The Magicians Preview: Is Brakebills a Hallucination?

Carole Segal/Syfy
Carole Segal/Syfy

Classes at Brakebills are back in session on Monday when we’re treated to another new episode of The Magicians. As you’ll recall, last week Quentin (Jason Ralph) confronted Julia (Stella Maeve) about her dealings with the Hedge Witches and Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley) went AWOL after her attempt to save her brother Charlie from his fate as a Niffin went terribly awry.

Monday’s episode, “The World in the Walls,” opens with Quentin waking up in a mental hospital, where the doctors say Brakebills, magic and The Beast are all things Quentin has invented in his head after a mental breakdown. While the plot itself is stolen from one of the more memorable moments of Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s later seasons, it offers a well-deserved spotlight on Jason Ralph’s performance and gives a little more insight into one of show’s more mysterious (and sinister) characters.

Is it a spell? Or is Brakebills really just a hallucination? We can’t exactly answer that, but we can offer a few hints as to what goes down in this mysterious and compelling new episode of The Magicians.

Carole Segal/Syfy
Carole Segal/Syfy

The hospital is full of familiar faces

While Quentin is the only one who knows what Brakebills is, that doesn’t mean that his fellow students won’t make an appearance. During his stay at the hospital Quentin experiences run-ins with Eliot (Hale Appleman), Penny (Arjun Gupta), Alice and even an eye-toting Dean Fogg (Rick Worthy). This episode also marks the first appearance of one of Quentin’s own family members.

Carole Segal/Syfy
Carole Segal/Syfy

Julia comes to visit

As Quentin attempts to make sense of what’s happening to him, a visit from Julia first proves to only confirm his worst fear–that Brakebills and magic weren’t real after all. But one small comment from Julia offers Quentin a major clue that things may not be exactly as they seem, and hints that she may know much more than she’s letting on.

Carole Segal/Syfy
Carole Segal/Syfy

It’s Jason Ralph’s best performance to date

“The World in the Walls” offers Ralph a major spotlight, and he does a phenomenal job with it. Much of the episode sees Quentin on his own or fighting to keep his memory of Brakebills intact, giving us an honest performance that reminds us why Ralph is the show’s leading man in the first place. Even better? All that doom and gloom is beautifully balanced with a mic drop-worthy musical number, and that includes some fine choreography. We won’t say which song, but it’s originally performed by one of Quentin’s favourite musical artists.

Carole Segal/Syfy
Carole Segal/Syfy

The return of Jane Chatwin

Fillory may have taken a back seat in last week’s episode, but Quentin’s hospital visit triggers another visit from the mysterious Jane Chatwin. She offers some much-needed assistance on what the hospital really means for Quentin, and hints that a certain series of books contains the answer for how he can finally escape. See? Reading is good for you.

Carole Segal/Syfy
Carole Segal/Syfy

Penny demonstrates a new power

Quentin is undoubtedly the star of the hour, but Penny gets his own time to shine when he discovers a new way to use his Traveller abilities. We won’t give too much away here, but it plays a major role in the latter half of the episode. Penny really is good in a pinch.

Will you tuning to find what happens next? Sound off in the comments below.

The Magicians airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on Showcase and Syfy.