The magical action takes two turns this week: the Brakebills College students are put through the wringer as part of a test designed to weed out more students, and Julia faces a test of her own strength as she meets another exiled hedge witch who has connections deeper than it appears.
Eliot and Margo relish their roles as upperclassmen who kidnap the innocent first years for a fiendishly hard test. Quentin and Penny are thrown together with another classmate and told to solve an impossible problem . . . which, of course, they solve by realizing that it’s a Kobayashi Maru-style test. In order to finish, they cheat, and thereby pass. This twitter follower got right on the Star Trek connection:
As a reward for passing, the group is given ridiculous tasks to complete in the woods, with ineffectual tools. It isn’t until Alice, Penny, Quentin, and Kady find each other in the woods, that they realize they’re supposed to collaborate to solve the problem. Trading tools and divvying up tasks earns them a pass. The whole scene is worth it for Quentin’s confession that he once attended a certain special camp.
Meanwhile, Julia’s tearing up the town looking for other spells and safe houses where she might be welcome. Unsurprisingly, her intimidating attitude is not endearing her to too many people, but she stumbles upon another hedge witch who’s been cast out of Marina’s safe house—it’s Kady’s mom. That’s when the layers really start to peel back and viewers realize there’s a lot more going on behind-the-scenes than was originally apparent. Marina’s Brakebills memories, stored in the safe house filing cabinets, could help Julia and Kady’s mom make more progress. They plot to bust the cabinet loose with a complicated bit of magic they’ve cobbled together. The results are less than stellar.
In the end, the show wraps up with the Brakebills crew, painting themselves with strange substances and telling each other their darkest secrets. While the truth-telling seems to be a requirement for this final test, where the students must transform into geese to fly to Brakebills South, the consequences look like they may be dire. Penny is falling for Kady, but Kady’s just been a user all along. Tragic!
Ok, readers/viewers: Syfy doesn’t have any merch for this show yet. I leave you with this question: what Brakebills swag would YOU like to see as a reminder of your favorite characters? A Quentin-style deck of cards? Not a shirt because, well, Penny? Temporary star tattoos like Julia’s little collection? Let me know in the comments, I’m eager to hear how fans will express their love for this series. Until next week—eat your cucumber sandwiches, and don’t forget to HONK!