In a departure from last week’s super serious tone, this episode is all kinds of awkward and features tons of sex. Like Winternalia orgies and sex between Alice and Quentin. It even features someone who specializes in sex magic and has adaptable anatomy who is, as Alice’s mom puts it, just like a Swiss Army knife. He’s just as useful, too, apparently, because he’s an integral part of getting Penny back home. But it starts deceptively right where last week’s episode left off, with Penny transported to the Neitherlands, kind of like a bus stop between worlds where you can travel to different realms through their dedicated fountain. Only after Penny can’t find his way back to Earth and must contact Quentin through a dream do we realize that six weeks have actually passed between this episode and last. This little time trick makes Julia’s storyline this week a little more palatable, because once again, a plot point just gets thrown in quickly with not enough development first. Julia has apparently been spending the past six weeks deeply involved in an online community with other hedge witches, introduced to her by Richard, the chaplain from the past two episodes. Now he has a name! And some character development! But anyway, their highly anticipated meet-up occurs during this episode, and shocker! (not really, I called this three episodes ago- and I didn’t even check Jade Tailor’s IMDB page!) Cady is one of the people that Julia has forged an anonymous online friendship with. They have an awkward, tense reunion, they fast forward through getting over the fact that Cady is pissed about Julia’s involvement in the death of her mom, and then they bond while they level up their spell power together. I’m happy that Cady is back because I grew to like her character, but this section of the episode just seemed in super-fast-forward. If you hadn’t read the books, I feel like the whole online community aspect of the episode would seem really way out of left field and confusing. For better or for worse, though, this is all building toward learning that Richard wants to do time magic and plans on summoning a god to do it, which admittedly, seems pretty bad ass. Elsewhere, Margo returns, too. I was initially happy to see her come back, but then disappointed as she was relegated to an extremely insignificant side plot, that is unless her golem has any importance in future episodes. It did allow for one poignant scene where Eliot, openly abusing drugs and freefalling into a downward spiral, reaches out to who he thinks is Margo, saying to her that he really does think that something may be broken inside of him. When it’s revealed that he bared his soul to the golem instead of actually to Margo, the superficiality of their relationship at this point is highlighted- you’re practically begging Margo to reach out to her friend who is so obviously hurting. Or maybe I just have a super soft spot for Eliot because he’s my favorite character- Hale Appleman really brings his character to life and does a great job translating the essence of Eliot onto the screen. He’s someone who is all kinds of fucked up but you keep rooting for him to redeem himself. But everyone in this show is fucked up in some way, and in this episode we get to see why Alice especially is. And as is the case with most people, it’s all because of her parents. And wow, are they WEIRD. I’m talking “obsessed with Roman culture to the point that they throw Roman themed Winternalia sex orgies at their house” weird. It’s no wonder that Alice, who grew up in a bizarrely sexually open household is so repressed in return. Her parents take being free-spirited to a whole other level, especially when it’s revealed that the person Alice needed to begrudgingly initiate contact with her parents to see, Joe the therapist, acts as her parent’s third in their three-ways. In kind of a weird plot manipulation, we also find out that Joe knows how to help Penny get back from the Neitherlands by casting a beacon on the Earth fountain so he can find his way back. This weird, sexual spell entails Alice and Quentin climaxing at the same time during sex, and of course, dredges up all of Quentin’s self-esteem issues when Alice reveals that she’s been kind of faking it. Quentin is super cute though as he takes all the tips he can get from Joe, the sex expert. This leads to a big development between Alice and Quentin as they become closer not just sexually but emotionally when Quentin finally tells Alice he loves her. Their spell works, the beacon is cast, Penny comes home, awkwardly right in the middle of their sex session, but not before he visits the Neitherlands Library and brings back some pages from Martin Chatwin’s life book. What is in these pages, we don’t know yet, but it will probably be important to their quest to defeat The Beast. I liked this episode a lot for what it was- a stopping point between action-oriented episodes where relationships between characters could be forged, especially between Alice and Quentin and Julia and Cady, and where backstories could be developed. While I love getting to know the characters better and these character development driven episodes are extremely necessary for the series’ survival, especially in Season One, the strongest episodes, in my opinion, are when The Beast is prominently featured, so I’m looking forward to the action and violence caused by him that has been teased for Episode Eleven in next week’s preview. 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