So here we are, back again, after I spent a year on the fence about whether to come back or not. I feel like someone who is still with a spouse that cheated on them. I still feel betrayed, and I have not forgiven them, but I also feel too invested to just walk away. I still feel like there may be value left in the relationship.
My initial reaction to the season premier is that it feels off. There is definitely something missing. Parts of it feel like an organic extension of where we left the show last season, particularly with Margo and Eliot, and with Kady and Pete.
But Julia's story feels rather contrived so far, as if the writers are scrambling for material for her, much like she is for purpose. Penny's story is pushing it too. Dean Fogg says Penny is the only Brakebills-trained traveler, but how much schooling did Penny actually get there? He was a first-year in Season 1 and it wasn't long before The Beast turned everyone's world upside down. From then on it was one quest after another, so none of the students really ever attended that many classes. (I realize this is a different Penny but the timelines were all interrupted for the same reason, hence the constant re-setting.)
It occurs to me that if they were going to kill off a main character it really should have been Alice. Quentin was about the only one who could stand her and without him she has little to no connection to the rest of the group. I suppose since she had already "died" once they didn't think it would give them the impact they were looking for, though. And I still fully believe the decision to kill off Quentin was more of a gimmick intended for shock value than anything else.
Overall I'm glad to revisit these characters but as I expected it feels more like a spin-off or sequel than the same show.