When we last left Brakebills, Penny had vanished after touching the magical button they had found at Christopher Plover’s home in England. In tonight’s episode we discovered that he had gone into the Neitherlands, a sort of stopover between the worlds.
The traveler meets a native named Eve who explains that each fountain leads to a different dimension. She casually asks him which one he came from and he says Earth. Eve then inquires if he’s got any fancy magical items, since she’s seen them all, capes, rings, and even some dude in a sleigh being pulled by reindeers. Penny’s mind is blown when he realizes that she’s talking about Santa Clause and admits that he doesn’t have anything crazy like that, just a button. Eve is creepily insistent on seeing the button and that raises a red flag in his mind. Still, he slowly takes it from his pocket to show her when she makes a grab for his hand. Her expression instantly changes into a hostile one and her fellow goons appear. Eve quickly throws a fireball at him but he luckily vanishes to a different place before getting burned. Unfortunately Penny realizes that he’s in trouble upon seeing hundreds of fountains in the Neitherlands without any idea how to get back to his.
In desperation, he astral projects into Quentin’s dream where we find Alice dressed as Daenerys Targaryen and Julia is wearing Princess Leia’s gold bikini (they make out). Penny of course has lots to say about Q’s fantasy but also admits that he needs help. Unfortunately the other magician doesn’t really know anything about the Neitherlands because it wasn’t in the Fillory books. Q asks him why he can’t just travel back but it seems that Penny can’t aim properly yet and could end up dead trying. Help him Quentin, you’re his only hope!
Q consults Margo and Eliot to see if they’ve heard anything about the Neitherlands but it’s Alice who has the answer to their problems. She admits that she may have a way to ask another a traveler about this place. Throughout the whole scene Eliot though is super high as he self medicates to deal with the continued pain of losing Mike so horribly.
“Are my eyes open or closed right now?” Eliot asks them.
The lovebirds head to Alice’s contact who turn out to be her eccentric parents. When they arrive outside of her childhood home in suburban Chicago, she is clearly agitated and tells him to let her do the talking. We soon find out though because her mom and dad are highly selfish and self-centered beings with little regard for her. They are having a Roman style orgy when Q and Alice enter the house. They quickly meet Mr. Quinn who is currently obsessed with historical magic. Alice goes to find her mom who is taking a bath and they have an extremely unpleasant conversation. She can’t understand why her mother doesn’t want to find out what happened to her brother Charlie, while Stephanie thinks her daughter is being extremely rude and insolent that she can’t be allowed to grieve in her own way. This explains why Alice ran away to Brakebills in the first place. Her mother ends the conversation and refuses to say anything else.
In Alice’s room, Quentin finally gets how crazy her parents are and is amazed that she’s the awesome person she is after living in this environment. She explains that her mother was having an affair with a traveler that nearly ended her parent’s marriage. Her father had threatened to kill himself if she continued it and so the subject had become a touchy with Stephanie. Alice manages to swallow her pride and apologize to her mom in order to ask her about her boyfriend. Stephanie says that it’s actually not a big deal and that now Joe (the traveler from another world) is a regular partner for both herself and her husband. Joe’s body parts can morph fyi.
Penny in the meantime falls into one of the libraries of the Neitherlands and meets a member of The Order. They are the keepers of the greatest repository of knowledge. Weirdly enough she seems to knows him because she calls Penny by his real name (William) and says that he asks the same questions every time. Has Penny been here before? But when? We already know that time doesn’t work the same way there (where six hours in the Neitherlands is six weeks in Earth) but maybe it is even more complicated. This mysterious woman leads him to a section of books with the squads’ stories and makes photocopies from Martin Chatwin’s volume. She tells him that each individual’s entire life is recorded in a book in their collection, but that he shouldn’t look at his own because people hardly ever like how their own stories end. He also finds out that Eve and her cohorts had once been custodial staff that worked for The Order but became unhappy with the arrangement and now were employed by The Beast. He gets ejected from the library moments later.
Back in Earth, Alice and Q find out from Joe that the only way to get their friend back was to perform a ritual that would essentially shine a light on the right fountain in the Neitherlands allowing Penny to find it. The catch? It’s a sex spell and both performers will have to climax at the same time for it to work. Poor Q finds out that Alice hasn’t necessarily had her orgasms as frequently as he’s thought. The two go through their insecurities as a new couple still figuring each other out, though eventually manage to succeed in their mission to rescue Penny. Sex spell completed.
Another couple that has experienced trouble in their relationship this episode are bffs Margo and Eliot. Turns out Margo had participated in an unprotected ritual in Ibiza with her ex boyfriend and he had begun sucking her life force to put it inside a golem (golems in Jewish mysticism are beings created from inanimate matter). Instead of supporting her as a friend, Eliot does cocaine lines with the Margolem. Pissed off, the real Margo tells him to go home and that she’ll deal with the situation herself. The rift between these two makes me sad. Eliot realizes though that he hadn’t really been a good friend and buys her favorite sweets as peace offering. Except hilariously he gives it to the golem who kisses him.
Meanwhile, Julia joins Richard’s support group, Free Trader Beowulf, and meets other magicians who all seem to be in the outskirts of magical society. Amazingly enough, Kady turns out to be one of the members and she and Jules come face to face after Richard calls a meeting for a new project he’s working on. The two women must master twelve spells to level up before they can join the rest of the group. Kady is forced to explain that she had to leave Brakebills because they had found out that she had been working for Marina. They have a heart to heart and Julia says that she feels awful about what happened to Hannah but the older woman said she loved her daughter. After they finally complete their task, they demand to know what Richard and the others are working on. He agrees to let them in on the project and explains that they are experimenting with time magic, which had actually worked as Julia and Kady both experienced déjà vu. He confesses that he had been a drug addict and had killed his own kid by locking him inside their car while he was high. Both women are shocked because this type of magic was supposed to be impossible since it required massive amounts of energy to perform it. Richard counters and says that there is away to tap into an unlimited source of energy and that they were working to summon a god for that.
How far past the magical no no line will they be crossing? It’s also nice to see that both Kady and Julia seem to be trying to get past their history since they are both on the fringes of the magic world now. That this group is about giving people second chances is great but do they really know what they’re doing? We’ll see how this all plays out.
While the last two episodes have been really dark, this week’s tone had changed to exploring the varying relationships between the different main characters. Alice and Q as a new couple are still learning to open up and trust each other. Eliot and Margo have to learn to work on friendship during hard times and not just when things were fun and inconsequential. Kady and Julia are beginning to accept their circumstances and finding that they may just be able to work together.
Enjoy the down time guys, I’m sure it’s not going to last long.
The Magicians is on Syfy Mondays 9/8 central.
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