It feels weird to say this about the penultimate episode leading up to what’s bound to be a bloody and violent meeting with The Beast, but this episode was a lot of fun. The writers are able to create the twistiest of plots with tons of fantastical elements (acid carrots, anyone?) and still make the storyline completely easy to follow and understand. And in a move that I appreciate, they even throw in some in-jokes this episode for those of us who read the books first. Our Brakebills gang finally begins their journey to Fillory via the Neitherlands, but only after a very awkward “morning after the threesome” scene. The friendships within the group are fractured, which allows Penny and Alice to form a closer bond with Quentin overhearing just how close that bond becomes outside of Alice’s door when he hears them having sex. Quentin’s face during this scene is enough to actually make me feel sorry for him even though he brought the situation upon himself. The betrayals play out in a way that still allows each character to retain all of their former likeability, especially Margo as she gets the first of her many badass lines this episode, telling Quentin, “people don’t get to be mad at me because I had sex with them. You’re welcome.” Once in the Neitherlands, during a scuffle with The Beast’s mercenaries who have been tasked with stopping anyone from using the fountains, Quentin gets separated from the group and gets sent back to Earth with no magic transportation button to zap him back. We finally get to see a proactive Quentin here as he is determined to get back to the rest of the group and into Fillory. He takes the bold move of “dosing” Dean Fogg with truth serum which is obviously a manipulation to allow the Dean to narrate a TON of plot information, but as far as manipulations go it makes enough sense that I don’t care, especially because I’ve been wondering why no one has gone to the faculty yet to ask for help. We learn not only about Dean Fogg’s first sexual experience, but also that Eliza and Jane Chatwin are one and the same (we already knew this but Quentin didn’t), she was able to control time, everyone has been living in a reoccurring time loop that she created, and she has tried out many different scenarios to try to stop the Beast, restarting the time loop every time they have failed, tweaking something, and then restarting the loop to see if it changes the end result. What was changed this time? Julia wasn’t accepted to Brakebills! And now a troubling aspect of the series has been cleared up for me- I always wondered why they didn’t just let Julia into the school since she is so obviously powerful. And now the reason is made clear–it was done purposefully to try to make her even more powerful and a more formidable foe for The Beast. Hopefully, this change works because now that Eliza is dead, this is their last chance to defeat The Beast– if they die this time, there is no resetting the time loop. This revelation spurs Quentin into tracking down Julia and we get a really happy reunion between the two that was super satisfying for me as a viewer. They’re finally able to put the past behind them, partly because of Julia’s newly enlightened perspective on life and partly due to Quentin’s realization that Julia is just as good as him, if not better, even though he was chosen to go to Brakebills during this time loop and she was left behind. I’m so impressed with the development of the characters this season, and the best example of this is showcased in Julia’s transformation. Julia and her hedge witch friends are actually successful in their quest to contact a goddess, and through this experience, Julia now embodies a buoyancy and optimism that is completely counter to her character at the beginning of the series. Quentin and Julia have effectively switched places from the beginning of the series to now. At first Quentin is the privileged, chosen one and Julia is the outcast reject, but now Quentin is the one beaten down by life and hard truths. Julia is completely at peace with her path and doesn’t even show a trace of bitterness at the news that she should have been at Brakebills the entire time, partly because she now has realized the true purpose of magic: to fix things. This references a theme that I’ve discussed many times in my reviews and is the exact opposite of what Quentin has learned through his experience with magic, which is decidedly that magic CANNOT fix everything, or anything that truly matters it seems. The jury is still out on whose version of magic is the more truthful representation because I still harbor a sense of foreboding from a scene at the beginning of this episode where the servant of the goddess tells Julia to be careful when she calls the goddess because “you can’t unring a bell.” (And maybe I read the book and am wondering how much they’re going to change that aspect of the story for the television version because, as of right now, the television show is MUCH happier.) Another great example of the skill of the writers in regards to adapting the book to the screen and character development is Penny. While the book Penny was purposefully one-dimensional and annoying, the series Penny shows much more depth of character and even allows us to like him. I was at first concerned because he just seemed like a static bully, but throughout the series, he has continued to grow and evolve, first by showing vulnerability in his relationship with Cady, and most recently actually referring to Alice as his friend and telling her that he respects her. Back in The Neitherlands, the rest of the group head to the library where the librarian quickly gets rid of their emotion filled bottles they use to help with battle magic because, of course, no food or drinks in the library. As the bottles shatter and their emotions rush back to them, Margo hilariously screams in anger, “I planned my whole outfit around that bottle!” That was the funniest performance of a single line on a television show that I’ve seen since The Office or Parks and Recreation– and just as I did during the reign of those television shows, I rewound the scene multiple times to rewatch and laugh. We also get a couple of fanservice lines where the librarian refers to Margo as Janet, her original name in the book series, and she also mentions in her list of rules that “no harm must come to the books” in reference to the books housed in the library but also an obvious reference to the adaptation of the books from page to screen. No harm done thus far. Eliot soon gets them kicked out of the library because he clearly just does not give a fuck anymore, and this leads to another shout out to the book fans- they run into Josh. I assumed the writers just got rid of him because there were already too many characters in the cast to deal with, but no, they were just saving him for this nice little surprise. Remember the entire year of Brakebills students who vanished? It turns out they went on a spring break trip to Fillory, ran into The Beast, the traveler who transported them was captured and placed in a dungeon (she’s the woman Penny has been hearing calling for help), and now Josh is stuck in the Neitherlands growing weird plants like the aforementioned hallucinogenic carrots. Conveniently, Josh knows how to get to the Fillory fountain and Alice’s phosphoromancy is put to use as she bends light to hide them all from the mercenaries trying to stop them from using any of the fountains, but of course, Eliot couldn’t avoid the strong pull of drug laced carrots and gives away their position because he’s high. In another great Margo moment, just as you think Eliot is a goner, Margo pulls out a gun and shoots the mercenary, which is actually a strangely funny moment because of the contrast to what we’ve seen so far: everything up to this point in the series has been spells and potions and supernatural powers—and here comes Margot with her very non-magical weapon, along with her matter of fact pronouncement: “I brought a gun. Thanks, Margo.” You’re quickly brought back down again though when you realize that Eliot didn’t even try to defend himself against the mercenary; Eliot’s self-destructive tendencies are reaching their peak at the worst time, just when they’re heading into the most danger. They’re able to make a run for it and make it to the Fillory fountain before being caught, and that’s where this episode leaves Penny, Alice, Eliot, and Margo. But that leaves us with Julia and Quentin back at Brakebills coming up with a plan to travel back in time to when Jane Chatwin went to Fillory and follow her through the portal. Their plan is successful, but the catch is they are in Fillory in 1942 while everyone else is in Fillory during present time. I told you a lot of the plotting was complicated! It somehow all makes perfect sense, though, as all of the pieces start to click into place as we come closer to the finale. We’re left with a final shot of Quentin and Julia tearing up as they view a purely fantastic Fillorian castle. I know that they are in Fillory for a very serious and dangerous mission that will probably involve lots of blood and gore, if previous episodes that feature The Beast are any indicator, but I’m so happy that this episode ended as it did- with a lovely moment of triumph and joy that Quentin and Julia get to just sit in for a moment and enjoy. They’ve finally made it to Fillory and they deserve one moment of happiness to let it sink in before all those triumphant feelings get destroyed by The Beast. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.