“Magic ain’t nothin’ but a voodoo grift.”
We know by now that Ned has massive daddy issues. “Oh Oh Oh… It’s Magic” takes some steps towards resolving them.
“At the mere mention of magic, he experienced the sting of anxiety-induced acid reflux.”
– The Narrator, speaking about Ned
Ned’s dad used to perform magic tricks in front of him when he was a kid. After the man disappeared, Ned began associating magic with the negative feelings surrounding his abandonment. So when his half-brothers, Maurice and Ralston, invite him to a magic show, he’s less than enthusiastic about the prospect of reliving his childhood trauma.
“I’m not a diver; I’m a cautious swimmer. I test the water with my big toe and then gently wade into the shallows.”
I’ve discussed this before, but Ned’s abandonment by his father has left him cautious and reluctant to let others into his life. In particular, his reluctance to grow closer to his half-brothers isn’t fuelled entirely by his distaste for magic; it’s also driven by his desire not to get hurt. If he never forms bonds with anyone else, then no one can hurt him.
“What they’re pulling out of their magic hats isn’t a rabbit; it’s my childhood trauma. They’re wearing it like a cape and taking it to the stage.”
As usual, it’s the episode’s murder mystery that helps put Ned’s issues into perspective. Ned sees how The Great Herrmann, a father figure to his underlings, treats the Geek (Gunther), his assistant (Alexandria), and Maurice and Ralston, always making promises but never delivering on them. This treatment drives Alexandria to frustration and Gunther to murder. It’s then that Ned realizes he can’t blame his father for his hangups forever. At some point, he has to take ownership of his life and his decisions.
“I’m on a date with a man!”
Also taking ownership of her life in this week’s episode is Vivian, who is wooed by Dwight Dixon. Vivian has always been the more outgoing of her and Lily, and in some ways, Lily holds her back. This makes sense; after all, Vivian isn’t the one struggling with sleeping with his sister’s fiancé. Of course, in this instance, Lily is right: Dwight is bad news. Will this drive a wedge between Lily and Vivian, or will Vivian trust in the “magic” of romance? We’ll see soon.
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