God, where do I start?
The Magicians was not a perfect show. Far from it; it was deeply flawed, often infuriating, especially their season finales (except the final one). It was deeply weird, sometimes in a good way, other times less so; hell, it took them four seasons just to really figure out how to — mostly — perfect it, to give us one final, amazing season: what a season that was.
The show was adopted from a trilogy of books. The first season (and part of the second) mostly follows the first book, but after that, it goes its own way, and that's a good thing. It does keep dipping in the books throughout its run for ideas, though, and I feel like that was really the right balance for it.
There are already glimpses of brilliance in the earlier seasons: season 3, episode 5 for example is widely considered a masterpiece and rightfully so. A bottle episode that tells a wonderful story and gives two of the show's main characters a ton of depth. And yet, and yet. They don't follow through after and make Qeliot a canon, not really, which is one of the many things that drives me crazy still, even though I am ultimately happy where things ended up, and how Eliot and Alice resolve it in the final season. I have a sticker on my laptop in memory of it (can't buy the exact one anymore but you get the idea from the search if you click the link).
When they killed Quentin at the end of season 4, I was so, so mad. I've never been so mad at a TV show in my life, which I guess shows how much I cared. And yet, the fifth season is a masterpiece and shows that in retrospect, the creators were right; Q's story was over, maybe not in the best way, and maybe in a way that feels incomplete, but with his death came new possibilities and new life — it really is what made the final season so great. It spent ample time mourning him, but didn't get hung up on it either; and without him, the rest of the cast got more opportunities for their storylines, most of which I'm happy with. They even — mostly — made Julia's story right, and I'm happy that she ended up with Penny.
This is a show that was — again at its best – delightfully crazy and off-the-rails. I think it took a couple seasons, and once again, probably until the final season, to really let go of any sense of sanity and just let its crazy fly. Every episode brings new and unexpected twists. Things are overly dramatic, moreso often than in other TV shows, but somehow it just... works? Most of the time?
I have a really hard time putting it into words how much joy this final season gave me. Seeing Julia and Eliot and Margot and Penny and Alice and everyone mourn Q in their own way was beautiful. Fen got an even more prominent role; Josh and Margot permanently ended up together, and rightfully so. Eliot found love, Alice found closure and found a way to deal with Q's death. Julia and Penny fought hard, but they were always destined to end up together; Julia's pregnancy was a beautiful little story in itself. Was it a bit rushed? Yes. But this show was never perfect.
Every season of the show has a musical episode; the strongest one was in season 4. Season 5's one made it into a heist as well. I was not that happy with the song choices, but I was delighted how they made the musical bit part of the story.
The series finale episode ties up mostly everything, brings a new world, new adventures. And so they go on, and so must us as well. I should check out AO3 for post-finale fics.
Goodbye, The Magicians. I'll miss you so much. You brought me so much joy.
P.S.: I have yet to watch the behind-the-scenes for this season on Youtube.