'The Magicians': Marina may be evil but standing up for that side of herself was the right thing to do
Spoiler alert for 'The Magicians' Season 5 Episode 6 'The Balls'
Marina Andrieski (Kacey Rohl) underwent a dramatic and literal personality shift for her girlfriend, Anna (Nishi Munshi), as we saw in the last episode. Using a trance spell to suppress every evil, conniving, selfish tendency within her, she became a paragon of goodness, delight and well-meaning bad cookies, all in an effort to please Anna. It's enough to get Marina back into Anna's good graces but when Alice Quinn (Olivia Dudley) undoes the trance spell, Marina has to work at how "good" she can be.
There's no question that Anna deserves someone who doesn't lie to her. There's an argument to be made for the case of Anna wanting to see Marina be a better version of herself. However, what Marina went through to get back into Anna's good graces is a complete character change and that is not a healthy thing to do for a relationship no matter what the circumstances.
Marina's not a main character and as such we only see glimpses of her relationship to Anna and it's clear that Marina has not been a good girlfriend. It's a relationship based on lies, lies that Marina continually tells just to be able to be with Anna. It's toxic, and wrong, but we see just how far Marina is willing to go for the relationship when she rewrites her own personality and removes her ability to lie. That's no small step; Marina was willing to go to extreme lengths to be the kind of person who makes Anna happy.
In this episode, however, she stands up for her own self - the correct self. The flawed self. Marina's attempt to be someone else was its own lie, ironically, and if that's the person Anna wanted, then it's not Marina she loved. Marina is a deeply flawed character, but trying to suppress or ignore those flaws is no way for a relationship to work. 'The Magicians' is all about flaws at the heart of magical fantasies and while love is a beautiful dream, it's almost always a thing shared between two flawed people; no one is perfect.
The show has devoted a lot of time to get its characters to learn to live with themselves and part of that process has been acknowledging the flaws in themselves and in their dreams. By accepting herself, flaws and all, Marina joins the cast as someone who realizes that dreams sometimes die in the face of the truth. "You need to accept me for the me I am right now" is possibly the most honest thing Marina has ever said to Anna and it's the truth, that ends the relationship. Ultimately, it's probably for the best.
The next episode of 'The Magicians' airs April 1, on Syfy.