Things are heating up as the season winds on. Book fans will find this episode particularly intriguing, as several of the original series’ plot points are woven into the mess that the TV characters have made. Notably, Penny becomes re-entangled with the Librarians of the Neitherlands, and Julia loses her shade (part of her soul) after the magical abortion, transforming her and throwing her into contact with trees. . . just not in any of the ways originally described by Grossman. Let’s jump in:
Episode MVP: Julia, this time. She fearlessly embraces her new shade-less state and focuses on the best chance she and Kady have to completely eliminate Reynard: finding Dana’s baby. A god’s child would lend power to a new god-killing spell, obviously, so when they find an old View Master that will show them scenes from the day that Dana’s baby was born and apparently adopted away, they think they can track the baby down. Meanwhile, Julia is whisked back to Fillory after a brief and terrifying brush with Reynard and messes around with the dryads of the forest blocking Margo’s path to Loria. Her little exploding gift was one way to demonstrate that the Julia in this version of the story is a little less tree-huggy, to say the least.
Creepy Creepster: the Brakebills evilkinder. Alice is poking around where she doesn’t belong to try and solve her whole niffin problem, and this kid is TERRIFYING. Not to mention the Stephen King-esque horror of being at a playground after midnight with said bloodthirsty child. Props to Jason Ralph, who shared a haunting GIF from behind the scenes during filming.
Worthy of Redemption and Tearjerker Moment: Margo was exceptionally played in this episode. Summer Bishil gets lots of props from fans for being sassy and explosive, but she flips things around to show a much more vulnerable side to Margo’s character. Fen is mourning the loss of Eliot, who hasn’t re-animated following his golem’s death in the bank heist, and Margo steps up to fully own the situation. She pledges to fight Fillory’s battles, be the best High Queen ever, and protect Fen like Eliot would. Fortunately, she doesn’t have to live up to any of this, as Eliot comes out of his magical coma in the nick of time. There’s a nice set of lines where Eliot acknowledges how much Margo has done and that she would be fully capable of living up to her pledges, and Margo tearfully admits that none of it would be any good without him. Y’all, this High King and Queen are so much more to each other than they even want to admit. They’re like the best BFF soul buddies ever, always having each other’s backs. I’m not sure I’ve seen such a complex and steadfast friendship on TV like this before, and it is some damn good storycraft. Even the source material didn’t give me the feels like this!
Most Medieval: The creepy niffin monk who remains unconvinced that Alice is worth his time and tutelage. After all, the best she could do was a little atmosphere underscored by Gregorian chanting. . . she still can’t break free of Quentin. And she’s literally killing Q by remaining inside him. Hopefully they take care of this next episode?
Dangerous Territory: Penny argues with Kady, but goes back to the library in the Neitherlands to try and find the name of Reynard’s son with Dana. The librarian sympathizes with his plight. He can’t really do any magic with his busted hands (an artful way to get out of having to CGI his hands out of every episode) and is desperate for help. The library offers him a deal he ends up being unable to refuse: They’ll help him as long as he signs a contract that binds him in servitude to the Order of the Librarians. And you can bet they will need his help at a most inconvenient future time, that’s for certain.
We wrap up the week with Kady’s fists of steel knocking Quentin out so Penny can “incept” him and see why he’s been so flaky. The image of Alice up top says it all. In no uncertain terms, she warns Penny to GET OUT of Q’s head and stay away. Now that the gang know he’s, ahem, occupied. . . what will they do to save Q? Next week’s episode, Lesser Evils, may reveal all.
There are five more episodes left in the season. Fillory goes to war next week, according to the teaser promo pictures. I predict we’ll meet up with Jane Chatwin again in “The Girl Who Told Time” and the finish will be strong as we meet back up with Umber in the final episode, “We Have Brought You Little Cakes.” After all, even if Reynard is stopped, Penny gets his magic back, Alice is de-niffinized, and everyone rallies round there is still the matter of the poop in the wellspring. Oh, magical wellsprings. They’re so delicate. Until next week!