Spoilers for 3×23 “Finish Line”

After last week’s episode, I wrote what I thought would happen in the finale. Turns out HR sacrifices himself to save Iris. I didn’t see that coming, but it was a theory floating around, and it plays out well. So, with Iris alive, Barry doesn’t go back in time and that derails most of my speculation…but I got a couple things right.

Barry tries to save Savitar

Barry remembers Snart’s advice (“your goodness is your strength…The Flash should remain a hero”) and decides anger and hate aren’t the right motivations to beat Savitar. He needs to try helping Savitar, instead of fighting him. Barry offers to help Savitar survive the time paradox, and Savitar seems to accept Team Flash’s help. (But it’s a TRAP.)

Barry must atone for Flashpoint

After Jay Garrick is freed from the Speed Force, the Speed Force becomes unstable. Energy is leaking into Earth and destroying Central City, and it’ll get worse if a speedster doesn’t go into the Speed Force to stabilize it. Barry volunteers, no hesitation and no questions. He realizes it’s time to pay penance for the damage he caused with Flashpoint, so he says goodbye to everyone and leaves.

The season 3 finale ties up all the loose ends from the season. It ends with Barry entering the Speed Force, and that’s not really a cliffhanger—we know Barry will come back. We just have to wait to see how.

Spoilers for season 1 of The Magicians (and if you know what happens later in the books…you know where this is headed).

The idea that certain people can tap into an incredible amount of power but at an incredible cost is interesting story material. You can play with motivations. What circumstances would push a person to take on that much power, knowing they will probably die?

TV Tropes calls it the Deadly Upgrade. In The Magicians, a deadly upgrade results in a niffin, a malicious spirit of magic.

Do you know what a niffin is? It’s when too much runs through you. It consumes you. Only the magic is left. But you’re not you anymore, you’re lost.

– 1×03 “Consequences of Advanced Spellcasting”

What if most magicians have something like a gag reflex when they get up to high levels of power? Some kind of hard-wired reaction that makes them back down so that they don’t turn into niffins. What if certain magicians can ignore that reflex and keep using a dangerous amount of power, even though it’s harmful to them?

(more…)

what-magic-is

One of my favorite things about fantasy stories is when they make up their own rules for how their world works and then stick to those rules.

Here’s a list of what magic is and what it isn’t, according to characters in season 1 of SyFy’s The Magicians.

“There’s so such thing as safe magic. Might as well take a risk.” (1×01 – Unauthorized Magic)

“Funny little irony they don’t tell you. Magic doesn’t come from talent. It comes from pain.” (Eliot, 1×02 – Source of Magic)

“Being a magician has always been about, in part, accruing power. Power over yourself, the elements, the future. But power, as you all know, does not come cheaply.” (Dean Fogg, 1×03 – Consequences of Advanced Spellcasting)

“Magic doesn’t solve problems. It magnifies them.” (Conversation between Quentin and Dean Fogg, 1×04 – The World in the Walls)

Quentin: What is the point of magic if we can’t fix real problems?
Dean Fogg: We can fix some things. So we fix what we can. (1×05 – Mendings, Major and Minor)

“A great magician is magic.” (Mayakovsky, 1×07 – The Mayakovsky Circumstance)

“What we call magic is a set of tools left over from Creation. […] The tools were left for us to find.” (Richard, 1×08 – The Strangled Heart)

“Magic is science. Hard to crack on your own but far from impossible if you have the natural bend.” (Kira, 1×09 – The Writing Room)

Quentin: Okay, what is magic actually for?
Julia: For fixing things, dummy. (1×12 – Thirty-Nine Graves)