The Magicians Season 4 Ends With Heartbreak, Confusion and More to Come!
Quentin’s exit from The Magicians was hands down one of the most heart-wrenching moments on television. As a massive fan and supporter of the series, since the very first episode in 2015, I can say it was one of the most unexpected and, dare I say, ballsy deaths that was equal parts satisfying while paradoxically confusing, sad and seemingly out of left field, minus the one hilarious Easter Egg they started dropping last season. I will get to that one later.
So we came to the season finale with Quentin and Alice getting ready to chuck the monsters into the space in-between this universe and the anti-universe. You know that place that is like our universe except everything is dead.
Anyways, in walks Everette, the librarian who wants to turn the monsters into stones, that he would eat and then become a god… yeah, the Binder never explained that part very well. He cracks the mirror to the in-between place. Now Quentin is left holding what is essentially a grenade that could off at any moment, posses Everette, who is juiced up after drinking a literal lake of magic, killing them all, or he can give the monster to the real big bad of the season, who will probably kill them all anyway.
So Quentin uses a minor mending spell to fix the mirror and save the day. The problem is any magic in the mirror universe backfires on the caster killing them and anyone near them. So Quentin goes out saving his friends and the multiverse from a pair of god monsters and a god- wannabe.
His Final Departure
Those who paid attention at the beginning of the season may have noticed OG Penny, as opposed to Penny 23, meeting a friend at the elevator to the underworld. Now we know it was Quentin and this is where the episode goes in a very intimate direction for the last half of the finale.
Quentin finds himself questioning if he sacrificed himself for his friends, or if after a lifetime of battling depression and being institutionalized, he finally succeeded at killing himself.
It was one of the rare and unusual moments that capture the complexity of what it means to be human.
Here we have the literal hero of our story. Through Quentin Coldwater’s eyes, were introduced to The Magicians. He was the Harry Potter of the series complete with a heart wrenching back story filled with depressed isolation.
He becomes a King of Fillory, is the first magician to revert a niffin into a human, and he then nurses his abusive ex-niffin girlfriend back to health. He inadvertently kills a god, then actually kills a god. Defeats a pair of God Monsters who had murdered countless people and gods before him. By anyone’s definition, this guy is a bad-ass, or at the very least a dangerous person who should need killing before he destroys the universe.
Right up until the moment of his death it seemed as if Quentin was finally coming out on top. He saved Elliot, which was his driving force throughout the season, and it seemed like he and Alice were finally ready to resume their relationship. He’d even figured out his, albeit lame, magical specialty.
Despite everything he had accomplished; living an alternate lifetime with Elliot, getting married, raising a son to adulthood, saving the people he loved. He reconnected with the love of his life, and despite the brave face he’d put on the entire final season, Quentin was still a profoundly depressed person who never had a moment to process any of his issues because he kept having to fix one god like calamity after another.
It was confusing unless you're familiar with mental illness; the brave faces people put on and how they keep themselves busy because a moment of stillness means the depressing suicidal spiral begins again.
I won’t go into the rest of the departure or how it did feel meaningful and permanent and ultimately answers that question, but I will say it was a fantastic delivery by actor Jason Ralph and I legit cried like a little girl.
So What is My Easter Egg?
For, most viewers, there is no easter egg. According to Quentin’s book, he would die soon, but our heroes shrugged it off with their “we change fate all the time” speech. While they ignored the person who writes all the books is some tweaked out-immortal-future version of Alice. (Who I’m sure Season 5 will explore because Alice now runs the Library)
The easter egg I’m referring happened during Episode 7 “The Side Effect,” which ends with OG Penny trying to teach a junior librarian a moral lesson about white privilege and how he only views Quentin and Alice as the star crossed lovers and heroes of the series because he is also white.
In fairness, he has a point. At its core, The Magicians is about a bunch of misfits who keep failing up. A Gay farmboy becomes a king, Elliot; a rape victim becomes a Goddess, Julia, a street rat becomes a freedom fighter, Kady, a shallow socialite redeems herself and becomes the just elected ruler of her people, Margo, a total stoner dweeb gets the hot girl, Josh, and Penny… well, maybe he hasn’t reached his potential yet. The protagonist of the series depends on who the viewer relates to the most.
However, this wasn’t the first time Penny called out a white dude for having “white-male-hero syndrome.” In Season 3 Episode 4 “Be The Penny,” OG Penny meets fellow traveler/ ghost Hyman Cooper, who describes Quentin as the hero of the story and Penny makes a snide remark. At first glance, it may just seem like a running gag throughout the series, but now that the hero is dead, the show goes on.
It makes me think the plan to kill Quentin has been in the works for a very long time.
Still Many Unanswered Questions
Despite Quentin’s departure, the Magicians will return for a fifth season, and there are still a lot of questions left unanswered or at the very least what seem to be contradictory last minute decisions in the writer's room.
So is an Old God now Dead?:
In the episodes leading to the finale, the male God Monster snaps Persephone’s neck and drops. This is kind of mindblowing if you follow the lore of the series. If she is an Old God, which is what they have inferred, then the monsters they created were way more of a threat than they seemed to care about. It makes you wonder if the Old Gods turn off magic when a god is killed what do you think they will do when an Old God is taken out?
What happened with Julia?:
It was the ultimate tease. One moment Persephone is telling Julia she has a great destiny ahead of her and must choose to become a god or a human again, the next, the choice is taken from her, and she is made human permanently. After everything she went through and all the buildup, this better not be the end of the Goddess Julia conversation.
Let me know what you think in the comments.