My, what a tangled web this episode weaves. I had to watch ‘Poached Eggs’ twice before writing this just to make sure that I covered every important aspect of this episode. There are so many themes running through include those that involves a break out, a race against time to extract magic before it kills a person, and a delicate extortion plot that has the fate of an entire kingdom resting on its shoulders. This episode is almost all action and involves a lot of connecting the dots, and yet, by the end of it, it’s all just a set up for what I assume will be the next episode. Despite it having little instant payoff in terms up wrapping up objectives, ‘Poached Eggs’ is at least entertaining enough that you either don’t notice or don’t mind.
Eliot and Margo sneak out of the castle to meet Quentin and Poppy in the woods and they all head back to the physical kids cottage via the clock portal and come across Alice on the floor. In a quick scene change, Julia and Fogg are now there too, and Fogg, still as drunk and sassy as ever gives us some handy exposition about how her body is rejecting the magic that was transferred to her because it’s not meant to be hers. He likens it to the body rejecting an organ after a transplant. Alice tells them that she anticipated something like this happening, and Julia promises Quentin that she’ll figure something out to help Alice and encourages him to continue the quest to find the key.
Because Penny is dead/not dead, Quentin asks Penny to go down to the underworld to retrieve the key from Benedict before he crosses over to his afterlife, and after some coaxing he agrees so they construct a plan. Penny will project himself into a book, they’ll go to the library, Penny will then be eaten by the library’s dragon (remember, dragons are portals) which will take him to the underworld. The only hitch in the plan is that even if Penny is able to send the key back up it’ll still be stuck in the library which means they need another traveler who could get it back to earth from the Neitherlands.Poppy brings up Victoria, who was also part of the same disappearing class as she and Josh, and who Penny saved from The Beast in season 1.
They find Victoria, only she isn’t willing to help them considering Poppy apparently slept with Josh on their trip to Fillory while he and Victoria were dating. To convince her, Quentin gives her the truth key to hold in order for her to see and talk to Penny. Victoria’s gratitude for Penny rescuing her trumps her hatred of Poppy, but she still can’t help them because she works with a group of magicians lead by Harriet who just so happens to hate Penny, but she does like Kady, so they need to rope her out of the periphery of the season and into the main quest. Considering she’s in the maximum security wing of a mental hospital it’s easier said than done.
Back at the cottage, Fogg tells Julia, who is still looking for a way to make her magic work in Alice’s body that she’s kidding herself and that nothing will help Alice keep the magic and not die. Julia would rather have it back than have Alice’s death on her conscience, so she concedes but she needs magic to perform the transfer herself knowing that Alice won’t willingly do it.They go back to Fogg’s friend from the Brakebills board, Irene McAllister since her family has magical reserves. Fen, Fray, and Todd come back from New York and Margo tasks the latter to watch the kidnapped fairy embryos and make sure Frey doesn’t find them; he fails on both fronts.
Quentin, Penny and Poppy plot to bust Kady out using their combined knowledge of how state run mental hospitals work and pose as the outside psychiatrists since she needs to be evaluated before they can commit her for longer than 15 days. The plan almost immediately starts to go awry as the head of the hospital asks to sit in on the evaluation, and gets worse once Q drops the badge he swiped trying to pass it to Kady under the table. After that, Penny helps Kady knock out an orderly which eventually triggers a lockdown. To offset the lock down, Poppy starts a fire, forcing evacuation protocol, and though they have to fight their way out, they do at least make it out. In the midsts of the break out, Penny tells Kady about him going to the underworld, which of course triggers an argument between them because she does still love him. He gets how he feels off of his chest, telling her that he loves her and that he wants her to be happy. While I don’t think the Penny/Kady relationship is ill suited, it’s completely messy and when it’s not we as an audience don’t get to see a lot of it, so I can’t say I’m as invested in it, but it’s easy to see how much they do love each other, and Penny never lets his guard down as much as he does with Kady. If nothing else, we get to see him relax and even crack a few jokes.
Julia and Fogg manage to convince Irene to give Julia some magic from her reserve, but only on the condition that she owes her a favor, which I’m sure won’t come back to bite her in the ass anytime soon or anything. The magic turns out not to be a battery of some sort like they anticipated, but a vial of white dust from a magical creature of which is not specified. It basically looks like cocaine, and Irene tells Julia that she will have to snort it in order for it to work, which still isn’t the worst way a substance has been consumed to obtain powers, let’s not forget that Alice drank Ember’s semen at the end of season 1 to possess his god-like powers. Once she does have the magic, they can’t find Alice, so Fogg tells her to use a locator spell.
After she snorts some of the magic, Julia makes a point to mention that the magic doesn’t feel normal and something I noticed on the second watch was that visually, the magic represented looks a lot like the magic that fairies possess, and back in the episode where Julia used a locator spell to find the truth key in Irene’s house, there were two faeries behind her so I’m guessing that before the end of the season, Margo and Eliot won’t be the only ones to have gone up against the faeries in some capacity.
Kady talks to Harriet to convince her to allow Victoria to help with getting the key to them. She is reluctant, but after Kady volunteers them to help her organization rob the library, they get the green light. Before Penny leaves for the underworld, they make up in their own Penny/Kady way, and then he poofs.
Pissed off about Eliot kidnapping the fairy babies, Frey snitches, telling the fairy queen everything she knows right as El and Margo are about to negotiate a deal for the fairy queen to give her bathtub to all of Fillory (a smart move that would mean the entire kingdom would see all faeries) in exchange for the stolen baby faeries. Armed with the new information, the faerie queen flips the script and tells them that in exchange for the embryos she won’t kill Frey. Eliot refuses to let Frey get hurt, and seeing that they actually care about her and the faerie queen doesn’t, she tells them that she isn’t actually his and Fen’s daughter and that their real daughter died in childbirth. The truth, of course devastates Fen, but takes the faerie queen’s leverage away, so she takes Margo and Eliot’s deal. A little later, when Eliot goes to check on her, Fen tells him that she can’t be in Fillory right now and that she needs to get away. Eliot understands, and lets her go back to earth. I’m not sure, but I have the feeling this is something like a separation for them considering she tells him about how she was fighting to pretend that they were a real family. Fen and Eliot being separated in terms of marriage (though when they did get married it was made clear that Fillorian marriages can’t be ended) I’m fine with, but please don’t let this mean the show will be writing Fen off altogether soon because come on, the daughter of a knife maker from a magical alternate universe? What is there not to love there? She has so much potential.
Julia finds Alice at a vampire den. Alice pays a vampire to turn her as magical creatures held on to their magic just fine, but before she can go through with it, Julia stops her. Because Alice is not willing to accept her help, Julia throws a spell at Alice to stop her, and Alice throws an attack spell right back at her that knocks Julia out. By the time she wakes up, Alice has done the transfer spell and apologizes for what she’d done and how she’s been acting as of late. Of all of the dynamics on the show, I’ve got to say I didn’t see a bond between Julia and Alice forming, but it’s pretty much everything I never knew I wanted and hopefully, the show continues to build on it and not drop it and pick it up when it’s convenient like they tend to do with the Penny/Alice relationship. When you think about it, Julia and Alice pretty similar; both are women who are relentless when they put their mind to something. They’re both smart as hell, and have had traumatic experiences (Julia’s assault and Alice’s death), and well, Quentin has had a thing for both of them. The scene between them is both understated and beautiful, and by the end of it, there’s a mutual respect, understanding, and admiration firmly established between the two.
The episode ends with the faerie queen making her exit out of Fillory and presumably out of the show altogether (but let’s be real, probably not), but not without one final trick up her sleeve. She, Eliot and Margo are riding through Fillory in a carriage, and when she leaves so does the carriage driver, which leaves the high king and queen stuck in the midst of angry Fillorian citizens who pull them out and take them prisoner.
‘Poached Eggs’ is definitely an episode that you can’t just passively watch, you’d have to pay attention or else you’re bound to miss something. The season as a whole is keeping a good pace, and while this felt like a faster moving episode it wasn’t overwhelmingly so. I want to say that I’m almost worried that they’re piling on too many subplots as the moment they resolve one, the foundation for another is created, but the writers have, especially this season proven that they have a more than adequate grasp on writing for this show. I don’t think on a re-watch a year or so from now that this episode is going to go down as a standout favorite, but even when the episode is just okay it at least teases you with something to look forward to in the near future.
There’s my two cents on ‘Poached Eggs’, Fanbros. What did you think? How dope was it to see some battle magic again, even if it was just for a second? Whose dynamics together on the show make you the most excited? What do you think the faerie queen’s endgame really is? Let me know in the comment section below, and catch up on past recaps right here on Fanbros.com!