DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Magicians episode “A Timeline and Place” contains more spoilers than the number of times Eliot Monster has committed murder as a delightful hobby. The art of killing really is fun for the whole family. You’ve been warned. Proceed with caution.
Welcome back, Fillorians! The Magicians blessed us with the Marina/Penny team up we didn’t know we needed. If you’ll recall, Marina’s status was in limbo a few episodes prior after Kady claimed the former was “taken care of.” However, Marina and Penny were both kidnapped by a magician who specialized in “time magic,” citing that our pair were living in the wrong timeline. This created a ripple effect which affected the whole of magic. Penny and Marina attempted to return to Timeline 40, since Timeline 23 was a desolate hellscape. Meanwhile, Quentin and Julia fell down the rabbit hole of crafting a new body for the Monster, so the latter can finally vacate our dear Eliot’s vessel. Leave Eliot alone, Monster!
Alright, ready to delve into “A Timeline and Place?” Just be sure to save Margo some of that alpaca milk for her tea. Its chunky texture is quite pleasing to her.
We open with Penny (Arjun Gupta) waking up after your typical friendly kidnapping inside a cage. He notices that he has a companion – Marina (Kacey Rohl) is trapped within her own cage next to him. A name named Stoppard is fiddling with what appears to be a tuning fork. Stoppard is a magician whose discipline is time magic. He reveals that, since both Penny and Marina are from a different timeline, all of magic is utterly forked. Their presence in Timeline 40 is creating a frequency dissonance. Stoppard slips a coin into a cube-like mechanism, which sends our duo back to Timeline 23.
Next, Penny travels outside his cage and knocks Stoppard unconscious. After freeing Marina, the pair uses Stoppard’s device to travel back to Timeline 40. However, they wind up in a scene that’s straight out of George Orwell‘s 1984. Marina and Penny observe a militant police state where magic is banned. Magicians are violently punished should they break said magic ban. So, a slight hiccup. They’ll get out of this unscathed…right?
Later, we see Julia (Stella Maeve) and Quentin (Jason Ralph) brainstorming over how to solve the Monster problem at hand. If you’ll recall, Jules gifted Eliot Monster with a page containing keys to the “building blocks” of his body. They dig deeper into Egyptian hieroglyphics, since one of the black stones Eliot Monster possesses is chalk full of them. Julia discovers an article citing new revelations on archaeological finds of ancient Egypt. Perhaps they’ll talk to a mummy – that could be fun. Time to go snooping!
Meanwhile, Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley) utilizes Plover’s world finding spell and keeps her promise to Q. She’s currently standing before a modest house in Modesto, California. Sunny Cali! Alice meets her new housemate Sheila, who seems like a no-nonsense straight talking woman. I’m already her biggest fan. Alice learns quickly that Modesto is quite boring.
Then, we see Margo (Summer Bishil) in all her High King glory, hard at work in her quest to save the talking animals. Tick Pickwick (Rizwan Manji) shows her a beautiful flower that’s only native to Loria. However, when magic returned, said flower inexplicably began to bloom in Fillory. The pollen these flowers secretes is essentially kryptonite to talking animals, rendering them speechless. Fen (Brittany Curran) informs Margo of a remedy found on one of the Fingerling Isles – the juice of a rare beet. However, Lady Pike of Codswall is very, ahem, difficult to deal with. She never considered her realm as part of Fillory. Thankfully, Margo is adept at handling the most difficult of people. She demands a meeting be arranged for the two rulers.
Meanwhile, Alice meets a familiar face in a convenience store – the male hedgewitch Kady arrested in the season premiere while she was Sam. Alice notices his star tattoos. Perhaps Modesto isn’t so dull after all.
Next, Alice notices something peculiar about Sheila. Alice follows Sheila as she takes an impromptu stroll into the woods. Sheila digs up a box, but she appears to be utilizing magic to do so. The following day, Alice confronts Sheila and broaches the subject of magic. She reveals her belief that Sheila is a magician. Sheila’s powers are quite rare – she has the ability to find things, to merely sense where objects are. Alice informs Sheila of her tenure at Brakebills, and how magic has immensely affected her life. Sheila is tickled pink, citing that learning of magic is the best thing that’s ever happened to her.
Suddenly, two Librarians appear on the pair’s doorstep. They hand Sheila a pamphlet encouraging her to join the Order, to allow the Library to take her under their collective wing. After they leave Alice reveals how nefarious the Library truly is, and strongly advises Sheila to go against their wishes. Sheila urges Alice to teach her spells. For the first time in her life, she feels as though she can make a positive impact on the world around her. Under Alice’s tutelage, Sheila will reach her full potential as a magician. Alice is reticent, since magic has caused her nothing but trouble.
Later, Tick and co. prep Margo for her meeting with Lady Pike. Of course, Margo is not one for diplomacy, and plans to go in guns blazing as usual. Take Lady Pike’s beets, cure the talking animals of their dumbness and boom! Problem solved. Unfortunately, she may have to rely on her people skills to win Lady Pike over. Margo can turn up the charm when it’s required of her.
Meanwhile, Marina and Penny decide to reach out to Stoppard in their current timeline. They meet his mother who also has the same discipline as Stoppard. Penny hands over the cube mechanism to Stoppard, and the latter examines it. Suddenly, Stoppard’s mom crumbles to the floor, and it’s revealed that whatever magic is in the atmosphere is on the fritz. It’s affecting his mother in a critical way – body and mind. Penny zaps himself and Marina back to Timeline 23 so they can mull over their next move.
Now, Stoppard’s mother is dying from absorbing a substance called cinnabar while working on her life’s greatest work – a time traveling device. Penny believes that Stoppard will do all he can to save his mother. Should he and Marina return to Timeline 40, the current Stoppard will continue his quest to oust them. Penny proposes they help Stoppard save his mother. Marina isn’t entirely on board, but she joins all the same. So, they went back from where they came.
While attempting to fix Stoppard’s device themselves, they inadvertently communicate with a younger Sonya (Stoppard’s mother). She’s aware of the dangers of cinnabar, but her work is too important. Sonya is about to discover a whole new magical discipline, one that her own son currently possesses. Penny and Marina return to Timeline 23 empty handed and feeling unaccomplished.
Then, while the pair struggle with the time device, Penny is suddenly zapped out of Timeline 23, leaving Marina by herself. Not to worry, though. I have all the faith in the world that my sass factory will survive.
Later, we see Julia and Quentin inside a museum dedicated to ancient Egypt. Eliot Monster (Hale Appleman) makes his usual unexpected entrance. He’s drunk, having discovered Eliot’s innate predilection for tequila. He misplaced the paper Julia gave him. Q asks Eliot Monster if he knows of a “god of yellow fruit,” but the latter’s inebriated haze prevents him from answering. Instead, Eliot Monster resurrects an actual mummy. Yes, a mummy. History class just became a whole lot easier.
Next, the trio immerses themselves in a game of Pictionary with the mummy. Thankfully, Eliot Monster is fluent in mummy, but Q uses his phone to translate as well via magic. The mummy knows that Eliot Monster’s building blocks have been looted, but to where…now that’s the million dollar question. Eliot Monster orders Q and Jules to fix the situation prior to vanishing in search of a cinnamon churro. Julia and Quentin leave the resurrected mummy by himself. Well, I never thought I’d see a mummy on The Magicians. Color me impressed.
Now, we see Alice and Sheila hard at work in their magical studies. Alice shows Sheila the ropes to casting spells. Alice learns something new herself – the city’s water supply is tainted. She performs a purification spell on her glass of water and vows to teach it to Sheila. Sheila urges Alice to use said spell on the whole of Modesto’s water pipelines. However, Alice is fearful of falling down that dark magic rabbit hole again.
Later, Margo is wining and dining Lady Pike (Miranda Frigon). Josh (Trevor Einhorn) is discreetly standing on the sidelines, using a spell to essentially whisper what to say in Margo’s ear. She sweet talks Lady Pike, feigning interest in the latter’s love of alpacas. Lady Pike produces a vial of alpaca milk and drops some into Margo’s tea. It falls in chunks, and despite its unsavory appearance Josh urges Margo to drink her tea. She does just that, much to Lady Pike’s delight. However, Margo switches off the charm and aims to elicit the precious beets by intimidating Lady Pike. Margo’s go-to setting. She warns that if Lady Pike doesn’t hand over the beets, she’ll skin the latter’s “alpaca children.” Josh is crestfallen at Margo’s sudden shift.
Meanwhile, Penny 23 winds up in a white room. Penny 40, our Penny, sit before him. Finally! I was waiting for these two to meet. 40 urges 23 to stay in Timeline 40. Penny 40’s eternal Library job has left a void in our magicians’ friend group. 23 can fill that void, becoming the Penny of Timeline 40. But…but…can’t we have both? 40 tells 23 how to operate Stoppard’s device, and how to get back home. Penny returns to Timeline 23 to a drinking Marina.
Next, we see Sheila scoping out a “leak” in the magical pipes, the filtration system for the atmospheric magic around them. The Library attempts to restrict magic in this manner. Sheila successfully pinpoints the leak, and Alice performs a spell that allows the atmospheric magic to go hog wild. Thus, the water is no longer tainted since magic flows freely through the air in Modesto. Success! We see the convenience store hedgewitch notice the change of magical flow. Alice and Sheila indulge in a celebratory drink from the kitchen faucet. The water is clean again, as it should be.
Later, Quentin finds Eliot Monster attempting to overdose on pills. The Monster has tapped into Eliot’s inherent addictions. Q convinces the Monster to refrain from poisoning his friend. This act was the straw that broke the camel’s back – Quentin defiantly decides not to help Eliot Monster any longer. Suddenly, the two are embroiled in a bout of fisticuffs. Eliot Monster starts to choke Quentin, but the latter urges him to finish the job. Q refuses to help the Monster rebuild his body if Eliot is hurt in any way. Finally, Eliot Monster relents and vows to “take better care of the meat suit.” That’s the power of Queliot love, Fillorians. Full stop.
Then, Josh confronts Margo for her behavioral shift regarding Lady Pike. Margo’s shell hardens once again, and she reverts back to her icy self. She shuts out Josh, accusing him of being cowardly. Josh leaves, hurt by Margo’s words. Don’t let him leave! Margosh is the ship I didn’t know I needed until a few weeks ago.
Meanwhile, Penny finds Stoppard in Timeline 40. Penny reveals his refusal to go quietly into the night – his refusal to return to Timeline 23. He informs Stoppard that bigger things are at play, and these “bigger things” are hinted at during Penny’s meeting with Penny 40. Penny also reveals that he intentionally spread flower seeds from another timeline all over the place. Said seeds will take root and bloom over time, becoming part of Timeline 40. This mess will be impossible to clean for Stoppard. Penny sure knows how to make a mess, folks.
Later, Alice peacefully watches a group of children joyfully playing in the clean water spewing from a fire hydrant. For the first time, we see Alice is truly happy. Perhaps magic, when used for good, can make positive change in the world. Meanwhile, the hedgewitch from before meets with another familiar face – the blonde hedgewitch from Quentin’s dalliance with underground magical card games. We see the pair of Librarians from Sheila’s home entering the Modesto branch of the Library. It explodes in a fiery blaze, presumably killing all within. Shots fired, Fillorians. Then, Sheila arrives home to another pair of Librarians wishing to whisk her off to the Neitherlands. Uh oh. This won’t end well.
Now, The Magicians is a show chock full of surprises. Not only that, but the tiniest details are what I live for – Penny’s idea of spreading flower seeds from a different timeline as an act of rebellion. I’ve always been interested in time travel, so this aspect piqued said interest. I love delving into more of the show’s mythology, because I’m a Geek Girl and I must stay true to my brand. Oh, and Marina has a girlfriend! The openness of love in The Magicians makes my heart swell with joy. Penny meeting Penny was certainly one of the episode’s highlights, as was Margo’s drinking of the nasty alpaca milk. I hope bloopers exist for that scene.
Do you think Q and Jules will succeed in finding all the parts necessary to rebuild the Monster’s body? Will Alice be able to track down Sheila after the Library kidnapped her? Will the talking animals talk again? Join me next week as I recap The Magicians, here on Geek Girl Authority.
The Magicians airs Wednesdays at 9pm on your SyFy affiliate.
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