This week’s episode of The Magician, ‘The Art of the Deal’ s starts off with Quentin and Alice at each other’s throats. Kady is MIA this time around, having fled with the fifth key after losing the ability to talk to Penny in the last episode. Quentin is suspicious about why Alice suddenly wants to help out with the quest. She blows up at him, accusing him of holding her to a different standard than he holds himself to, and because she’s not wrong, he doesn’t have much to say in terms of a rebuttal. Still, he doesn’t believe that she’s telling the truth completely, but gives her the book anyway. Alice can pretty shady and self-serving and has been since season 1, but when you have a good point you have a good point, and she had one considering Quentin did ask her to go on a magical quest right after her dad died without giving the girl any time to process.
The sixth key is in the Throne room in Fillory, so getting it won’t be simple considering Margo and Eliot have recently been overthrown. Regardless, Julia tells Q that she needs to help the faeries before she can set off to Fillory. By now she has pretty much embraced this helping people thing, and just comes off more and more benevolent every episode. I don’t think it’s a bad thing since it doesn’t seem like some out of character leap, but rather a natural progression all things considered. Conversation is easy between she and Quentin, and there’s a sweet little moment where Julia heals him off a headache that reminds me how much I’m liking the two of them this season. When the show started, Julia and Quentin were almost immediately thrust on opposite sides of the narrative and became adversaries – Julia with the hedge witches, and Quentin on Team Brakebills. For the longest time in that first season, their friendship and how deep it went included more telling than showing, so it’s nice to see that friendship in action now more than ever with more showing than telling despite it being played out more in the periphery or small moments like that one, which are almost always understated.
Julia again needs Fen’s help, and Fen again isn’t interested, especially now that she’s discovered texting, emojis, and gifs (once someone tells her about Tumblr she’s going to lose her mind). We’ve done this song and dance once an episode since this whole faerie slavery plot jumped off; Julia says help. Fen says nah, F the other side. Julia says ‘but slavery is wrong’, then Fen is on board because she’s a good person despite being a hurt person. It’s a little repetitive, but I get why they’re doing it. Fen is working through her grief and through recognizing that the actions of a few don’t necessarily reflect the many and helping these faerie slaves, slowly she gets to heal.
The plan is to secure a faerie necklace so Julia can figure out how they work and thus how to free the faeries from them. They go see Irene and she directs them to her uncle who supplies them with a necklace as long as Julia agrees to bring her a faerie.
Still in the underworld library, Penny is miserable and for the time being, literally chained to a cart. Howard, an old acquaintance (in the loosest sense of the word) of Penny’s invites him to join his book club. Three guesses on if Penny agreed to that. Sylvia tries to explain herself to Penny, telling him about how all of her family passed on and she’s stuck until her billion year contract is up, but turning him in shaved a million years off. Penny still doesn’t care and brushes her off. I love Penny and I love the library, but too much of it can be a drag. I fully believe that before it’s all said and done, Penny’s storyline this season is going to be a satisfying one, but for now I can’t say I care too much. The underworld bureaucracy joke can only be entertaining for so long.
When Julia gets the faerie collar from Irene’s uncle Edwin he’s coy with answers, chalking up the mechanics to a ‘family secret’, but assures her that the collars are secure and the only way to get them off is with a machine he has.
Skye tells Julia and Fen that the rest of the faeries don’t believe her and that they won’t dare try to escape. Fen steps in with an idea and she and Julia go to see the faerie queen. Of course, she’s skeptical, but it’s Fen who convinces her that they’re telling the truth. It takes some convincing from Julia, but they put the collar on the faerie queen and she goes into the cage undercover, and is horrified at the state of her lost tribe.
Irene’s family come into town because there’s a mysterious buyer who wants their whole faerie dust supply so she tells Julia that she’ll be in touch to secure more faeries. Fen, looks around in the basement for the machine and sees that there isn’t a machine that takes them off, only one that kills them.
The quest for the sixth key doesn’t actually take place this episode, but Quentin, Alice and Josh parlay with Eliot and Margo on The Muntjac that’s still flying around over Fillory. The latter find out Fillory is at war with Loria and the floaters. Despite being over thrown, Eliot and Margo are still all about saving Fillory. We don’t get a whole lot of this plot, as most of the time is dedicated to Julia, Fen, and the faeries, but Margo and Eliot pretty much sum up the theme of this episode which is ‘making choices’. Eliot says ‘you have to choose to follow through with something or die’. They chose to be the leaders of Fillory and they intend on seeing things through, and I will never stop fawning over their glow up in terms of character development. So while they work on saving Fillory, they drop Alice, Q, and Josh off at the palace to do their questing thing.
Penny learns about a metro rail that takes people from the underworld to wherever people go when they move on, so he swindles a guy out of his card, planning to escape, but he’s caught and has a conversation with Hades. His conversation with Hades amounts to Hades telling him that his life in the underworld is where his life can really begin, that it’s up to Penny to make a choice to try and get back to his old life or stay in the library to fulfill what he called an ‘amazing destiny’.
After Fen forces Dust, the oldest faerie to explain himself in regards to how he could kill faeries we get all kinds of exposition. Humans hunted faeries to near extinction, and a few faeries made a deal to be enslaved so the humans couldn’t follow the rest of their species to their new settlement in Fillory.
Margo and Eliot divide and conquer and using their greatest skills (persuasion for Eliot, straight up threatening for Margo) to get both the floaters and the Lorians to postpone their invasion of Fillory, and if they get magic back to call it off completely.
Penny makes a choice, and it’s to give Sylvia the metro card to the other side he stole while he stays put, choosing to accept his fate in the library.
Things with the faerie liberation goes 0 to 100 real quick. There is a way to break a faerie deal, but the queen refuses saying that if faeries break deals then they’re essentially nothing. Still, when Irene’s uncle knocks out Julia and Fen, and starts to take Skye, she makes a choice to break the deal. In an instant all of the faeries are invisible to the McCallisters and they go all ‘Birth of A Nation’ on their oppressors. Irene does manage to escape though, so expect her to be a problem later.
As they’re saying their goodbyes, the faerie queen expresses her gratitude, and tells Julia that one of the seven keys is in the faerie realm, but it sustains the faerie realm so she can never give it to her.
The episode ends in a seemingly innocuous manner, with Penny joining Howard’s book club and as a result getting his shackles removed. The whole scene has a bit of an eerie vibe, and is entirely too quaint of an ending for nothing to be going on deeper than what we were seeing. I don’t even have a guess about what the deal with Howard and the book club is, but I have a feeling it’s going to play a substantial part in how things end this season.
What did you think about ‘The Art of the Deal’ Fanbros? Does this show give you tonal whiplash? Predictions on how our crew will obtain the faerie world’s key without committing faerie genocide? What do you think Kady’s been doing this entire episode off screen? Let me know in the comments down below and check out my recaps for The Magicians every week right here on Fanbros.com!