SYFY‘s The Magicians is back for an all-new season of magic, mayhem, and (maybe) music this Wednesday night! If you need a refresher–and don’t have an extra 30 hours to spare binge-watching the series–we have conjured up this handy little refresher course for you, and it’s all Brakebill’s approved!
Quintin Coldwater (Jason Ralph) is a troubled grad student, struggling to get through school while grappling with anxiety and depression. He and his best friend Julia (Stella Maeve) were enamored with the Fillory and Further fantasy books when they were kids–but while Julia has moved on in life, Quintin cannot: he still adores the Fillory books, and finds a life without the magic those books bring into his life greatly lacking.
Quintin and Julia’s lives are turned upside down when they are summoned to Brakebills School for Pedagogy, an institute for higher learning in the magical arts. Quintin is accepted to the school, while Julia is rejected. At this point, their adventures parallel each other: Quintin learning how to harness his powers in an academic setting, while Julia is left to suss out her magical education through less traditional means.
At Brakebills, Quintin is introduced to Alice (Olivia Dudley), a young woman trying to discover the whereabouts of her brother, a student who had disappeared several years before. Quintin finds himself attracted to Alice and sets out to help her in her investigation–assisted by Penny (Arjun Gupta) and Kady (Jade Tailor). The ritual backfires, and the students accidentally summon the Beast, who attacks the campus, leaving Dean Fogg (Rick Worthy) blind.
Julia, who’s memory was magically erased when she was rejected from Brakebills, begins to piece together the events surrounding the school and Quintin’s disappearance. She becomes frantic, searching for a way to learn how to control magic–eventually finding acceptance within a group of hedge witches: people with a talent for spell-craft that have been spurned by the traditional magical community. She discovers that Kady has been stealing supplies from Brakebills for one of the hedge witches, ultimately leading to Kady being expelled from the school.
Quintin receives occasional visits from Jane Chatwin (Esmé Bianco), one of the children from the Fillory novels. Quintin begins to piece together that Fillory is a real place, and that the author, Christopher Plover, had merely been recounting the adventures the Chatwin children had in the mystical world. Quintin’s theories are further cemented when Penny, who can physically travel to other dimensions, describes a series of glyphs he saw while trying to rescue a fellow Traveler.
Quintin and the other first year Brakebills students are transformed into geese, and fly to Antarctica to continue their training. Restored to human form, the students learn advanced magic from an eccentric wizard named Mayakovsky. Quintin and Alice begin seeing each other–a relationship that is doomed almost before it starts.
Returning to Brakebills, Quintin discovers that there had been a final Fillory manuscript, written by Jane Chatwin instead of Christopher Plover. Quintin, Eliot, Alice, and Margo travel to the Plover estate where they are shocked to discover that Plover had been molesting Martin Chatwin, the youngest of the Fillory adventurers. Plover had disappeared mysteriously, and Quintin begins to suspect that the author had escaped to Fillory and become the Beast.
Penny travels to the Neitherlands, a dimension between dimensions that is filled with gateways to other worlds. There, he meets members of the Library: a group of Travelers that have been entrusted with the secrets of the universe. Unfortunately, the Beast has been magically tormenting the Travelers, causing them to go insane and try to destroy themselves. Penny barely escapes back to Earth and begins taking drugs to block the Beast’s voice in his mind.
Quintin, Margo, Alice, and Eliot begin training in advanced battle magic, hoping to become strong enough to destroy the beast. They convince Penny to take them to the Neitherlands, where they are ambushed by other Travelers. Quintin falls through a portal back to earth, while the rest of the group makes it to Fillory, where they meet another Brakebills student named Josh (Trevor Einhorn). Josh has been stuck in Fillory for several years, after being separated from the Victoria (Hannah Levien), the Traveler that brought him there.
Quintin finds Julia, and the pair confronts Dean Fogg about Jane Chatwin. It turns out that Chatwin and Fogg had been manipulating time, hoping to eventually destroy the Beast. Chatwin has reset the timeline 39 times already, each reset a different attempt to line up events in a way that allows for the Beast’s destruction. Quintin and Julia find a way to Fillory and bring the designs for a magical blade that can kill the Beast.
The group is reunited, and find their way to a blacksmith that can forge mystical blades. The blacksmith agrees to make the blade, but insists that Eliot marry his daughter as payment since he is destined to become the future king of Fillory. Eliot agrees to marry Fen (Brittany Curran) for the good of the group, even though he is gay and has no hope of happiness with his future queen.
Julia and Quintin track down Ember, one of the old gods of Fillory. None of the humans are strong enough to wield the magical blade, but Julia and Quintin are hopeful that they can convince Ember to give them the power. Ember imbues Alice with the power to wield the blade. Ember notices something is amiss with Julia, then unlocks her memories, which causes her to remember a horrible attack she endured from Reynard the Fox (Mackenzie Alexander Astin), an old god she and her hedge witch friends had accidentally summoned. Julia had been raped by the old god, while all of her friends had been horrifically slaughtered.
The group finally confronts the Beast, who turns out to be Martin Chatwin (Charles Mesure), having fled to Fillory after enduring years of abuse from Plover. Chatwin fancies himself a new god for Fillory and will stop at nothing to keep its wonders to himself. He has been tapping into the Wellspring of Magic, a mystical current that supplies magical energies throughout creation. The group attacks Chatwin, who dispatches them, one by one, until Julia gets the drop on him, holding the magical dagger to his throat. Julia makes a deal with Chatwin, sparing his life so that she can use the dagger to avenge herself on Reynard the Fox.
During the attack, Alice was badly hurt but is restored to health by the power of the Wellspring. The group is dismayed to find that the Beast has nearly drained the Wellsping–jeopardizing future of magic everywhere. Alice, Quintin, Margo, and Eliot make their way to Whitespire Castle at the center of the kingdom of Fillory, where they are crowned kings and queens of the realm.
Traveling back to earth, the Alice, Quintin, Margo, and Penny attempt to ambush the Beast, who has been helping Julia hunt down Reynard the Fox. Alice has learned a powerful battle-magic spell that should kill Chatwin outright, but Julia intervenes, causing Alice to exhaust her spell and merely wound the Beast. Chatwin makes his way to the Wellsping hoping to heal himself, but finds that Ember had fouled the source of magic by defecating in it.
Chatwin is ambushed by Alice, who attempts to cast the dangerous battle-magic spell again, but she exhausted the power-up she had received from Ember. Alice pushes herself beyond her limits, and destroys the Beast, but is transformed into a Niffin in the process. The Niffin tries to kill Quintin and Margo, causing Quintin to kill it in self-defense.
Magic begins to fail due to the fouling of the Wellspring, causing Eliot to try to teach the natives of Fillory more traditional means to survive since they had relied on magic to make textiles, farm, and clean. He uncovers a plot to liberate Fillory of human interference and is shocked to discover that his wife Fen is part of the plot. Margo wants to execute the Fillorian conspirators, but Eliot–realizing he is over his head–asks them for advice on how to govern the land.
Quintin is distraught over killing Alice and has been seeing visions of her wherever he goes. He visits Alice’s parents, who assist him in casting a spell to lay Alice’s spirit to rest. The spell reveals that Niffin Alice has been bound to Quintin, and plans on tormenting him to get even for his attacking her.
The Kingdom of Loria sends an envoy to Fillory, in hopes of brokering an alliance to share the last of the Wellsping’s magic. Margo is suspicious but intrigued with Prince Ess of Loria. Eliot discovers that Fillory is bankrupt, and hatches a plan to rob a bank on earth. The plan backfires, and Quintin has to agree to let Niffin Alice control his body for 30 minutes every day in order to solicit her help in escaping the bank.
Julia is horrified to learn that she is pregnant with Reynard’s child, and hires an exorcist to terminate the pregnancy. The procedure works but leaves Julia without her “shade”, causing her to become heartless, reckless, and detached from her friends. Meanwhile, Niffin Alice has been using her 30 minutes of daily freedom to learn how to detach from Quintin, since his body is being destroyed by their cohabitation.
Julia and Quintin travel to the underworld to retrieve her shade. While there, they also discover Alice’s shade, and Julia elects to take Alice’s shade back to earth instead of her own. Alice’s shade is used to restore her fully to life, while Julia sets a trap for Reynard. The old god appears, and Julia is set to deliver the killing blow–but is interrupted by the nature god Persephone. Persephone begs Julia for mercy, since Reynard is her child. Julia agrees to spare Reynard and is given her shade back as thanks by Persephone.
Margo is abducted by fairies, who still have plenty of magic. She is forced to make a deal with them to save Eliot’s life, but the fairies ask for Fen and Eliot’s child as payment. Margo is banished to the Fairy realm for her actions, while the Fairy court returns a now fully-grown Fray (Madeleine Arthur) to her parents.
Now fully restored to her human state, Alice is being hunted by a Lamprey, a magical creature bearing a grudge against her for her actions as a Niffin, and is forced to kill her father when he is possessed by the Lamprey.
Eliot, Fen, and Fray set out on a magical flying boat called the Muntjac. Their quest is to track down a series of magical keys that can unlock the Wellspring and restore magic, which is running dry everywhere. Magicians on earth are going to excessive ends to use magic: some using energy stored in magical batteries, with others using the ground magical essence of enslaved fairies.
Julia is dismayed when she learns that she still has magic in her, but only because she had been assaulted by Reynard. She tries desperately to surrender the power, but learns that it’s not as easy as just passing it on to others. She eventually accepts the power as her own and becomes a goddess. She departs the human realm but imbues Quintin with enough magic to cast one last spell.
The group eventually gathers all seven of the keys needed to restore magic. There is a magical fortress called the Blackspire, which is at the bottom of the world. The questers board the Muntjac and fly off of the edge of Fillory–finding themselves in an alternate world filled with fire and ash. The group find their way to the Blackspire, and prepare to restore magic,
Within the walls of the Blackspire, the group meets a knight who has been entrusted to keep the monster of Blackspire contained. The knight leads the group through Blackspire, but is possessed by the monster before delivering them to the wellspring room. The questers prepare to unlock the Wellspring, but Alice destroys all of the keys believing that the world would be better off without magic.
Julia appears at the Blackspire, and sacrifices all of her divine energy to forge new keys. The questers successfully unlock the magical torrent but are ambushed by Dean Fogg and a crew of Librarians who want to control and distribute magic for themselves.
Each of the questers (except Alice) has their memories erased, and they are given new, non-magical identities back on earth. Alice is imprisoned by the Library. Dean Fogg returns to earth, but magic has been so severely limited by the Library that most magicians struggle to cast even the simplest of spells.
Quintin, who thinks his name is Brian now, is accosted by Eliot at a book store. Eliot knows who Quintin really is, and wants to play. His eyes sport an eerie glow: Eliot has been possessed by the Blackspire monster, and none of the magicians know who they really are.
How are Quintin and his friends going to escape the monster without knowing who they really are?
Will Dean Fogg be able to negotiate with the Library?
Will there be more musical episodes?
Hopefully, we’ll get those answers and more when The Magicians returns for an all-new fourth season on January 23rd to SYFY!
SYFY’s The Magicians stars Jason Ralph, Stella Maeve, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Hale Appleman, Arjun Gupta, Summer Bishil, Rick Worthy, Jade Tailor, Brittany Curran, and Trevor Einhorn. The series is executive produced by John McNamara, Sera Gamble, Chris Fisher, Henry Alonso Myers, and Groundswell Productions’ Michael London and Janice Williams.