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Recap / The Magicians (2016) S03 E04 "Be the Penny"

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Season 3, Episode 4

Be The Penny

Since Penny's body died while he was outside of it, he is now stuck in astral form and must try to find a way to communicate with his friends. While Quentin and Julia try to find the next key for their quest, Kady tries to decide what to do with Penny's body, and Eliot must escape the Neitherlands with his family.

Tropes That Appear In This Episode:

  • Audience Surrogate: Played for Laughs with Hyman, the bored pervert "ghost," who has been following the events of the series invisibly the entire time. His favorite character is Quentin, and Quentin/Julia his favorite pairing.
    Hyman: As someone born in 1902, I find a heterosexual white male hero very relateable.
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  • Drowning My Sorrows: Dean Fogg starts drinking when the board decides to sell Brakebills.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Penny is supremely annoyed that none of his friends cry for his death or even have much of anything nice to say. The best praise he gets is from Margo, who figured they would have banged eventually.
  • Foreshadowing: The ghost in the dormitory reveals that McAllister Sr. murdered his son for being gay, right after said son gave him an epic artifact as a gift. This hints that the McAllister family are generally not good people.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Hyman says he likes Quentin because he favors a protagonist who's a heterosexual white male. The first of those three things, Quentin isn't.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Eliot and the others come across a group of cannibals in the Neitherlands. They're camping on the Library and ate the Librarian.
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  • Magically Binding Contract: Penny's service to the Library didn't end with his death, and they send a Traveler to see why he didn't report to work in the Underworld.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Discussed; Hyman thinks he's a ghost, but Penny points out that they're not forced to relive their tragic deaths over and over, so they're something entirely different. Apparently, a soul is tethered to its body seven days after death, and if it is properly disposed of, the soul will move on and will not become a ghost. Even if the soul is going to become a ghost, it can take decades.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Penny eventually just burns his own body rather than allow himself to be sent to the Underworld to continue serving the Library, because despite his best efforts he cannot get anyone to realize his spirit is still around. Then Eliot takes the truth key and casually greets Penny without knowing he's dead.
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  • Portal Door: Eliot's key has the power to make any door open to any other, even across realms.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Hyman used (and still uses) his Traveler powers to spy on women in the showers and such. He died because he wouldn't listen to warnings so someone hid his body in retaliation.
  • Rays from Heaven: Another possessed person approaches Julia and warns her about Kady overdosing. Penny perceives this as a light from the sky making him act.
  • Reality Ensues: Penny kept people at arm's length and shared very little of himself with them. As a result, they don't have that much to say about him after he dies.
  • Shipper on Deck: Hyman ships Quentin/Julia, not that he can influence it in his current state.
  • Supernatural Fear Inducer: Eliot's key summons whatever the user most fears as an illusion. For Eliot, it's his father. Eliot feeds the illusion to the cannibals as a distraction.
    Eliot: It was very cathartic.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Literally for Hyman. After multiple warnings about using his power to spy on people, someone moved his body while he was astral projecting. He couldn't find it and it died, leaving him trapped.
  • True Sight:
    • The truth key grants this, enabling whoever holds it to see things that would ordinarily be imperceptible. Julia is able to see fairies with it (though her back was turned so she didn't notice), and Eliot is able to see Penny's spirit.
    • Downplayed with Penny, who is able to perceive things as a spirit he could not in his mortal form, but with less clarity. To him, the fairies appear as floating masses of energy with no discernible features.
  • Unfortunate Names: Hyman, which gets an immediate lampshade from Penny.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Played for Laughs, Margo mourns Penny because she always thought they were eventually going to sleep together before he died. This actually amuses him.
    Penny: Me too, girl, me too.
  • Wham Shot: When Julia holds the truth key, behind her are two fairies, which had previously just been suggested to be latent enchantments kept going by a magical battery. She fails to notice before she puts the key away.
  • You Can See Me?: Hyman and Penny both have this reaction to each other.


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