'The Magicians' faces flak for death of Quentin Coldwater in season 4 finale
The death of the show's flawed, relatable hero triggered an uproar, and many fans have said that they will not watch the next season
Syfy series 'The Magicians' is known for its unconventional plot twists and turns but the season four finale is, by far, the show's greatest risk. The show's troubled hero Quentin Coldwater died on the season finale ‘No Better to Be Safe than Sorry', to the shock and sorrow of fans.
The character, played by Jason Ralph, completed his quest to save Eliot at the cost of his own life. Quentin saved his friends and completed a ritual to send the Monster into the seam, and sacrificed himself. While the show has brought back characters earlier, this will not happen in Quentin's case -- Ralph has left the show for good.
In a Twitter thread, Ralph wrote: "Thank you all for going on this journey with me. Playing Quentin Coldwater was truly an honor and I had a blast doing it. I am continually touched by all of your support and love for this character, this story, and my little piece in it," stirring the sentiments of fans.
*SPOILER ALERT!*— Jason Ralph (@RasonJalph) April 18, 2019
Thank you all for going on this journey with me. Playing Quentin Coldwater was truly an honor and I had a blast doing it. I am continually touched by all of your support and love for this character, this story, and my little piece in it. pic.twitter.com/3BxLUcKgDK
"I'm glad I got the opportunity to see you as Quentin but I'll no longer watch #TheMagicians. I was really hoping for a possible Queliot storyline and now that's another hope dashed," wrote a fan in response to the thread. The response comes not just because of the death of a central character, but because of the mental health suggestions that underlie the move.
The subversive fantasy show has been acclaimed for its characters who are not mainstream TV tropes. This is reflected in Quentin too, who is a bisexual white man who suffers from depression. The show suggested that the beloved Q's death could have been a suicide. The decision to kill off Quentin was rooted, according to executive producer John McNamara, in the idea that "it's kind of great that at last, the white male lead on a show is no longer safe," as he told The Hollywood Reporter.
Quentin Coldwater. A nerdy (formerly) socially awkward homosexual with clinical depression obsessed with magic I greatly identify with a nerdy socially awkward bisexual with clinical depression who CAN do magic lol Doesn't hurt that he's cute as a frigging (teleporting) button 😉 pic.twitter.com/kcsjSTcTcc— DanDemonium😈 (@Druiddan3) April 18, 2019
"Did I do something brave to save my friends? Or did I finally find a way to kill myself?" said Quentin after the season's climax, adding to the character's suicidal tendencies that had been showcased on the show earlier too. Many have also pointed out that Quentin has just become another classic example of "queerbaiting," where queer characters are used as disposable plot devices.
“For us, a huge part of this season was getting to explore more of the stuff that is going on inside of Eliot. His character was saved because Quentin’s motivation for the whole season has been to save Eliot,” said showrunner Sera Gamble to Variety.
Q's flaws made him a very human, relatable hero for viewers. Fans took to Twitter to mourn the death of their favorite:
thank you so much for Quentin. I'm devastated, but that's because you helped make Q so kind and so brave and so worthy of love. i'm so angry that someone who feels like me and loves like me is gone, but he matters so much. Thank you for the compassion you brought to Quentin.— Emily (@portraitofemmy) April 18, 2019
@RasonJalph the beating heart of the show is dead and gone. The show ends with your exit. I wish you much success 🌈💚💜💙💛— Chibiusa·Quentin Coldwater deserved better (@TheOpenGrave) April 18, 2019
I awake this morning, face still puffy from all the tears. Heart still broken. But also, thankful. So thankful to have had the chance to see such beauty in such a relatable flawed character. Thank you. Much love— For Finite, Forever..... (@JennaluvsHaven) April 18, 2019
I can't believe this. The creators did such a disservice to your character by having him commit suicide and ending his story the way they did. Still having a hard time even breathing right now...— Chibiusa·Quentin Coldwater deserved better (@TheOpenGrave) April 18, 2019
Wait what! What the hell man! You were amazing. I haven't been keeping up with this season as I wait for Netflix but this just makes me so sad. You're the reason I got into the show.— The Joshua Sparks Experience (@scrototype) April 18, 2019
Quentin's death while Eliot was paying him a tribute with their iconic peach has shattered fans' hearts. The show has definitely lost a chunk of its viewership with this twist in the plot, but Syfy has renewed 'The Magicians' for season 5 and we are curious to know what a post-Quentin Coldwater world would look like on the show.