After such a strong start to the season, and coming off the tailwinds of the series-crowning gem episode “A Life in the Day” the last few episodes have felt laborious and less, well, magical.
The storyline that truly flopped was Operation: Save Kady. It too strongly resembled season 2’s bank heist but lacked all our favorite parts of that episode. Whereas “Plan B” saw the entire cast reunite for a common quest and featured the classic camp that draws us in (and Summer Bishil’s hood rat voice) but this season’s rescue mission featured an overstressed and underperforming Quentin teaming with Poppy and Penny which is 1) too many P’s 2) attempts to foil Quentin with two different characters and makes him look weaker than it should and becomes cringe-worthy at moments. I’ll admit that my bias comes out here where I’m still sour about Book Penny and never fully got on the ship train, even though Kady and Arjun are lovely actors their romance feels forced (from a story perspective) and overall unnecessary. Speaking of ships we want to sink, the Poppy-Quentin hookup will thankfully go nowhere because Felicia Day will be gone after episode 8, which is bittersweet because we never fell in love with her character even though we really wanted to and may have with more time and development.
Team Royal Fillory was much more interesting, but their story didn’t come to a boil until the last quarter of the episode. We got to see Fen and Fray interact with Todd –he’s still around and playing chaperone with a weird fandom subset shipping him with Fen, weird development but we are here for Fen finding happiness. Things may be looking up for her, minus the episode ending, when all of her craziness and clinging to an obvious lie go out the door when it’s revealed Fray isn’t their real daughter and just some random, treacherous little b*tch, and the royal baby was sadly stillborn.
This eliminates the Fairy Queen’s hostage/leverage that was gain when Fray ran back and exposed The Magicians real plans and how they had a portal. Unceremoniously they still strike a deal for all of Fillory to use the Fairy Queen’s bathtub, making her visible to all Fillorians, where she then vanishes in a puff of black leaving The Magicians to face the unsympathetic, starving, angry subjects that rip them from their carriage and leave things in a cliffhanger. While we wanted Margo to come through on all her hilarious threats, the anticlimactic end fo the fairy interference into a real-world government overthrow is in line with the series themes and we aren’t too mad about it (we just wanted a fantasy battle, okay!), but we will miss Candis Cayne’s powerful presence.
The real magic came (not surprisingly) from Julia and Alice’s storyline. It’s been a treat to see these two powerful women finally interact, amd they’ve accelerated eachother’s development immensely. After Dean Fogg is able to help Julia get a hit of magic from his connections, Julia saves Alice from making a huge mistake with a vampire, and is rewarded with Alice throwing a magical blow. Alice shows growth by voluntarily transferring Julia’s magic back to its rightful home, and helps offer perspective to her new friend. Julia shows true grace and wisdom not only by saving Alice and no longer running from her own issues, but in the serenity of her performance and her dialogue with Alice, showing traits that she is on track to potentially become the demi-goddess she is meant to be.
They also gave us our favorite line of the episode, when the Vampire tells Alice no because he doesn’t want to deal with “Hedge Witch Buffy” which is our new favorite nickname for Julia (even if it technically describes Willow too).