This is Season 2 Episode 12 of The Magicians: “Ramifications”
The plot thickens in the penultimate episode of The Magicians‘ second season. Senator John Gaines tries to take control of his own life (lol), Alice rejoins the realm of the living, and Penny barely makes it out of the Poison Room. (In other news: The Magicians has been renewed for a third season by Syfy. You know what the ramifications of that are? More sassy recaps from yours truly).
Fillory’s subjected to the reign of Josh the Reagent…and it’s ramifications
With Eliot banished and Margo stuck in the Fairy realm, the throne of Fillory is being kept warm by Josh whose ruling philosophy is, literally, “Hakuna Matata.” Which would be great if this were a Disney movie where success and happiness were assured in the end. Instead, we get to see Josh under the influence of every possible substance while he awaits for the actual High King and Queen to put him out of his misery. In one of his gone states, Margo manages to make contact with him, urging him to find a way to get her out of Fairy World.
Josh proves to be exceedingly helpful (not). For one, when Ess comes barging in demanding to see his father, Josh only manages to stop Ess’s men after several people have perished and by using a knock-out vapor that he ends up inhaling himself. Yet, right before passing out, he drinks out of the Fairy-realm-transporting vile, asking the remaining court officials to “tell his story.” Thanks for nothing, Josh.
A word on Quentin
I want to start by saying that I am so proud of Quentin. I know he suffers from Main Character Syndrome, and that he can get insufferable for a lot of people (especially early on), but I’ve always loved the vulnerability of his character. Quentin is, unapologetically, the kind of guy who needs five more minutes to make sense of what everybody else understood instantly. He’s emotional, he doesn’t know if what he’s doing is ever right, and his second-guessing nature doesn’t even keep him from making less mistakes. That is precisely why seeing his grow and toughen up as the show progresses is such a delight for me as a viewer. Quentin shut down eerrrbody in this episode. Go you, Q!
Quentin and Julia pay Mayakovsky a visit
Anyways, back to the recap: so Quentin and Julia ask Mayakosvky for help in bringing Alice back. At first, Mayakovsky is reluctant, insisting that this kind of magic has never worked, etc. etc. That’s when Quentin explodes and lectures him on his illicit relationships with students and how he’s directly responsible for Charlie Quinn’s death. His speech was so ferociously delivered, that Mayakovsky agrees to help. The process then involved a cage to trap in Niffin Alice, with her shade serving as bait.
The spell was a success, except Human Alice still has Niffin Alice’s personality. She’s angry that all of the information she once knew is disappearing. Mayakosvky explains that she’s now more like a Baby Magician, or a Baby Alice. In short, she isn’t thrilled that she has to relearn everything she had worked so hard to cram in her brain. Quentin is trying to give her some space, but the poor guy can’t take it. Alice is angry at him, but he refuses to apologize for bringing her back to life. After he leaves her be for the last time in this episode, there is a slight change in Alice’s face. Does that mean she’ll soften up eventually? I’d assume yes, but also this show might just drag us through the mud with this until the series finale.
John Gaines has enough of everyone’s shit
I feel really bad for Senator John Gaines aka White Obama (literally same ears???). He was one of those people who wanted to do good in the world but happened to have a trickster god for a father. After struggling to grasp his new reality, John Gaines truly loses his shit after Reynard murders his wife and saves him “the biggest piece” (which Reynard presents to him inside a jewelry box). Afterwards, John returns to Brakebills where he forces Kady to perform the ritual to harness his power. This is all while Julia is fetching some pizzas. By the time she returns, Kady is covered in blood and only just realizing what she was forced to do.
The good news is Julia manages to consolidate all of John’s power into a single bullet. And, because they now know of Reynard’s obsession with Her Lady Underground aka Persephone, it’s easy for the Best Bitches to find a way to trick Reynard into thinking she’s about to make an appearance. A thunderstorm by a barn shed lures Reynard into the trap, except right when Julia’s about the pull the trigger, Persephone herself shows up to stop her. Turns out Reynard is her son, and his mischiefs were all in service of making his abandoning mother notice him. Which would be very sad and heartbreaking if it weren’t for the fact that he screwed (literally) a lot of people over for it.
So Her Lady Underground turns out to be…very ungodly, but at least returns Julia’s shade in exchange for sparing Reynard’s life. Is Reynard grounded? Who knows.
Penny and Sylvia find their way into the Poison Room
But not exactly out of it…. Sylvia aka Willow easily breaks the spell on the fountain leading into the Poison Room. Penny doesn’t want to let her jump in with him because, duh, she’s not a traveler. Yet, Sassy Sylvia secures a rope around her waist and ties the other end to a pole and jumps in after saying something along the lines of “This isn’t my first rodeo.” Penny follows in, and together they search for Sylvia’s book, where she believes the secrets of the librarians will be revealed.
Earlier, Sylvia explains to Penny why she’s trying to break into the Poison Room in the first place. The library has known for a while that the books of every living person end with 20 empty pages. Nobody knows why or what it means, but the blank pages are only a couple of weeks away, at most. She also tells Penny she has seen his book get re-shelved 39 times. However, her book doesn’t end up being of much help because she’s meant to die right there and then in the Poison Room. Penny manages to come out alive (barely) with Kady’s book.
Honestly, now that I think about it, Kady doesn’t even need that book anymore…
Some notes before moving forward
The plot has already thickened in several ways. For one, the John Gaines and Reynard saga has reached a sort of conclusion, leaving the Bad Bitches in possession of an unused god-killing bullet. Alice has been brought back to life, and both her and Julia are reunited with their shades. However, Alice is rapidly losing her knowledge of magic, but let’s see what kind of spells she manages to jot down from her Niffin days. Penny has brought back a book from the Poison Room (which I’m assuming is the battle magic book Kady wanted, but is it?). Fen, Margo, and Josh are all stuck in the Fairy realm, leaving the castle in the hands of incompetent servants and an angry, passed out Ess.
Got all of that? Good. Because now’s when it gets messy.
Eliot and Quentin try to find a way back to Fillory
Eliot desperately needs to return to Fillory, having left his castle in shambles and infested with rat people. Quentin helps him identify a clock in the Fillory books that the Chatwins used to transport themselves there. Q remembers seeing the clock at his Yale interview, which gives them a starting point to track down the clock. The search leads them to Canada, where a Fillory fanboy is living in a house filled with original manuscripts and other collector’s pieces (including the clock). However, Quentin realizes the man knows information about Fillory that isn’t found in the books and confronts him about it.
So, how does the man know all this stuff? Oh, because he’s Umber. Who was supposed to be dead. Get this: Umber is the god of law and order (he’s currently binging the show) and was tired of Ember (god of chaos)’s crap. So instead of doing his job, Umber faked his own death and fled to Earth. If you think about it, Fillory is kind of like a teenager with a hormonal imbalance. There is only chaos and the band-aid prescription pills provided by the human rulers, their magic and diplomacy only serving as temporary fixes. Umber refuses to return to Fillory, confirms that Eliot has Ember to thank for the rattening.
Umber is busy creating another world, leaving Fillory (and the magical human race) to die. He advises Eliot to keep Ember entertained to keep him from completely shitting in the bucket…which he already did. To me, there’s a high chance Quentin’s words about how “he totally still loves Fillory” will eventually ring true to Umber, and he’ll return to Fillory when needed most. But here’s the guy who’s responsible for the Beast and for everything else that has happened to Fillory since this show started.
Now, does this even begin to explain the 20 blank pages at the end of everyone’s books? This season finale might be much more than we expected it to be.
“Ramifications” Episode Vitals
MVP: Quentin, for growing a pair.
Biggest Annoyance: Lady Underground’s presence.
Favorite Moment: When Quentin’s super stressed and melts from the chair to the floor, and then Eliot’s like “Yeah, let’s do that” and follows suit.
Funniest Line: “Yeah, let’s do that.” – Eliot to Quentin in above scene.