On The Magicians this week, we learn the location of the sixth key and it’s complicated.
Alice and Quentin are back at it and by it, I mean fighting. Obviously, Q still doesn’t trust his ex-girlfriend after seeing her in the Library and she’s annoyed that he expects her to tell him everything. While she begrudgingly said that she was at the Neitherlands because she needed information for her grand unified theory of magic, he still feels that she’s not coming clean with everything.
You can see it from both their perspectives. On the one hand, Q is mistrustful because Alice just left and wanted nothing to do with him or the quest. When she finally does come back to Brakebills she says that she had no place else to go and doesn’t know if they really should get magic back because they’ve screwed everything. Then she changes her mind and still wants magic so Julia gives hers. But unfortunately it didn’t sit well and has to transfer it back to the hedge witch. Next she tries to get a vampire to bite her instead (which Julia stops). Lastly the ex-niffin heads to the Library in order to strike a bargain and wants to join the quest.
Meanwhile Alice is still learning to be human all over again after being a creature of magic. Understandably she’s pissed, overwhelmed, and needs space because she had such immense power and now is completely ordinary. It’s clear that she is on a journey to find a new version of herself that she can live with and struggled to deal with Quentin who seems to keep looking for the old her. It makes sense that she’s having the hardest time repairing their relationship because they had been the closest to each other. With everyone else she’s been able to open up in a more genuine way because they don’t have the same expectations of her. Understandably she also has trust issues when it comes to Q because he had also been the one to return her to a fleshy state.
As Julia walks in on their fight inside the Physical Kids’ cabin, Alice tells Quentin that they can continue this fight after the quest is over but for now just to give her the stupid book. He relents and hands it over, telling Julia once the other magician leaves that the sixth key is in the throne room in Whitespire. Had they only known earlier they could have gotten it before Margo and Eliot were overthrown as the rulers of Fillory. Though the Fillorians probably wouldn’t want him or Alice as their monarchs either at this point.
After Jules magically cures Quentin’s headache, she tells him that she needs to finish this business with the fairies because she couldn’t just leave them as slaves with their limbs being chopped off for magical cocaine. He tells her to do what she’s gotta do but to just be careful. She asks Fen for help and the reluctant Fillorian eventually agrees because while she hates fairies, she detests slavery even more. The two women go to Irene and reveal that they know she has fairies. Julia explains that she was helping Fen with a fairy problem and wanted to know how the current owner of Brakebills kept hers so docile. The elder magician then explains that it was their collar that kept them in line and that she could get one from her Uncle Edwin. In return though she wanted them to bring her back a fairy.
Uncle Edwin, played by Syfy veteran Michael Hogan (Battlestar Galactica,Teen Wolf), is visiting Brakebills along with other MacAllisters for some secret family gathering. He gives Julia one of the collars and explains that the only way to remove it was machine that he had and so she shouldn’t worry about it not working. The male magician doesn’t tell her what powers it, but it’s got to be something sinister. During this scene we also meet Dust, a fairy that’s been with the MacAllisters for 400 years.
After meeting with Edwin, Julia rendezvous with Fen and Sky who tells the two women that the other fairies don’t believe that she performed magic. Understandably if they’ve been told one thing for nearly half a century it’s hard to believe anything else. Irene soon calls for Sky and Jules asks her to keep trying to convince the others to get out of there. When the two humans are alone, Fen suggests that they bring someone even scarier than the MacAllisters.
On the Muntjac, Josh, Alice, and Q have arrived to let Margo and Eliot know that the sixth key is in the throne room at Whitespire. Alice tells the two ex-high monarchs that Tick (who is currently king) is up north near Loria. Quentin further explains that the key will only be revealed in the light of two half moons, which is apparently something that happens in Fillory. When Eliot asks why Tick is up north, Q and Alice answer that they heard that the kingdom was at war with the Lorians and the Floaters while passing through town. Margo and El are livid and prepare to send bunnies to King Idri and Queen Fomar when Quentin points out that they are no longer the heads of the kingdom. This is a true testament to how much the two magicians have grown that they feel responsible for Fillory and still want to do what they feel is right. Though also, it could be a teensy bit that they like the power despite all the other negatives. While they have been given a clean out, the duo can’t let ruling go. Margo says that they chose this and so Q can captain the key quest while they’ll stop a war.
So the trio get dropped off at Whitespire at night to find the sixth key. Alice breaks a mirror explaining that the moonlight has to hit three keystones to reveal the object’s location but they aren’t anywhere near a window. Josh meanwhile is playing referee to keep the bickering twosome focused on their task. They set up the mirrors, but it doesn’t seem to work with Alice and Q continuing to argue. She finally tells him to come out with what’s bothering him and he asks her if she’s working for the Library. The ex-niffin confirms it adding that the Librarians want to help them because they want magic back as badly as they do. Quentin finds it hard to believe after what they did to Penny, Harriet, and Victoria, which catches Josh’s attention. They then have to reveal that his ex-girlfriend got stuck within a mirror bridge. Not surprisingly the elder magician decides that the only recourse at this time is to smoke a joint because while he had been really excited to be back on the quest, he just found out his ex is dead (possibly) and they were setting his ball hairs on edge. Q turns his attention back to Alice and questions why she didn’t just tell him this upfront. She responds that she knew he would react this way. Josh interrupts and says he knows where the sixth key is as they all stare at a wall inside the throne room.
In the meantime, it seems that the fairy queen is back in her own Fillorian realm since that is where we find her with Julia and Fen (thank you portal making keys). The two women are there to convince her majesty to come to Brakebills with them so that the fairies on earth will believe that there are still others of their kind out there and that they need to flee. We discover that human magicians nearly hunted their kind to near extinction and that’s why they fled to Fillory. The queen is naturally not convinced that a lost tribe exists when Fen interjects that she hates fairies so why would she return to this place where the magical creature took her toes and her child from her if it wasn’t true. She adds that the fairies on Earth were nothing like the her and more like frightened children. As a mother she believes that they deserve a chance to live. Lastly, she yells that she needs to get off her ass because they need their queen. You tell her Fen!!
Her words reach the powerful monarch as we next see the three inside the living room of the Physical Kids’ cabin. Julia explains that the queen needs to put on the slave collar because it’s the only way to get close to Irene’s fairies. For all they knew the MacAllisters could trigger the collars remotely and it could kill everyone wearing them instantly. Against her better judgement the older creature places her trust in Julia and puts on the contraption after the other woman reveals that she still has magic. When the queen asks the hedge witch why go so far to help her kind, Jules answers that being god touched is a mixed bag and she chooses to do something meaningful with her power by saving those fairies.
Soon after, the two females go to Edwin and Irene where the latter takes a phone call that suspiciously sounds like a request for more fairy dust (ahem the Library perhaps?). Irene is eager to find out where she can get her claws on more raw material so to speak. Edwin has Dust take the queen to a holding cell and tells him that they’ll be working through dinner. Jules in the meantime texts Fen to go ahead and look for the collar-breaking machine while she snoops around some more because something doesn’t seem right. The Fillorian responds with emojis of a tiger, two knives, and a thumbs up. She can’t seem to locate anything that fits what their looking for when Edwin, Dust, and another fairy come inside. Fen quickly ducks under a table with a plastic sheet on top of it, making for a good hiding spot. The elder fairy sets up the younger one on a chair where suddenly the other’s head gets chopped off. Oh holy crap! There is no collar-breaking machine folks. The MacAllisters just kill them and then grind up their parts.
At the holding cell, the queen reunites with her lost people and explains how they are divinely spun and blessed as the embodiment of magic. Does that mean that the gods created them? An angry Fen bursts into the room with a knife at Dust’s throat and Julia hot on their heels. The Fillorian tells them all that there is no machine to destroy the collar and Dust confirms that nothing can break fairy deals. He goes on to explain that for the sake of their people, a group of them chose to stay on Earth and bind themselves to the MacAllisters so that their kind would have a chance to be free in a new world without the magicians following them. The queen confirms that it had been her mother that had found safe passage to Fillory. She had been born there and their kind thrived all thanks to Dust and his companions’ sacrifice. Julia asks if there’s a way to break the deals but the queen refuses to because it’s the foundation of their culture. Fairies are known to honor their deals as it is their limited leverage and a key to their survival. Without that they are weak and vulnerable and it would be better for her to take the knowledge to her grave. Edwin then enters the room and magically hurls Julia and Fen against the wall. As he goes into the cell and grabs Sky, the fairy queen has a change of heart and decides to negate the deal binding them to the collars. As soon as she does all the fairies turn invisible to the humans and they kill all the MacAllisters except for Irene who gets away.
Post-slaughter, the fairy queen and Julia are chatting back at the Physical Kids’ cabin where the hedge witch says she’s sorry that she couldn’t save more of them. The monarch says that if it weren’t for the other woman they would all be dead so she chooses to be grateful. While we’ve only seen the manipulative and ruthless aspects of this character, actor Candis Cayne does a brilliant job in showing us that even this hardened magical creature has the capability to show gratitude and respect for those she deems worthy. We learn though that because she had broken the deal, there will be consequences and now their word means nothing. She tells Julia that of all the humans who have ever sought her out she’s the only one that did not have her own personal agenda to accomplish. If there were more like her perhaps they could have coexisted. Julia says that maybe they still can but the queen changes the subject and reveals that she knows they are on a quest for the seven keys. One of the keys is with them, however it is what created and sustains the fairy realm, which is why they can never give it to them. Well that sucks.
CORRECTION: This article previously stated that the fairies had the seventh key, when in fact it is the sixth key. This was clarified in season 3, episode 11.
Known keys thus far:
Illusion Key – summons whatever you fear the most
Truth Key – shows all things that are hidden and reveals the truth
Time Key – manipulates time and space
Darkness Key (or Depression Key) – takes the darkest parts of a person and brings it to life
Unity Key – mentally links a group of people across different dimensions and spaces
The Magicians airs on Syfy Wednesdays at 9 pm.