DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Magicians contains more spoilers than the number of times the Fairy Queen has threatened to extricate various human limbs from unwilling bodies. She really loves a good toe removal. You’ve been warned. Prepare for your epic quest, and enter at your own peril.
Welcome back, Fillorians! The Magicians made our Wednesday magical with another action-packed installment. Can you believe there are only three episodes left in the season? Thankfully, I have the perfect solution for coping with the hiatus: read all the hilarious Margo one-liners. Bless my eardrums with Hale Appleman‘s gorgeous singing voice. Various comical memes and gifs. You know, the usual millennial stuff. Anyway, this episode saw Julia and Fen collaborating with none other than the Fairy Queen herself to free the Earth fairies from captivity. This, of course, resulted in the bloody massacre of Irene’s family. “The Red Wedding” of The Magicians. Meanwhile, Eliot and Margo attempted to halt an impending war with the Lorians and the Floaters. Quentin, Alice and Josh hunted for the sixth key in Castle Whitespire. Oh, and good ol’ Penny met Hades, the god of the Underworld.
Alright, ready to delve into “The Art of the Deal?” Thank Ember and Umber that this episode has zilch to do with Donald Drumpf.
We open with Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley) exploding (figuratively, of course) on Quentin (Jason Ralph). She’s frustrated that Q allowed Kady to wander off with the fifth key. Now, if you recall, this key has the ability to unite people in different locations, so Kady could talk to Penny despite him being in the Underworld. True love permeates all worlds, earthbound and otherwise! Quentin tries to ply information out of Alice, regarding her seemingly incessant flip-flopping. Is she working with the Library? Why is she interested in the quest, all of a sudden? Unfortunately, Alice is pretty guarded in her answers. Julia (Stella Maeve) inadvertently interrupts the former lover’s quarrel. Q, exasperated, allows Alice to riffle through the book for clues.
Meanwhile, Q and Julia learn that the sixth key is in the throne room of Castle Whitespire. Now, it might be tough searching the castle when Eliot and Margo were so violently dethroned. However, the task won’t be impossible. Julia decides to sit this one out. She is fiercely dedicated to freeing the Earth fairies from Irene’s iron grip. Ember and Umber bless her pure soul.
Later, Julia visits a technologically preoccupied Fen (Brittany Curran) in her room. Fen has taken to Earth’s technology like a bee to honey. Her current obsession? Emojis. A woman after my own heart. Anyway, Julia attempts to persuade Fen to join her fairy-freeing mission. Julia hopes to get her hands on a fairy collar so she can study it. Fen reluctantly decides to help our Jules out. Tag team time!
Next, Julia and Fen meet with Irene (Jaime Ray Newman) at Brakebills. They craft an elaborate lie involving their intense interest in catching a fairy. Julia makes certain to fib about where Fen is from, to protect Fillory’s existence from the likes of Irene. Irene informs them that the collars were created by her uncle Edwin. Place one of said collars on a fairy and bam! They morph from feral to docile. Irene is willing to give our pair a collar for a price – they must bring Irene another fairy. Proof that more of their kind exists on Earth. Uh oh. Time to raid Fillory’s fairy stash!
Meanwhile, Penny (Arjun Gupta) is shackled to a cart, forlornly shelving books in the Underworld Library. Howard (Brendan Taylor) finds our favorite Traveler and proposes he join the former’s book club. If that were me, I wouldn’t need convincing. There’s a book club? Sign me up! However, Penny is Penny, and he refuses to participate in nerdy activities. Especially when the Library insists on shackling him.
Then, we see Julia meeting with Edwin (Michael Hogan) aka Saul Tigh! My Battlestar Galactica loving heart may have squeaked at the sight of my favorite Colonel. So glad to see Hogan on another great SyFy series. Anyway, Edwin explains the inner workings of his invention. Plop a collar on a fairy and they’re yours for life. Edwin introduces a fairy named Dust (Andrew James Allen) that’s been in his employ for a couple centuries. Dust is the oldest known fairy on Earth. He appears to be unhappy to serve Edwin and his ilk. Slaves of any kind aren’t acceptable, Saul Tigh.
Meanwhile, Penny runs into Sylvia (Roan Curtis) in the Library. Of course, Penny is irritated at the latter for notifying the Order of his presence in the Underworld. Sylvia explains that her family also perished and “moved on” without her. Yes, there is a Great Beyond of sorts beyond the Underworld. But where exactly those souls “move on” to is unknown. Regardless, Sylvia’s family left her behind and the bounty on Penny, should his capture come to fruition, would have shaved a million years off Sylvia’s contract with the Library. Friends don’t let friends get shackled to carts, Sylvia!
Later, Julia and Fen meet in secret with Skye (Anja Savcic). Skye has been informing the other fairies of their ability to perform magic, but they’ve been reticent to believe her. She also divulges of an event occurring at the McAllister residence that very evening. Irene’s family is visiting and they’re all bringing their fairies. Operation: Fairy Breakout is officially on!
Next, we see Quentin, Alice and Josh (Trevor Einhorn) are aboard The Muntjac, which is still sailing the blue skies. Eliot (Hale Appleman) and Margo (Summer Bishil) are technically on the run. Alice informs our former High King and High Queen that Tick is near the Lorian border at the moment, far away from Whitespire. Apparently, the Lorians and the Floaters are at war with Fillory. Tick is in power for five minutes and this happens. Some people just weren’t meant to rule. Q, Alice and Josh reveal their mission to nick the sixth key from Castle Whitespire, but Margo and Eliot have a war to prevent. They opt to sit this one out, as deposed rulers who plan to rule once again. The Fillorians need El and Bambi now more than ever.
Meanwhile, Julia and Fen are conversing with the Fairy Queen (Candis Cayne) at Whitespire. Their hope is she’ll go along with their plan to release the Earth fairies. Unfortunately, she resolutely disbelieves that fairies on Earth exist. According to her, they were wiped out eons ago. However, Julia hopes to bring the Fairy Queen to Irene as “proof” more fairies roam the Earth. Then, once the Fairy Queen has infiltrated the McAllister residence, the real work can begin. Fen launches into a passionate monologue about a mother protecting her children, and we see the Fairy Queen may be swayed after all.
Later, Penny notices a door marked “Secrets Taken to the Grave.” A woman exits through said door, weeping uncontrollably. Penny turns to Sylvia for more information. Sylvia reveals that souls can shed all of their secrets held throughout their earthly lives prior to moving past the Underworld. Literal secrets they took to their graves. Once their soul is unburdened of such secrets, they’re granted a “metro card.” There’s a pig-like creature that can transport anyone anywhere they desire. Of course, once one has their hands on that coveted metro card they have the ability to move on. Now, we see the wheels turning in Penny’s head. He just needs a metro card as his ticket out of the Underworld, and hopefully back to Earth. Our Penny is nothing if not resourceful.
Next, Quentin, Alice and Josh are at Whitespire after dark. Alice divulges they must reflect the moonlight from the current twin moons in the sky on three key stones in order to reveal the location of the sixth key. Our trio is currently situated by said key stones, holding shards of glass under the skylight, ready to reflect. Here’s hoping this plan works!
Then, Julia and Fen bring the Fairy Queen to Earth. Julia places the collar round the Fairy Queen’s neck, but the latter is distrustful of the humans. Julia reveals that she can perform magic, to which the Fairy Queen responds that the former is god touched. Thankfully, Julia persuades the Queen to stick with the plan, and should things go south she’ll be there to help.
Later, our trio meets with Irene and Edwin. The Fairy Queen is met with approval, and Dust swoops in to cart the Fairy Queen off to her “new home.” However, Julia notices that something is off. She texts Fen that she plans on exploring, while the latter stays in her position.
Next, the Fairy Queen is placed in a dank prison cell with the other fairies. They all cower at her presence – all except Skye, who recognizes that she is a queen. Skye bows her head in reverence. Our Fairy Queen urges her to never bow her head for anyone. Yes, girl! Stand tall and proud!
Meanwhile, Fen discovers the lab nestled in the McAllister residence and does some snooping of her own. Julia casts a spell so she can peek in on the McAllister family dinner. Irene and her kin are obviously planning something big, but their dialogue is rather vague. Julia continues to listen. The Fairy Queen launches into an inspirational monologue about how powerful these fairies really are – they are magic personified. She urges them to see their own worth, and vows to free them.
Then, Fen ducks under a table when Edwin and Dust enter the lab with an unknown fairy in tow. They place said fairy in a chair, while Dust soothes the former’s worries. Suddenly, Dust slices the head of the fairy clean off. Fairy-cide! Fen is rightfully horrified.
Meanwhile, Eliot and Margo have brought the Stone Queen (Dina Meyer) and King Idri (Leonard Roberts) aboard The Muntjac for a little parley. King Idri reveals that since Eliot is no longer king, their engagement is null and void. In turn, the Stone Queen is aware that Margo’s marriage to her son wasn’t consummated. Thus, both groups have ample ammunition for a war with Fillory. Margo pulls Eliot aside and urges him to use his charms to win Idri over, while she’ll work on the Stone Queen. They just need to reveal their mission to bring magic back. Boom!
Later, Julia finds Fen holding a dagger to Dust’s throat, while the imprisoned fairies watch on. Fen reveals exactly what Dust did to that poor (and now headless) fairy. Dust launches into story time, involving what really happened all those centuries ago. Magicians were hunting down fairies left and right. Dust and a few others agreed to be held captive by the McAllister family, and in return the McAllisters had to leave the remaining fairies alone. The collars were the beginning of the fairy folk’s famous reputation for striking deals, as the collars themselves are the manifestation of the deal brokered between Dust and co. and the McAllisters. The Fairy Queen, enveloped by his story, reveals that her mother used to be his queen. Our current Fairy Queen was born in Fillory thanks to Dust and his sacrifice. The Fairy Queen vows to taken them all back to Fillory.
Suddenly, Edwin bursts in on the scene and causes mayhem. He uses the magic he gleaned from the now headless fairy to slam Julia and Fen into the wall, knocking them both unconscious. The Fairy Queen slices into her hand. Blood pours from the wound, to which she uses to paint a magical symbol onto the brick wall. Then, the group of fairies seemingly disappears, much to Edwin’s surprise. However, they’re merely invisible. We see Edwin bludgeoned to death by the invisible fairies, as payback for all their suffering. Get it!
Next, the invisible magical folk are collectively making their way into the dining room, where Irene and her family are happily eating. They slaughter everyone present except for Irene, who manages to escape by the skin of her teeth. “The Red Wedding” has nothing on this massacre. Sorry, Game of Thrones.
Meanwhile, Penny waits until someone exits the Secrets Taken to the Grave room. He finds a lone man weeping profusely. Penny mentions that the man’s metro card will take him to hell, not the pleasant glow of heaven like he initially thought. The man drops his metro card in fear, citing that he’ll gladly stay in the Underworld if hell is the destination. Penny giddily pockets the fallen metro card. His ticket out is finally secured!
Later, we see Idri and Eliot are having sexy fun times in the boudoir. Eliot is using this moment to state his intention of bringing magic back. Wouldn’t it be grand if Lorians could access their true magical potential? If they had experienced magicians training them in the magical arts? Eliot could provide that once he restores magic. But, war would certainly prevent that from occurring. Margo also works her charms on the Stone Queen in turn.
Then, Penny stumbles upon a mysteriously dapper fellow who knows his name. Said dapper fellow is none other than Hades (Michael Luwoye), god of the Underworld. He convinces Penny to stay, although should our Traveler decide to use his metro card to escape, he won’t be stopped. Hades, like many people in the Library, has read Penny’s book. He knows that great things are in store for Penny. Should he stay in the Underworld, a bright future would loom ahead of him. Hades also reveals that magic will eventually return, as the old gods use it to keep the humans in check. Penny seems intrigued by Hades. Luwoye is truly perfection in this role.
Meanwhile, Q asks Alice if she was working with the Library. Alice admits that yes, she’s in cahoots with them. However, they want to help. The Order wants magic back just as much as our magicians do. Q is incredulous, especially given what happened to Harriet and Victoria. Josh is unaware of what happened to his ex-lover (Victoria), so Q and Alice bear the bad news.
Later, Penny gives Sylvia the metro card. She’s overjoyed, thanking him for his generosity. Now, she can join her family wherever they may be. All is right in the Underworld.
Then, the light bulb flicks on in Josh’s head while Q and Alice continue to bicker. He knows where the sixth key is! Good ol’ Josh. Remember when he was substitute High King for a hot minute? Those were fun times.
Meanwhile, the Fairy Queen thanks Julia for helping release the captive fairies. Thanks to our demigoddess, the Fairy Queen has been reunited with members of her extensive family. The Fairy Queen has taken a liking to Julia, citing that she simply wanted to help out of the kindness of her own heart and didn’t have ulterior motives. However, the Fairy Queen did break a deal, which is unheard of in the fairy realm. Their ammunition, their sole means of survival, has been severed. People may no longer take the fair folk seriously. The Fairy Queen also reveals that she has the last key, and it lives in the fairy world. Unfortunately, she can’t give Julia said key because it holds the fairy world together. Should the key leave, everything the fairies ever knew would tear apart at the seams. Uh oh. This could get tricky.
Later, Penny decides to join Howard’s book club, at the behest of Hades. Penny is ushered into a break room of sorts by an eager Howard. Everyone within has read Penny’s book and are elated by his presence. One woman, Kathy (Eileen Barrett), offers Penny a delicious looking cupcake, which our Traveler consumes with gusto. Hmm. Methinks something was laced in that cupcake, because Penny looks uncharacteristically happy…
The Magicians cranked the action up to an eleven this episode. The puzzle pieces are falling together, and the stakes are higher than ever. Our magicians are pitted against mighty odds, especially with the presence of an old god like Hades making an appearance. Candis Cayne shone this episode as the Fairy Queen. She injected layers into our resident magical villain, creating more than just a one-dimensional foe. Cayne made the Fairy Queen incredibly sympathetic, granting her a beautiful complexity not seen before. Bravo.
Do you think we’ll see more of the old gods? Where exactly in Whitespire is the sixth key? With Julia invested in the safety of the fairies, do you think she’ll reveal to Q that the last key is nestled within the fairy realm? Can Eliot and Margo effectively halt an all-out war? Join me next week as I continue to recap The Magicians, here on Geek Girl Authority.
The Magicians airs Wednesdays at 9pm on your SyFy affiliate.