‘The Magicians’ Faces “The Serpent” in an Episode All About Magical Terrorists and Human Nature

/Film | 3/21/2019 | Vanessa Armstrong
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Like most episode titles of The Magicians, this week’s title, “The Serpent,” has many layers. There’s the obvious reference: The Serpent is the name of a magical terrorist group that is infecting hedge witches with earworms that make them boil to death from the inside if they do magic. But then there’s the subtler reference, a nod to the notion that many “serpents” in the world aren’t an evil, external force looking to do harm, but are things that live inside us, issues or facets of ourselves or what we believe that we must confront and deal with.

Many characters wrestle with their own serpents this episode. There’s Alice, who must literally face the arrogant part of herself when she splits into two people after a prism spell goes wrong; there’s Zelda, who faces the realization that her mentor Everett is behind the supposed hedge witch terrorist group, which he created in order to foment fear and get the hedges under the Library’s thumb; there’s Fen, who is struggling against her destiny to overthrow High King Margo; and there’s even the Eliot-Monster, who is slowly unearthing the truth of who or what he actually is (we don’t know what he is yet either, though Penny 23 ends the episode saying it’s much worse than what the gang imagined).

Serpent - Arcs - Season - Eliot-Monster - Library

“The Serpent” also brings us back to two major arcs of this season: the evil Eliot-Monster and the Library’s encroaching path toward totalitarianism.

Let’s start with the Library. Kady, who has become the quasi-leader of the hedges, is worried about The Serpent—the masked members of the group justify infecting/killing hedges because they think they don’t deserve to use the limited amount of magic the Library releases into the world. The crux, Kady realizes, is to end the Library’s stranglehold on ambient magic. In order to...
(Excerpt) Read more at: /Film
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