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The Magicians - The Cock Barrens - Review: "Fillory Goes To War"



The Magicians Season 2 Episode Guide
2.01 "Knight of Crowns" - Review
2.02 "Hotel Spa Potions" - Review
2.03 "Divine Elimination" - Review
2.04 "The Flying Forest" - Review
2.05 "Cheat Day" - Review
2.06 "The Cock Barrens" - Review
2.07 "Plan B"
2.08 "Word as Bond"
2.09 "Lesser Evils"
2.10 "The Girl Who Told Time"

The Magicians 2.06 The Cock Barrens - Review:
Directed by Kate Woods & Written by Noga Landau

After Cheat Day, The Cock Barrens was essentially another largely set-up focused episode of The Magicians that got people to the places that they needed to be. It was still an important episode however and as usual, mixed the tone of funny and deadly serious incredibly well indeed. It turns out that Quentin is still not over bringing back Alice and attempts to finish her niffin reversal spell, but it isn't convincing Margo and Eliot who believe he is grieving too much. He decides to show up at her funeral in the real world.

In order to bring Alice back, her parents needed to enact a summoning spell where they spoke nothing but the truth to her. This is something that her mother struggles at but is ultimately completely unnecessary, because the end reveal turned out to be that Alice was already back, having not been completely destroyed by Quentin's Calciodemon, merely locked away, and despite the fact that the niffin Alice was still very weak, she is now alive in his tattoo that he used to trap the demon in the first place. The ritual did serve as a way for Stephanie to help conquer her fears though and it was a pretty powerful scene where she was shouting at the mirror, having never fully believed in and supported her daughter.

Julia was off on her own this week as he storyline continued largely separate from any other as she tried to get rid of Reynard's baby growing inside of her. Both she and Kady were able to track down the woman who had previously defeated Reynard, Dana - only to find out that she's less than willing to help again, but reveals that the only way that Reynard could be stopped was not by stopping the baby, but rather by letting it grow and be born, and gaining the energy following its birth. This is something that Julia isn't too keen on and Dana decides to hold her captive, keeping the secret from her demigod baby about his true origins, using a Haxenpaxen to protect her from Reynard. So when Julia and Kady escape with the Haxenpaxen Dana doesn't have to wait long before Reynard finds her, and he is able to get his revenge as a result of this, leaving Julia and Kady with little options but now they've successfully managed to find something that will at least keep them hidden from anything magical that wants them dead. There's a new mystery developing here that nobody quite knows who Dana's child is, and it's going to be interesting to see if it's anybody that we already know.

The action in Fillory was the more significant part of the episode that dealt with the Kingdom of Loria. It turns out that Prince Ess used a spell to transport the whole castle to Loria unless Margo married him in the first place. It was great to see how annoyed Margo was as well at being called a "Virgin" Queen, and this episode was a real highlight for her character who won't let anyone stand in her way. She's the far more ruthless and cunning of the two compared to Eliot, and this was shown here. It was important that Ess wasn't allowed to marry Margo because otherwise he'd get access to half of the wellspring, and the both Eliot and Margo firmly want to keep it. Margo eventually, with the help of Penny, works out that the castle hasn't actually been transported to Loria at all and it is just an illusion. Understandably Margo is incredibly annoyed at this and declares war on Loria, despite apparently initially taking a liking to Ess and reminding him how superior she was to any of the women back home. This lead to one of the best lines of the season for me: "We’re gonna stick our Jimmy Choo’s so far up your ass you’re gonna taste next season", which was a great moment and really laid down the gauntlet for what's to come.

It's going to be incredibly interesting to see how this war ends up playing out, especially as we haven't properly seen a large scale fantasy battle yet in this show. Could we be about to see one now? It's interesting to compare this to a similiar show - MTV's The Shannara Chronicles, which wasn't afraid to thrust the audience deep into the large scale fight sequences but so far The Magicians hasn't quite seen armies coming to blows just yet. Could that be about to change? Either way, it looks like for now the show will be tackling a bank heist in the following episode so we'll see how things play out from there.

In conclusion then The Cock Barrens was a fairly solid episode that was largely mixed in tone, dealing with rocks shaped like penises in the same episode as tackling parents' grief for a lost daughter. The humour that came from Penny and the Royal mapmaker's discussions was also great, especially as this show consistently proves that time and time again it can keep pulling out really cool one-liners. Margo continues to be one of the show's best characters this season and this episode was a real highlight for her in particular.

About the Author - Milo MJ
Milo is an Arsenal FC supporter and loves TV shows like Battlestar Galactica, Justified, The 100, The Americans and Person of Interest. He reviews Black Sails, The Magicians, Preacher, Star Wars Rebels, The Shannara Chronicles, Silicon Valley and Veep for Spoiler TV and will be covering Castle Rock, Counterpart, Jack Ryan, Snowfall, Succession, Star Trek Discovery and Tales From The Crypt. He also contributes to comic reviews on a weekly basis for All-Comic. He also regularly watches and reviews films on Letterboxd, and you can find his ever-changing list of great movies here.
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