This week, however, we find ourselves lost with Quentin in a mental institution. Not just any mental institution, but one with a hauntingly familiar name. And familiarity abounds, as strange versions of Penny, Eliot, and Alice inhabit the institution, as well as teachers and even the Dean! Everyone insists that Quentin has attacked his father and lost his mind . . . but has he?
Visited by Julia, Quentin is more down in the dumps than ever. And we get our first big clue of this mysterious episode: that the whole thing is an enchantment, a spell worked by Julia and her hedge-witch clan for a very specific purpose. And that purpose is to bust into Brakebills and steal some memories. Because who doesn’t like a nice trip down Memory Lane?
So, while Quentin attempts to break out by driving Penny mad with a legendary rendition of “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift, we see that the hedge-witch team is up to precisely no good at all. Julia’s mentor, Marina, just happens to be a former Brakebills student who flunked out. They excised her memories of Brakebills and stored them on campus, and Marina knows that if she accesses them she’ll regain a lot of her magical ability. Julia is just a pawn in the game because of her connection to Quentin.
The end of the episode is chilling—while Quentin is released from the dream world with Penny’s help (good thing that guy is a traveler!), Julia has her hard-earned tattoos defaced and is flung back out into the cold, cruel world by the evil Marina, who’s regained her magical memories. So while Julia thought she was getting a little revenge on Q by messing with his head, she’s the one who’s been played. Magical justice? We’ll have to tune back in next week and see.