We start the episode with a dragon, you guys–a bonafide, smoking dragon. Granted, we don’t see a lot of it, but hey–it exists! Quentin and Jules make a deal with the dragon to get to the underworld: 24 hours of safety in return for the button to Fillory. A high price, but one Quentin is willing to pay for his best friend. I’m really glad to see that they are coming back together. Immediately they are transported to the Underworld…which is a sort of weird mall area, at first? It’s very weird and kitschy, complete with pamphlets that say, “Don’t panic, you’re probably not going to Hell!” It’s just great.
Suddenly Jules feels a pain in her stomach; she pulls up her shirt, revealing a large hole in her stomach. Welp, that’s one way to show a lack of shade. They need to find people who can help them, as the receptionists here aren’t much in the way of assistance, so Jules has an idea–find her friends from her support group.
They are hanging out in a bowling alley, having a good time. Richard is there, as well, and him seeing Jules again is just so sad. He’s such a good person, and cared about Jules so much–the fact that Reynard is wandering around, wearing his skin is just horrible. I will shout out to the actor, Mackenzie Astin, who does an amazing job playing two diametrically opposed characters. Richard wants to help Jules, and has mapped out the entire underworld in the hopes of finding his son one day. While they don’t know where the shades are kept, he is willing to cause a diversion so that Quentin and Jules can sneak into reception to figure it out themselves. They do, of course: the shades are sent to Elysium, home of Hades and Persephone.
Quentin and Jules sneak into Elysium, and basically find a shade orphanage, where these shades do little miracles out in the real world. It’s sweet, especially given the sad story behind them. One of the shades directs them towards what they think will be Jules’ shade. Before they enter they see a portrait of Persephone and realize she is Our Lady Underground. She’s been gone for a long time, and so therefore left Jules high and dry with Reynard. Damn.
Jules doesn’t find her own shade–she finds Alice’s, while Quentin find Jules’. They are told that they can’t take Alice with them, even if they want to–however that isn’t about to stop Jules. In a stunning decision, she sacrifices her chance to get her own shade back in order to give Quentin a chance to get Alice back.
In Fillory, Fen is missing but Eliot doesn’t notice, too stressed about Idri arriving. But Idri is here for him, and isn’t worried about all the pomp and circumstance. It’s actually a really sweet scene, and would go a lot better, if Idri didn’t suddenly turn into a rat. It seems that there is some strange magic afoot, because everyone is turning into a rat, along with other strange happenings. Margo calls down the Fairy Emissary, who say it isn’t them, but some sort of power that acts because it can, not with any real need.
Eliot ends up calling the situation the Rattening, and to get down to business, he gives all his advisors (including Margo) truth serum. This causes her to spill the beans about the fairies and Fen; in a heartbreaking scene Eliot throws Margo in the dungeon. I understand he feels betrayed, but he needs to understand why she did it all.
When we see Eliot again he’s exhausted, but has managed to get at least a few people un-ratified. Before anything else can happen, the strange magic afoot sends him back to Brakebills, something that shouldn’t be possible. So that’s…really not good? Meanwhile Margo is traveling to the fairy realm to try and save Fen and right her wrongs. I’m really interested in the Fillory storyline, and I genuinely wish we spent more time on it.
And what is Penny doing? Penny is still trying to find a way into the Poison room. He and Kady sort out that one way might be to read the head Librarian’s biography. That means they need to know her name, first. Which isn’t so easy to find out. Unexpected help comes by way of a younger girl who is working in the Library as well, named Meadow.
Meadow is pretty awesome; definitely a disaffected, genre-savvy teen, but a character I hope definitely sticks around. She helps Penny figure out the librarian’s name (Zelda), and when they sort out that her biography is in the poison room, is willing to help Penny and Kady find a way inside. It’s definitely going to be a weird but fun time in coming episodes, I can tell.
Our senator friend John, meanwhile, is struggling. His father Reynard is acting as an advisor, wanting to mold him into a mini-Reynard, which John is fighting against. Every time he accidentally compels someone to do something, it genuinely makes him struggle. I’m glad to see that he has the humanity that his father doesn’t. Reynard, of course, thinks that this is all weakness. He also calls Our Lady Underground an evil bitch–so there is a story there we don’t know about, yet. John realizes Reynard loved Persephone, and that’s why he attacks people who call to her. It’s a complex story, but still doesn’t make Reynard likable.
We end the episode with John going to visit Kady, offering his assistance in defeating Reynard. Yay!