Warning: You do realize this piece is about the Finale of The Magicians Season 4, so major spoilers ahead!
Watching the finale of THE MAGICIANS, I was not really paying attention until I realized what I just saw was truly happening. That yes, Quentin Coldwater, who we have loved throughout this series and was basically the glue that held these misfits together, sacrificed himself in the season finale and people, I do not think he is coming back.
When this happened, I sat up and realized there was still 15 minutes left in the episode. Maybe this could be reversed, or some clue to maybe it happening next season at the very least? But as it played out, I of course started to cry (I also hate seeing Jason Ralph cry!) I felt so sad for Quentin and for his friends. So by the end when they had NOT reversed his death, I thought maybe it would be like an alternative-universe Q to replace him, just like Penny 23. However, I did not think that THE MAGICIANS had totally gotten rid of Quentin, who again, to me, held this series together.
However, after reading the press release from Gamble, McNamara and executive producer Henry Alonso Myers: “The choice for Jason (Ralph, who plays Quentin) to leave the show was arrived at mutually, with much respect for the story, fans of the show, and a shared sense of deliberate, essential creative risk.”
Did I miss something here? What?
They continued on saying, “We did the thing you’re not supposed to do–we killed the character who’s supposed to be ‘safe’.” Obviously, this isn’t a very bad PR stunt, then yes, Quentin is gone, folks. Next year THE MAGICIANS are going to return for Season 5 without its main character. This is like Jon Snow staying dead in Game of Thrones, y’all. And I absolutely hate it.
This by no means, I hated the episode. As a critic, it was a really great one and beautiful, again brought me to tears. Losing Quentin in that slow motion dissipating like the end of some of the characters in Avengers (thanks for bringing back those memories), Alice slowly falling in just utter grief, plus what made me over the edge was everyone coming together to sing a sad cover of “Take on Me”. But another point hit me pretty hard in this episode: Q-a character who had a history of mental illness, asks Penny, “Did I do something brave to save my friends, or did I finally find a way to kill myself?” and he truly realizes he did do this for them.
So as a long time fan of the show, I’m heartbroken and was not expecting this at all as I’m sure there’s some of you who feel the same. We met Quentin in Season 1 and Jason Ralph did a wonderful job of bringing to life the character we knew in Lev Grossman’s books. But another thing I’m greatly sad about is that Q never got a reunion with Elliot. After everything Quentin did to save Elliot and to not have that moment, was truly upsetting to see.
In retrospect, we got a season of Quentin that he was barely present in. There was a rushed reunion for Quentin and Alice-a relationship that two episodes before, was done and over with. Again, no reunion for Q and Elliot. We did get a hint when Penny greeted an unknown newcomer to the underworld, but really? That’s it?
If that’s how the showrunners feel like this was a completed arc to Quentin and his journey, I’m terribly confused. That’s not what this feels like. It feels like a betrayal with no satisfaction of why. I honestly don’t know how this series will continue without the character who was again, the glue that held all these characters together.
It almost feels like THE MAGICIANS, a show I have been a fan of since the beginning, just killed their own show and that’s terribly sad for a lot of reasons. I know not everyone will agree with me. I hope that us fans can find some joy in the rest of the characters in Season 5 (I mean, I’m all about Margo and Elliot), regardless of Quentin’s presence. I truly hope it can dig itself out of the ashes of this shocking finale. I’ll be here to watch of course, but right now, I feel like as a fan, I’ve been betrayed and it will take some time to get over losing what was a great character in Quentin Coldwater.