Penny died last week while Astral projecting. This is a problem because only the demon could see his astral self which now leaves him invisible and inaudible to everyone. This is a problem.
He does follow everyone around as they spread the news and grieve for him (and grows ever more exasperated at the lack of proper grieving. Guy deserved some tears! Also Quentin can’t pronounce his last name which us just extra aggravating). Kady reflects that none of them ever knew him
Which is a nice story way of saying “fuck, this character had no backstory at all!”
There is a moment when Alice talks about her dead dad which poor Penny almost thinks is about him. We do learn that Quentin’s dad’s cancer is now in remission - because the cancer was all magical - and Alice is now deeply conflicted about whether she wants magic back at all. She thinks it’d be nice to be a normal lost, 23 year old given the huge amount of mess they’ve made with magic
By spying on everyone Penny learns about the bunny messengers between Quentin & co and Elliot & co which he also follows to Fillory where he learns that Margot is super pissed about the queen and fully planning to murder her. He also fully appreciates what a terrifying person Margot is. And rightly so. Margot also duly grieves Penny with a “I always thought some day we were going to bang”. Because she’s Margot
Helplessly, he can do very little to stop Kady as she takes an overdose - but someone is magically possessed with glassy eyes to warn Julia so she can save Kady’s life with magic
There’s definitely a lot of things going on with Julia - and I don’t know why she decides to keep the glassy eyed person secret but she does. All through this Penny feels helpless - until he meets the unfortunately names Hymen
Hymen was, like him, a Traveller. When he was astrally projecting he lost his body, just like Penny. In his case this happened because he’s a pervert who used his magical powers to spy on naked women.
Since then he’s been wandering around following people and their stories and indulging in his own fanfiction (he’s especially invested in Quentin because, well, guy born in 1902 loves him a straight white male hero). He doesn’t know a great deal, in fact Penny has to educate him on what an actual ghost is (constantly reliving their past, visible to the living, which would be useful).
Quentin and Julia have pursued a lead on the next key which, via Henry, they help pin together as been given to a student at Brakebills (who either committed suicide or whose head exploded - they have the same code for some reason) in a Dorm which was magically sealed due to being haunted which was considered a bad thing back in those days. Penny is definitely willing to go check this out because a terrified Hymen reveals that ghosts can touch and interact with them. Hoping to use a ghostly go between he follows them, tries to speak to the ghost of the boy with the key and the ghost of his father - who killed him (apparently due to homophobia) and both saves Quentin and Alice from the ghostly dad and tries to communicate. But fails, again, because the ghost doesn’t believe “Penny” is a name.
Things are so very frustrating to poor Penny. His next trick is to finally confront Hymen on there being anyway to actually move things like this. Hymen admits there is - rather than move things you have to “become” them. This is singularly unhelpful advice and their follows 3 hours of him yelling “be the penny” to Penny to make him possess a coin. Oh it takes a while but he does get there
He now finds the Margolem. Back when Elliot and Margot needed a way to get from Fillory to Earth they used bodies of living clay. Margot’s is still around, being used by Todd. Not like that. Apparently he dresses it up and pretends Margot respects him.
Just imagine the terrible terrible things Margot will do to him when she finds out
Penny possess the golem which wanders around groaning until Quentin beats it to death. It has to be say Penny is not having the best day.
Nor is Elliot. He escaped the boat with Fray and Fenn into the Neitherlands and is now dealing with Cannibals (and with Penny unable to warn him). He tries to use the key to create a scary illusion to scare him away and instead gets his father. This is an episode for homophobic ghostly dads it seems.
To make life harder for Penny, a man from the Librarians arrives to give them a time scale. See Penny signed a contract to serve the Library living and dead for 1 billion years and so far his ghost hasn’t shown up at the underworld. The Librarians guess he’s probably turning into an angry spirit due to his traumatic death and would like to have his body professionally eaten by a corpse eater to stop that happening and so he can report for duty
Or they can burn his body and pretty much ensure the angry spirit route, saving him from a billion years as a Librarian but opening up eternity as an angry spirit. Good options here.
Alice is leaning corpse eating since being a vengeful spirit isn’t fun. Kady wants to hold on because she’s still looking for a back door to bring Penny back to life. They consult Harriet and she thinks the ghost eaters are terrible idea and she also thinks being a ghost is way better than being a Librarian - who killed him in the first place.
The quest for the second key continues at one of the board member’s houses with Penny following because the second key apparently has the ability to see hidden things. The house seems to have magic still, stored, to do house work and things. When Julia picks up the key these seem to be revealed as fae… which may be troublesome. She doesn’t see them. But that’s two keys
And still Penny didn’t get to reveal himself. He’s not having a great time at this. He checks in on elliot but the key of scary illusions doesn’t show truth
The last minutes run out with Penny desperately begging for time with Alice and Kady fretting what to do. Alice offers to make the decision because conflicted Kady obviously does not want responsibility for this decision. So Alice, in a very deep meaningful moment of kindness, tells her not to take it
I think this is a really powerful moment of kindness recognising just what a painful time grief is in which it make decisions. And sometimes, the nicest things you can do for someone is offer them a chance to not make the hard decisions. At least for now.
Alice goes to get the corpse eater - and Penny makes his own decision. Possessing the candle he burns his body rather than save them
To add to the depressing news, Henry reveals the governors are tired of no answers and plan to sell the school. He decides to have a lie down. With rum.
And Elliot arrives with his family - yes they managed to get past the cannibals by, well, feeding his dad to them. It was cathartic. They warn him the second key shows you hard, difficult truths but Elliot is So Out of Fucks right now and just picks it up. And says “Hi Penny”
So Penny is still around, but Astral, burning his body didn’t change that. Now is there a loophole back? I’m going to go with yes (at least when magic is back) because there kinda always is? There was a way back for Julia from losing her soul, there was a way back for Alice when she became a niffin. I think there’s always some way back - but usually a terrible way. But, I’m going to see it will definitely involve magic which will definitely get Kady back onside and while Alice is kind of fuzzy about her own desires here, I also think she’s sufficiently in limbo this will give her enough direction to get on side. So that’s basically everyone on the same page here
I am waiting for the wrath of Margot. Please make it epic.
Focusing on Penny made this an extremely good episode - it was fun seeing him flit around and try to connect to and judging everyone around was awesome.