Synopsis of 3×09: It’s all about the feels, as a force traps Quentin, Kady, and Alice in Josh’s musical fever dream. Meanwhile, Margo and Eliot sail to the certain deaths awaiting them at the infinite waterfall.


So here’s the skinny:

  • Kady, Alice, and Quentin find themselves trapped in a whimsical demon’s utopian pocket world. They encounter Josh and an uncharacteristically bossy Todd. They find the fifth key. After some hiccups, they pass the demon’s test by uniting all of the Brakebills gang in an interdimensional rendition of David Bowie’s “Under Pressure.” 
  • The wombat judge sentences Margo and Eliot to death. They choose the infinite waterfall in a poor attempt to stall their deaths. Just as they sail over the edge of the waterfalls, the interdimensional sing-along causes the ship to soar off into the air instead.
  • Tick, Margo’s right-hand advisor, turned his back on his rulers at the moment they needed him most. Instead, he’s pursuing the crown.
  • Actress Jade Tailor finally gets to showcase her singing prowess, that she’s made use of outside of The Magicians.

I think we found hell.

Kady and Quentin return from the library with the fourth key, before meeting Alice at the physical house. Kady looks for Penny with the sight gained from the truth key, but we already know where he is. Hint: It’s not Kansas.

The tale of the seven keys adds new information, a sheet of music. When Kady plays the piece, it brings the three of them to an alternate reality, almost exactly identical other than the drinking, dancing partiers scattered around the physical house. To top it off, the fourth key has disappeared.

Todd introduces the “king of party o’ clock:” Josh. 

Josh portraits have replaced all of the doors. Josh updates them on the one sacred rule of this world: keep calm and party. Otherwise, the crowd will retaliate. Todd joins in and reiterates. 

Magic is back, as introduced by three lit spliffs and impossible smoke tricks. 

We’ve gotta help… because I did a whole line of fairy coke.

Julia and Fen return to the physical house. Julia is ready to help Sky, but Fen is far too bitter over her muddled past with fairies. 

Pick your own execution, it’s an honor.

Margo’s and Eliot’s hearing did not go well. In fact, the wombat judge sentenced them to death. Tick presents them with a list of different execution methods. According to him, such an honor is reserved for only the best rulers. They choose death by the infinite waterfall since it’ll give them more time to plan an escape. But, it’ll be pretty hard to think when they’re plummeting through the freezing water against razor-sharp rocks.

I’m tired of party trick magic.

Kady sucks at feigning complacency and makes a scene the first chance she gets. The mindless party fiends pin Kady and Quentin down until Alice saves them with the “Happy Birthday” song.

You’re not alone.

Julia introduces herself to Sky since she can see her by way of “truth” key. Sky believes that fairies lack magical power, but Julia promises to prove her wrong if she meets her in the lab as soon as she has a chance.

We like it in ‘E’.

Actress Jade Tailor, Kady, finally gets to show off those wondrous pipes of hers. She distracts the legion of partiers by performing a steamy musical piece of the cabaret inspiration.

Meanwhile, Quentin and Alice ambush Josh in his room. Josh opens up about being ignored and forgotten by the others, including being left out of their quest. Man, our heroes are more egotistical and self-absorbed than we knew. I appreciate the series acknowledging the traditional, albeit inevitable, fate of tertiary characters getting pushed to the side and forgotten. Kady ditches the party with a ventriloquism illusion and joins the Josh ambush.

Et tu, Tick?

Eliot and Margo calmly accept their arms being clasped in shackles, all the while believing that Tick will help them escape as soon as the guards leave. But he doesn’t. I know, shocker right?!

Without magic, Tick wants to reclaim the throne he occupied for years during the absence of Earthling rulers. So instead, he leaves them shackled in the Muntjac’s hull, to be placed on a raft and sent over the infinite waterfall.

Oh, it’s a pity party, I get it.

Josh continues his pity party as the others wait for him to get to the part where he got here. Josh reveals that he was led to this inescapable party zone by Todd, who has the fifth key. The gang also realizes that the Todd of this episode is not Todd at all. But, who is he? 

Eventually, he foils Kady’s illusion and the party zombies come for the others. Before the party zombies can break the door down, Josh distracts them with a disco line. 

Julia teaches magic to a Fairy.

Julia gives the fairy a magic lesson. 

Of course, Alice knows what’s going on.

Alice tells the others that the Todd of this world is a German demon known specifically for creating utopian pocket worlds to feed off of its victims’ happiness. The gang finds the fifth key hidden in the piano in Josh’s room.

Everything goes to s**t.

During Julia’s magic lesson, nothing happens at first. However, as soon as the fairy starts showing some promise, her necklace goes nuts and blood runs out of every orifice. Julia pauses it with her special magic, without even using her hands!

In Fillory, Eliot and Margo get even closer to the infinite waterfalls. Margo and Eliot have a sweet moment where they feel almost like their old selves with one another.

Kady holds the fifth key and it connects all of the questers to one another, including Josh. Everyone gets to hear each other, across worlds, and respond in real time, like an interdimensional skype call. Josh finally snaps and lets out his true feelings, which leads to a pretty intense beatdown for some party zombies to be handing out. 

David Bowie saves the day.

Quentin does some fancy handwork and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure” begins playing. He tells them, everyone needs to sing. In a powerful, fun rendition of the classic song, all of our questers sing along and it saves everyone’s days.

The Muntjac flies off into the air instead of down the infinite waterfall, Sky survives Julia’s magic lesson, and the demon drops the curtain on his pocket world. Hands down best use of “Under Pressure.” I know I praised Kady’s voice, but Eliot hit Bowie’s notes like the great spaceman himself.

The demon reveals himself and confesses that this whole scheme was for the satisfaction of some mysterious figure. Our only clue was, “He said you’d ace it.”

He lets them out, back into the real world of the physical house. Julia returns with the truth key and the Tale of the Seven Keys reveals chapter 6.

So technically, this was not a musical episode. At least, not by the same measures as you would expect from a television series. Specifically, the music added something that the episode would have been lacking otherwise. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you do a “musical episode.” What did you think? Let us know, we’d love to hear it and respond, even if you’re just gushing about David Bowie or the perfect pairing between him and The Magicians.

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