Synopsis of 3×08: The plan to rob the library is afoot, told from six different perspectives in ‘Six Short Stories About Magic.’ Buckle your seatbelts, ladies and gentlemen, this one is gonna get weird… but only in the best way.


Here’s the skinny:

  • We get the whole episode through a series of six stories, all written by the library’s personal oracle and read by Penny. Each one tells the same events from a different perspective, except for one story. Harriet’s story is told without audio, only sign language, and we learn that the head librarian is her mother.
  • Penny visits the underworld and the library’s underworld branch to find the key Benedict brought down with him. Help comes in the form of Sylvia, the woman he was forced to leave to her death during his attempted robbery of the library’s poison room. She helps him to figure out where the key is through the stories written by the library’s oracle. When it comes time to return back to the surface with the key, Sylvia sends the key off and traps Penny. A couple of suits come and take him away.
  • Quentin and Poppy search the library’s book chute for the key, but it’s not there yet. Poppy leaves Quentin behind during their fleeing, but he escapes with Kady after they finally recover the key from the chute.
  • Alice ventures to the library on her own and stays behind to meet with the head librarian.
  • Fen and Julia tag-team for their own mini-adventure where they learn that the McAllisters have been creating their magical cocaine from the limbs of their fairy servants.

Penny sneaks out of the library, then back in, then back out.

So Penny arrives in the underworld and finds Benedict in temporary housing. Of course, he has to bribe the workers first. Even in the underworld, Game of Thrones recaps are invaluable. Penny uses one as currency, poorly I may add. Penny thinks he’s too cool for GOT, tsk tsk, tsk. No one’s too cool for GOT.  Penny comes to Benedict solely for the key, which comes as a surprise to Benedict considering he believed they were best friends. Benedict tells him that the library took it.

Sylvia, Penny’s past coworker from the library, catches Penny on his way back in. She brings him to Cassandra, an oracle who looks exactly like a disheveled Alice and literally wrote the books of everyone’s lives. 

Penny hates sex scenes, especially Quentin’s.

Penny reads Poppy’s story. Incidentally, Poppy has been attempting to silence Quentin’s anxiety and compulsive worrying with good ol’ coitus. So, Penny skims the details. Afterward, Poppy encounters Alice in the hallway. Alice informed everyone that Victoria’s magical bridge into the library might be fairly unstable. This worries Victoria, who refuses to be a part of the plan without a stable bridge.

Kady confesses that Harriet’s plan to rob the library is in pursuit of a magical battery of immense power.

Poppy steals Alice’s “niffin notes,” even better than CliffsNotes. The group uses the notes to create a stable bridge with Victoria’s sigils.

Started on the surface, now my whole team here.

Everyone has made it to the library and departs on their specific part of the mission. Quentin and Poppy search in vain for the key. Quentin coincidentally faces Alice and refuses to leave her. Poppy couldn’t care less and makes a run for it. Meanwhile, Victoria is losing blood waiting for the others to return.

Fen gets real.

We get a slightly different retelling of the story we’ve seen in the episode thus far. 

Fen surfaces, from the portal into Fillory. She drunkenly recounts her sorrows with Alice. Alice is feeling way too sorry for herself, so Fen shares some insight. As Fen explains, Alice simply lost knowledge, something that still exists out there in the world waiting to be found again. On the other hand, Fen lost a daughter, who she can never see again. Guess whose tale is worse.

Alice summons a worker from the librarian at a book drop in the middle of nowhere. He takes her to the library to speak with the head librarian. After the head librarian leaves her, she comes across Quentin and commands him to leave.

In the hands of the marsupial.

Eliot and Margo are on trial, I suppose for the inadequate ruling of the kingdom, specifically pleading to a wombat.

Fen hates fairies.

Julia receives a visit from Irene, who comes calling for the favor Julia promised her. She needs Julia to heal her with an immense magical treatment. Fen witnesses the fairy waiting on Irene.

While Julia does the treatment, Fen speaks with Irene’s fairy. She’s the meekest fairy we’ve seen yet and believes that the McAllisters protect her clan out of the kindness of their hearts. Furthermore, she believes that there are no other fairies.

The next day, when Julia and Fen sneak into Irene’s home to see Sky, there’s a surprise waiting for them. Irene took Sky’s leg to grind into fairy powder, the same powder Irene gave Julia for magic. The McAllisters have been doing this all along.

Harriet’s story, and arguably, the best one.

Harriet’s story is seen entirely without audio and completely in subtitled sign language.

We see snippets of her youth and her relationship with her mother, the head librarian. From youth to adulthood, she was always somewhat of a rebellious child and believed that the knowledge of the library belonged to all magicians. Of course, her mother felt differently, so their relationship became even more estranged and distant over time. 

Fast forward to now, where she found a suitcase full of fairy powder, unbeknownst to her, and intends to steal it from her mother. She manages to get back through the portal, partially because her mother can’t bear to truly hurt her. Sadly, the librarian who brought Alice destroys the portal after Harriet goes through, trapping Harriet and Victoria.

Never skim the details, even for uncomfortable sex scenes.

After rereading Poppy and Quentin’s sex scene, Penny realizes that Benedict wasn’t entirely truthful earlier. Benedict tells the truth. Penny accepts Benedict as a friend and offers him a position at the library. He sends the key off to Quentin but, before he can take off with it, Sylvia shuts the book chute and a pair of suited men take Penny away.

I may have a new season favorite. Of all the episodes, this one pursued a bold direction in a way only The Magicians could. What do you think? Favorite or nah? Let us know, we’d love to hear it and respond.

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