours. It says: spell work is not unlikely to murder you and if so, oh well.” – Eliot

The Magicians is a very intriguing and addictive show. After the first episode I was hooked and it has become my favorite show of the winter season. For people who like fantasy and magical types of shows, The Magicians will be just right in their corner. The author of the books and many cast members have described it as a blend between Harry Potter and Narnia, and I think that they are right, but it also adds a more mature spice to the mix making it into something new of their own. The show has many funny moments and still is able to touch heavy topics such as depression, obsessiveness, drugs and alcohol, and loneliness. I really recommend the show and if you can read the books. I can’t wait so see what the season has for us, and I hope to see more magic performance from all the characters. Have you seen the Magicians, and if so what did you think? Let us know in the comments.