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THE MAGICIANS Recap: ‘Word As Bond’ is One of the Series’ Best Episodes

THE MAGICIANS Recap: ‘Word As Bond’ is One of the Series’ Best Episodes

Warning: the following recap contains major spoilers from Wednesday’s episode of The Magicians, “Word As Bond.” It is a recap, after all! Don’t say we didn’t warn you …

I called last week’s bank heist episode “one of season two’s best episodes yet,” but here I am one week later, eating my words. Because where “Plan B” lived in all the wacky, hilarious shenanigans that makes The Magicians such a unique show, “Word As Bond” highlighted all the emotional turmoil and powerful relationships that make us stick around for more of the weird, crazy shit. This truly was one of the best episodes of the series, not just this season. Let’s get to recapping just why, shall we?

When the “previously on” segment took us back to when The Beast explained what a Shade does to Julia, I knew exactly where we were headed in “Word As Bond.” And lo and behold, I was right: Julia’s “complication” from her magical abortion/exorcism in last week’s episode was the loss of her Shade. While that was the solution Julia was secretly craving and fearful of this entire time (ever since she was raped by Reynard), it was a scary turn for her character. There’s no going back to the old Julia, and there’s no telling just what this new Julia is capable of.

We found out at the very beginning of this week’s hour that when the demigod’s soul was cut out of her body, her Shade was nicked by accident, rendering it inert forever. And Quentin and Kady’s misgivings weren’t wrong: she may not be on the same level as The Beast just yet, but she certainly isn’t the same Julia she used to be. She didn’t even care when she came face-to-face with Reynard! Her removal of her Shade is definitely going to get her killed. At least Quentin still cares enough to look after her, and bring her to Fillory for safe-keeping until they can find a way to kill Reynard.


Of course, that didn’t stop her from causing some serious magical mayhem. During attempted peace talks with the sentient forest bordering the Lorian troops and Fillorian castle, Julia ended up blowing up the entire forest, killing all the endangered trees and and the dryad she flirted with not a minute before with narya second thought or remorse. She even smiled as she walked away, listening to all the screams in her wake. Damn, girl. That’s cold.

Before she walked away, though, she’d blackmailed the Lorian master magician to make her an invisibility spell strong enough to hide her from a god, so at least she got all her bases covered in that regard. And Margo put her in the dungeons of the Fillorian castle for now, so she can’t get into any more trouble. Probably. Maybe. Who knows? I wouldn’t put it past Julia to ignite a second war in Fillory, all the from the comfort of her own jail cell.

Meanwhile, Quentin held up his end of the bargain with Niffin Alice—thanks to her helping fix their bank robbery gone awry—using a Word As Bond spell to give her one hour of control of his body every day. He’s definitely going to regret that, because you can’t break or amend or reverse a Word As Bond. She even portaled them to Dublin (!) to try and figure out a way to get herself free from Quentin. She tricked Quentin into summoning Friar Joseph, a niffin who managed to make himself “unboxable.” But he won’t teach her how until she figures out a way to free herself from Quentin on her own. Seeing as how Penny just discovered that Niffin Alice is wreaking havoc in Quentin’s mind, she probably won’t get that far anymore. But can you imagine the horrors Niffin Alice can conjure up if she wasn’t shackled inside Quentin?! That’s the stuff that season three nightmares are made of.



– It’s so weird seeing Julia happy, smiling, and carefree. It’s not even a relief after her season of emotional trauma, it’s downright scary. Also her saying, “I’m bored,” reminded me quite hauntingly of Dark Willow on Buffy. So you know, not good.

– After Eliot’s golem was killed during the bank robbery, they had to magically carry his soul from the clay back to his body in Fillory. It took longer than it should have because of the magical brownouts (thanks, Ember’s poop), but eventually it did work. Thank goodness. I would not survive without Eliot’s quips.

– This week’s hour gave us more than our fair share of emotionally touching moments. First between Margo and Quentin at Eliot’s bedside, then Margo’s plea to an unconscious Eliot, then a frustrated Quentin yelling at Niffin Alice, Kady losing her shit on Penny, Margo comforting Fen … there were incredible performances all around. The emotional lows of almost every character truly gave each actor their own chance to shine. If there was ever an episode to submit for awards recognition, this is it.

– Jason Ralph playing Olivia Taylor Dudley’s Niffin Alice taking control of Quentin’s body is a trip just to even think about let alone see it onscreen.

– I love how the Dryad, usually female, was a male in this hour. I’m all for subverting expectations, especially when it comes to gender-swapping! Plus, Grey Damon can #getit.

– In order to find the name of the demigod child Reynard fathered decades ago, Penny signed his life (and his immortal soul’s life of a million years) away to the Librarians. I thought we learned our lesson with making rash decisions in the name of the greater good, y’all?! Penny, this is not a good call! I get it, he did it because the trail of the search for Reynard’s demigod child with Dana went cold. Before she died, Dana made sure to erase any history of the child’s face or his adopted family. “Back to square nothing,” indeed. But still, that doesn’t mean Penny literally sign his life away. Ugh. Too late now, I guess.



Niffin Alice to Quentin about his Word As Bond spell: No hurting anyone, no casting magic, no sex … trust me, you locked down any possible fun.

Margo: I’m just glad we managed to sneak the golem out. Is it me or is morgue security ridiculously lax?
Quentin: Well I think stealing corpses isn’t generally a thing.
Margo: It should be. Kind of fun.

Margo: I had a pigeon drop a confusion spell on the Lorian castle so they’re moving slow about now.

Tick Pickwick: Using the gold you procured, we have been able to amply fund the infantry. Now, as for Loria –
Palace guard: Some 8,000 troops are headed for the border.
Margo: So we’re totally outnumbered.
Tick Pickwick: Perhaps … not. Our spies have spotted the master magician Illario at the edge of the woods.
Margo: That bald illusionist dick who disappeared the entire castle?

Tick Pickwick, talking about the One Way Forest filled with sentient trees: The trees have a long allegiance with Loria and, begging pardon, an excessive dislike of Fillory.
Margo, slowly and sarcastically: Can you move the trees?
Palace guard: They’re … rooted, your highness.
Margo: Yeah. I mean with an ax.

Julia: I’m bored. Let me be a little useful, okay?
Margo: Fine. But I do the talking. You just stand there and look vaguely indignant or whatever. Let’s go.


Penny: Stop that!
Quentin: Stop what?
Penny: Stop singing Imagine Dragons to get me off track!
Kady: What was that?
Penny: Something’s wronger than usual … and he’s a grown man. Moving on.

Margo: Listen. I know your tree buddies don’t like us.
Dryad: The rulers of Fillory have a long and tragic history of arborial disrespect.

Quentin to Penny: Can we agree that I lose no matter what I say so I’ll just stop talking?

Anglerbeast in the body of a little girl playing in a sandbox: In the parlance of your time: “F-k you, pay me.” Fresh meat. Newborns are the sweetest.

Margo: What the hell were you thinking, huh?! You burned down the One Way Forest while I’m trying to wiggle us out of a full-on war?!
Julia: Those trees were dicks.
Margo: They were endangered! Now trees all over Fillory are enraged and calling for action.

Eliot: Listen to High King Bambi.

Penny: Guess what? It’s not up to you to decide if you’re worth my time. I get to decide to do whatever the f-k I want with it, even if it is spend it on a girl that threatens to bail all the goddamn time. Because guess what Kady? I didn’t think I was ever going to f-king see you again. That puts s-t into perspective. I love you, okay? Deal.
Kady, smiling: Shit.

What did you think of this week’s The Magicians? Tweet me at @SydneyBucksbaum!

Images: Syfy

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

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