Penny23 has now joined the cast which means he now has to be brought up to speed on what is happening in this timeline.
Josh was, perhaps, not the best person for this as he is overly interested in who is having sex with whom. Unfortunately Kady also arrives and is pretty heart broken to realise this Penny is not her Penny and doesn’t even know her. She helps with the recap though - including Julia, herself and Renard. So he’s up to speed
Everyone else is rather worried about this whole monster at the end of the world thing they’ve been warned about. Bringing magic back while unleashing another terrible threat doesn’t strike anyone as being a good idea, especially since their last ill-thought out plan led to losing magic in the first place. So who to speak to about hidden knowledged?
Why that would be the Library - so off Alice goes (followed by astrally projecting Penny because no-one trusts her or the Library) to ask the Librarian. Who knows nothing beyond the fact that the Castle at the End of the World is full of things that Man Was Not Meant to know. She suggests asking an actual god since they’ve done that a few times and the god should know.
More ominously she also hands Alice a syphon which she needs to charge up with magic (clearly the plan was to harvest the Mcallister’s fairies) - and she suggests using Julia. It’s clear Julia won’t be a fan of this and the Librarian expects Alice to use force. Uh-huh everyone is suspicious of this
But they do take the advice of finding a god: but Bacchus has been banned from Instagram and Persephone isn’t picking up Julia’s calls
Julia is getting a lot of her own prayers - her power is growing massively, she’s now hearing people’s feelings and even their prayers. Including Henry’s utter desperation. We’re reminded his eyes cannot be magically healed because they were magically damaged - magic could fundamentally change him. But Julia isn’t a magician any more - she’s a god. And she has a special get out clause and is able to heal Henry’s eyes
Penny23 and Kady have reluctantly come to an idea of a god to speak to - Renard. He’s not dead, he’s running around without his powers but presumably with the knowledge of the Castle at the End of the World. Obviously going after Renard is a hugely sensitive topic for Julia and Kady. Julia’s worried not about his power - but because he’s a trickster and can’t be trusted. But she absolutely cannot let Kady go alone. But they don’t need to search for Renard - because Julia is a god
Which also means when they arrive on Renard’s doorstep there’s little he can do about her. Even when he tries to belittle her and demean her, she’s not having it for a second. She even says that she’s taken his spark and grown it - she’s more powerful than he was. And it’s glorious to see her put him in his place.
He does tell them that the Castle At The End of the World is full of “mistakes,” abominations the gods never meant to create. He also tries to shoot them with the bullet he took from them - the god killing bullet they created. Julia is far too awesome for this and happily freezes him and steals his bullet: she and Kady agree this will be perfect for killing whatever monster is in the Castle and call that a good one
They also, much to Penny’s shock, don’t kill him. Him being miserable and powerless is punishment in their eyes. I think they could have done something creative with fingernails
I also quite like that they point out Renard has a shelf full of feminist literature - just because a man has a carefully crafted reading list doesn’t mean he’s not a rapist arsehole.
This settles the dilemma of the monster at the end of the world, technically.
While in Fillory we have more drama.
Fen returns to Elliot who admits that he’s not king any more so she can skip the whole arranged marriage if she wants but she points out she can’t exactly return to her old life now - especially since it wasn’t that great anyway. So she’s hanging around
They need the 6th key which is keeping the fairy realm going. Communication bunnies to the fairy queen have come back with… less than diplomatic responses
So it’s time to catch up with Fray and see if she has any fairy knowledge. There we learn that the only children in the fairy realm are human: there are no fairy children. They realise that the whole reason for the fairy invasions was that fairies can’t breed in the fairy realm so will inevitably go extinct
Fray is also having sex with a talking bear and said bear would really like Elliot’s approval as her sort-of-but-not-father especially since bestiality is frowned upon in Fillory. So Elliot decides to give her the same speech for acceptance he wishes his dad would have given him
Because we’re definitely drawing a comparison between gay men and bestiality and, Magicians, one cute lifetime scene with Quentin and Elliot which you then pretend never happens does not balance the monumental amount of homophobic fuckery you’ve already pulled enough for you to do a gay relationships = bestiality moment.
Margot is also super accepting of Fray and spends time talking to said bear.
So they call the fairy queen back and make her a deal - a nice moist spot of Fillory to raise her kiddies in exchange for the key. The fairy queen tries to claim they can just wait for Fillory to be conquered by Loria and the Western hordes but Margot’s wise to that - how much time do the fairies have without kiddies?
Of course they can’t actually fulfill this offer until they become monarchs
Which means lots of debate on killing everyone (Margot), until Josh points out before all this chaos happened they were going to introduce democracy to Fillory which would be nice without all the nasty murdering and mass death etc.
There’s a fly in the ointment that Elliot condescends to Margot that he should be the face on the posters - because Fillory is patriarchal and won’t accept a female ruler. Margot is NOT FUCKING AMUSED
Which sounds like a great idea. But how do they force Tick to have an election? With Margot’s craftiness and the power of Kinkos and their flying boat to rain the whole kingdom with fliers announce the election
Tick orders them burned except there are a gazillion posters out there and everyone’s expecting an election and if he says there isn’t now the already quite annoyed people may have him beheaded. So he starts campaigning
But Tick is a democracy lightweight. He makes detailed, sensible election promises. He lays out excellent civil plans and possible, reasonable reforms. Oh you sweet summer child
While Elliot, child of Earth that he is, is experienced in democracy. In particular, grandiose promises he has no intention of keeping and are impossible anyway. Lots and lots of silly promises while Tick gets ever more frustrated.
It helps that Julia is going around with her god power performing miracles while Josh follows with fliers (after all the whole reason Children of Earth rule Fillory is that they have magic).
Tick finally realises one key of democracy - smearing the opponent. He publishes a transcript of Elliot’s testimony at the trial in which he basically said Fillory was a backward shithole… which… is not wrong?
So when they go into the polls it’s all tense aaaand…
Margot wins. As a write in candidate
Turns out her pro-bestiality stance is actually a really popular one with the talking animals. They feel that humans generally look down on them and don’t treat them as equals and if they could intermarry they feel they’d be much more respected and treated as equals. The first person to declare his loyalty is a lover of chief wise sloth, but Elliot is quick to be the second - and it’s kind of beautiful because Margot is clearly worried he’s going to be upset but he’s quick to declare his allegiance to her.
Oh, it also turns out that no-one actually did a census of Fillory - there’s only like 50,000 people but upward of 1,000,000 talking animals. Someone should have paid attention to this
I think the message here is supposed to be compassion and acceptance wins more than dirty tricks and fakery. But the real message is that you really really need to check your demographics before an election. There’s a reason politicans looooove drawing their own election maps. But hey Margot one and she deserved it - she deserved it so much. How much has she suffered? How much has she fought for Fillory? No-one deserved this more than she! All hail High King Margot, long may she reign!
They pardon Tick and even bring him into the council despite him expecting a horrible death - because no matter what else, his policy decisions were truly excellent. This man is a brilliant civil servant (and, in a world where silly promises etc weren’t the deciding factors in a democracy, would be a great ruler as well).
They make a deal with the fairy queen - the fairies get land, legal protections, full citizenship (all the legal safeguards to prevent them being preyed upon a gain) and a seat in government which is everything the fairy queen has always wanted. As a reward she restore’s Margot’s eye - with a fairy eye. She now has super sight and it’s all so touching and emotional and just perfect because Margot has EARNED THIS. And now they have the key - the full set.
While we celebrate in Fillory there’s still a couple of more storylines to catch
Quentin confronts Alice about the siphon - apparently if used when magic is restored it will put all magic in the control of the Library so they pick who has it. They talk and Alice makes a valid point about how Brakebills was already a gatekeeper for magic but Quentin is not impressed by Alice playing god: that she’s acting like this because she’s afraid. She’s afraid of magic, she’s afraid of the terrible things she did as a niffin and like many scared people she’s seeking more and more controls and limits.
I don’t think he convinces her but he does have a threat - they don’t need her to continue the quest and he will kick her out if she doesn’t. But Alice has one nasty reminder - Quentin’s dad was dying before magic disappears. If magic comes back, he dies again.
Quentin has a whole agonising moment. Because this season started with a quest and Quentin has always been clear about what a quest means: a quest changes the questor. A quest makes the questor a different person by the end (which is what differentiates it from a mission). And Quentin doesn’t think he has changed, doesn’t think he is ready for the conclusion, he doesn’t have the resolve and strength for it and certainly not the certainty.
I’m going to say a) hell no, Quentin has changed a lot this season and b) maybe because it wasn’t his quest? It was more Elliot/Margots and they have changed a LOT
Julia reassures him, adding as well that it hasn’t made him cold to sacrifice his father. But she also says when magic is back everything changes - she can’t guarantee she’ll be able to god-power away his dad’s illness
Quentin goes to his dad to explain everything and his dad asks him if he’s asking permission. Quentin isn’t - they’ve done so much, he’s lived an entire life, married, had a kid, done so much. They are bringing magic back - but he wanted to speak to his father in person to explain it first, face to face. His father seems pretty impressed by this super mature Quentin
And Kady picks up the Unity key and hears everyone - she quickly seizes on Penny’s voice. Only to realise it’s Penny23 answering
Hmmmm… Penny. I’m glad we have a Penny back in the main cast - but this way of doing it, basically resetting the character is not how I wanted to see it. Especially since, Kady’s right, they have completely forgotten Penny!40 and resigned to leaving him to his fate in the underworld. I also can’t help but feel that this character reboot is less story driven and more because the writers have done such a poor job of developing Penny (beyond a ball of hostility) that they felt they needed to reboot him to make him an integral part of the group.
Julia - her being a god is super creepy and powerful and interesting. I predict the downside to all this is it’s overwhelming. Sure she hears prayers - but there are a lot of people in the world and only one Julia. But aside from that and besides loving Julia’s power… I can’t help but being somewhat concerned by the idea that Julia has basically achieved god status by being raped. And her facing down Renard was glorious, and they’ve certainly not downplayed Julia’s trauma, not slightly. But underlying? She has super powers because she was raped.
Deamn Fogg - I like Henry, I want to see more of him AND I want him to preserve his glorious aura of not giving a fuck. That would be awesome. But I need him sober and I’m really not happy with a disabled character having his disability literally magically fixed. Henry could have been an excellently snarky not-giving-a-fuck-guy without
I’m happy to see Quentin referring to the whole life he and Elliot lived and he has definitely matured as a character - but it rather glaring points to him not really mentioning Elliot in that which seems to be being rapidly removed from the plot.
Alice and her conflict - I do really like that she raised Brakebills was already a gatekeeper for magic as we saw with the treatment of Hedgewitches. There is a debate to be had here on the control and danger of magic - not just because of Alice and her niffin-ness, but really everything the characters have done on the way which is generally one long comedy of errors.