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Recap / The Magicians (2016) S03 E08 "Six Short Stories About Magic"

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Season 3, Episode 8

Six Short Stories About Magic

Julia and Fen investigate a dangerous group of magicians, Eliot and Margo's reign is challenged, and Penny searches Limbo for the fourth key.


Tropes That Appear In This Episode:

  • Adult Fear: Zelda has to watch as her daughter is trapped in the Void Between the Worlds.
  • Be Yourself: Poppy tries to encourage this in Quentin, when he explains his belief that the quest is supposed to change the one undergoing it.
  • Big "NO!": Zelda does this when the mirror her daughter was using to escape is smashed, trapping her in the mirror dimension.
  • Blatant Lies: Penny needs to barter Game of Thrones spoilers to get the Limbo coordinator's help in finding Benedict. He proceeds to bluff his way through by claiming a rhyming guy with eight dragons showed up and "won" the game. Surprisingly, this works.
  • Blessed with Suck: Cassandra had a bad breakup with a god who granted her the ability to see the future. However, she can't control this power, so she compulsively writes out the future.
  • Blood Magic: Victoria is able to create a mirror bridge using her blood between a mirror on Earth and one at the Library. However, the blood has to be reapplied every so often to maintain the bridge, so she'll bleed out if she maintains it for too long.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: The Mirror Bridge allows a Traveler to create a connection between two mirrors in any two locations, allowing free passage for anyone, but it must be maintained by the Traveler's blood and interrupting the connection on either side severs both, trapping the Traveler and anyone in the bridge with them.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Fen comes to Earth to get drunk to deal with losing her child.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Zelda may be willing to barter for magic made by grinding up fairies, but loves her daughter Harriet more than she cares about keeping that supply.
  • Face–Heel Turn: After helping Penny get the key to Quentin, Sylvia sells him out to the Library staff. It's not clear why.
  • Fantastic Racism: Fen understandably isn't fond of fairies after what the ones in Fillory have done to her life, and isn't thrilled to discover that the ones in Irene's house are enslaved since it means she has to feel sorry for them. Doesn't prevent her from trying to help Skye, though.
  • Identical Stranger: Cassandra closely resembles Alice for some reason.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Poppy believes this is her purpose in the quest, to tell Quentin when to call it quits. She ends up being the first to ditch the mission when Alice shows up, sensing things will get bad.
  • No Man Should Have This Power: Alice and Zelda separately provide this reasoning as for why allowing unfettered access to the Library for anyone would be a terrible idea. That doesn't stop Alice from pursuing the knowledge herself, however, albeit it by seeking employment with them.
  • Pet the Dog: Zelda allows Harriet to escape with a considerable supply of fairy dust, because they're family and she doesn't want to hurt her daughter.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Irene's magic cocaine is actually ground-up fairy bones. The fairies have somehow been stolen from Fillory and made into slaves, believing the rest of their race to be dead.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Cassandra's braid stretches across the hallway leading to the room where she writes.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: The episode switches to various viewpoint characters before converging in the final act to put all the pieces together.
  • The Reveal: The source of the books on everyone and the blank spot in them is revealed to be Cassandra, who was given the power of foresight by a god. The Library was using magic to multiply her gift on a grand scale, but in its absence she can only write one thing at a time, hence all the books being blank.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Zelda cites this to Harriet as the reason why she won't open the Library to everyone. They don't know what will cause the blank spot and giving people dangerous knowledge could be the catalyst.
  • Sexy Shirt Switch: Poppy does this after having sex with Quentin.
  • Silence Is Golden: Harriet's section is done almost entirely without sound, save the faint thump of footsteps.
  • Spanner in the Works: Fen ditches Fillory to have some alone time after finding out her child died, which puts her in the perfect position to reveal that the fairies on Earth are being used as a power source. No one else currently on Earth that isn't in on it can see them.
  • Supernaturally Young Parent: Zelda has aged much more slowly than her daughter due to spending all her time in the Library, while Harriet left after a fight and didn't return for years.
  • Toxic Phlebotinum: The fairy dust gives magic, but prolonged use is harmful. Irene enlists Julia's aid in curing the side effects, as evidently those using it cannot cure each other.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: As Alice is lamenting what she lost as a niffin, Fen — who is both drunk and likely doesn't get the full ramifications — tells her that all she did was lose knowledge she could get back, as opposed to Fen losing a child she'll never get back. This convinces Alice to cut a deal with the Library.
  • Void Between the Worlds: Victoria and Harriet get trapped in the void that the Mirror Bridge runs through when the Librarians smash the mirror on their end, causing both sides to shatter.
  • Wham Episode:
    • The fairies on Earth are being used as a power source by grinding up their bones.
    • The mythological Cassandra has the ability to see the future is employed by the Library to write books on everyone who has ever lived. She also looks like Alice.
    • Alice joins the Library.
    • Harriet is Zelda's daughter.
    • Victoria and Harriet are trapped in a void between two mirrors.
    • Penny is captured by the Library.
  • You Do Not Want To Know: Zelda says this to Harriet when she asks what the fairy dust is, knowing only that it grants magic somehow.


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