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Recap / The Magicians (2016) S03 E11 "Twenty-Three"

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Season 3, Episode 11


Julia and Josh travel to Timeline 23 to help defeat the Beast of that timeline.

Tropes That Appear In This Episode:

  • The Alcoholic: Timeline 23 Eliot had a serious problem before he died.
  • Alternate Self: Timeline 23 naturally has versions of most of the characters, but especially notable is the presence of Marina and Penny, the former dead and the latter trapped in the Underworld. Both decide to follow Julia and Josh back to Timeline 40, since theirs sucks.
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  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Julia is initially reluctant to aid Timeline 23 because it doesn't fit the progression of the quest, but when she tries to travel to Fillory, the time key instead takes her and Josh to Timeline 23.
  • Came Back Wrong: Timeline 23 Alice found a way to bring back Quentin, but she couldn't restore his shade. Devoid of conscience, he killed the Beast, killed Ember and stole his power, then set about killing anyone that might pose a threat to him.
  • Crapsack World: Timeline 23 is much worse off than Timeline 40. Alice brought Quentin back to life, but without his shade he lost all morality and usurped the Beast. Then he killed Ember and stole his power, making him the only magic user alive when the gods shut off magic. To make sure he could never be challenged, he started killing every magician he could find. Even after he's dead, the timeline is so terrible that Marina and Penny ditch it for Timeline 40 as soon as Josh manages to open a doorway.
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  • Cruel Mercy: Timeline 23 Quentin spared Alice from his rampage because she was making her own life miserable enough without his help.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: The Physical Kids never came to rescue Timeline 23 Josh like they did for Timeline 40 Josh, which is why he's not as nice (and also why he got Lasik).
  • Dead Alternate Counterpart: Timeline 23 Julia, Eliot, and Margo are dead. Inverted with Timeline 23 Marina, who is still alive.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Timeline 23 Quentin assumed the role of the Beast after killing him, since the Beast's reputation as an unstoppable monster was a useful way to scare off potential challengers.
  • Deal with the Devil: Alice made a deal with a magical creature in exchange for the power to bring Quentin back from the dead. When she dies her shade will not go to the Underworld but will be instead owned by the creature.
  • Doppelgänger Gets Same Sentiment:
    • Julia's wracked with guilt regarding Marina's death, so she reacts oddly to Timeline 23 Marina.
    • Timeline 23 Penny and Julia were in a relationship, so Penny's first reaction when he sees Timeline 40 Julia is to kiss her.
  • Driven to Suicide: Julia gives Timeline 23 Quentin her shade so he can see the horror of what he's done. After revealing a potential future to her, he kills himself out of regret for killing his Alice.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Beast in Timeline 23 is Quentin, having killed the original and assumed his identity.
  • Facial Composite Failure: Eliot and Margo complain about their caricatures on the wanted posters.
  • For the Evulz: Timeline 23 Quentin admits he didn't really need to kill all the magicians, he just decided he didn't like them.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Margo slaps Eliot when he fears he's not up to casting the spell which will grant them more power, telling him not to "cock out on [her]."
  • Godzilla Threshold: Timeline 23 Josh and Marina trick Julia into coming to their timeline as a desperate attempt to placate the Beast, who was asking about Julia even though she was already dead. Julia convinces them that her godly power gives them another option.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Timeline 23 Eliot and Margo attempted to perform a spell to gain enough power to kill the Beast, but Eliot, drunk at the time, botched it and blew off half of Margo's face.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Timeline 23 Josh gives his life for Timeline 40 Josh, allowing the Beast to kill him so his counterpart can escape.
    • Timeline 23 Alice steps up to distract Quentin so Julia can get close enough to stop him. Quentin kills Alice before confronting Julia.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: When Timeline 23 Dean learns he's got another 17 timelines to go before the Beast is stopped, he immediately grabs some pills.
  • Legacy Character: Timeline 23 Quentin assumed the identity of the Beast. He even compares himself to the Dread Pirate Roberts.
  • Malaproper: Margo tells Eliot not to "cock out on [her]." When he points out the word switch, she counters that "pussy" is obviously the stronger genitalia in this instance since she's the one leading the show.
  • No-Sell: The spell which killed the Beast in the present timeline succeeds in doing nothing more than vaporizing Timeline 23 Quentin's moth cloak, since he has absorbed Ember's power and is far stronger than the Beast ever was.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: In-universe, Josh makes up a couple for himself and Julia. Since they both have short names starting with 'J', it's rather self-defeating.
  • Power Parasite: Timeline 23 Quentin killed Ember and stole his power, allowing him to retain magic even after the gods shut it off.
  • Properly Paranoid: Julia stops Josh from telling Timeline 23 Marina and Josh that she can do magic because she does not really trust them. Sure enough they drug her and plan on giving her to the Beast.
  • Reality Ensues: Timeline 23 Margo and Eliot didn't wait for Eliot to sober up before performing a powerful and complex spell, and that's why they're haunting the library instead of ruling Fillory.
  • Seers: The seventh key grants visions of the future.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Timeline 23 Josh compares the Beast to Mothra, then begs Josh and Julia to help them by ending with "You're our only hope." Lampshaded by Josh, who says a Star Wars reference is the best way to get to him.
    • Timeline 23 Josh compares Julia not getting into Brakebills as Hermione not getting into Hogwarts. Later, he compares his alternate self to Cedric Diggory.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Because Quentin contacted Alice 23 and reminded her that he loved her, she brought Quentin 23 back, without his shade, leading to the mess that Timeline 23 is currently in. Julia even straight up admits that she and Quentin are partially at fault for it.
  • Wham Line: Julia thinks Timeline 23 Quentin killed her counterpart because he foresaw her killing him. Quentin tells her it's worse than that. He foresaw her releasing a great evil using the keys.


Example of: