Cheat Day is the fifth episode in the second season of The Magicians, and eighteenth episode overall.


Quentin adjusts to life in New York without magic and finds an unexpected friend. Penny seeks help from Professor Mayakovsky while Eliot and Margo deal with the dangers of being royalty. Julia discovers another consequence of Reynard's attack.


Sloppy plotting
"That's just sloppy plotting."
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Penny can't spell at all with his new hands, they work but they can't do magic. He consulted with Dean Fogg and Professor Lipson, and the best they could come up with was to send him to Brakebills South and Mischa Mayakovsky.

Penny Traveled to Brakebills South, and found Mayakovsky reluctant to help, he's in the middle of a project, but if Penny helps, Mayakovsky will do what he can. Penny does two tasks; one is unknotting a great pile of knotted rope, and the other turning a large table into sawdust with a file. He gets them done and learns that what he was doing was "charging" a "battery" of magic.

They spend a while discussing why Penny should even like magic. To Penny, it gets you good things, but Mayakovsky suggests that what Penny really needed from his time at Brakebills South was to learn to quiet the voices in his head, that's been done, and without them, Penny could just go and live a happy, normal life. Besides, Mayakovsky feels something is happening to magic overall, and the Wellspring is the source of the problem. It might be a good time to not be a Magician. That's what the battery is for: some saved magic. Mayakovsky says for him there is no choice, he had sex with the wrong student, so he's exiled to Breakbills South or else.

Once the battery is charged, Mayakovsky tells Penny to go to Fillory to get a certain moss, it can carry "current."

Julia Wicker and Kady Orloff-Diaz are researching for signs of the immense energy it would have taken to banish Reynard. Julia develops morning sickness, and a pregnancy test says she's pregnant. They see a doctor, and Julia wants an abortion, as soon as possible. She fears the child is not entirely human.

When they go to the clinic for the abortion, the receptionist checks the computer, we can see the appointment on the screen, and the receptionist clicks on Delete instead of Check In, and then says there's no appointment. Julia convinces her to phone the doctor, who brings her in. As the doctor begins the abortion, the doctor looks confused, then looks hypnotized, then picks up a tool and stabs herself in the eye and dies.

At the castle in Fillory, where Eliot Waugh is testing possible champagne equivalents, Fen walks in with a rabbit who speaks "Pregnant". (The Fillory equivalent of the "rabbit test.") Eliot is stunned; as Eliot is explaining that he has no good role model for fatherhood, the wine steward, Bayler, attacks Eliot. Margo Hanson and guards subdue Bayler, and get him to the dungeon.

In the throne room, Eliot and Margo discuss Bayler with the courtiers. The courtiers are mostly suggesting fiendish methods of execution, while Eliot and Margo are aghast at how the court views commoners. Eliot goes to the dungeon, where Bayler says he is a fighter of "Fillorians United", a group that will kill every child of Earth so the throne can be for Fillorians. (Margo notes that "Fillorians United fighters" are "FU Fighters", a naming that she retains.)

Margo and Eliot agree the proper end for Bayler is execution. But Eliot is worried about how the populace feels; he goes to Bayler and asks, "if you guys were in charge, how would you fix Fillory?" This incenses Margo, who says only execution makes sense. Eliot says he wants his child to live in a world that doesn't just kill its problems, which does not convince Margo.

Fen visits Bayler in the dungeon; they clearly had some sort of relationship earlier. It turns out that she is also a "FU Fighter", or at least she was, but she's still of their sentiment. Bayler asks her to pass information to them from the court, or Bayler will tell Eliot on her.

Quentin Coldwater now has a job in an office in New York, he seems to be at least acting as an investment portfolio manager. Emily Greenstreet also works there; it's one of several businesses into which Brakebills graduates can be placed. They have lunch, they both agree that magic isn't really worth it, for everything they use magic to fix, five more problems pop up. Then Emily spills something, and Quentin reflexively uses magic to clean it up, which unnerves Emily.

Throughout, Quentin has been composing an e-mail to Alice Quinn's parents, and finally sends it.

Emily gets somewhat drunk at the office and collects Quentin to get drunk with. They walk around the streets, drunk, then go to her apartment. There she suggests a fun illusion spell, which only works when wet. Quentin goes first: he gets wet in the shower, Emily does the spell, and suddenly Quentin looks like Mayakovsky. They spend a while on a couch until Quentin looks like himself again. Then it's Emily's turn: she gets wet, Quentin does the spell, and Emily looks like Alice. They kiss and have sex. In the morning, Quentin says he's actually sad now, he doesn't want to use magic like that.

At the very end of the episode, Quentin is on a New York street, looks across the street, and sees what looks like Alice, until she vanishes.


Main Cast:

Guest Stars:






Sentient Species




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