'The Magicians' Season 5 Episode 5 Review: 'Apocalypse? Now?!' raises the stakes with a heist of cosmic proportions
The Magicians find out how to move the moon but they need a few things to pull it off. It's this season's heist episode!
Spoiler alert for 'Apocalypse? Now?!' - Episode 5 of Season 5 of 'The Magicians'
Part 1 of this week's two-episode special of 'The Magicians' delivers on the promise of scale from last week's episode, where Zelda (Mageina Tovah) pointed to the moon and said that in order to save the world, it would have to be moved.
'The Magicians' graciously gave its audience a week to wrap their brains around that - around the idea that the show's protagonists are going to have to find a way to - and there is no way to understate this - move the moon. It seems like the kind of goal that works as a season-long quest, with multiple MacGuffins needing assembling and subquests that double-up as emotional arcs.
They manage it all in one episode. One episode to figure out what they need, find out the personal costs of getting it and bringing it all together down to the very last minute to save the world from utter destruction and, let's not forget - to the move - the moon. Astoundingly, that is something that they indeed manage to do, but not only do they move the actual moon - they break it. We'll talk about the ramifications of that, but first - it's this season's heist episode!
It's standard practice for the characters of 'The Magicians' to have very disparate threads that have only the most tangential of connections to each other, but there are a few things that bring everyone back together. One of them is, of course, is the culmination of events every season finale. The other thing? A plot-relevant heist.
The stakes have literally never been higher - there's a five-week deadline to move the moon before the Harmonic Convergence amplifies magic enough to destroy the world. Making things harder is the fact that the only way to perform the necessary spell is to stay awake for five nights in a row, pushing the team to their limits.
It's rare to see all these characters together in the same room again, as they make their plans, and it really highlights just how much 'The Magicians' isn't a team show. While it has great characters and great moments between them, as a group they really do feel like people who are thrust together because of circumstance. They are allies, but not all of them are necessarily friends.
Through the years, and the seasons, however, they've all accrued some bizarre connections to each other. Take Julia Wicker (Stella Maeve) and Eliot Waugh (Hale Appleman). Last season, the two were possessed by homicidal, immortal monster spirits, and the sleep deprivation is bringing a lot of those memories to the fore.
Eliot, who it seemed was getting better after his heart-to-heart with Alice Quinn (Olivia Dudley), is apparently still very much in denial over his feelings about his time as The Monster last season. What's more, is that things are getting worse. He's started to see visions. There is something inside him, waiting to get out and while it might just be an illusion formed by a sleep-deprived mind until he talks about it, it's only going to get worse. It's ultimately the whispers inside his head that partially lead to the heist's failure and the breaking of the moon.
Strictly on the basis of the heist, this episode ranks low compared to some of the other brilliantly done ones. As a high-stakes episode, however, it's fantastic. The sleep deprivation and the titles counting down the hours are both great ways of both keeping stakes high and showing how stressful a situation it is, as sleep deprivation takes a noticeable toll on moon brained magicians. The stakes don't take away from the season's other plot points, however - they're touched upon, their plates still kept spinning, showing us that the show still has the rest of the seasonal arc in mind.
If you're looking for metaphors, 'The Magicians' has a pretty big, obvious one with its cliffhanger: tell your friends what's bothering you, even if you're afraid of letting you out. If you don't, you risk some truly disastrous consequences. Just ask Eliot. He broke the moon.
The next episode of 'The Magicians' airs right after this one, on Syfy.