We kick off with a recap. And I’ll be honest, I am not generally a fan of these. We’ve been watching for the last X weeks, we know what’s happened. Although this one is mildly amusing because it’s done by Ember and it really highlights his narcissistic attitudes. It also repeatedly highlights Ember’s obsession with being entertained, which is his raison d’être. Everything he’s done has been to not be bored, including dropping a deuce in the Wellspring. And one can’t help noticing the repeated lampshade hanging comments, almost as if he was a tv show writer reveling in his own genius (apt metaphor perhaps given his interference for the sake of drama and intrigue). Even Ember’s references to destroying Fillory carry a tone of a writing staff going balls to the walls in a big finish.
Cut to our heroes who are all basically hosed in their own ways.
Alice is ensconced at Mayakovsky’s. Quentin walks in on her playing with a candle and proceeds to snuff it and search her room until he finds a book of matches. Quentin forces Alice to take a spell to keep her from trying to hurt herself. Alice then asks Quentin why he brought her back and he tells her he did it because he loves her. But she doesn’t seem moved by his words, demanding he leave her alone.
At Brakebills, Penny is in a gnarly state. Fogg and Lipson pay him a visit and are forced to tell Penny that he is suffering from a kind of magical cancer. Penny, in typical form, refuses to stay in bed. Kady turns up, having heard the news. Kady herself isn’t in the best shape, unable to feel happy now that Renard is gone. She’s also upset about the idea of Penny dying but he refuses to give up.
Julia is in her own private hell, suffering PTSD massive. Eliot turns up and asks Julia for the amulet that will hide him from a god. Eliot starts to leave but instead asks Julia to come with him and help him try to save Fillory. It’s a surprising move, even to Julia who did after all betray all of them. And in true Eliot form, even in that gloomy tableau, he manages to keep his wit. “Wanna put some pants on and help me save all of magic.”
Awkward much when Kady and Julia reunite at Mayakovsky’s. Penny finds Eliot and warns him about how Eliot, and the others, don’t have much time. In just a couple of days their stories abruptly end ‘with 20 blank pages’. Penny tells Eliot that his current plan isn’t going to work and to come up with a new one and fast. Kady wants the two of them to run off to Haiti and stay out of the fight but Penny is summoned back to the Library to help the staff in their fight to protect the knowledge of the Library.
Margo and Josh attempt to save Fen, who refuses to leave without her daughter. The Fairies catch them and they are taken to the Queen. The Queen gives them a plant that will attract Ember if they bake it into “Little Cakes” (magical pot brownies FTW). But the Queen won’t let them leave without paying a toll, magical rules and all that.
Eliot finds Quentin and asks him to help. Riddled with guilt and worry, Quentin doesn’t want to leave, even though Alice is bespelled and safe. Eliot gives a very big brotherly speech before reminding Quentin that he choose to be a King of Fillory and the kingdom needs him. And that Quentin and his Fillory Fanboy is a key to their plan to stop Ember. First step is Quentin goes to pay Umber a surprise visit, while Eliot returns to the castle. Quentin beseeches Umber to help them but he’s extremely nonchalant. Umber bullies Quentin into traveling to Pocket Cuba.
Speaking of traveling, Margo and Josh return from the fairy realm. The toll for their return is Margo losing an eye and the bedazzled eye patch routine provokes some old school banter (fembot Nick Fury) from Eliot, who attempts to apologize for his behavior. While the two don’t exactly kiss and makeup they do team up to throw a party as part of the plot to attract Ember.
Meanwhile Quentin and Umber are having what could be the most boring dinner ever. The whole pocket world is linear and bland. Umber seems to be obsessed with the idea of Quentin approving of everything and he’s clearly upset when Quentin doesn’t, although he gives a rather sedate expression of his emotions. Basically he’s the exact opposite of his brother. It’s not until Quentin says Ember’s name that Umber shows any kind of real emotion.
Ember finally shows up at the castle. Eliot pleads with Ember to give them a chance to be more entertaining, piling a lot of ego stroking into the mix. Ember ultimately refuses on the grounds that he has no desire to do it without his brother. And Umber refuses to go back because he did fake his death and it would be extremely awkward. Which is when Quentin reveals that they are in Fillory, having been carried there by Julia who breaks open the pocket world, revealing Umber to his brother. Ember is thrilled to see his brother, until it occurs to him that he was actually betrayed by Umber. Enraged Ember attacks his brother, killing him. While Ember is distracted, Julia uses the magic bullet spell to attract Umber’s essence and enchant a sword with it. A sword Quentin uses to kill Ember.
The world now safe, it’s time to move on. Eliot and Margo decide that the kingdom will be ruled via a constitution and gather their advisors to create it. Quentin returns to Mayakovsky’s and Alice. He manages to tempt Alice into eating with a plate of bacon, which then leads to some odd and unintentional foreplay and, no surprise, sex.
Kady tracks down Harriet to ask for help in saving Penny. When Harriet refuses, Kady offers herself up as a mole and Harriet takes the deal.
It’s after the sex that Quentin reveals to Alice that he killed Ember. Alice is not happy to hear this. She tells Quentin that when she was a Niffin she learned a lot of things about how magic works. She tells Quentin that Umber and Ember had parents who will not be happy that they were killed. As punishment, the Old Gods send a ‘plumber’ who turns off the tap to the Wellspring like turning off the water to a flooding toilet. Not just at the school but also at the Library and in Fillory.
Cut to two months later. Josh, Alice and Quentin are back at Brakebills but now their studies are purely theoretical, preparing for the day that magic (hopefully) returns. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Alice gets a visit from Friar Joseph, who warns her that creatures with natural magic (as opposed to those that needed the Wellspring) still have their powers and some of them are coming for her for the things she did while a Niffin. Back in Fillory, Margo and Eliot are having trouble ruling without magic existing. Fen returns to warn Eliot and Margo that the Fairies are coming. Unfortunately she barely gets the warning out before the Fairies appear both in the chamber and outside the castle.
While things don’t look so good in Fillory, they seem rather calm at Brakebills. Julia pays Quentin a visit. Julia has something to show Quentin. She seems to have a tiny spark of magic.