The Beast (Charles Mesure) may be dead, but once again, that did not go as planned.
The Magicians just suffered its first major loss, and this is not going to be an easy one to recover from. Quentin (Jason Ralph), Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley), Eliot (Hale Appleman), Margo (Summer Bishil), and Penny (Arjun Gupta) spent the first couple of episodes this season preparing to face the Beast again, after their first attempt went so very, very wrong thanks to Julia. This time, their plan eventually worked, but Alice had to sacrifice herself in order to make it happen.
She took a page out of her dead brother's book and let the magic and her emotions overwhelm her until she "niffined" out, essentially becoming a spirit made of magic, which allowed her to easily dispose of Martin Chatwin. Unfortunately, she wasn't going to stop with just the Beast, and Quentin was forced to deploy the battle demon waiting in the tattoo on his back to take her down.
So now, Alice is dead, Quentin is badly injured, Penny's lost the chains that were keeping his hands together, Julia (Stella Maeve) lost her only method of killing Reynard, and the magic wellspring is filled with actual s--t from a god. Everything pretty much sucks.
For now, the suckiest and most impactful of those things is the death of Alice, who proved herself to be not only the strongest, but also the bravest and probably the smartest of everyone in the group. Olivia Taylor Dudley, the actress who played her, knows what a special character she's leaving behind. She talked to E! News all about what it's been like to say goodbye to Alice Quinn.
E! News: At what point did you know we were saying goodbye to Alice this season?
Dudley: I knew eventually Alice was going to die, because I mean I read the books, and it happens in the books. I didn't know going into the series when it would happen, and neither did John [McNamara] and Sera [Gamble], our showrunners. We talked about it and knew it wasn't going to happen in the first season, so I assumed it was going to happen in the second season, but didn't know until we got up to Vancouver and started shooting that we had the conversation that it was going to be in the third episode. And I think it's so important to the story, and it's a huge part of Quentin's journey from here on out, and the heartbreak of that, so I knew that it was important. As much as I didn't want it to happen, I was excited to get a chance to have that moment, because it was my favorite part in the books when Alice battles the beast and dies.
It was such a cool moment at the end of last season when Quentin realized Alice was really the "chosen one" who needed to kill the Beast. Did that have a big impact on you, especially knowing it was leading to this heroic death?
That's very exciting to get to play that. In that scene, when Quentin says you're the hero, you're the one, I think it's really hard for Alice to digest. For me, it was so exciting to get to play the hero at the end, and you know, Alice has so many issues and it takes a really long time for any of them to have any kind of growth on the show, but under the surface, I think that it's hard for her to swallow that she's the one, she's the chosen one. I love that in books and movies, like Lord of the Rings. I loved that character that gets to be the chosen one whether or not they wanted to. She wasn't seeking this in her life, and to get it thrust upon her and force her to be great is, I think, really beautiful.
That scene with Quentin in the carriage was so beautiful, especially now knowing how the episode ends. Did that scene mean a lot to you?
I love that scene so much. It's one of my favorite scenes that I've gotten to shoot so far. It's such a beautiful scene between them because she knows there's a very good chance she's gonna die and not gonna make it through this, so it's heartbreaking. They want to tell each other they love each other so much, but it's such a double edged sword. It's like, what good does that do to tell each other? What a heartbreaking scene.
"It's important to see that these characters love each other. I've always thought of them as magnets, and no matter what they're always going to be drawn to each other. There isn't a lot of time on these journeys to deal with the relationship between them. You know, things have been snowballing from the first season and into the second season. The stakes have gotten so much higher that they just don't have the time to hash it all out, so it was nice to have that moment. I just think the human nature and the love between them is so fascinating and important and adds so much weight to what ends up happening to her at the end of episode three."
"The day we were shooting her death scene, I was crying, Jason [Ralph] was crying, like normally Jason and I are really connected, and we're always checking in with each other before every take, and we know what we want from each other in the scene, but it was almost too much to take in the day, and we kind of had to separate from each other, because we were so sad those days of shooting knowing that it was going to come to an end."
How is mad is Julia going to be now that all her hopes of killing Reynard have been ruined?
Furious! I mean, poor Julia always gets stuck in these positions where it's just not going her way. You know, Julia is not a bad person. She's making choices right now in the story that don't necessarily look like the right choice, but to her, they are, so for her, the Beast dying before she gets to do what she needs to do with Reynard is devastating. And you know, the relationship between Alice and Julia is never gonna be quite figured out, or a good one. They're always after something quite different. But it definitely puts a wrench in Julia's plan.
I was glad to see that you guys got to have some murderous fun before everything went down with the Beast. You actually died twice in the episode, thanks to that throne room curse...
When I read that I was like, oh my god, this is so ridiculous. And then it was so much fun to do. I think that the fun part of our show is that they put us in all these different situations and in the end it's always about human nature and survival and how we are with each other , and I think that that was such a ridiculous scenario that was really fun for all of us to kind of play a different version of our characters for a second.
What will you miss most about Alice?
I'm gonna miss the complexities of her. This is the first time I've gotten to be with a character for this long, and you really just fall in love with the person. She's so complex and there are so many things that are unexplored about her, and it's tragic that we don't get to explore those things. I'll miss the relationship between her and Quentin. I mean it's like, I know what happens in the books, I know what happens in the show, but I wish there was a version where we could explore that more. I'm gonna miss those scenes, playing somebody so complicated.
While Alice's death is horribly sad, there is a silver lining: Dudley is not gone from the show, and neither is Alice, completely, even though she's definitely dead.
"That version of Alice that we've been with for the last season and a bit is gone forever. You can't bring her back, and there's no cheap tricks on bringing her back," Dudley says. "So I get to disappear for a while, and there is a version of Alice that fans will get to see in one shape or another. I got to go on a separate journey with her and with this character later on in the season. I'm excited for people to see that. But it is heartbreaking, because I fell so in love with Alice and had such a wonderful time playing her, so getting to not play that person anymore is really sad."
We'll have to wait to meet that new version of her, but for now, it's time to mourn.
The Magicians airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Syfy.
(E! and Syfy are both part of the NBC Universal family.)