This week's episode of The Magicians was kind of trippy for a few reasons.
Penny's (Arjun Gupta) fate is still as up in the air as ever, with his body now burned and his spirit wandering around the astral plane. Julia's (Stella Maeve) got her hands full too with the knowledge that her magic actually once belonged to her rapist, Reynard (Mackenzie Astin). Worst gift ever? But most confusing, Quentin (Jason Ralph) and Elliot (Hale Appleman) time-traveled?!
The boys traveled to the past in Fillory in order to solve a mosaic puzzle that would get them another key. The problem? This puzzle was seriously, intensely difficult, meaning it took them decades to solve it.
They both aged (Elliot even died!) and Quentin lived happily with a wife and child for many years. What should have been the end of both of these characters lives ended up getting reversed, however, because Margo (Summer Bishil) managed to use some timey-wimey magic of her own to stop them from ever going in the first place... wait what?
To help us figure out where all these characters stand, we consulted the great minds behind the show, executive producers John McNamara and Sera Gamble.
Give it to me straight, does this mean Quentin has grandchildren running around Fillory?John McNamara: Hmmm...
Sera Gamble: It might mean that, yeah.
McNamara: He's got to be very careful who he marries.
Let's talk about that Quentin/Elliot hook up! Why did you guys decide to have those two share a night together amidst all the puzzling?
Gamble: It felt true about their relationship... What would these two people do if they were together every single day of their lives in one location, and frankly they've hooked up before. It just didn't seem that weird to us that they might get drunk one night and one of them would make a pass at the other.
McNamara: The last time they hooked up, it was a Margo sandwich.
Gamble: Yeah, last time it was a threesome.
McNamara: But there was the reference in dialogue, I believe, in that episode or the next episode, where Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley) says to Quentin because she walked in on the threesome, "The last time I saw you Elliot's dick was in your mouth." So that's on record. It didn't come out of nowhere.
Gamble: We say this a lot when we're talking about the show, but the job of the writer is often just to sit around and talk about what they did when they were in their 20s, and occasionally getting drunk and sleeping with a friend is a fairly normal part of being in your 20s, especially in a situation when you are very intensely hanging out with them to the exclusive of almost everyone else for a long period of time. That's the causes and conditions for a hook up.
How does the knowledge that he had a wife and a kid and a whole life affect Quentin moving forward?
They do remember it, there are references later in the season. There's a scene I'm thinking of, I don't want to spoil it, but there's a really beautiful scene that Quentin has late in the season. It's maybe my favorite scene of the whole season, where he sits down with someone he loves and he talks about what he has experienced on the quest. A huge part of what has changed him in his own mind is that he experienced a whole lifetime trying to solve the mosaic with Elliot, and he talks really specifically about how that changed him and how it changed his outlook on the quest and on his entire life.
How dead is Penny right now? Like he's dead, but he's still kind of around? How much hope can we have that he'll be able to get back to the land of the living?
Gamble: He's going to try!
McNamara: Whatever you think is going to happen, it's not going to happen.
Gamble: I have to say, Penny this season though -- John speaks the truth. Of any storyline we've ever done on this show, Penny this season is the one that has surprised me the most. Right around the time we decided we were going to burn his body, we really felt like we were walking on a tightrope without a net in a super exhilarating way. The pitches from the writers about where to take this character next were so exciting and unusual. And Arjun came to play, and in episodes to come I think you'll see him doing his best work of the series, and that's saying a lot because he's always great.
Moving on to Julia, she now knows her magic comes from Reynard, which is not an easy thing for her to deal with right?
McNamara: It's not just going to go away. It grows, and it gets more and more complicated. There are a number of what are hopefully surprising permutations of this power that is growing.
Gamble: Julia's story has a lot in it that is a metaphor for all kinds of real world stuff that has nothing to do with magic. Specifically with this storyline, it's an opportunity for us to tell a story about someone who has survived an assault and is dealing with the repercussions of that over the long term... As anyone who has experienced trauma knows, that's not always a straight line, and it's not necessarily short. It's different for every person, but it's a complicated process. When something really horrific and really extreme and traumatizing happens to a person, it does change you... We're exploring the kind of human truth that growth happens sometimes in very, very painful and ambivalent circumstances that we want to reject completely, and that is sort of where Julia is by the end of Episode 5. She would prefer to reject this spark completely because she knows that the circumstances under which she obtained it were so horrific.
The Magicians airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Syfy.