It’s time to do some magic! In the premiere episode of ‘The Magicians,’ Quentin gets admitted to Brakebills and comes face-to-face with The Beast, while Julia is forced to deal with some sketchy people to learn her trade.
It’s finally here! The Magicians premiere episode aired on Monday night, Jan. 25, and HollywoodLife.com has a full recap of what went down for you.
As The Magicians begins we’re introduced to Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph), a slightly troubled, socially awkward loner-type who is obsessed with a children’s book about a magical land named Fillory. He’s super handsome and he’s gearing up for grad school, even if he would rather lay in bed and re-read his favorite book than hook up with a hot girl in rainbow-colored booty shorts.
At almost exactly the same time we meet Julia Wicker (Stella Maeve), his childhood best friend who he is so obviously in love with that just so happens to be dating his jock-ish friend/roommate. Bummer. It goes without saying the bond between Julia and Quentin is deeply rooted and seemingly unbreakable, even after we find out that it stems from their time doing magic tricks together as kids.
Things quickly get weird from there. Some how, some way, at the very same time both Quentin and Julia are transported to Brakebills University in upstate New York — a hop, skip, and a large jump from the city where they actually live. It’s not until after they take a mysterious exam in a large room full of other potential “magicians” that they even see each other, but when they do it’s an instant relief: they’re in this together. Or are they?
While Julia is getting her exit speech in a small office, Quentin’s power is being tested by the Dean. Quentin, or as Julia calls him, “Q,” is more or less bullied into using magical powers he didn’t even know he had. While he thought he was there to show a sleight of hand card trick, it turns out he has the ability to send an entire deck of cards up into the air… and then build a castle out them using nothing but his mind. It’s so insanely cool it knocks Quentin out cold.
During his little nap, Quentin finds himself dreaming of Fillory — and even comes face-to-face with one of it’s main characters, Jane Chatwin. She warns him that someone named The Beast is coming, and that’s when Quentin wakes up in an unfamiliar dorm room. We soon find out it’s his new place at Brakebills, where he’s obviously been accepted after the card stunt.
Unfortunately for Julia, she wakes up in the comfort of her own bed back in the city next to her boyfriend. Thanks to a deep slice in her arm that she inflicted upon herself before her memory was wiped by magic, she remembers something… but it’s not quite Brakebills. She immediately starts researching the school on the internet hoping for any sign of what she experienced, but when we see her search history she’s looking up Brakeville College. Not quite, Julia.
During his acceptance meeting with the Dean, Quentin is forced to address his depressed state. The Dean tells him he’s not crazy, he’s angry because he’s been alone. He’s been swallowing his magic for so long it was eating him alive. The Dean tells him he doesn’t have to medicate at Brakebills, so Quentin hesitantly hands over his anti-depressants.
Eliot, Penny & Margo: The Fellow ‘Magicians’
Next up we finally meet Penny, Quentin’s assigned roommate and polar opposite. Penny is too cool for school, even magic school, and on top of that he’s super hot. Sadly Quentin doesn’t have time to make friends because he realizes that his one and only copy of Fillory book six has gone missing, and he barely has a minute to look for it before Eliot comes charging in with a giggling Margo. Eliot is the one who met Quentin when he arrived at Brakebills, his first real magician friend, and Margo is, more or less, Eliot’s platonic soulmate.
Quentin gets a grand tour of Brakebills courtesy of Eliot and Margo, who has a very real Mean Girl-type attitude about her. We’re introduced to all of the different kinds of magic there are at Brakebills from flying to illusionists, and then we get to take Quentin’s first class with him. This is when we meet Alice, the quiet A-type, and Kady, who immediately connects with Penny on a, um, physical level.
Of course it’s no surprise when something about Alice draws Quentin in. He makes a point to approach her in a one-on-one setting despite the warning from Eliot and Margo, and it doesn’t go well. It’s at about this time you find yourself wondering, where’s Julia?
Eerily enough, you get an answer: she’s not doing well at all. Being rejected from Brakebills has broken her, and her boyfriend, Jason, is at a loss for what to do. When Eliot and Margo overhear Jason tell Quentin that he’s throwing a birthday party for Julia they invite themselves, but thankfully chaos does not ensue.
When Quentin and Julia finally come face-to-face again after their run-in at Brakebills, she’s a shell of the girl she once was. She begs Quentin to tell the Dean to give her another chance, but he knows he can’t.
But, Julia’s future isn’t completely bleak. She has a mysterious encounter with a handsome stranger who uses magic to strip her clothes off and tie her up in the bathroom. Her fear and rage forces her to use magic to free herself, allowing these wild electric flares to shoot out of her finger tips. The mysterious stranger is thrilled by this, and we find out he’s looking to induct her into his own school of magic — an underground school right there in the city.
Fillory: Real Or Not Real?
Back at Brakebills a sleepy Quentin finds himself hanging out with Jane Chatwin in the land of Fillory again. This time she uses magic to burn a symbol into the palm of his hand after telling him he won’t be at Brakebills very long, and when he wakes up and sees it he remembers it vividly from the book Alice was reading when he spoke to her in the coffee shop. Alice isn’t thrilled when he returns but when she sees his hand she tells him he’s “involved,” so she lets him in on her plans for a seance of sorts. But first… they must steal a book from the Dean.
Meanwhile back in the dorms, Penny, who hears voices, is more or less being told he needs to help Quentin and Alice. He tries to explain it to Kady and she’s intrigued so she follows along. The voices lead the pair to Alice and Quentin, who are in a classroom sitting in front of a mirror with the stolen book. Alice tells Quentin they are trying to contact Charlie, her brother, on the other side. This is when we find out that Charlie died “horribly,” according to Alice, and was a student at Brakebills. Sadly, no one will tell her what actually happened to him.
Needless to say, the seance doesn’t work. However, when Alice is finished cleaning up and leaves the room the mirror they were sitting in front of goes foggy and a smiley face is drawn. But who is drawing it?
The Beast Arrives In Brakebills
The next day in class they find out exactly who was drawing it. Sort of. Suddenly time freezes, and a well-dressed man with moths covering his face steps through the mirror and into the classroom. Everyone is frozen but awake, their eyes following the moth-man as he makes his way through the classroom. Using a devilish magic he kills the teacher, but before he can cause any more damage the Dean bursts into the room to stop him. It doesn’t go well.
The moth-man uses his magic to stop the Dean in his tracks, and then reaches into his face and rips out his eyeballs. Gross.
That’s when Quentin drops the quarter he was playing with in class. It just falls from his grasp, despite the fact that this terrifying man has frozen everything in the room. This obviously grabs his attention, and when the man approaches he speaks for the very first time: “Quentin Coldwater, there you are.”
When episode two begins, Quentin is sitting on the floor in the classroom being questioned by a woman. The room is a mess, and Quentin has bloody fingerprints on his face. We soon learn that the Dean passed him a stopwatch, and when Quentin finally gets a hold of it he starts it — breaking the Beast’s paralyzing spell. The classroom full of magicians then uses their unauthorized magic to fight the Beast, but it’s Alice and her powers that eventually shove him back through the mirror. Thankfully, Penny is smart enough to shatter the mirror with a chair.
But, things don’t look good for Quentin, Alice, Penny, and Kady because a group of authoritative figures are investigating how the Beast managed to cross into their world — and they more or less warn the class that they will find out if any of them of are responsible by playing with magic. Oops.
As this is happening, Julia is taken into a sketchy warehouse outside of NYC by her new magic friend. He’s quick to lock her and another apprentice magician in a massive freezer, and it’s clear from the start it’s a test. Unfortunately, the large dead body hiding in the fridge poses an immediate danger when he’s brought back to life, and the two girls are forced to fend him off. Soon after they realize he served a purpose, that they need his body (or pieces of it, ew) for a spell to keep warm until they can figure out how to use magic (or a pair of scissors) to get out of the freezer. Smart girls.
Quentin Vs. Penny In A Magical Showdown
Back at Brakebills it doesn’t take long for the group to get caught after the book they stole from the Dean is found buried in the woods. All four students involved in the seance are questioned, but after a one-on-one with Penny it’s Quentin who remains in trouble. He later tells Eliot they are bringing in a specialist to work with him after the seance mess, but his sassy friend has nothing to say to make him feel better. Even if he did it wouldn’t work, because Quentin is devastated the he could be sent back home to a land without Brakebills forever.
In his state of panic, Quentin takes a moment to call Julia and leave her an apologetic voicemail now the he’s about to join her in the land of the expelled. But his lack of being able to connect with her shows that their worlds have forked in different directions, and the future for their friendship looks bleak.
After his missed call with Julia, Quentin loses his cool on Penny and replicates the spell Kady used on the Beast in the classroom earlier. It backfires when Penny manages to shield himself, and the spell ricochets towards Quentin throwing him in the air until he crash lands on the cement. Ouch.
Now this, this is where things get interesting. Kady sneaks out of Brakebills to meet with Pete and his colleague, even bringing them stolen magic books. It’s unclear why she’s doing it, but it seems she’s somehow been blackmailed into it. However, she lost the stone that they really wanted because Penny grabbed it from her, and then Quentin took it from him while he was sleeping.
The next day Quentin meets with the “specialist” he told Eliot about and she turns out to be a familiar face. She’s a bit strange, but thankfully she’s not there to wipe his memory and send him back home. Instead it seems she’s there to keep Quentin on the right path, much like Jane Chatwin was talking about when he met her in Fillory. Coincidence? I suppose we’ll find out.
After her meeting with Quentin, the specialist heads to chat with the Dean about the Beast’s visit. He’s very angry with her and tells her that Quentin and Penny are not built to deal with the Beast yet. What do they know that we don’t?
Tell us, HollywoodLifers — What did YOU think of The Magicians premiere? Are you excited to see what happens next? Comment below with your thoughts!