Synopsis of 2×10: We get to see the time loop come into play once again, as Quentin searches for answers from an alternate universe in which the beast claimed a different set of victims. The fairies arrive to claim the terms of their deal with Margo and the beginning of Penny’s eternal stint with the Library of the Neitherlands proves fatal for someone.
So here’s the skinny:
- After trying to drown his sorrows with everything from Fillorian wine to Josh’s magic baked goods, Quentin sees Julia’s shade in a vision. She’s a twelve-year-old version of Julia. Talk about the child in all of us.
- Julia and Dean Fogg power a magic mirror device that allows Quentin to speak to an Alice who was the sole survivor of the 39th battle with the beast. She tells him that shades go to the underworld, where only the dead can enter unless an ancient gatekeeper accompanies you. Julia and Quentin uncover that the ancient gatekeepers may be dragons.
- Penny begins his orientation at the Library of the Neitherlands. He learns that there is a room of only banned books too dangerous for the public. Later Kady learns that the book of god-killing spells she’s looking for is in the so-called “poison room.”
- Eliot prepares for his wedding and becomes completely consumed in it, while Fen is plagued by mysterious sightings of the fairies she doesn’t know are coming for her baby. That is until they take her and her baby away to Ember-knows-where.
“The Girl Who Told Time” opens with a flashback of Julia at Brakebills performing magic for Dean Fogg. This must be from one of the alternate time loops after Julia entered into Brakebills. Their relationship resembles Harry Potter and Dumbledore’s more than Fogg’s relationship with Quentin does. I must admit my longing to see her journey through Brakebills as the powerful protagonist with blistering potential. Her discipline is meta-composition, so she’s a knowledge student, the first we’ve seen! Pretty intriguing considering the complete lack of variation we’ve had from Brakebills students.
Dean Fogg lets Julia go from the dungeon. She has the closest thing she can have to guilt, considering she’s literally without a soul. I appreciate her effort. As troublesome as Julia is without soul, she was hardly any better with one.
Castle Whitespire is bustling with wedding preparations. It’s been three months in Fillory and Quentin’s been “emo” during all of it, indulging in wine to mask his pain. Meanwhile, Elliot has become a complete testament to monster grooms.
Kady is still pursuing a weapon to defeat Reynard and Penny is tagging along against her wishes. He and Kady unknowingly walk through a door into the Library of the Neitherlands. Our favorite head librarian comes over and welcomes Penny into the order officially since the Library processed his application. I wish jobs processed applications that quickly in the real world.
Elliot doesn’t understand his subjects’ growing restlessness. He’s seeking ruling advice from Bayler, his prisoner/failed assassin, over a game of backgammon. Apparently, he won Bayler over with nachos. The assassin offers sound advice. From foo fighter to public relations expert. Fillory’s career industry is a fever dream.
Back at the Physical house, Quentin comes to recruit Josh as Eliot’s private chef. Josh offers one of his magical baked goods, to ease Quentin’s suffering. It allows him to see into another world where he sees Julia’s shade, a 12-year-old version of her. She doesn’t know where she is, but she can’t stay because time is scarce. She pleads for Quentin to find her before it’s too late, so she can return to Julia.
Kady asks around the Library of the Neitherlands for books on how to defeat a god. The librarian claims no such records exist. Meanwhile, Penny learns that his job will pertain to hunting down overdue books. His first assignment is one that has been checked out for ten years. He asks Kady to help him with a locator spell.
Fen catches glimpses of fairies now and then.
Quentin visits Julia, who’s reluctant to let him in at first, and invites her on his shade hunt.
Josh presents a sample meal to Eliot, but Eliot’s true purpose of the wedding meal sways Josh to create a potion.
Quentin and Julia’s hunt leads them once again to Dean Fogg. He tells them that Alice was interested in shades. Remember the time loop? Well, Alice from the 23rd time loop was the only survivor in that skirmish with the Beast. Afterwards, Alice became obsessed with the afterlife and how to commune with shades. Julia reminds them of a tesla flection, a mirror spell, they can use to speak to this alternate Alice.
Eliot asks Margo for advice on Fen. She promises to speak to Fen and excuses herself curtly after she sees a fairy lurking in the shadows.
Kady and Penny walk into an office called Fuzz Beat, a company that runs a website that attempts to portray social awareness through paltry articles. They’re there to find the book from a woman named Harriet. Harriet comes out from the back. She begins signing, as in American Sign Language. So naturally, Penny yells out a few “whoa”s and cowers, mistaking her communication for casting. This is why The Magicians is so worthwhile, because it addresses realistic possibilities like sign language being mistaken for spell-casting since they could bear such striking resemblances.
Kady understands Harriet’s gestures, but Harriet finds Kady’s sign language offensively inarticulate. Harriet starts signing again and makes a joke Penny can’t understand. Apparently, clickbait is encoded magic for magicians. Makes sense. Who knows? Maybe this article is a disguised spell for turning enemies into cats but, not the cute kind, the broadway musical sort. Penny is quickly losing patience, while Kady is bonding over sign jokes. She gives them the book and Penny storms out.
Josh speaks to Eliot and Margo about testing the potion for Eliot, which unexpectedly “roofied” the dishwasher. This allowed Josh to find an assassination note hidden in a dirty dish. Eliot is surprised that the assassin was planning on assassinating him again, since he thought they bonded enough over backgammon and nachos. Margo comes up with plan to sober up the dishwasher, who the note was probably meant for, and trick him into unintentionally leading them to the Foo Fighters’ encampment. Once Margo’s spell shows them the site, they send Josh off to put his potion to even more use.
Penny returns the overdue book to the library. A curse on the book manipulates the librarian into attacking Penny and trying to unlock a forbidden door. He regains enough control over his body to kill himself with a kill switch, for the greater good. The door leads to the “poison room,” a room containing all the banned books too dangerous for the public.
Dean Fog stands with Quentin in an empty classroom explaining some things about the tesla flection, which was named after a famous somebody. And no, it’s not Nikola Tesla, like Quentin guessed so confidently, it’s Fred Flection. They’re using the original equipment left to Brakebills, three people died before trying to shut it down. Fogg and Julia will keep the equipment powered and structured while Quentin goes into the device and travels back in time.
Margo continues to hide her misdeed with the fairies. When her and Fen both witness a fairy appear before disappearing into thin air, Margo tells her about the rumplestiltskin deal. Margo promises that she can keep the fairies from taking the child.
Dean Fogg and Julia activate the tesla flection. Quentin goes in and sees Alice from the 23rd time loop. She’s a wreck, completely different from both the dead Alice and Niffin Alice. She searched the world for any information about Quentin’s shade, which the beast tore apart when he did the same to Quentin. Shades go to the underworld and only the dead can enter, except for living people who enter the world with a primordial gatekeeper. She hasn’t found one yet and she’s still looking. Alice apologizes for how things were between them before he died. He says he loves her, no matter what. Alice disappears right before darkness engulfs Quentin.
When Penny and Kady return to Fuzz Beat’s office, it’s void of life, other than the greeting card on the table. Its pages contain a call number for the book Kady had been searching for. By a cruel incident of kismet, it resides in the poison room of the Library of the Neitherlands.
A fairy appears when Fen is alone and whisks her away, baby and all.
Quentin sits there, reading through book and Julia attempts to console him. She thinks she’s figured out what an ancient one is. Quentin takes the book and sees the powerful creatures. Here be dragons!
What did you think of this episode? Did it sustain the momentum of the second season? Do you think Margo never should have made that deal with the fairies? Leave a comment and let us know, we’d love to hear it.