Welcome to Last Night on TV, our daily column that looks back at what happened on television the night before. If we’re going to stay up all night and watch TV, we might as well talk about it the next day.
Last night on TV, Kevin checks in with Hulu’s 11.22.63 and SyFy’s The Magicians while Neil continues to just post clips from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
11.22.63: “The Eyes of Texas”
Kevin Kelly: There’s a truckload of stuff happening in this episode, and none of it really falls into the “Good for Jake” category. Ms. Mimi finds out about his secret identity. Bill is starting to have intense feelings for Marina Oswald. Jake gets busted in a whorehouse and has to be bailed out by Principal Deke. Ms. Mimi has a terrible cough, which in film & tv land usually means that character won’t be around much longer. Jake meets Sadie’s husband and threatens the crap out of him, and I’m sure we’ll see consequences of that later.
In fact just about the only thing going right for Jake in this episode is that he and Sadie hook up, both relationship-wise, and physically. Oh, and Bill becomes a shoulder for Marina to lean on, literally. But despite all the ongoings, it still feels like we’re extremely far away from the Kennedy assassination, despite the fact that Jake and Bill now live in the apartment under Lee and Marina. Jake and Bill do witness the backyard photograph session where Oswald poses with his rifle, pistol, and some Communist magazines, and later Bill feels like he has some smoking gun evidence on tape as Oswald and de Mohrenschildt talk about General Walker and de Mohrenschildt’s “powerful friend.”
But, that’s just window dressing that gets in the way. The meat of this episode is Jake’s relationship with Sadie, and the lies he continues to tell in order to explain away strange things. Case in point here is when Ms. Mimi confronts him after finding out he’s used the name “Jake Epping” before, and he tells her that he’s an FBI witness in protection, because he’s testified against “the Mafia.” Now, people in Texas in 1963 have no idea what the Mafia even is, so he offers up part of the plot of The Godfather: Part II as his story.
But even though he spins this FBI story, he’s suspicious of the CIA at every turn. He’s convinced de Mohrenschildt is working for the CIA, and when someone slips photos of his sexytime with Sadie, he thinks that’s the CIA as well. However, that turns out to be Sadie’s aforementioned husband, soon to be ex, who apparently wore a clothespin on his penis during their wedding night. When she laughed, he beat her and then forced himself on her. Jake doesn’t take too kindly to that when he finds out, and that’s where the threats against him come in.
By the end of the episode, Sadie is delivering a casserole to Jake’s empty home in Jodie, and after narrowly missing a shadowy man prowling around, she finds a tape recorder with a tape of Lee and Marina speaking Russian. When Jake comes in, she asks him in a horrified voice, “Who are you?!” Well, we’re all wondering that at this point.
In fact, I had an epiphany after watching this episode, which I’m calling “Holy Crap, How Poorly Can You Plan To Go Back In Time To Save JFK”. First, we’ve never mentioned here that if you go back through the portal, everything you’ve done in the past is set in stone… unless you go through the portal again after that. Then it’s a full reset. So, I have to wonder why Al/Jake didn’t just take a bunch of high-tech camera equipment disguised as 1960s-era cameras back in time, film the assassination, and just figure out who did it that way, and then going back and fixing things with that knowledge?
So, why all the following and the intrigue? Show me Jake desperately trying to scramble up the Grassy Knoll, or climbing the stairs to the Sixth Floor at the Book Depository. Seeing him witness this moment in person would be extremely powerful. But having Jake (and possibly now Bill) fall in love means they might as well be pulling the triggers themselves. Yes, there is source material to stay faithful to here, but I’m starting to get as irritated with Jake as I always did with Hamlet.
The Magicians: “The Strangled Heart”
Kevin Kelly: Ahh, we’re back in the hallowed halls of our favorite magical university, where sex seems to be the course that everyone is taking, or is on a waitlist for. Eliot and his newfound boyfriend Mike seem to be blissfully happy, except of course Mike is possessed by something involving a blue moth. And the Beast has a cloud of moths that surround his face. Coincidence? Not a chance.
Quentin and Alice return from Brakebills South, and Eliot immediately nails the fact that they’ve been nailing each other. But while this is fine with Quentin, Alice declares an immediate period of celibacy so they can determine if what they are feeling is real, or just leftover aphrodisiac effect from being foxes during their last class. Pretty normal stuff for a school of magic.
Oh, and then there’s the fact that Mike wakes up in the middle of the night, finds a cute, innocent bunny rabbit, tears its head off while it screams and squirms, plunges his hand into the hole where the head was, and pulls out a strange looking dagger. This guy is a real monster, because that bunny was damn cute.
Checking in with Julia, she seems to be embracing the rehab scene as she struggles to write a letter to Quentin asking for his forgiveness. But Marina harshes her mallow by coming in and telling Julia that if she interferes again, she’ll kill everyone she loves. Yikes. Also, Dean Fogg has completely regrown his hands, although he’s having trouble casting spells. He’s still blind, because apparently you can’t regrow eyes. But new hands? Pretty cool.
Penny, Quentin and Alice are in a study group and Penny sends Alice packing after revealing that Brakebills South had windows all over the place, and everyone knew about the Quentin/Alice foxsex. Whoops. Quentin and Penny continue studying, when suddenly Mike bursts out of the woods wielding the dagger. He goes after Quentin, but Penny saves him… and takes a dagger to the gut.
With Mike in Brakebills custody, and Penny in the infirmary, it turns out that dagger had some magical properties. A rosebush starts growing inside of Penny’s wound, and Alice immediately summons Quentin who actually turns out to be very useful for the first time. That dagger is the Virgo Blade, straight out of the Fillory books and Quentin knows how to cure Penny due to his obsession with that series.
Dean Fogg question Mike in a magic-proof room underneath Brakebills, although he was apparently possessed and doesn’t remember a thing. The Dean implores Eliza to help, telling her it’s a situation she caused, and when she questions Mike… it turns out he’s the Beast. And she’s Jane Chatwin. What the?! Then he apparently kills Eliza and escapes briefly. Dean Fogg stops him for a moment before the Beast-in-Mike’s-body strikes back. Then Eliot appears, snaps Mike’s neck with a spell, and bursts into tears. Love at Brakebills is rough.
Back in rehab, Julia has linked up with a chaplain who recognizes her hedge witch tats and slips her a spell, which actually turns out to put her in touch with a minor garden deity. Although it’s like a hit of heroin for Julia, and she says she’s never felt power like that before. So much for getting rehab from your magic addiction in rehab. Quentin and Alice manage to save Penny, and Dean Fogg tells him it doesn’t really matter since the Beast is going to kill everyone and everything.
We’ll see if that happens next week, or if they ever manage to actually GO to Fillory. It’s been dangled in front of us long enough, but it feels like they’ll wait until the last ep to do that. At any rate, it’s a very fun ride.
Neil Miller: My coverage of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has devolved to just posting clips. But let’s be honest: if these don’t get you interested in watching what Rachel Bloom is doing over on The CW, I can’t help you. Here’s another one. From last week’s episode, yes, but still great.
What did you watch last night?