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The Magicians Writers' Room Blog: Episode 502
This week, the writers talk inside jokes, golems and hypoallergenic tacos.
And we're back! So that was neat, right? All the golem drama, mind wiping-assassins, timey wimey antics—what's not to like?
As we stated last week, this episode was written and shot in conjunction with the premiere episode, meaning it was confusing as hell to produce and keeping track of all the moving pieces was honestly only a job fit for a Vulcan. Thank the Maker we had Episode 502 Writer and Executive Producer, David Reed, leading the charge!
From a narrative standpoint, the loss of Quentin still weighs heavily on our characters because grief is not something that just goes away. It becomes a part of you that you must live with and process in your own way. And it's in these dark corners of the soul that we find universal themes that connect all of us as human beings and storytellers. The big question going into this episode was: How do we begin to process grief
or let go of the past?
From the get-go, Sera (Gamble, Executive Producer) approached the room with the idea that we should have Alice successfully bring Quentin back as a child golem. We already had the wonderful, Luca Padovan, in mind as he had played Paco on Sera's other show, You.
The moment Luca put on the wig; everything fell into place. His curious, sensitive nature embodied Quentin perfectly and he nailed the comedic timing with some serious taco eating skills. Luca actually has a few allergies, so it was necessary to build our own hypoallergenic tacos, which he devoured take after take. Most of the time actors will only pretend to eat and then spit the food out over so many takes but Luca literally ate every taco we set in front of him. Fun fact, our cinematographer, Marvin Rush, shot both of the episodes of Star Trek: Voyager that the Q Golem references.
The hilariously handsome, Jake Choi, played our mind wiping assassin; however, we had trouble legally clearing his tattoos so we had to cover them with something. We went with an octopus and just shot at angles to show only one side of him at a time. Welcome to filmmaking, folks!
It's easy to miss them, but there are inside jokes planted across this entire series. For example, in Episode 502, there is a deleted scene where ghost loop Fen is hanging from the noose while arguing with Eliot over the correct grammar of hanged as opposed to hung. This came from actual arguments in the room spurred by grammatical enthusiast, Jay Gard. Or another is when Jane Chatwin calls Fen, Flen. This one came from a worried Brittany Curran approaching David Reed, concerned Fen was killed off the show in Episode 501. David joked "We'll let you audition to play Fen's great granddaughter, Flen." Now if this sounds mean, just know Brittany is a veteran trickster. More on this later…
On the Eliot and Margo side of things, once we figured out that Eliot should speak to Jane Chatwin and then steal a bunch of her time junk to experiment with, we had a blast pitching what those tools should be. Like many fun additions to the show, they came from a wide range of random wild pitches, thoughtful research, and inside jokes which more often than not takes the cake. The Time Plunger might have been my personal favorite. It would have allowed Margo to basically facetime with Josh through time… through the toilet bowl…
The Time Bee Smoker Eliot used on the Royal Apiary though, seemed ridiculous at first but Reed explained to us how his dad is actually a bee keeper and uses a smoker to calm down the hive to extract honey…We were so deep down the rabbit hole on this one, we were losing sleep. We just couldn't crack the paradox of Eliot and Margo's existence not completely shifting every time they changed the past. Then one morning it hit us, and we basically collectively exclaimed "Eureka! Time Permanence Perfume!"
And just like that, the story clicked and we "lived to fuck another day" (Which is a joke in Episode 403 inspired by a real-life Freudian slip by one of our writers). Because, like grief, sometimes it's just about making it through to the other side.