Maybe we are riding the emotional wave of the recently announced renewal for a THIRD season, but this was one of the best episodes yet;
the writers wasted no time delving straight into reuniting Niffin Alice with her shade, with help from everyone’s favorite recurring character: Mayakovsky.
For the first time since anyone can remember, we see Quentin grow a pair and demand the master magician help them save Alice, since he’s partially responsible for her becoming a niffin, because of Mayakovsky’s involvement with Emily Greenstreet that lead to Alice’s brother Charlie becoming a niffin and leading her down a similar path.
After convincing Mayakovsky to help them, and to use one of his super-special magical batteries to do so, they waste no time tossing Alice’s shade into a very fancy magic cage and summoning niffin Alice, and Quentin takes the reins and fuses the two back together.
She begged him not to and to stop, but he ignored Niffin Alice’s please and finished the casting. The rest of their arc for the episode is her adjusting ot being human, in a very similar way as in the third book of the series, but we also finally get a fan question answered: If Alice wants to be a niffin again, why not just cast the Major Arcana and burn up again? Answer, provided by Mayakovsky: Alice is new again and won’t be able to cast for a while.
Elliot finally arrives at Brakebills South, after being banished from Fillory at the end of the last episode, to pick Quentin’s brain on why he was bannished, and also to get the magic button to return–when he finds out that Quentin sold it to the Ancient One, affectionately referred to as Trogdor (Homestar Runner reference) and Puff-the-Magic-Dragon. Then Elliot sees restored Alice and nothing more needs said. They then have a boding Queliot moment and go over what the dragon said and realize the “first portal” is likely the clock the Chatwin children entered Fillory through the first time (and a few extra times as well). Quentin remembers seeing the clock at his Yale interview, where the Yale alumnus died, and a quick search reveals it was auctioned as part of his estate to a collector in Vancouver. So they pay the buyer a visit, and soon realize he is a huge Fillory collector and knows more about the magical land than any mortal should, and a quick reveal spell by Elliot confirms this and the man identifies himself as a very alive Umber, the lost god of Fillory. He lets them in on Ember’s craziness and the power and whimsy they will face in the season finale, as well as reveals his working on a NEW world, a small pocket world to replace Fillory for himself as he will never go back and the land has been ruined.
Before the final scene of Quentin and Eliot using the clock to return to Fillory, we get one final heart to heart between Quentin and Alice where he is there for her, but not overbearing (kind of shitty when you force someone to be alive when they don’t want to, but he did practically save her from suicide–we have mixed emotions on this whole thing, but it was done well regardless.
While Elliot is banished to Earth, Josh becomes High King of Fillory (as he is the only child of Earth not banished or in the Fairy Realm). Cut to a THC filled musical montage of his ascension to the throne, that ends in the see-other-worlds-weed allowing Margo to contact him and demand he help her get back, sans please and thank yous because she literally cannot right now. And since our only critique of the episode is that it needed more Margo, here is some Margo:
Cut to Penny, in the library, working with Sylvia, who has a plan to access The Poison Room through a backdoor–by using one of the fountains in the Neitherlands. Penny’s traveling abilities coincidentally expedites the searching process, but before they enter the Poison Rooms fountain Sylvia reveals that the Library Books of every living person end in 20 blank pages (The Librarian’s have known for years and call it the Great Blank Spot). So Sylvia’s motives are revealed–she wants to know what cataclysmic event is coming, and why it isn’t set in stone, so she is on this journey to find her own book (kept in the Poison Room). Important side note: the name is literal, and they are going to die if they don’t escape quickly, and SPOILER ALERT Sylvia dies, having read it would happen moments earlier in her book (which ironically doesn’t have a blank ending), but by having read it she knew Penny would survive if he left without her–so Penny gets to live and take the information back to the group (likely to be season 2’s finale reveal and the major plot of season 3).
And the hunt for Reynard finally comes to an end in a slightly less dramatic scene, early on in the episode John uses his mind control on Kady, slips past her wards, and forces her to kill him and complete the ritual to harvest his power, which a shadeless Julia can more objectively accept and turns it into a magic bullet–think Supernatural, not blender
Julia and Kady know to imitate Persephone/Our-Lady-Underground to summon Reynard, and through research know that she appears every few years in the south of France accompanied by a storm. So they lay their trap in Murs (a nod to the books, as this is where the Free Traders originally summoned Reynard).
They are intercepted by Persephone arriving after Reynard and freezing everyone but Julia and begging her to spare him because *plot twist* he is her son. She convinces Julia to let Persephone handle him and after Kady realizes they lost him and doesn’t understand why and abandons Julia, she is reunited with one last gift from the goddess– her shade.