Home Features ‘The Magicians’: The Seventh Key is in Timeline 23

‘The Magicians’: The Seventh Key is in Timeline 23

THE MAGICIANS -- "Twenty-Three" Episode 311 -- Pictured: (l-r) Stella Maeve as Julia Wicker, Olivia Taylor Dudley as Alice -- (Photo by: Eric Milner/Syfy)

We go fully into timeline 23 and breakdown more about the keys

So wait a second, it turns out that last week on The Magicians, the key Q, Alice, and Josh were looking for at the throne room in Whitespire is the same key that is in the fairy realm. He was able to see it because the magical party favor allowed him to see into another dimension the same way he was able to see Margo before when she was with the fairies.

Well that makes total sense now.

In this week’s episode we turn our attention to the real seventh key since the sixth key is currently out of reach with the fairies. On the Muntjac, we find out that Tick has put up wanted posters for Eliot, Margo, Alice, and Quentin after the latter two trespassed into Whitespire. Julia has also sent a bunny explaining what happened at Brakebills and how she and the fairy queen teamed up. So they need to talk to Julia in person because obviously they need the magical monarch for the sixth key. Since Tick has stepped up the patrol at the portal tree, Josh is sent back to Earth since he wasn’t a fugitive.

Back at school, Julia is filling in Dean Fogg on what’s happened with the MacAllisters. She’s also set up all the wards and protections surrounding Brakebills so Irene won’t be able to find them so easily. Looks like she has leveled up again thanks to her helping the end fairy slavery. Josh arrives moments later and she tells him how the fairy queen can’t give them the sixth key because it’s what powers her realm. Suddenly the lights go out and the two find themselves inside a Tesla Flexion. As they wait to find out who cast it, a cooler looking Josh enters and says thank god it worked. Turns out other Josh is from timeline 23 says that The Beast is killing magicians and needs their help because magic disappeared for but not for him. Julia is confused because even The Beast should be impacted and Josh 23 says he doesn’t know but it might have to do with the key around his neck. Rumor is that it gives the dude visions of the future. He also goes to say how Julia was the best student Brakebills ever had until she was horribly murdered and with her help they stand a chance against Mothra (his nickname for The Beast). With the two minutes almost up he tells the duo to please help because they are their only hope.

The two then head back to the Physical Kids’ cabin and discuss this sudden unexpected turn of events. Josh says that they can trust alternate timeline him because he would know if he was lying. She explains how the book has given them a new chapter leading them to the next key and that this has been Q’s thing. The hedge witch thinks they should get this info back to Quentin and the others and let them decide. With that plan they step into the grandfather clock portal (currently being powered by the time key) but instead of arriving in Fillory they are sent to the lab.

“This doesn’t make sense the key was supposed to take us to Fillory. It just decided to send us back here? What even are the rules?”

We feel the same way Julia. This is bananas because there probably are no rules.

julia talks with penny, who touches her face in surprise

Could the magic of the keys be controlled by the gods? Are they the ones dictating where the questers go?

Now that they are in timeline 23, things are about to get weird, well even weirder. Aside from Josh 23 in walks in Marina 23. The hedge witch asks Julia how she knows her and she explains that in her timeline she never went to Brakebills so they became friends. Jules of course is feeling really awkward because the last time she saw Marina was when she briefly resurrected her after being killed by Reynard the Fox. They take the conversation to the super rundown Physical Kids cabin where Marina 23 and Josh 23 explain that they don’t know what made magic disappear in their timeline but it was the beginning of the end for them. The Beast started killing magicians at Brakebills and then hedge witches so they joined forces to survive.

Josh is about the spill the beans that Julia still has magic when she gives him a shut up look. She then asks the other two about their Beast having some sort of key. Marina 23 says that if they help them kill their Beast then they can have the key. Jules agrees and they all drink to it. But that’s where things take an ugly turn because the timeline 23 folks drug our people. So their plan had been to stop The Beast by giving him Julia because apparently he had been asking for her when he came to Brakebills in the first massacre. The currently shackled hedge witch is confused though because she thought she was dead here. Marina 23 confirms that and it agrees it’s confusing but it did give her an idea to give the monster Julia from an alternate timeline in exchange for leaving them alone.

Julia calmly states that they have another option because they killed their Beast with a the Rhinemann Ultra spell. The other hedge witch though knows about that but they would need someone with god level magic to perform it. Jules closes her eyes and undoes the shackles binding her and Josh. She then steps to Marina 23 and heals the woman’s scars, migraines, and smoking addiction, proving that she does have the juice. The two women then head to the dean (who knows where to find the spell) while the Joshes stay behind. In another moment of weirdness, we discover that Marina 23 slept with Dean Fogg 23, however the man still has his eyesight here!

Once inside his office, the dean is shocked to hear that Julia is from timeline 40 and that he has to live through 17 more of these time loops. He apparently only remembers what happens in the other timelines he’s already lived through. Wow, the man’s got it rough. To make matters more complicated, Bigby 23 was already dead (she had the spell). However, he sent two students to find it and they both died. But since their deaths were so horrific they became ghosts and still haunted the library to this day.

The two students turn out to be Eliot and Margo who were practicing to kill The Beast, except that they messed up and died in the process. As they go through their haunting loop, Julia is able to take a picture of the spell and the two women get out of there as quickly as possible before the ghosts can do them harm. As they head out of the library, Marina 23 notices that someone is following them. Julia tells the hedge witch that when she gives the signal to get out of there. The signal is her yelling, “Now!” As the other woman darts away, the person creeping up on them turns out to be Penny 23! He then kisses Julia and explains that she’s his soul mate. She interrupts though as he tries to lay another smooch to tell him that she’s not his Julia because she’s from a different timeline. Marina 23 is itching to leave but the traveler wants to join them as he wants The Beast dead just as much as they do. Jules has him come along because his skills could come in handy.

As she practices the spell back at the Physical Kids’ cabin, The Beast suddenly appears. Josh 23 is soon killed saving the other Josh because one of them has to live to tell their story. Julia hurls the Rhinemann Ultra with no effect revealing that their foe is Quentin 23. Q 23 comments that the key didn’t lie after all. Just as he peers over the overturned table which was their hiding spot, the group vanishes thanks to Jules powering Penny 23’s traveler tattoos.

They go to the Neitherlands where the planet is also breaking apart just like in timeline 40. Josh is wigging out because how the hell did Quentin become The Beast? Marina 23 doesn’t quite remember who Q is, but Penny 23 explains that that the dude convinced his Julia to go to Fillory where she died. Jules says that this doesn’t make sense because Alice 23 told them that The Beast tore out Quentin 23’s shade and killed him. Their next plan of action is to find Ms. Quinn 23 who ends up being onboard the Muntjac. She’s been working for a group of rabbit smugglers stacking radish boxes for them. Alice 23 tells the group how she made a deal with a Fillorian creature in the northern marsh to bring her Q back and in exchange her soul would be his when she died. But things went horribly wrong because with his shade gone, Q 23 had no humanity in him. He ended up killing Martin Chatwin to take Fillory for himself. However, it wasn’t enough and so he found a way to kill Ember and steal his powers. As a result the old gods took magic away in this timeline. He was afraid of magic and any magician that would bring it back and oppose him. Apparently though only Martin 23 had been the only other one to appreciate Fillory like he did. Alice 23 also reveals that she’s been trying to find something that can kill her former love and shows them the Leo Blade. This time around she doesn’t have the god juice to be able to use it, but Julia does.

They all travel to Whitespire where the castle looks like it should be featured in an episode of Hoarders. The current Beast was collecting artifacts from all over Fillory including a fairy outfit which makes me wonder if Q 23 was able to enter the fairy realm in this timeline. Looks like Julia and Penny 23 were supposed to teleport into the throne room but wards are up so that way is blocked. Alice 23 then volunteers to go in since The Beast already smells her. As she stands before him she asks why he didn’t kill her and he answers that she was  doing such a great job of torturing herself. But as he knows this is all a ploy to by her friends time, he goes ahead and slashes her to get things moving along. Julia then appears behind him and instead of attacking, she transfers her shade over to him. Immediately Quentin 23 is remorseful and horrified that he’s killed his lady love. Julia asks him where he got the key and he explains that he had heard it could bring magic back and so he just got it. She says that she knows why he was looking for her and that the key showed him visions of the future where she kills him but she’s not going to do that. Q 23 states that the vision showed her opening a lock at the end of the world trying to let magic in but a monster gets through instead (one even worse than him). He tells her to take her shade back then he stabs himself with the Leo Blade and dies.

In the aftermath, Penny 23 tells Julia that he’s going with them back to timeline 40 because there’s nothing left for him there and at least there he’s got a shot with her. But what about Kady?!?!?! Josh finally gets the vision key to create a portal and Marina 23 also runs in. I am not complaining because the world needs a Marina. As the three head back to timeline 40 there’s going to be a lot of explaining to do.

Final Thoughts

  • Holy love squares! I am so excited for Kady, Penny, Penny 23, and Julia.
  • Since Penny 23 is in timeline 40, does this give regular Penny a body to jump back into when he’s back from the Underworld? How will Penny 23 take it?
  • If Penny manages to hijack Penny 23’s body, could this be a loophole in getting out of his contract with the Library because the timeline him technically didn’t sign?
  • Oh yes Marina is BACK! It’s really true, people don’t always stay dead on The Magicians and thank goodness for that.
  • Leaving the time key out in the open inside the Physical Kids cabin seems like inviting people to steal it. Did all the other grad students except Todd and the questers leave Brakebills after the school got sold?
  • The actors continue to amaze me on this show to play so many different versions of their characters.

Keys Keys Keys 

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

Vision Key – shows visions of the future


The Magicians airs on Syfy Wednesdays at 9 pm.

1 Comment

  1. I do wonder for confusion purposes how attached Penny 23 is to his nickname. He does have an actual first name that actually sort of fits him better than our Penny. And I don’t know about a real quadrangle of any sort, first, because I don’t know that Julia is ready for that just yet, second, I don’t think Kady will like this guy very much, and then there is the whole Penny ate something in the Underworld thing, that probably broke his contract already.

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