DISCLAIMER: This recap of The Magicians episode “Acting Dean” contains more spoilers than the number of times Penny has received the proverbial “short end of the stick.” Roped into a contract working for the Library even after death? Sucks to be Penny. You’ve been warned. Proceed with caution.
Welcome back, Fillorians! The Magicians aired its seventh installment this week. “Acting Dean” saw our heroes fighting to save Brakebills from the clutches of Timeline 17 Dean Fogg. Penny unwittingly became dean when Lipson was out of commission. Margo and Eliot stumbled upon the Dark King doing some dark sh*t in the Fillorian wood. Fairies made a comeback in a massive way. More milk baths for everyone! Oh, and Julia and Penny called it quits. Not a fan of that development.
Alright, ready to delve into “Acting Dean?” Let’s get to it.
Now, we open with Todd (Adam DiMarco) sweetly serenading Julia (Stella Maeve) with a song. If Todd isn’t in the musical episode, we riot. This isn’t just any song, mind you. It’s a song dedicated to Hero Todd – the savior of Fillory. Lord Effingham sang it to him as the only “clue” to the impending quest. Unfortunately, Todd scrawled it on the back of his hand and a few stray napkins, which were undoubtedly tossed. That’s when Julia decides to take the wheel. No offense, Todd. But this is our girl Jules’ time to shine.
Next, Margo (Summer Bishil) and Eliot (Hale Appleman) cross through the grandfather clock to Fillory. Someone has to monitor the devastatingly handsome Dark King, and Eliot has volunteered as tribute. Meanwhile, Penny (Arjun Gupta) is fashionably late to a faculty meeting at Brakebills.
Apparently, Acting Dean Lipson was rendered comatose when she was attempting to remedy the university’s wards while the moon was acting up. Yes, the moon still went topsy-turvy even after our heroes averted the Harmonic Convergence. Spells are more potent and unpredictable than ever. Oh, and everyone voted Penny as the next acting dean. How does this guy do it? Puts the least amount of effort into his actual job and he’s promoted to dean of a school? I need some of that carefree attitude, pronto.
Then, Margo and Eliot reunite with Rafe (Sergio Osuna) back at Castle Whitespire. Fen told him she was scurrying off into the forest, so Margo decides to go after her. Rafe also reveals that the Dark King’s top aide, Bick, has been up to no good. Eliot takes on this case, naturally.
Now, Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley), Julia and Penny decide the best course of action is to contact Fogg, even though he’s still in the Etheric Realm. Penny procures a big red button from Fogg’s desk, which is only for emergencies. Julia presses that big red button. Suddenly, a sound akin to an explosion is heard across the campus. Not to worry, though, reluctant Acting Dean Penny is on the case!
Meanwhile, Margo runs into a fairy encampment in the forest. The fairy leader is not too keen on interacting with Margo. Fen (Brittany Curran) is also among them. According to Fen, the fairies heard quite a different tale of Margo’s supposed heroism. Instead of honoring Margo for freeing and inviting them to the Fillorian table centuries ago, the fairies despise her. Apparently, she left them vulnerable and ripe for hunting by humans. I’m sure John Rambo can relate.
Next, we see Bick Pickwick (Luke Camilleri) sowing seeds of discord for the Dark King (Sean Maguire). He claims that fairies stole Castle Whitespire’s gold. The Centurions and other castle workers have gone weeks without wages. Riots are surely on the horizon. Eliot defends the fairies by insisting they may be clever, but they’re not thieves. Charlton (Spencer Daniels) pops up, as he is wont to do. He does share a consciousness with El, after all. He’s getting bad vibes from good ol’ Seb.
Then, our crew at Brakebills reunites with Fogg (Rick Worthy). He’s back! The red button successfully summoned him from the Etheric Realm. Or the “Acid Realm,” as I like to call it. However, he did not leave unscathed – we see burn marks on his hands. Not to mention, he refers to Todd as “Eliot.” Something is amiss. Regardless, he vows to fix the wonky wards protecting the campus and he leaves to do just that.
Now, Julia is still hellbent on venturing into Fillory to embark on her quest to save the world. However, Penny urges her to stay. When does she get to be done? How many times must she save worlds until she finally calls it quits? Penny just wants to settle down with our Jules. Julia decides to dump him. Yes, dump him. Suddenly, an alarm sounds, reverberating through the campus grounds. Everything is now on lockdown. Which is awesome and not at all awkward when you’re forced to stay in the same room as the girl who dumped you.
Meanwhile, Alice is in the library scribbling down some meta-math formulas. Nothing seems to be adding up. A man called Hamish Bax (Aaron Jennings), who’s interviewing for the head of the Botany department position, tries to correct her. But Alice doesn’t heed his words because, duh, he’s got a thing for plants. She tries to contact Fogg via paper note, but magic is all forked up so she can’t send it.
Next, Bick arrives at the fairy encampment with the Centurions in tow. They search the fairy tents, but they’re bereft of gold and fairies, for that matter. When they return to the palace, Bick presents the Dark King with a plate of gold that wasn’t on the fairy site earlier. Margo and Eliot spy on dear Bick and discover that he has cockroaches that have the ability to poop gold. Yes, insects that sh*t gold.
Now, they reveal this information to Seb, and he has Bick promptly arrested. Boom! Meanwhile, Hamish attempts to unravel the wards preventing him and Alice from fleeing the library. It works, but there’s immediate consequences – Hamish suffers a nasty arm gash. Alice takes him to the green house for any healing plants available.
Next, after applying a paste to his wound, Alice stumbles upon a contraption that controls Circumstances – everything that could tamper with spell work. The moon, the waves, the weather. She sticks her note to Fogg inside the box and she finally sends it. Success!
Then, Julia and Penny find Todd outside the library with a container of cinnabar. You know, the deadly explosive powder that resembles cinnamon. He’s also acting funky – more so than usual. Suddenly, he steps on an invisible landmine and morphs into a hearty human stew. Yum. However, another Todd reemerges from the library – our Todd. Apparently, the previous iteration of Todd was Evil Todd. I hope all the Todds from the different timelines get together for a Todd Day.
So, we learn that Fogg is actually the Fogg from Timeline 17, wherein he blew up his Brakebills. He’s a bit of a psychopath. Julia and Penny reunite with Alice and Hamish in the green house.
Suddenly, Fogg appears. He binds Alice and Hamish with magic. Then, he orders Penny to hand over the canister of cinnabar in his hands. Stoppard’s time machine is with Fogg as well. Fogg 17 plans to go back to his own timeline with our Brakebills… and everyone in it. He’s got a daughter to take care of, y’all. Thankfully, the gang tricks him with a container of cinnamon, and they throw him in the clean room. That way, homeboy can’t cast any magic.
Moreover, Penny is still acting dean. Our Fogg is still in the Etheric Realm. But the wards are fixed, and Brakebills is back to normal… for now. Julia embarks for Fillory, and she parts on good terms with Penny.
Later, Margo and Eliot return to the fairy encampment. The fairy leader has taken a liking to Margo now since they saved the group from Bick. She shows them something quite alarming – Seb utilizing the insect gold to summon a slew of Takers. It’s like zombies rising from the grave. Not cool, dude. Not cool.
Now, I’m curious to see if the Dark King will reveal more shocking secrets. He’s wreaking havoc in Fillory by sicking Takers on the realm himself. Is he really from Loria, born to human parents? What actually happened to his dearly departed love? In addition, I hope we haven’t seen the last of the Visigoths. Mostly because David Anders is a delicious villain, and I need more wonderful dialogue for him to play with.
Do you think Kady will successfully remove all the Reed’s Marks on the hedge witches? What will Julia face on her quest? When is the damn musical episode? Join me next week as I recap The Magicians, here on Geek Girl Authority.
The Magicians airs Wednesdays at 10pm on your SyFy affiliate.