Whenever a major character dies on a sci-fi or fantasy show, fans go through a careful evaluation period, to determine whether the death is the real deal (and thus totally emotionally devastating) or whether it’s a temporary trip to the beyond.
“The Magicians” fans did exactly that when Alice Quinn (Olivia Taylor Dudley) “died” after turning into a niffin, and the conclusion seemed to be that the girl we knew and loved was gone.
Now, though, thanks to a recent trip to the Underworld, Alice might not be as far out of our reach as we thought.
On a mission to save Julia’s (Stella Maeve) soul — literally, she’s kind of soulless without her shade — she and Quentin (Jason Ralph) find their way to the Underworld, where all souls and shades go after death. Along the way they bump into some familiar faces, who help them locate the part of the Underworld where lost shades are sent when they’ve been ripped out of a living person.
Julia makes quick work of finding her shade, an adorable little pre-teen version of herself, but she also stumbles on someone else’s shade along the way: Alice’s. Apparently, when she was niffin-ized, her shade traveled to the Underworld while the rest of her kept on kicking as a vessel for all that uncontrollable magic.
Instead of reuniting with her own shade, Julia surprises everyone by choosing to rescue Alice’s from the Underworld instead.
It’s hard to reconcile this move with the new, emotionless Julia we’ve grown used to. By putting Quentin’s grief and Alice’s resurrection over her own self-interest, Julia has shown herself capable of making a very human and selfless decision — something she should be incapable of without any kind of empathy or emotion.
We’re careful about indulging hope for Julia’s future, considering how dark she’s gotten this year, but we can’t help doing just that. If she can choose to do the right thing in a situation like that, perhaps there’s a chance she can find her way back to her humanity without her shade?
Now, the only thing left to do is figure out how the heck Julia and Quentin will try to reunite Alice’s shade with the power-hungry Niffin Alice’s body has become without it. Last we saw of her, Alice was shooting up into outer space, off to conquer whatever magical dimensions she had available to her. Something tells us she’s not going to be too excited about potentially becoming human again with all that power at her fingertips…
“The Magicians” airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Syfy.