The Magicians: A Life in the Day Review

By: Michelle Harvey
season 3 syfy The Magicians

The Magicians knows exactly what it whats from this season and damn have they done a fantastic job in telling this story. Just when you think you’ve seen an episode that is pretty close to hitting the ceiling of potential, they crash through that damn ceiling the next week in a completely unexpected and beautiful way. “A Life in the Day” gives Eliot and Quentin a side adventure, literally giving them a whole lifetime together in Fillory – while still progressing the rest of the characters, and the quest in epic fashion. Round of applause for the entire creative team behind this great show and the insanely talented cast that places “A Life in the Day” as my #1 episode of The Magicians.

While the men of this group (sorry Penny, but you’re still stuck on a different plane so you don’t count right now) are off in Fillory -sharing a lifetime of beautiful moments together – the leading women of this crew all have some serious and significant character developments occur. Alice and Julia share an unexpected bonding moment – but these two unlikely companions could also be a dangerous mix. Prompted by the mysterious white eyes, Julia is directed to help Alice. Yes Alice is still struggling with her both recent and not so recent past but that feels more like an inward journey that Alice needs to take. So it’s interesting that when the two go out for a drink it’s more Alice helping Julia understand the source of her rare magic.

THE MAGICIANS — “A Life in the Day” Episode 305 — Pictured: Olivia Taylor Dudley as Alice — (Photo by: Eric Milner/Syfy)

Kady also had a huge shift this week, and it’s a difficult one to watch her go through. Alice pays her a visit in the rehab facility so she can hold the Truth Key. And if you assumed she would be happy to see that Penny was still around – then like me, you were very much mistaken. She is not at all happy to see that Penny is there and I guess I can understand it slightly. She’s just been through a very intense ordeal, she put everything she had into finding a way to save Penny – and she failed. She then couldn’t handle herself and emotions and almost dies herself. Kady needs some time for Kady – she needs to take care of herself first and worry about the others second. Unfortunately, her little spat with Penny makes the doctors at the treatment facility question her mental stability. So upon their orders she’s stuck there until further notice.

THE MAGICIANS — “A Life in the Day” Episode 305 — Pictured: Jade Tailor as Kady Orloff-Diaz — (Photo by: Eric Milner/Syfy)


Margot,she’s pulled the short stick this week and is stuck in a very shitty situation. Left to fend for herself in Fillory against the Fairy Queen – Margot has already had a pretty rough start to Season 3. “A Life in the Day” throws her into an arranged marriage, belittlement from the Fairy Queen, the kindling flame of a possible new love, the brutal murder of said new romance, and robbing the cradle by ending up with his younger brother – who by the way would be considered the Joffrey if this were a different show. Though she is a badass woman and often can hold her own it is sad to think that she’s going through this all on her own. She ends up having a little chat with Jane Chatwin, digging up Jane’s corpse at Brakebills to get the next key, and going back to her underage husband in Fillory with as much grace as anyone could expect.

THE MAGICIANS — “A Life in the Day” Episode 305 — Pictured: Summer Bishil as Margo Hanson — (Photo by: Alan Zenuk/Syfy)

Alright, let’s get to my favorite part of the episode, Quentin and Eliot’s little side adventure that lasts an entire lifetime. I thought that the quest was already pretty epic, but their commitment/dedication and the beautiful story telling that compressed an entire lifetime for them into a single day for the rest of the group was so completely brilliant. Quentin and Eliot set out to solve the Beauty of Life mosaic – stuck in Fillory’s past, they are surrounded by magic but cannot use it to solve the puzzle. We know from the books that someone solves it just before Jane Chatwin gets there to try, Quentin and Eliot decide that could be them. What they don’t anticipate is the journey this task will lead them on. They work for decades on this mosaic, sharing intimate moments between themselves, finding love in the form of a local girl, building a family together. Quentin even has son and therefore starts a bloodline in Fillory in the past. It was a beautiful representation that to solve the mosaic they needed to find the beauty of life – and through their family, love, sacrifice, dedication, and eventual death – they did just that. Just after Eliot’s death, Quentin solves the mosaic and is given the key that they so desperately need to bring magic back in their own time. Yet young Jane Chatwin walks up right after, she needs the key to become the Watcherwoman, and so after all that Quentin makes the decision to give it to her.

Luckily, Margot has had a little chat with Jane too, and Jane is able to send her back to Brakebills where the physical key is located with her buried body. And of course, in a very Margot style, she delivers all the keys thus far to Quentin and Eliot right before they walk into Fillory’s past. In a timey wimey plot, they both did and didn’t spend a lifetime together in Fillory – but a basket of peaches in Margot’s wedding gift pile brings back to them the memories they thought they hadn’t experienced. Such a wonderful way to wrap up a beautifully done episode. The writers, creative team, and cast certainly work hard on this show, and it doesn’t go unnoticed. Season 3 ha been on a roll since the premiere and I get more and more excited every week to see where they’ll take us next.

The Magicians airs Wednesday night on SYFY 

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