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THE MAGICIANS Recap: ‘Cheat Day’ Reveals the Darkness Ahead

THE MAGICIANS Recap: ‘Cheat Day’ Reveals the Darkness Ahead

Warning: the following recap contains major spoilers from Wednesday’s episode of The Magicians, “Cheat Day.” Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Quentin really did reach his breaking point last week on The Magicians. At the start of this week’s hour, “Cheat Day,” we find out that he actually gave up on magic altogether after he couldn’t get Alice back. When the White Lady sent him back to NYC, he started working a cubicle job and living a “normal life”—just like Emily, the girl from season one who accidentally caused Alice’s brother Charlie to become a niffin. The two former magicians befriended each other and bonded over their shared failures as magicians, but things got super weird when Emily showed Quentin her “cheat day” spells she still casts on the down low, and got them both to use an illusion spell to transform into the person they desired the most …and hook up with each other.

Naturally, Quentin had her transform into Alice while she had him transform in the Brakebills professor she had an affair with that caused her to try and change her face, which led to Charlie’s death. Twist: that professor was Brakebills South Professor Mayakovsky! (Now we know why he was banished to the frozen tundra and trapped there forever.) After Emily and Quentin slept together, he realized that what they did made him feel worse than before, and he didn’t want to numb his pain like that anymore. Emily still wanted to use magic to ease her own pain and loss, though, so he ended things. He can’t stay in the normal world forever, thought, right? His existence without magic was so bleak and depressing.


Meanwhile, Julia and Kady started looking for the woman who banished Reynard the first time a few decades ago, but during their research they discovered that Julia was pregnant. That’s right, her god rape resulted in a magical baby, and she wasted no time: she went straight to the gyno to get an abortion. But the fetus (or whatever it is) wouldn’t let anyone or anything terminate it. It even caused the gyno to gouge out her own eyes until she died. Damn. I guess abortion is out of the question now.

And there’s another baby on the way! But this one’s a much happier occurrence, as it’s for Eliot and his Fillorian wife Fen, after his weird, orgy-like night sleeping with his wife in Fillory (while his golem slept with Javier at Brakebills) resulted in a magical offspring. But Eliot has got bigger problems than impending fatherhood, as he was almost assassinated in the castle by Fen’s ex-boyfriend Bayler, a member of the Fillorian United Fighters, aka FU Fighters (best name ever, you guys). However, instead of executing Bayler like he agreed to do with Margo, Eliot sought out Bayler’s opinion on how the FU Fighters wanted to fix Fillory. Smart move, but it’s not one that Margo agreed with. Is there already dissension in their relationship?



– Penny’s hands may be grown back and no longer cursed, but he can’t perform magic. He can still travel, but he can no longer take people along for the ride. Dean Fog said they aren’t his hands anymore, and Brakebills didn’t know how to help him, so they sent him to Brakebills South for further tests. That’s where he found out that Mayakovsky is trying to build a “battery” to store magic in for when the Wellspring finally gives out. Will it work? Who knows, but now Penny is going to try and help him in exchange for getting his magic back. First up, he has to travel to Fillory to get magical moss for Mayakovsky.

– Quentin sent an email to Alice’s parents letting them know what happened to her. Did Brakebills not do that already?! That just seems irresponsible on the school’s part, but very mature on Quentin’s.

– The heart-to-heart scene where Kady confessed to Julia that she’d had an abortion before was amazing. I love how this show is handling the controversial topic of rape and abortion in a real, responsible way. I wish this kind of storyline was represented more in pop culture!

– The execution vs. diplomacy lists that Margo and Eliot came up with while researching how to handle his attempted assassination was hilariously extensive. The only diplomacy success they could think of was the Cuban Missile Crisis … and even that had a question mark next to it.

– TWIST: Fen used to be a FU Fighter! She was supposed to be a sleeper agent inside the Fillorian castle, waiting to stage a coup, but she told Bayler she’s not a FU Fighter anymore, now that she’s carrying Eliot’s child. He didn’t take it well—he immediately blackmailed Fen to get her to supply the FU Fighters with inside information or else he’ll tell Eliot just how well he knows Fen. How will Eliot react when he finds out that she was lying to him all this time? Probably not well.

– At the end of the hour, Quentin saw Alice mouthing “help me” at him from across a NYC street. Was she really there, and does that mean Niffin Alice is still alive? Or was he just hallucinating her after a long night of drinking and magic?



Dean Fog, telling Penny who can help his hands: Professor Mayakovsky.
Penny: The drunk perv in the igloo?! Pass.

Kady, after Julia’s pregnancy test was positive: It’s okay, Jules. This is a simple, totally mundane procedure.
Julia: Is it? Because it might not be a simple, totally mundane human embryo.

Eliot, continuing his quest to make magical champagne: At the very least I hope you solved the carbonation issue. We had to dump that last glass in another world, you know. It’s still bubbling. Oh the miles we must walk.

Eliot toasting to his now expecting wife: To our violently-attractive progeny.

Quentin: Is everybody out here really so lifeless?
Emily: Yes, we are. We are, and that’s why we drink.
Quentin: Well, I drank just fine as a magician.
Emily: Yeah, because your world was so overwhelming and scary and you needed a break from it all. Now you’re going to drink because each day is so goddamn dull and that takes a lot more booze.

Margo, after Eliot was almost assassinated in the throne room: Shitiest. Security. Ever.

Eliot: It’s all psychotic. Did you hear how Tick said, “Commoners?”
Margo: When we’re the least snobby people in a room, there’s something wrong with the room.

Bayler, in jail: Leave.
Eliot: You don’t get to say that.
Bayler: And why not?
Margo, sarcastically: Uhhh, because you’re in our castle.
Bayler: Which is on my land.
Eliot: Uh, excuse me, my manners. Um, I’m Eliot, High King of Fillory.
Bayler: And I’m Bayler, a proud soldier of Fillorians United. A FU Fighter.
Margo, whispers cheerfully: Did you … did you say FU Fighter?
Eliot: Margo, behave.


Margo: Shit, when was the last time either of us dealt with a political insurgency?
Eliot: Unless getting kicked out of a fivesome counts, a first for me.
Margo: Same.

Kady, comforting Julia the night before her abortion: You’re not alone. I’m your “best bitch,” remember?

Quentin: I think I’m drunker than I think I am. Was that a sentence?

Eliot: The man’s life is my burden to bear.
Margo: Get over yourself, Ned Stark.

Mayakovsky: Do you even like magic?
Penny: Yeah, like I like money or food or any other useful shit.
Mayakovsky: Money or food don’t explode in your face.

Mayakovsky, drunkenly telling Penny the reason for his punishment without any remorse: I make love to many students. And then, I fuck the wrong one. Oops.

Emily, as Alice: Anything you want to say?
Quentin, crying: I just really fucking miss you.

Quentin to Emily in the cold light of morning: You said yesterday was cheat day. We can’t cheat everyday.

Margo, when Eliot didn’t follow through on their agreed upon execution: I’m High Queen.
Pick: The queen may voice her opinion, but ultimate judgement belongs to the king.
Margo: So this is what the patriarchy smells like? It’s not the freshest.

What did you think of this week’s episode of The Magicians? Tweet me your thoughts and opinions at @SydneyBucksbaum!

Images: Syfy

The Magicians airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Syfy.

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