the magicians season 3 episode 3 recap

‘The Magicians’ Season 3, Episode 3 Recap: The Losses of Magic


The mystery behind the Lamprey is revealed.

Continuing to follow in the footsteps of last week’s episode, The Magicians continues to be fast paced and unexpected. Instead of searching for a way to reach Fillory, the Earth bound Brakebills gang has split up to take on challenges of their own. Julia and Kady work out a way to save Penny from his advanced cancer, while Quentin and Alice unexpectedly work together to fight off the dreaded Lamprey. Meanwhile, Eliot and Margo face unforeseen challenges in Fillory that continue to alter the story line taken in Lev Grossman’s trilogy of novels. This week’s episode, “The Losses of Magic” throws in a few serious twists that may alter the outcome of the show entirely, keeping fans interested in the alternate universe of The Magicians while incorporating elements of the original story line.

Need a quick catch up? Be sure to check out our recap of last week’s episode.

This recap contains spoilers.

“The Losses of Magic” sets the viewer on edge almost immediately by opening with another scene in which Alice is picking up a kitten. After last week’s terrifying explosion of another poor creature, it is immediately made clear that the third episode in the season will continue to be dark and foreboding.

Unexpectedly, Alice returns home, where her parents are understandably angry with her for her lack of communication. Believing their daughter to be dead, her reappearance is not entirely a shock, as Quentin had to the good sense to notify them when he managed to resurrect her. Although Alice hopes to speak with her father about her encounter with the Lamprey, she remains paranoid, attacking a poor woman named Carol because the cat runs away from her in fear (which is obviously a sign that the Lamprey is around).

In very quick succession, we are given a glimpse at the on-goings of Fillory. A battle is beginning on the Muntjac, which has been attacked by pirates, leaving Eliot and Fen helpless against the attack without magic. In her deranged state, Fen picks up weapons and offers to fight them off on her own, much to the surprise of Eliot, but she is stopped before she can begin as she will easily be outnumbered.

Meanwhile, Julia, Josh and Quentin are still searching for Kady, who disappeared after stealing the remaining magic battery. While they continue searching, Kady is revealed to be frantically searching for a magical means of saving Penny’s life. Shortly after, Julia catches wind of Kady’s whereabouts, while Quentin splits off, having been possessed by the Lamprey.

Back in Fillory, Eliot and Fen have been confined to a cabin in the Muntjac, where the glowing outline of a door appears. Here it is revealed that Eliot obtained the first key on the quest, as he uses it to open the magical door and escape.

As Eliot takes the magical portal, the scene transitions to Margo, who is struggling to deal with the Fairy Queen back in Castle Whitespire. Margo learns that the Muntjac has been hijacked and is on high alert. Without magic, however, she is helpless to save him and must resort to speaking with the Fairy Queen. Before this occurs, however, Tick, in his constant effort to sound like a member of the modern world, tries to explain Fillory’s situation to Margo and is adamant that his efforts are “mansplaining”. Margo criticizes him before moving on and seeking the help of the Fairies.

The Fairy Queen is a creepy as always. Despite Margo’s fear, she agrees to transport her to the Muntjac , which will be arranged by taking a pegasus.

At Alice’s house things heat up very quickly. Alice confides in her father, revealing that a Lamprey is after her. The two discuss her options calmly and Alice resorts to plastic wrapping herself as it will protect her from the Lamprey entering her body if it is around. She is later seen to be removing a car battery in order to create a makeshift electrocution device that will allow her to push the Lamprey out of the body that it is possessing. While she is working on her project, Quentin appears – the family realizes that the Lamprey is inside of him, but it leaves his body after only a short time. Quentin reveals that while the Lamprey is very angry with Alice that it does not want to kill her.

Back in Fillory, Margo has safely made it to the Muntjac, where she meets with the “King” of the pirates, who turns out to be a woman. The Pirate King has many of the same qualities as Margo and the two get along almost immediately. She reveals that Fillorian boats are different, and much like the flying books in the first season of The Magicians, they crave sex as much as people do. The true reason behind the pirate attack is revealed – the group doesn’t want power or plunder, instead they want to make the two boats have sex with one another. Margo agrees to speak with the Muntjac, which has already been revealed to be a living thing, but only if she can speak with High King Eliot. The Pirate King agrees and Margo is met with a man that is most definitely not Eliot.

At Alice’s house, the reason behind the Lamprey’s anger is finally revealed. While Alice was a niffin, she murdered the Lamprey’s family and conducted experiments on the bodies to satiate her never-ending thirst for knowledge. Not only is this incredibly shocking, but it’s finally a return to the books! Regardless, the Lamprey has made Alice incredibly paranoid, causing Quentin to be wrapped in plastic wrap to prevent the Lamprey’s re-entry into his body.

After this horrific reveal of Alice’s true nature, her mother disappears and Quentin goes off to find her. A conversation ensues when he does, where more drama unfolds – the loss of magic means that Alice’s parents will lose their house. Her mother, who is always pictured as drunk and unstable, immediately remembers her son Charlie, who was also transformed into a niffin. She confides in Quentin that life must be better as a niffin, as she has lost hope due to the loss of magic. In the incredibly awkward scene that follows, she begins to sexually assault Quentin when Alice and her father enter the room.

Meanwhile, Kady and Julia have uncovered a spell that may save Penny’s life. After arranging all of the materials necessary and scattering the contents of the magical battery, they begin to perform a complex spell that summons Asteros, an incredibly creepy demon with unnervingly long and pointy fingers. The demon agrees to help Penny, and uses his incredibly sharp fingers to perform emergency surgery on him, where he removes the tumor that was the cause of Penny’s pain. The sheer pain of the operation causes Penny to astral project out of his body, but the operation is not a success. Penny’s human form is dead, while his spirit watches over. Kady, unaware that Penny is watching as she cannot see his new form, immediately begins to grieve, as she was not able to help in time.

Back in Fillory, Margo recaptures the Muntjac but is no closer to finding Eliot. The Fairy Queen’s true motivations are revealed – she wants to keep an eye on Margo in order to shape her into a proper ruler. Although the Fairy Queen gives Margo some praise for immediately standing up to the pirates, she is incredibly angry, as Margo has taken her eye back and squashed it in an effort to gain control.

Paranoia is a driving force back at Alice’s. The Lamprey is obviously around and Alice lashes out against each character with her electrocution device, temporarily knocking out her mother and Quentin before the Lamprey reveals that it has taken over Alice’s father. When confronted by the Lamprey, who reveals that he only seeks knowledge, Alice reveals that it wasn’t knowledge that caused her to kill his family, but the fact that human bodies create beautiful colors when they die. This knowledge angers the Lamprey, who persuades Alice to shock her father, knowing that he has a weak heart. The Lamprey, which turns out to be a crawling mass that strongly resembles something that would be seen in Stranger Things, crawls out of her father, where she uses her makeshift electrocution device to kill it. While the threat of the Lamprey is gone, Alice’s father has died from the trauma.

As “The Losses of Magic” ends with not one, but two deaths, fans can only wonder what is in store for the remainder of the season. At only three episodes in, there is still a long way to go and a lot of questions to be answered. Will Penny’s spirit reunite with his body? Where are Eliot and Fen? What will Alice do now? Will Quentin and Alice repair their broken relationship? When will the rest of the Physical Kids arrive in Fillory?

What did you think about this week’s episode of The Magicians?

Share your thoughts on the third season of the show in the comments below!

Melissa Ratcliff
the authorMelissa Ratcliff
Senior Staff Writer
Reader, Writer & Translator. Cats, books and video games are my life.