The episode opens with the usual forever long recap, but close observers will notice the special addition we don’t see every week–the inclusion of the explanation that the characters had gone through a time loop 39 times thanks to Jane Chatwin–and the episode opens with our Shadeless Julia remembering one of her “other lives”, specifically when she learned her discipline from Dean Fogg (a fun detail not in the books!).
Fogg interupts her flashback to release her from the magical
prison lock down room Kady had locked her in at the end of the last episode, and they have a little heart to heart (remember he gets to remember every time through the time loop).
Kady is back on her path to take down Reynard, and Penny may finally have redeemed himself by telling Kady that Reynard isn’t just her problem and that “rapist monsters are a universal problem.” Coincidentally, right after accepting his help she brings up his deal with The Order and the next door they walk through transports them to The Library.
Eliot has a sub plot about wanting to improve his approval rating and listens to the advice of the Fu Fighter who tried to kill him to throw an extravagant public wedding to win over the people and improve his reputation…but he’s a Groomzilla and it’s a little hard to watch when you remember that Margo made a deal to give his royal baby to the suspiciously evil looking fairies in exchange for them cleaning the Wellspring. Did we mention that Fen still doesn’t know her baby is going to be taken? It makes the multiple scenes of the episode where her and Margo see them lurking around Castle Whitespire leering at them all the creepier–which is the catalyst for Margo finally admitting her tough decision.
Quentin buttoned back to Earth to retrieve Josh so he could be used as a helping hand for the wedding–Josh eventually helps uncover a Fu Fighter plot of a second assassination and then solves the problem by drugging them into a stupor and putting the entire resistance out of commission for the wedding,–but before all of this or even heading back to Fillory Josh gives Quentin a magically drugged pastry from the Baked Sale that “allows you to see other worlds” and Quentin has a vision of a young Julia–her shade–that asks him to help her find her way back to her body. There is a Queliot hug when he reports back before returning to Brakebills to help Shadeless Julia per Julia’s Soul’s request.
The pair go through the Brakebills library, then through annoying Todd, and then to Fogg himself in search of a shade expert that is revealed to be *pause for dramatic effect* an Alice from another timeline that survived the Beast battle and buried herself in shade research in hopes of restoring her lost
love friends. Fogg dismisses the notion, until Julia brings up a spell that would allow them to communicate with the other Alice–the spell nds up being a dual casting between Julia and Fogg, and while the tutting on this one is very underwhelming and leaves something to be desired, the real magic happens when Quentin steps into the TeslaFlection (named after Fred Flection, not Tesla) and encounters the other Alice, under the stipulation that you can not touch something or someone from another timelines.
Olivia Taylor Dudley solidified the fact that she deserves an Emmy for this season, as her portrayal of a broken, longing Alice not able to touch Quentin was so moving we actually got misty eyed.
Albeit less emotional. the funnier and more exciting half of the episode follows Kady and Penny on a trip to recover an overdue Library book. They are sent to FuzzBeat (no idea what this could be an allusion to), to hound the audibly handicapped magician Marlee Matlin for her overdue book. Hilarious and politically incorrect interactions ensue when Penny, who can’t sign and initially thinks Marlee is casting an attack spell at them, and also doesn’t like her bonding with Kady (who does know a little sign language, and is vastly more patient than Penny) acts all bad cop and swears at her when she can’t see his mouth.
It is revealed that Marlee’s character uses her website to lead a sort of anti-library resistance and disseminates knowledge and spells through magicallly encoded clickbait articles. During a last minute private powwow with Kady where she informs her that there is no information the library doesn’t have (wink-wink they have the trickster god killing how-to) she finds the book and weirdly fiddles with the library check-out slip. It isn’t long before we know she cursed it with a spell to cause the librarian that touches it to open the poison room and unleash the library’s most dangerous hidden knowledge. The librarian in question resists and hits the panic button that kills him before its too late, but the plot is revealed. When they return to the websites offices the area is cleared out, but there is a special card with a note for Kady with the information about the book she is seeking, and how it is in the Library’s Poison Room.
The episode leaves us with a gash in Penny and Kady’s relationship–Kady wanting to explore her hedge witch side and seek help from the anti-Library, and Penny with his elitist views about magic and new found dedication to The Order; a new dynamic for Quentin and Julia as they use the information the other Alice gave them and identify that they need to find a dragon in the next episode to help them access the Underworld to find her shade; a fairy-abducted Fen is going to leave Margo with a lot of explaining to do in the next episode and we may finally see her and Eliot’s relationship change forever.