'The Magicians' Season 5, Episode 6 Review: The worst keeps happening in an insane Eliot-dominated chapter
The apocalyptic and personal stakes are a tense backdrop to a fun, Eliot-centric episode that is 'The Magicians' at its finest
Spoiler alert for 'Oops!... I Did It Again' Episode 6 of Season 5 of 'The Magicians'
Every once in a while, the events of a show are just so strange and so bizarre that you need to take a moment to summarize its events in one increasingly madcap sentence just to appreciate the sheer insanity of what you have just witnessed.
So, this episode, after the moon was broken in an attempt to save the world, Eliot Waugh (Hale Appleman) and Margo Hanson (Summer Bishil) get trapped in a time loop because the moon's breakage released a world-destroying Kraken.
The Kraken was guarded by magician whales that set time back 12 hours if it ever escapes in order to change the events that released it. It's crazy to think that all of this was foreshadowed right from Episode 1 in the Adams St graffiti.
It's important to get the truly bonkers stuff out early, because while it's easy to get lost in the absurdity and scale of this episode, what makes it work best is that it's an Eliot-centric episode that forces him to finally confront the demons he's been holding inside him — the demons he's no longer able to ignore.
In real life, people are allowed to hold on to emotionally corrosive things. They can let their mental health deteriorate, push away their friends and live their entire lives as broken, damaged people.
Characters on a TV show that have an audience rooting for them, however, don't get that. Eliot has been in denial, first about his feelings revolving around Quentin Coldwater's (Jason Ralph) death and now about his trauma from having The Monster wear his body for most of last season.
Thanks to a little handy Fillorian nonsense, he and Margo are the only ones who are aware of time looping every time the Earth is destroyed by falling moon debris, and while it's always fun to see some Margo/Eliot screen time, the episode really belongs to Eliot.
The voice inside his head is just getting stronger, strong enough that even someone as hedonistic and in denial as he is unable to ignore its call. Nobody plays haunted quite like Hale Appleman does, and this episode is some of his strongest work.
As Josh Hoberman (Trevor Einhorn) later points out, there have been a LOT of time loop stories and they're nearly all a lot of fun.
This one would be too, but there's something about the impending, repeated apocalypse and the ominous voice inside Eliot's mind that makes it impossible to just relax and enjoy completely — not until he finally is forced by his situation to confront his fears.
In true 'The Magicians' fashion, the voice in his head is revealed to merely be Charlton (Spencer Daniels), who manages to be terrifyingly creepy completely by accident.
Eliot's arc touched on a pretty major difficulty that comes with dealing with grief and trauma — knowing that, logically, he is stronger with the support of his friends, but still being unable to reach out to them.
The feeling that his burdens would be holding them back - that it's unfair of him to do so. His opening up has been a long time coming and Margo has very obviously been emotionally prepared for the moment he does so.
It's a mark of just what kind of show 'The Magicians' is that apocalyptic doom, talking magic whales and releasing the Kraken are all backdrop to Eliot dealing with his own trauma.
Eliot's breakthrough here isn't a resolution, but is the release of a held breath — a tension that has been held over the season that's finally released.
While it may be a while before things are completely alright, there's more room now to be able to sit back and enjoy the wild ride that 'The Magicians' is.
After all, with all that's happened this episode, it's easy to forget if the moving and breaking of the moon was just the midseason conflict, what in the Multiverse is going to top that for the finale?
All eyes on Fillory, folks. The next episode of 'The Magicians' airs on February 19 on Syfy.