With only three episodes to go this season, episode 11 of The Magicians season 4 starts to really ramp up our storylines and tie a few together. This is it, kids! We’ve got a good episode here, but of time hopping, tampons, Fillorian childhood games, and a ghost who just really wants his ship together.
After returning from Fillory with her ice axes, Margo (Summer Bishil) spares no one of her story retellings, going so far as to repeat it with glee each time someone new walks into the Quester’s apartment. Now that they have the axes, they’ve got a real shot at removing the Monster (Hale Appleman) from Eliot but need something to contain its spirit. They realize that they will need to place an incorporate bond on whatever will hold the Monster, and the only one that knows how to perform that spell is Mayakovsky.
Down in Brakebills South, Quentin (Jason Ralph) and Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley) find Mayakovsky (who is no longer a bear FYI). The only problem is that Mayakovsky has accidentally transferred his dementia-rattled consciousness back in time to where Alice and Quentin have found him. Taking a cue from the master, Quentin figures out how to transfer his own consciousness back in time to his younger body. Back when he and Alice spent the semester at Brakebills South. Now readers remember, during that semester Alice and Q were really hot and heavy. AKA everything they’re not now. Quentin manages to convince Mayakovsky to teach him the necessary spell and learns his discipline in the process (minor mendings). Before he heads back to his normal time, however, he runs into Alice from the past.
This Alice is just as smart as always (even though whatever they did to her hair looks dreadful) and figures out what Quentin did. She wants to know why Q looks at her with disgust. He sums up everything as having fallen out after Alice got hurt. He’s not wrong! Alice wants Quentin to remember that he is the best thing to ever happen to her.
Back in the present though, Alice struggles to keep horny Quentin from the past at bay. She mostly succeeds, but eventually gives in and kisses him. Naturally, Quentin returns to his body during the kiss. It’s amazingly awkward. Hopefully, we get some resolution with these two soon, because I’m over this dynamic. Get over your anger and just deal with being friends.
After realizing that she might have been lied to by Everett and the other librarians, Zelda enlists Kady’s (Jade Tailor) help in retrieving Everett’s book from the poison room. With a little distraction assistance from Fogg, they make it into the room. When they find Everett’s book, Zelda discovers that he has in fact been hoarding magic. He wants to become a God, and according to the book he succeeds. Uh-oh. When the two try to leave before the poison antidote expires, they find that they’ve been locked in.
Back in Fillory, we see what is probably the most genius team up of a trio: Josh (Trevor Einhorn), Fen (Brittany Curran), and Pick. It’s comedic gold that is introduced by Josh having a vision of hosting a food show in Fillory. Turns out the Winds of Fate are early. Not only that, but Pick has apprehended a Nyad.
Together, Pick, High King Fen, and Josh all speak to the Nyad. After threatening to drink her water (aka her blood), she finally agrees to tell them what she knows. She explains that Fillory’s ecosystem is failing and that the waters are moving. It’s the fault of the thirsty 13th.
The Nyad doesn’t explain who the 13th is, but our brilliant Fen does. She explains that his name is Roderick and it comes from a nursery rhyme. And that maybe the water under the castle is magic.
In order to determine if this is the case, they realize they have to play a game of Bear Skip in the main hall. The floor is styled as a Bear Skip board! What is Bear Skip do you ask? Answer? I’m still not really sure, and neither is Josh. It’s a game that all Fillorian children play though! Fen and Pick get really into it – it’s kind of like hopscotch but with imaginary foes. Honestly though, I just really want an episode of flashbacks to Fen’s childhood.
Turns out Fen and Pick aren’t crazy though because after Josh wins the game, a secret stairwell reveals itself.
Back on Earth, Julia (Stella Maeve), Penny (Arjun Gupta), and Margo all take to the Binder. The pages are blank until Margo gets some blood on the paper. But it needs more blood. Thankfully it’s “shark week” and one of Margo’s tampons does the job. The result? An old dude speaking in the third person past tense emerges from the book. Before he can explain himself, however, he passes out. There are pages missing from the book.
Margo notices a mysterious figure and follows it upstairs. She is knocked out, but Penny and Julia come to her aid. They find that the room looks like a honeymoon suite. Thanks to Margo’s fairy eye though, we learn that a ghost is at play here. Hymen.
Remember Hymen? The ghost who refers to our Questers as characters and relates to Quentin most because he thinks he’s a straight white hero dude? I guess he missed everything Queliot. Anyway, Hymen just really wants Penny and Julia to get together. He thinks they’ll never do it without help because all they ever do is sacrifice themselves to help others. Well, he’s not wrong! Eventually, though, he does give back the pages.
Back to his working condition, the Binder tells the story they’ve been waiting for through puppets on the wall (a very cool visual). The Binder had been a Librarian once upon a time. He wanted to know why the energy lost by a God couldn’t totally disappear. He explains that when a set of twins was born with the power of many Gods, and could not die, the librarians had to separate the siblings. They split the more powerful sister into four parts. Four librarians each took a piece of the girl. This caused them to become gods. They feared what the Binder knew though and committed him to the book.
The Binder tells Julia that he knows how to make her either God or Human again. She has the choice, of which to become and he will help her if she promises to burn his book.
Faced with a difficult decision, Julia goes over the pros and cons with Penny. She seems ready to pick a mortal life with emotion and kisses him. Then, right on cue, the Monster arrives. He declares that he needs a stronger body for his sister. So, he takes Julia.
So many storylines come together in this week’s episode! Not only were the gods who trapped the Monster’s sister were originally Librarians, but a Librarian himself (Everett) is trying to become a God as well. A solution might be on the horizon to freeing Eliot and trapping the Monster! We’re still not sure what’s going on in Fillory, but I’m sure if there’s a well of magic below the castle – it will come in handy.
Now that Julia has a choice, to become human or god, I hope she is afforded that choice in the end. So much of Julia’s story has been about taking agency in her life after it’s been taken away from her. In the end, both options have their pros and cons, but I believe that it’s more important that she has the option to decide. Seeing Julia transform into the Monster’s evil sister next week (based on the promo) could be super awesome though.
Q is going to hate it, but with the bodies of the two people who matter most in the world to him taken over by these evil creatures, you just know he’s going to fight like hell to free them. Hopefully, though, he doesn’t have to choose one over the other because man that would suck. It would be awesome storytelling, but I still don’t want to see it! Poor kid just wants his friends to be okay.
Only two episodes left. Will Eliot get free? Can Alice and Q finally resolve their issues? Will Julia become a God again? Can Fen get her toes back?!?! Only time will tell.