Well, I’ll say one thing: no one is ever going to say this is a ‘light’ fun show ever again. While that clearly started with the last few episodes last season, I think the show cemented that theme this episode. The brutality and horror in this episode is not something I’m going to be forgetting for some time.
We start out in the throne room where Eliot is put out that he missed everything back in Brakebills. He reveals their thrones, and Quentin, instead of mentioning the warning that Jules gave him, just lets Eliot casually sit on the throne–which causes him to start hallucinating. He calls all of them usurpers and runs out of the room. Margo leaves to go speak with him, and it’s only after this does Quentin mention the whole ‘curse’ issue–idiot. In the end, all four monarchs become cursed, determined to kill one another, with only Penny and Fen being sane enough to try to save them from themselves.
Which is hard, because Margo wastes her Keiko demon on trying to kill Quentin–which makes Penny waste his. It’s really awesome to see them work, but given that those are to be used for taking out Martin…these students are mucking things up. Penny finally manages to get the situation under control, though, and wrangles them all into the throne room. Fen and Penny are keeping crossbows locked on them, and as that happens, Penny explains that he’s going to shoot them with potassium chloride to stop their hearts (which kills them–ending the curse), and then use adrenaline to restart their hearts. Pretty damn smart of you, Penny!
It honestly would all go according to plan, if his hands didn’t start freaking out on him, again–which leads to a hilarious scene with all the royals running after each other, trying to stab themselves with the killing drugs. I know I really shouldn’t laugh so hard at all of this, but the writers and the actors do an amazing job at making the entire scene absurd. Margo finally comes out triumphant–until the curse makes her commit suicide, too. But hey, that lets Penny revive them all in peace!
Once they’re all revived (there is a great shot of Quentin with a needle in his chest), Alice says they have to start the spell work, now, since she’s running out of power. So they head out to get ready for the fight.
Back in New York, Jules and Marina work on the spell while Martin is off in another room. Marina is worried that Martin will turn on them–and frankly, I am too. Jules is just so desperate, she doesn’t care. God help me, Martin starts singing again; he has to stop that.
Once the spell is started, it’s clear that Marina doesn’t actually care–her sarcastic monotone is just lovely. Jules tells her she has to at least pretend to believe, or Reynard won’t show. It starts to work, finally–and right before we think the God might show, Martin pops himself and Jules out into a park. Apparently Reynard would smell Jules, which would ruin everything. Which, hey, fine–but I would rather Marina live, please? Jules runs back towards her safe house, while Marina leaves, thinking the spell hasn’t worked. Thing is–it has. Reynard follows Marina to her house, revealing himself right after she puts up her incredibly complex wards. Well, shit.
Martin and Jules show up and start to work the wards open so they can help her, but it’s going to take some time. We do get to see the visual representation of the wards, which is really interesting–a lot of high math and other neat symbols.
But when it comes down to it, things are not going to go well for Marina. While she puts up a really strong front, Reynard turns her cat inside out and dumps the animal, still breathing and crying, into her lap. The scene was so brutal and unexpected that I had to pause the episode and walk away. I understand this show doesn’t pull its punches, but I really think it should have put a warning up–that sort of animal cruelty was really difficult to bear. He also bites off one of her fingers, but that’s minor compared to the cat, let’s be honest.
Reynard is about to eat her foot while she’s alive, but hey! Martin and Jules finally break in and freeze Reynard. Marina gets a good spit in his face. In that moment, we were all Marina. Things should be fine, right? Jules can stab him with the god blade, and the whole situation will be over, right?
Well–no. Alice has started the spell, which means that Jules and Martin’s time is up. Penny phases in to grab him, and in an act of desperation, Jules tries to stop him, but it only causes all three of them to be phased into Fillory. That leaves Marina with Reynard, again, and the god blade, which Jules dropped when she was teleported.
Shit. We see them both make a grab for it, but then we cut to–
–Quentin, Margo, and Eliot, who are doing shield spells to try and entrap Martin. This also entraps Jules, and in an act of desperation, Quentin breaks ranks to save his former best friend. This leaves Martin a chance to dodge most of Alice’s spell, burning only half of his body badly. He disappears, and the group realizes that he’s heading for the wellspring to try and heal.
With Alice rapidly losing power, their only chance is to try to get there before he does. Penny takes Jules back to New York, and since he refuses to help her, and ruined her plans, she breaks the chains on his wrists, leaving him unable to control his powers.
Margo and Eliot head to try and find Ember to get more magic sperm (ew), as Quentin and Alice take the carriage towards the wellspring. Alice is genuinely terrified that she might die, and Quentin is just trying to get her to give him another chance, because they’ve grown and he loves her, and all of this bullshit. Spare me, Quentin. I know he thinks he’s trying to support her, but it all reads as entirely selfish. She is desperate, though, and they kiss.
Margo and Eliot won’t find Ember at home, though, because he is actually at the Wellspring. Where he, well, shit in it. Literally pooped in the well. Sometimes I don’t even know what to do with this show. Martin shows up, and is obviously furious. Before he can do anything to Ember, though, Quentin and Alice arrive. Martin severely injures Quentin (he takes a hit meant for Alice), and brave, strong, stupid Alice, starts throwing spell after spell, regardless of her draining power.
Ember returns to his home only to kick Eliot and Margo back to the fight, in time to watch Alice completely lose control of her magic. She explodes, becoming a niffin like her brother. When she returns, all flickering blue energy, she is stoic and completely lacking emotion, saying she meant to do this. With that she rips Martin apart, releasing moths within him. It seems a triumph…but Alice isn’t Alice anymore. She turns on Margo, ready to kill her, and without another choice, Quentin releases his Keiko, which attacks and kills niffin!Alice. He’s left being held by Eliot, screaming over the loss of the girl he cares for.
As for Marina? …she didn’t beat Reynard. Jules finds her dead, Reynard gone, along with the blade. I’m heartbroken over Marina. She hasn’t always done the best things, but she’s always been interesting and strong. No one deserves what happened to her. I can only hope that Jules will avenge her, and realize that her play for revenge has destroyed much more than she realizes.