Julia and Quinn are shade hunting – trying to get Julia all put together again. And I do quite like how Julia keeps checking her behaviour, clearly second guessing herself and lack of conscience a lot
So they find an Ancient One – a dragon. And she is kind of awesome. She official does not deal with shit and is very snarky. Go snarky dragons. She will send them to the underworld to get Julia’s shade but she wants the button they use to travel to Fillory in exchange. Julia says no – but Quentin caves
They now have 24 hours to explore the underworld:
Dragon: “you have 24 hours to come back”
Dragon: “I sit patiently for you to come back. No, I eat you, I’m a fucking dragon what do you expect?!”
To the Underworld –which resembles a waiting room and a hotel. And I kind of love the totally unexpected banality of it. The waiting room, the numbers and the orientation video (and the leaflets – relax, you’re probably not going to hell!) It’s all so… gloriously mundane. Of course this is just a stepping stone into the real afterlife where everyone kind of gets comfortable with death and then moves on. Also they cause paperwork because they’ve died 39 times each
Except the Shades are hidden – and people without Shades are removed which is definitely worrisome.
Instead they manage to connect with Julia’s old friends – the coven that Reynard slaughtered (including the actual Richard whose body Renard is using which is kind of freaky). They’re spending the afterlife bowling but they have info for Julia including there are definitely other gods: though Hades and Persephone are AWOL. With their knowledge and help Julia and Quentin get to Persephone’s house where the Shades hang out
There they see both a picture of Persephone which, to Julia’s rage – turns out to be Our Lady Underground. The woman she and her coven prayed to. The goddess whose identity Renard stole. The Goddess who EXISTS but DIDN’T answer their prayers – instead allowed Renard to use her name to rape and murder them. Julia is beyond furious
And that’s a really fascinating element to bring up – if you have proof deity exists and deity has ignored your prayers – or allowed abuse in deity’s name – how enraged would you be?
They also see the Shades (all children) performing minor miracles – each beautiful and meaningful while not making a huge difference in the world.
The do find Julia’s shade – but they also find Alice’s shade. The missing ingredient that meant Quentin could never bring Alice back from being a Niffin. Quentin collapses into an emotional puddle around her. And when they leave Julia insists they bring Alice’s shade with her… wait, they’re leaving Julia’s behind? Oh I will have words about that if they have because that would mean Julia is sacrifice for Quentin and being screwed again.
I also want to know how a Shade-less Julia is moved emotionally so much by Quentin’s emotion. Isn’t she supposed to be uncaring?
Over to Fillory and Elliot looks like he’s finally going to get some with his new fiancé Idri who just wants him – none of all the pomp and ceremony that Elliot has been stressed over. He also has some very fun ideas to get around the enforce celibacy thing (I assume this goes away when they actually marry) while Elliot seems to actually want to get to know his fiancé this way – having been a complete stranger to Fenn before they got married.
And then Idri is turned into a rat. Fenn also vanishes.
This is just the beginning of a whole lot of magical shenanigans that afflicts Fillory. Margot naturally suspects the fairies but they say there’s something far more random force at hand though the ambassador is pretty random. Elliot resorts to using truth potion on hjis inner council revealing many secrets – including Margot’s deal with the fairies.
And Elliot is done. Margot has started a war, sold his unborn child and now caused his fiancé, his wife and said unborn child to vanish. He is so done and has her imprisoned in the dungeon
I hate this – while it’s interesting to finally see Elliot try to be kingly – I am so tired of Margot being such an example of Spunky Agency. She’s strong, she’s powerful – and she’s incompetent. She endlessly creates problems. Remember when one of the issues raised in this season was that the sexism of Fillory means the High King has more power than the High Queen. Margot called it out – then spends the rest of the season being so inept it feels almost like a loud “see, this is why she isn’t the main power in the kingdom!”
What can redeem this is what Margot says on using mgic to enter the fairy realm – this is her mess to fix. I want to see her fix this. I want to see her not only make it right, I want to see her kill it and become awesome and gain so much for Fillory to make up for this ineptitude and make her an actual good character rather than a liability
Meanwhile, after some advice from Josh, Elliot decides to introduce democracy to Fillory so he can delegate some authority – and is zapped to Brakebills. Remember that Fillory must have rulers from Earth? That may be magically enforced
Let’s check in on Penny who is studying a new form of magic without hands. It uses sphincter muscles.
Fine, Magicians, whatever. Y’know for a show that prides itself on being adult and edgy, it can be awfully infantile.
Anyway, in between sex with Kady they continue to brain storm ways to get in the hidden Library room. They hit on reading the magical biography of the head librarian – which fails badly because 1) she’s all about the rules and 2) she’s not into Penny and his emotional drama.
He has a new supervisor – a young woman working for the Library to keep her safe from her father’s competitors. He’s a “legitimate businessman”
She is snarky and fun and offers to help – even handing over the Librarian’s name. But the biography has already been removed, the Librarian isn’t a fool. Still, Sylvia wants to sign up for the fun here. Penny protests this as far too dangerous for her – she shoots that down right away. He’s not responsible for her. She’s happy to run with her free will.
And we go over to Senator John and his daddy Renard – and Renard is teaching his son lots of nasty tricks. Including mind control which John has been using accidentally all his career. John almost falls for the idea of all the good things he could do using this power, passing powerful, important bills
Except he nearly kills a senator with it. And when he talks to his wife looking for support he realises he accidentally uses his mind control on her. He realises that their whole relationship may be based on lies, may be based on mind control. His wife could have been his slave
He’s horrified at this and confronts his father: only to realise everything that Julia and Quentin said about his father is true. His father even confesses, completely dismissing his victims because he’s angry. Yes he’s angry and pouty about Persephone, who he loved – and has now disappeared – so takes it out on the people who worship her
Do we really need to add a motive here? Do we really need to add love and reasoning?