01x01 - Unauthorized Magic

[horns honking]

[siren wailing in the distance]

[indistinct chatter]

There you are.

You're late. I have a school to run.

There are more important things.

It's always something with you, isn't it?

It's always an emergency.

It's happening.

They're not even at Brakebills yet.

I know. Get them there.

Pray that they get a little something under their belts before he finds a way to them.

Your ability to think that we have the slightest molecule of control over anything never ceases to amaze me.

It's not that.

I have to try.


Look, this is your responsibility.

You have to get them ready. They're infants.

They know nothing, especially-- especially him.

I will do what I can, and you know this.

I do know.

Here... just in case.

You do still have an eye on our boy, don't you?


Great. Great.

Not exactly.

Why not?

Where is he?

[foghorn blowing in the distance]

[MGMT's "Time To Pretend"]

♪ ♪

Wow. Nice trick.

Well, I'm sure you're a hit at parties.

♪ ♪
♪ I'm feeling rough, I'm feeling raw ♪
♪ I'm in the prime of my life ♪
♪ ♪
♪ Let's make some music, make some money ♪
♪ Find some models for wives ♪
♪ ♪
♪ I'll move to Paris ♪
♪ Shoot some heroin and with the stars ♪
♪ ♪

So... you think you're ready.

I do.


I feel better.

On admitting, you reported you couldn't concentrate, eat, get out of bed.

You said the feeling of not belonging anywhere was overwhelming.

It's not sleight of hand if you're gonna use CGI.

Well, I'm sorry. It's just--

That's insulting to anyone who's ever done any kind of close-up magic, so...

And that you were the most useless person who ever lived.

And now... you feel better?

It's the original version, the Danish version, that it's, like--it's dark.

It's, like, 100 times better because the Danish people, they're--they're, uh... they have a dark soul.

I mean, I get it.


You're a kid, and your whole life's ahead of you, and you have these notions... about what life is... and... what it could be.

But eventually you have to let all that go.

So that's what I'm-- that's what I'm going to do.

That's what I'm doing.

Um, it's a part of growing up-- you know, selling the comic-book collection and getting serious.

[indistinct chatter]

♪ I'll miss the playgrounds and the animals ♪
♪ And digging up worms ♪
♪ ♪
♪ I'll miss the comfort of my mother ♪
♪ And the weight of the world ♪
♪ ♪
♪ I'll miss my sister, miss my father ♪

You graduate soon.

And then?

Um, I'm supposed to have a grad-school interview on Tuesday--Yale.

Quentin, I'd really recommend further treatment.

Look, I've never threatened to hurt myself or anybody else.

So you can't make me stay.

Can you?

[indie electronic music playing]

♪ ♪

[Vera Lynn's "I'll Be Seeing You"]

♪ ♪
♪ I'll be seeing you ♪

The Chatwin Twins and their older brother had been sent to the countryside.

From a young age, Martin Chatwin had a gloomy nature.

[clock ticking]

And to combat his melancholy, he would lose himself in stories of wonder.

So he knew that he would have trouble convincing his brother and sister that this was no fantasy.

Rupert, wounded in the war and the first Chatwin to put away childish things...

[chimes clanging]

And Jane, the family skeptic.

[birds chirping]

[dramatic music]

♪ ♪

This was Fillory.

♪ ♪

A land of magic.

♪ ♪

Rupert! Martin! Have a look at this!

Martin thought they needed Fillory... but, no, Fillory needed them.

It is here that our story begins, but be warned-- this adventure is no mere children's tale.

[knock on door]

Where'd she go?

The, uh--the girl in the rainbow shorts?

Yeah, you just missed her.


Not my type.

Dude, she was wearing a unicorn T-shirt.

She's clearly into fantasy.

But how would you know?

You're in here reading obscure fantasy, and she's out there.

Honestly, like, 73 of her... kind of waiting for you to finish reading the books you've already read 800 times and come out of your room.

I'm about to. It's just it's a first edition, and I am looking at it one last time before I sell it on eBay.

Oh, I'm sorry. Is this a serious conversation?

Should I sit up?

I called you... all weekend.

Where were you?

I was at my dad's.

I got angsty prepping for the interview, and I--

I fled... for the magical hills of Jersey.

Don't judge.

I'd never.

[door opens]

Oh, my God.

My girl. My friend.

Have you no decency?

Not even a little.

Excellent. Three-way!


No, no, no, no!

[wood cracks, shrieks and laughter]

Okay, we have got to pull you together.

This is it, Quentin. It.

I'm still high.

I just-- Okay, you know what? Screw it.

It's only the alumni interview.


And it's only Yale.

Right, lesser Ivy.

And, honestly, they probably take anyone conscious for philosophy.

For philosophy, "conscious" is a detriment.

So I'm good.

You're great.

[doorbell rings]

You know, you can go.


I am the angel protecting your future, Coldwater.

Tighten your sh1t.

Yes, ma'am.

[knocks on door]



[door creaking, closes]

It's Quentin Coldwater for the grad-school interview?

I don't believe it.

[clock ticking]


Oh, sh1t!

[clock ticking]

[dramatic music]

♪ ♪

[indistinct chatter over radio]

Well... he's dead.

By the look of him, he was a big...

I'm sorry?

Why? Did you kill him?

No. Jesus.

I was kidding.

Um, can we go now?

Let's go.


I think he left something for you.

Q, come on, let's go.

Whoa, look at that.

"Fillory and Further, Book Six: The Magicians."

Look at the date--1952.

All right, please.

There are five Fillory books, Julia--five.

Yeah, I-I know, Quentin. Everyone knows.

There's always been rumors of a sixth book that disappeared.

Yeah, and those are just some stupid rumors off a super-fan message board.

Come on, don't be naive.

Maybe, but maybe it's--

What, it's a very special art project that the dead guy made up?

'Cause I don't know-- you wrote your admissions essay on the glory of Fillory?

Come on, Q.

Come on. What if--

No! You have to stop!

Stop what?

You can't run away hard enough, can you?

What happened to giving up on the Fillory crap?

You used to like Fillory.

[exhales sharply] Yeah, I liked it.

I loved it--

You got me into it, Julia!

I learned magic tricks just to keep up with you.

It was our thing.

Yeah, it was our thing, and it was fun, silly, nerdy bullshit, and it got us through high school.

I guess I'm just a silly, bullshit nerd, then, huh?

Hey, I'm not saying--

Which never seemed to bother you until right around the second you met James.

I know where you were all weekend-- at the hospital.


You feel exactly like you did the last time.

Life is raw. Everybody medicates.

No, life is starting... for real.

Look, I am just saying that you are good at so much stuff.

Pick something... please.

Start living your life.

[somber music]

♪ ♪

Look, I got to go meet James.

♪ ♪

I love you. Call me, okay?

♪ ♪

[wind whistles]

[elevator bell dings]

[elevator rumbles]

[wind whistles]

[elevator bell dings]


[upbeat mystical music]

♪ ♪

[elevator bell dings]

♪ ♪

Quentin Coldwater?


I'm Eliot.

You're late.

Follow me.

Uh, okay. Um, hey...

Di--Where am I?

Upstate New York.

Upstate, but I was just--


Okay, what--what is this place?

Brakebills University.

You've been offered a preliminary exam for entry into the graduate program.

Am I hallucinating?

If you were, how would asking me help?

Come on, or you'll miss it.

[indistinct chatter]


Be seated.


You may address me as Dean.

I know you have questions.

They will be answered in time.

Now your only job is to pass the examination before you.


[adventurous music]

♪ ♪

[softly] Sorry.

♪ ♪

I know that. I know that.



Please report to this next room for your final examination.

Thank you.


Please report to this next room for your final examination.

Thank you.


Oh, my God. Q?

Oh, my God.

How did you get here?

Well, I can't... really explain that.

No, me neither. It was so weird.

I-I-I went into an elevator, and then I got out of the elevator.

Thank God. Thank God.

Thank God what?

No, thank God that you're confused too.

I just--I just started these new meds today, and I thought maybe...

Stop talking, please. Stay focused.

You've just been given an examination of your magical aptitude.


We had reason to believe you possess certain... nascent abilities.


I mean, I used to think that--

And perhaps you did at one time.

Regrettably, you failed the written exam.

I'm here to prepare you to go home.


It's all right.

We'll provide an alibi for your missing time.

That test was crazy. Any sane person--

I mean, all the questions kept changing.

Be that as it may--


Don't you want students who make actual inquiry instead of just accepting like sheep?

I'm sorry. Um...

Can I start over?


I can't just go to Yale if I know this place exists.

Which is why I'm going to make sure that you don't remember a thing.


This won't hurt a bit.


[clears throat]

Let's see some magic.

[clearing throat]


No... magic, real magic.



[cards clatter]

[clears throat]

Quentin... do you like this place?

You have a gut feeling that... it's something special?

You want to go back to Columbia?

That pointless, miasmic march to death you call life?

Family that never calls and friends that don't really get you and feeling alone and wrong until it crushes you?


Then quit dicking around!

Stop it.

Do some goddamn magic!

I said stop it!

[triumphant music]

Oh! Oh! Oh, my God. Oh.

♪ ♪

Holy sh1t. I'm doing this.

[exhales sharply]

[insects chirping]

[mysterious music]

♪ ♪

I wouldn't.

Playing with time is such difficult magic.

You'll just make it worse.

Jane Chatwin... from the books.

Make what worse?

And it won't stop him coming.


The Beast.

You're in the school.

He's going to find you.

You're the one he wants.

You have to learn.

Learn what? What are you--

Look down.

You're on the garden path.

Stay on, the Beast will kill you, kill everyone.

Step off the path or...




[breathing heavily]

[exhales sharply]

[car horns honking in the distance]

[keys clacking]

Magic is real.

But you've gathered that, haven't you?

Have I?

Three-year program, graduate-level studies, program begins immediately.

How did you find me?

Mm. Globes.

Sense magic-- it's not always right, so we test it.

How--how did my friend do--Julia?

I'm afraid she didn't make the cut.

And my apologies for the rocky road.

We certainly didn't intend for Bob to die on you.

The alumni guy?


He works for you?


Was he murdered?

Snuck a box of Oreos.

Magicians can't eat Oreos?

Diabetics can't have Oreos.

And the paramedic who... gave me "Fillory: Book Six"?

Right. A scout--freelance, sort of.

Any more questions?

I've got another... 24 of you today.


So "be a magician"?

Is that illegal or...?

Are you guys trying to take over the world or...?

This school exists for a single and timeless purpose-- to reveal your innate abilities and hone them to the highest degree.

Now, what you do with it after that is entirely up to you.

If you want to take over the world, we don't teach that, but give it a go.

Quentin, I need an answer.


Friends and family will be given the exciting news of your early acceptance to a prestigious master's program, and with a little illusion work, all their questions will be answered.

Good. Now, your meds.

Quentin, you haven't been depressed.

You've been alone.

And you are not crazy.

You're angry.

And you are correct.

Everyone-- everyone medicates... out there.

Here, we hope you won't need to.

[pills rattling]

Um... are you my, uh...

What up, roomie?

Uh, hey, I had a-- Okay, um, I had a... notebook right here. "Fillory and Further: Book Six."


And you what?

You think I stole it?

Some dumb-ass kid's book?

Why do you have all that nerd-boy dragon p0rn sh1t, anyway-- are you 12?

[girls giggling]


This is the interruption you've been waiting for.

Hi. I'm Margo.

This is him. Hmm.

He's not that cute.

So first years live in these dorms.

Then, depending on your talent, you go to the house with your emphasis.

Or you flunk out, in which case, bye-bye.

But you wouldn't care 'cause you won't remember.

Good morning, professors.

Physical kids, telekinesis, move sh1t, lift sh1t, most can fly.

Also, magnificent partiers.

Do not come by our house if you have anything important to do the next morning.

Then there's illusions, healing... nature.

Hmm? Knowledge.


Psychics-- you know what they are?

[whispering] Losers.

[both telepathically] Okay, we heard that.

[both telepathically] Eat sh1t, Eliot.

Like I said.

What? Who are they?


You'll scare the child.

Maybe he should be scared.

[sighs] You're so dramatic.


That is what's left of the third-year class.

Were 20, now 4. No one knows why.

They're just gone?

Mm, rumor has it, killed.

Or flunked or got bored or died 16 perfectly natural deaths. Whatever.

We all signed this waiver. I hope you read yours.

It says, "Spellwork is not unlikely to murder you, and, if so, oh, well."

So stay on the garden path, kid.



Wait, did you say "the garden path"?

Yeah, enough maudlin blah.

Let's go find something magic to smoke.


At the exam, each of you did magic.

What was inside you was coaxed.

The question is, who can grow this magic... into something more?

Who can be a magician?

Alice, please.

Ooh, looks serious.

Please... an artist is at work.

[whispering indistinctly]

[suspenseful music]

♪ ♪


♪ ♪



The answer is yes.

Until you pass out, and then again when you wake up.

Did you just read my--

Nah, it's just a guess.

[panting, moaning]

Ah, one of those every year.

One of what?


Shy, yet knows they're smarter than everyone, therefore everyone hates them.

Yeah, Alice is, like...

I don't know how she does it.

That's Alice Quinn?

Yeah, don't bother trying to compare yourself.

I heard she comes from a whole family of magicians.

It's good to be aware the world is inherently unfair.

Act accordingly.

Hey, Alice, come join us.

Make some friends. Take a load off.

Poor, little magic girl.

[Bronze Radio Return's "Say Hello Sometime"]

♪ ♪

Hey, Alice.

Look, my friends... earlier, they were-- they were just--

Cruel? Unoriginal?

Yeah. Sorry.


Look, honestly, um, it's--it's my fault that they said that.

They saw how jealous I am, and...you're the best.

It's easy for you.

No, I study.

Then you get it.

I barely--

I'm terrified I'm gonna get kicked out.

I need this place, and I never had friends or parents who under--

Look, my parents are useless, crazy people who never taught me a drop of magic, okay?

So, if you think that my family is some sort of advantage, you've been misinformed.

There, is there anything else I can do to make you feel better, or are you good?

Sorry. I just got your email.

Cell phone's aren't working up here.

My fifth email.

Sorry. I was working.

You just tell me what you meant by--

I mean not herself.

I mean barely talks to me, not eating.

She looks like a goddamn ghost.

She's not Julia.

Why? What happened?

If I knew, would I need high and mighty mega-genius you back here?

It's her birthday. I'm sure you forgot that too.

I'm throwing a party.

Okay. Party. Good.

Oh, party?

Oh, we're coming.

No, it's not--

Yeah, you go back out there to the great, big, boring world, you'll never find your way back without us.


So is it black-tie or...

[Holy Ghost!'s "Do It Again"]

♪ ♪

This is super risqué.

That's better.

Super risqué.

All right. Okay. What is this?

It is a... "Screwnacorn."

Q! Holy sh1t!

Back from the wars.


Hey. Hey.



It's really good to see you.

You too.

♪ We'll head into the city, well, I guess it can't hurt ♪
♪ Nothing's on the television on the networks ♪


♪ Put the windows down really tune it out ♪
♪ There's something going on ♪

Scotch, neat.

Saw the balloons over there.

Happy birthday.

Or not.

Yep. So go jump off a cliff.


[somber music]

♪ ♪

[cards flutter]

I need you to tell them they were wrong about me.



Say "What's Brakebills?" And I will stab you.

Tell them to test me again.

H-how did you--


I don't know.

Maybe I'm a mutant.

Or maybe...

I wouldn't let myself forget.

They'll just wipe your memory again.

I should be there.

What happened to should be at Yale?

That was before I knew there was something else.

Who cares about business school? Would you?

You have to be able to do certain things.

God, were you always this smug?


[exhales sharply]

[electricity crackling]

You have no idea how long it took me.

To find a spell that was real.

Yeah, it's real.

Yeah, because I'm a magician.

Not necessarily.

There's a-- there's just stuff out there.

There's a lot of nothing spells that people don't even know they're doing.

You go online, and there's a video of George Bush they keep taking down, and he's drunk, and he's laughing, he's making magic air ripples.

And your point is?

It doesn't mean you have potential.


I'm sorry, but they would know.

No, they missed it. I know that I--

No, you know that you don't want to fail.


It's not about that.

Are you sure, Jules?

Because you can do everything else.

It's really okay if this is not your thing.

You're hurting yourself, and you're not okay.

They cut off my life.

Your life is here.

[both laughing]

We got to go.

How's my hair?


[water dripping]


[fabric rips, button clinking]


[fabric ripping, buttons clinking]


Aah! [gasping]



How does it feel to know that...

I can do whatever I want to you?

[electricity crackles]


[speaks foreign language]

I knew it.

What the hell was that? What-- what are you, some kind of crazy, psycho rapist?

Hey, no.

No. I would never.

I swear. I--

I just needed to see if I was right.

Oh, you thought the school was the only place to track the gift?

We've been watching you for quite a while now.

Who's "we"?

[pounding on door]


Hello? Do you need--

Do you need help?

[cautious music]

[enchanted music]

What the...?

♪ ♪

Funny thing about Fillory-- you don't really decide when to go.

It decides... if you deserve to.

You haven't listened, Quentin.

You stuck firm to that path.

It's going to kill you. Do you understand?

No, I don't understand.

Stop talking, you child.

Look, I know you like Brakebills.

I know you feel you finally belong, but that place isn't the point.

You won't be there long.

Shut up. This is a dream, and you are a fictional, English schoolgirl stuck in my head from a book.

You know I'm not.

Look, Brakebills is the first place that feels right to me that is not literally a fairy tale.

Brakebills is a tool.

You feel right because you're starting toward your destiny.

That's all.

Quit clinging. Start questioning.

Seek real answers that will help you fight!

All right, back off.

I know that symbol. What is it?

Find out, won't you?



Hey, uh--

I'm late.

You were looking for something in the cafe the other day.

There was a page with a symbol.

Go away.


What does that mean?

How did you get this?

I'll tell you if you tell me.

Okay, fine.

Tonight, 10:00 p.m., meet me at the Admin Building.

And bring an Estonian-English dictionary.

What does it mean?

"Contact the other side."

The other side? What, like séance sh1t?

Summoning, technically, but, yes.

Right. Summoning, of course.

Yeah, when I'm trying to contact the dead, I like to summon them whenever possible.

Yeah, that's the plan.

As soon as we get the book that I need that apparently got pulled off the shelves two years ago.

Pulled as in locked up?

It's in the Dean's private collection.

Which means it needs to be stolen, right?

Okay. Uh...

Look, I-I really-- I don't want to get kicked out.

And I really don't want to be the guy who dies in the first ten minutes of the movie because he's like, "You know what? Let's take out the Ouija board. What could possibly go wrong?"

Do you want to cheat off my labs, huh?

Do you want a tutor? Do you want to get straight As?

I can do that for you.

So just help me with this.

Okay, for some reason, you're involved, so be involved!

[The Limousines' "Haunted"]

♪ ♪
♪ Couldn't give you everything that you wanted ♪
♪ ♪
♪ But lately I've been seeing things ♪

Hey, Etude number 8-- left or right hand?

♪ Then again the ghost of love ♪

Yo, pacey, what's your deal?

♪ Will never, never, never ♪

Nothing. I--

♪ I'm haunted ♪
♪ I'm haunted by you ♪

Look, hold that thought, okay?

I got to--

Got to what?

Hey, I'm all ears.

Penny, don't be a douche. What?

I can--

♪ I'm haunted by you ♪

Look, I hear voices.

What, psychic?

No, God, I hate that word.

Okay, mind slut?


Come on, Penny, you're not the first I've met.

I mean, you're not even the first to get in my pants, so...

Look, so, I got to go somewhere, all right?

I'm obviously coming with you.

♪ ♪


God. [inhales sharply]

Great, well, that makes me feel a whole lot less nervous.

Nut up, will you?

There's no such thing as safe magic.

You should know that, Quentin.

Might as well take a risk.

Great, well, if put it like that...

Who are we trying to contact? It says we--we need a name.


And who's Charlie?

My brother.

He died. It'd be nice to say hi.


H-h-how did he die?

Horribly, I assume... since no one will tell me what happened.

All I know is that it happened here at Brakebills five years ago.

Did you think that I came here because I just love magic so much?


I need an answer.

He deserves that.

So can we just concentrate?

We need to get this done by exactly midnight, okay? So...

Sorry. I mean... to hear that. I mean, I--

sh1t. No.

What? No, this is good.

This is all making sense.

Yeah. No, it is.

It's just we can do this. It's just we can't do this.

We need--




You got to be kidding me.

We were sent here to help these losers?


Wait. Who sent you?

No one!

Look, I got that you guys need some extra hands or something.

Yes, I can. Yes, I have.

Yes, everything you think is so boring, I replace it with dubstep.

What's dubstep?

It says we need four people.

"Each one a Magical Adept."

And here they are.

Please, come sit down.

This is perfect timing.

[curious music]


♪ ♪

[clock chiming]

[bubbling stops, clock ticking]



I'm hungry.

What? I am.

Let us know if sh1t gets exciting.

I guess I'll start cleaning up.

[dramatic music]

♪ ♪

[door opens]

[door closes]

[ominous music]

♪ ♪

[train horn blows in the distance]

A few helpful rules--

Don't demand, ask.

Safety first. Be patient-- nobody levels up in a day-- and don't leave your purse lying around.

And this what exactly?

This is the real world, babe.

[door clangs open]

Always pay close attention to the alloys.

Um, iron has a-- has a neutral quality, whereas silver and gold have the effect of, uh, magnifying the effects of other components of the alloy and I would caution you to test for this each time before, uh-- before using a knife for, uh, ritual work because, um-- a spell can alter the metal at, uh-- at a quantum level.

[speaking German]

From the, uh... famous German poet and, um--and wizard...

[speaking German]




So, for instance, um, this first device--

[dramatic music]

♪ ♪


[snaps, thuds]

♪ ♪



[muffled scream]

[crunching, grunts]

[coin clinks]

Quentin Coldwater...

There you are.