‘The Magicians’ Season 5 Premiere: Quentin is Missed and There’s Too Much Magic

The Magicians returned to Syfy tonight and as expected, the grief is palpable. Some of your favorite mages are leaning into their pain, while others are tucking it away where it is bound to boil over at some point. Before the episode begins, we’re reminded about Quentin Coldwater and how he was told, “You changed their lives as much as they changed yours.” Here’s a recap of the season premiere.

Scene from 'The Magicians'
Scene from ‘The Magicians’ | SYFY

Julia

Julia is remembering Quentin and dresses up to go out with Penny. These two are dating now! He uses his travel powers to take her to look at meteors on the opposite side of Earth. They kiss. He’s encouraging her to use her magic for good, but she’s reluctant because of the cost. She’s not ready.

Suddenly, there’s a surge of magic and the meteors whizz out of control. It’s a sign that things are out of whack. He teleports them back to the house.

They argue about using magic, and according to Julia, the surges are getting worse. She’s been working at figuring out how to solve what’s causing it. In the midst of that, she’s still grieving and feels guilty that she can do magic again because Quentin died.

She misses him and wants his advice, and it’s only been a month since his death. Dean Fogg sneaks into the house—he’s been eavesdropping—and needs Penny.

Later in the episode, Julia finds a pig-man in the kitchen raiding the refrigerator, and he introduces himself as Sir Effingham. He’s from Fillory and is looking for Quentin for a mission of “dreadful import,” as he is there to bestow a quest that affects both worlds. Julia explains that he’s dead and offers her help.

He’s upset and says that the matter is apocalyptic and requests a drink of cocaine to calm down. Julia points out that she’s saved the world before and used to be a goddess.

He says his quest requires a male hero. He’s a bona fide chauvinist pig who is not interested in assistance from a woman. He leaves. She later rallies herself to do the quest.

Penny

Dean Fogg explains that the reservoir of magic exploded and there’s a surplus now. Brakebills is overcrowded and there’s no balance. Since there’s an overabundance of magic in the world, the school is overpopulated.

Some students have blown themselves up, but the school is also crammed with rare disciplines, like traveling. Dean Fogg needs Penny to teach as he’s the only traveler alive, and he drops the bomb on him when they arrive at the classroom door.

But Penny is afraid that someone will die on his watch, and Fogg points out that without his help, that will surely happen. Dean Fogg leaves after getting him to sign a “waiver” that prevents him from being liable for their deaths.

Penny 23 tries to speak to the class, telling them about traveler protection and the power being a curse. He gets pissed and walks out when the students get cocky. None of them have even traveled.

Later, Fogg visits Penny about what happened at Brakebills. Penny doesn’t want to come back, and Fogg reminds him he signed an employee contract–even if he didn’t know it. “I’ve never met a Penny who read the fine print.” Penny is stuck as a professor.

Penny shares with Julia that he doesn’t know what to say to the students. Julia pushes him to figure it out, and he pushes her to ask herself what she would say to the pig. Talking through it, she realizes that she would choose her own quest and when it comes to the apocalypse, she’s going to “nut up and stop it.”

Penny give his class a pep talk and balances the discussion about the bad stuff by showing them some good stuff. He teleports them to a place that isn’t on any map. They look up and see Saturn in the sky, and they are in awe.

One of the students approaches him and says she’s been hearing a “signal.” He takes down his ward so he can hear it, but it’s disorienting for him. He teleports out and in quickly and can’t even stand straight.

Margo and Eliot

Deep in the forest of Fillory, Margo and Eliot are toasting their deaths hundreds of years ago as the High King and Queen, and we learn Eliot isn’t ready to talk about Quentin. As they sit under a tree, they discuss the person known as the Dark King, and agree that it’s not really safe to travel back through the Earth portal tree yet. Margo is optimistic they can figure things out because it’s Fillory after all.

While they’re chatting, some locals walk through and are merrymaking; one believes Margo and Eliot are cosplaying as High King Eliot and High Queen Margo. The group is on its way to Castle Whitespire and invite them to join.

They arrive at the castle and there’s a play about the history of Eliot, Alice, Margo, Quentin, and Ember in Fillory. They are mocking the children of Earth. Margo and Eliot learned about what happened to Fen and Josh after they took over as High King and Queen.

Fen and Josh were in charge. The “Takers” came into Fillory and people fled for their lives. No one knows where they came from. Many asked for help from their king and queen, but it wasn’t given because there was no magic. A mysterious hero in the form of a wizard came in and got rid of the “Takers” and he is the Dark King now.

The people sent Fen and Josh to the gallows and the Dark King took power. Margo runs out of the theater and is upset. She said they’re gonna “endgame” this thing and use time magic with the clock heart in the middle of the planet. It was created by dwarves.

Eliot points out they have to go to the center of the Earth, and Margo says when she was High King, she started excavations so she could meet the clock dwarf. She blasts open a wall and there’s a cavern. She makes Eliot slide down with her to the center of the world. They make it and find the human-looking clock dwarf.

She explains that they need help. He says the magical surge cranked the clock gears forward and it’s been chaotic ever since. They learn that the gears can’t go backward because it will destroy Fillory. It’s also duly noted that the clock dwarf wants a ham sandwich.

They return to the surface and Margo says they can’t leave Fillory. Eliot is sad, and Margo is still urging him to address his grief. “Quentin died and it hurts, and I really don’t want to talk about it,” he says.

Margo says she’d be furious about his death if she were him and scolds him about not being real. She leaves the room to sit in a dark hallway in the castle and is spotted by a guard that says, “Banished scum!” and knocks her out.

Margo is in a Fillory dungeon, and turns around and sees the ghost of Josh. He’s scared and says he hopes she’s ok. She lies next to the apparition to comfort him and he disappears.

Alice

Alice is depressed and lying in bed at her parents’ house, wearing Quentin’s clothes. Letters have been pouring in from the library trying to recruit her, but she’s been too sad to move. Her mother begs her to help with magic around the house—her flowers are growing out of control—but she’s not interested. Then Julia knocks on the door; it’s a surprise.

Julia wants to do a séance to talk to Quentin, but Alice advises against it. They both talk about how much they miss Q, and Alice starts crying. We’re crying too. Julia shares one of Quentin’s books with her, and says his handwritten notes are in the margins. It’ll be like talking to him. Julia leaves the book with Alice.

Later, Alice finally decides to contact the library. She has her own plan! Zelda is nowhere to be found, but she finds out they need help with a library index. It needs to be unlocked, as it shows how to locate every volume in the library and how to access it.

It’s been enchanted and the person who did the spell is dead. Alice pretends to struggle with it. After her handler leaves the room to use the restroom, Alice magically unlocks the volume and finds the information she needs to locate a spellbook. She sneaks into the library and steals it.

When she returns home, she resumes her mourning routine. Alice’s mother explains she didn’t know how to deal when Alice’s father died.

She says no one can tell her how to grieve, and if she “needs to do something crazy to get through it,” do it. Alice then gets Quentin’s book and goes into the basement to do a ritual. She has a dummy set up surrounded by candles to create a golem. Uh oh.

Kady

A Hedge Witch shows up to Kady’s place for help with his severed arm. He explains a friend blew it off with the surplus of magic. She warns him that reattaching it comes with the price, telling him it will cause vomiting. He only wants to know how much vomit.  

Kady is angry that people have become lackadaisical about the dangers of magic and that Hedges are still marked with the tattoo that inhibits their casting abilities. Since the library is basically in shambles, they can’t get help from them.

Kady and Pete visit a “chaotic neutral” who used to work for the library. He says the ritual to remove the mark is in a manual in the library. Because of the high security there, he refuses to do the job. They have to find a way to enter on their own.

Kady and Pete discover the building they’re looking for is missing; it was in an old picture but isn’t standing there now. Perhaps it’s hidden! Kady thinks someone stole it, but Pete says it would require Gandalf skills to steal a building with level 5 wards. Who could that be? We think they know.

Stay tuned for a long and magical ride as season five of The Magicians unfolds each Wednesday on Syfy at 10 p.m.