The Magicians is a new series on Syfy adapted from the Lev Grossman fantasy trilogy. If you’re familiar with Harry Potter or X-Men, then the setup will sound familiar to you — select individuals are hand-picked to attend prestigious Brakebills University for Magical Pedagogy in upstate New York. There they are trained to hone their abilities in magic.
We start off with the Dean of Brakebills meeting with a woman we later find out to be a Scout for the school. They are discussing something that has them worried. From there we move to the star of the series, Quentin Coldwater. Quentin is being released from a clinic. Being someone who is into magic and reading fantasy books, he’s somewhat awkward. Yet not awkward enough not to have a chance at attending Yale. Go figure.
Quentin is best friends with Julia. She’s better adjusted in society than Quentin. Julia even has a boyfriend. I’m sure there’s no chemistry between friends right? The most important thing we learn about them growing up is magic was their thing, and they read books about a magical place called Fillory. Quentin still collects the books to this day.
Julia tags along with Quentin for good luck on his Yale appointment. Unfortunately, the man he’s supposed to meet is dead. The Scout from the beginning of the episode appears as a paramedic and gives Quentin the next volume of Fillory. This is of course a clue that sees Quentin and Julia magically transported to Brakebills College. But first they must pass the weird written test to be allowed in. Quentin passes but Julia doesn’t. If you fail, your memory of Brakebills is erased from your mind and you’re sent back home. Before this happens to Julia she cuts herself on her forearm. I’m not sure what the point of this was. Perhaps its how she never truly forgets Brakebills.
Eliot and Margo give Quentin the grand tour of campus. We’re introduced to Alice who comes from a long line of magicians. She excels at it, which makes her an outcast of course. Because we all know excellence in school is frowned upon by your peers.
Julia’s boyfriend calls Quentin for help dealing with Julia. She is in a zombie state since being rejected at Brakebills. It’s also her birthday. Happy birthday Jules! Don’t let the prospect of being a magical flameout get you down.
A mysterious young man takes a liking to Julia and lets her know that Brakebills isn’t the only magical school out there. Could we be looking at dueling schools? Xavier Institute vs. Hellfire Club?
Fillory keeps calling to Quentin. He’s stepped off the stone path and is having another hallucination. He’s told to “quit clinging and start questioning.” This leads to him getting a symbol burned into his palm that appears after he wakes from his dream/vision. Quentin goes to Alice for answers. She reveals the symbol means “contact the other side.” Time for a seance!
The seance appears to be unsuccessful. That is, until something strange happens during a class at Brakebills. All the clocks seem to stutter around 12 o’clock. The Dean notices this and rushes to the classroom. A man cloaked in moths emerges from a mirror and disposes of the classroom teacher. Dean tries to help, but gets his eyes plucked out for his troubles.
Then Mr. Moths turns his attention to Quentin Coldwater.
The Magicians airs Mondays at 9pm ET on Syfy Channel.