Y’know, I was really waiting for this particular shoe to drop, and I’m so pleased that they actually went ahead and dropped it.
As I alluded to earlier, one of the more striking surprises I got reading 1,001 ARABIAN NIGHTS for the first time (after years of being only familiar with its homages and pastiches) was that Sinbad is actually kind-of useless. Far from the swashbuckling adventurer of the Roy Harryhausen movies, the original Sinbad is honestly just an unremarkable merchant with a lucky streak who, for whatever reason, just keeps washing up on one fantastical island’s shore after another. The fact that he keeps surviving shipwrecks to get on those beaches seems less a matter of “situational awareness” and more just dumb luck.
There’s literally nothing else remarkable about Sinbad. In fact, his mediocrity is honestly his most salient trait.
As such, I got much amusement out of the character’s depiction in this episode. The whole intro, where random robbers strip him of all possessions, feels very much like an ARABIAN NIGHTS set-up. And the scenes subsequently revealing him as a rather incompetent rich boy felt totally on the money (pun intended).
Past that, I continue to be impressed by the show’s pacing. The reveal of Alibaba’s complicated “heel turn” feels like something we’d normally see further down the line, but MAGI’s wasting no time to ratchet up the conflict. It’s also one of those head-smacking no-brainer surprises, because I was really wondering when or if the show would ever make good on the “40 thieves” part of that character’s reputation.
At this point, I can’t even predict if particular tiff is going to end with Aladdin joining the thieves’ side of this class conflict, or if we’re going to see a permanent wedge already being driven into this budding friendship. And that, friends, is good drama.