On this week’s episode of The Magicians on SYFY, Julia and Josh were transported to an alternate timeline were they helped alternate timeline Josh, Marina, Penny, and Alice defeat alternate timeline The Beast (who happens to be Quentin). This episode was unlike others in that it didn’t follow any other storylines, and stuck strictly to the alternate timeline one. The episode took place in the alternate world that was created when Jane Chatwin used her time turner-esque contraption to try and find a way to destroy The Beast (Martin Chatwin) way back in season one. The story we currently follow takes place in the 39th timeline, but the one Julia and Josh visited is the 23rd timeline, hence the name of the episode, “Twenty-Three”.
This episode we were introduced to alternate timeline Margo and Eliot, and we had to witness their undoing in a time-loop that their ghosts were trapped in. In the alternate timeline, we saw that they were killed while trying to stop The Beast by performing a spell in the library of Brakebills, and Eliot somehow messed it up and ended up mauling Margo. We weren’t shown exactly what went wrong, but it can be assumed that Eliot screwed up the spell because he was drunk. While it was upsetting to see these two beloved characters dead, it was nice to see them, because for the past several episodes we’ve only been granted an audience with them for a small scene or two. Hopefully the show catches up with them in the last two episodes of the season.
We were also introduced to alternate timeline Penny, who had had a relationship with alternate timeline Julia, who had been killed by The Beast in his world. Marina was also still alive in this alternate timeline, and was as cheeky as she was in the timeline we know her from. We last saw Marina in season two when she was murdered by Reynard, partly due to a mistake made by Julia. Julia seemed to get a bit of closure by being able to apologize to Marina. Both alternate timeline Penny and alternate timeline Marina went back to the timeline we know with Julia and Josh. It’s likely that they will cause some trouble in the timeline we know, because of the relationship Kady has with Penny, and because of Marina’s proclivity for stirring the pot.
In this timeline, Quentin had his shade (basically his soul) taken by The Beast, Martin Chatwin. Quentin then killed Martin Chatwin/The Beast, taking over his persona and pulling a “Dread Pirate Roberts”. In the final scene, Julia, Alice, Josh, Marina, and Penny snuck into the throne room in Fillory which Quentin had made his private base. In this ambush, Julia gave her shade to Quentin after he killed Alice in order to show him what he’s become. In this moment of clarity, Quentin told Julia that in his timeline in the future, she opens a door at the end of the world trying to let magic back in, but she actually lets in a monster. This leaves a lot of questions for the last two episodes of the season. Will the season end on a major cliffhanger to get us coming back for season four?
This was another compelling episode but hopefully in the final two episodes we get to follow more of the storylines and characters that we’ve come to love.