The Ardent Eccentric – The Magicians S2 E7 – Plan B

So this week was very concentrated in two places – Brakebills and Hamilton Bank.  It had a wonderful Scooby Doo feel to it, complete with a mischievous ghost (or Niffin), but it took a dark turn at the end – usually the gang doesn’t end up near death and still possibly impregnated with demon spawn.  But maybe that was a season of Scooby I missed.

In any case, this recap/review is incredibly short for me, given that I’m posting it in the wee hours of the next episode’s premiere day.  Spoilers follow…


Quentin and Alice

Q is in the Brakebills library being terrorized by the overly aggressive niffin Alice, who is trapped in the tattoo on his back. She keeps bullying him, but because no one can hear her, he comes off a bit crazy when he starts yelling at her.  Alice is being completely whiny about the fact that she’s a niffin but doesn’t really get to be a niffin in the true sense of the word.  While Quentin could let her out, the only place she would get to go outside of the tattoo is into one of those little boxes that they used to trap her brother Charlie the Niffin. Alice points out that being trapped in his back is no better than being trapped in a box, but Q tells her that at least in his back, he can try to find something to help her. She insists that she isn’t bloodthirsty and vengeful, she just wants to be free (well, fucking with your parents last episode didn’t really help your argument, Alice), and suggests that Quentin just occasionally allow her to take over his body.  Naturally, he denies the request, and she threatens to make life hell for him until he changes his mind.

“Suck it, Q.”


Kady and Julia 

Kady and Julia go to see the women that Kady’s mother’s friend Goldie recommended.  Along with magical exorcisms, the two women (Sun and Moon) run a Korean butcher shop (because why not).  They argue in Korean about how best to take care of Julia’s problem, and their differing opinions about the treatment causes one of the women to storm off.  The remaining woman (not sure which one is Sun and one which is Moon) demands a million dollars in gold for her services – it’s an exorcism, not an abortion. The trickster fetus is entwining itself with Julia’s soul, and the longer they wait, the more complicated the procedure. The girls aren’t sure where they will get the money, and after contemplating the feasibility of hitting up every pawnshop in New York, Julia says that they might as well just rob a bank.  Which, really, isn’t that bad of an idea…

They scope out a nearby bank, only to find that there’s magical wards set up around the vault.  Meanwhile, their Haxen Paxen buddy in the car grows increasingly agitated.  When the girls go to investigate, they are both thrown into the air by an invisible force.  The force turns out to be specifically gunning for Julia, and the Haxen Paxen frees himself from the car to rescue her. But both mystical creatures are not long for this world – the Haxen Paxen manages to snap the neck of the invisible visitor, but is fatally stabbed in the stomach by a wooden spoon in the process.  Realizing that they need to get somewhere safe before Reynard finds them, Kady seeks refuge at Brakebills.

At Brakebills, Professor Lipson provides her professional, medical opinion about Julia’s situation to Dean Fogg:

She tells the girls that they need to find a Mudang; luckily, they already have – the super expensive exorcist from the Korean market.  After discussing the situation with Fogg, he decides to grant them asylum, even though he has a not-so-great history with both of the women.  Of course, he might also be doing it because he feels like an asshole for contributing to Marina’s death by denying her requests for help.

Julia ends up staying in Alice’s room, since space at Brakebills is limited at the moment, which Niffin Alice is not pleased about. When Q goes to see her, Alice proceeds to fuck with him while he’s trying to awkwardly tell Julia how sad he is for her that she’s pregnant with a trickster god’s spawn.  They also talk about how Julia’s actions pretty much caused Alice’s death, but despite that, he promised her in Fillory, that he would help her in any way he could with the Reynard situation.  Well, there is actually something he could do – help them rob a bank.  And suddenly Niffin Alice is all ears and all forgiving…

“Ooooh…yes, yes, yes!”

Kady is in the library at Brakebills trying to prepare for everything, when she runs into Penny, who is looking for a book Mayakovsky needs.  Unfortunately, for Penny, the book, written by a Polish Jewish scientist,  was destroyed by some eugenics, anti-Semitic, texts that are now jailed in the restricted section of the library. Kady tries to awkwardly apologize, but Penny just wants sexy time (well, there sailed my Menny/Pargo ship…).

I’m going to comment on the beautiful cinematography from Elie Smolkin, because I still want Menny…

Afterwards Penny pressures her to tell him why she’s really there at Brakebills, and Kady tells him they need to rob a bank to pay the Mudang.  Of course Penny wants in, even though it’s to help Julia, because it’s a traveler’s dream to be able to do that kind of shit.

Julia is almost attacked again when the gang goes to plan for the heist, and Kady manages to get the invisible beast’s spoon before any harm can come to Julia or the rest of the group.  She confronts Sun, who tells them that her colleague, Moon (the other woman she was arguing with earlier in the episode) has been sending invisible goblins to take out Julia and the trickster baby – Moon doesn’t think a simple exorcism will stop it.  The goblins are made with a mix of old things (like old wooden spoons) and menstrual blood, and the goblins don’t stop until they’ve done their job.  Plus Moon has like a 100 wooden spoons to keep making them (ok, this so calls for a Moon’s Spoons joke, but I’ll hold back).  The Mudang tells them their choices – bring her gold, or expect Julia and the baby to be killed.

More bloody spoons means no million dollars

Back at Brakebills, Julia is looking through Richard’s old spell binders (heh…), particularly at the one the Free Traders used last season that set time back by 15 seconds.  There is now a revised version, which takes far less cooperative magic to enact, but it will take Julia weeks to master it, and it won’t help them with the heist.  Kady has to tell Julia that she can’t come with them because of the blood goblins, but she can help from afar, using their “Best Bitches” lockets.


Margo and Eliot

In Fillory, Tick and other advisors update El and Margo as to Loria’s plans to move forward with war.  Unfortunately, with trying to de-shit the Wellspring and preparing for war, the kingdom of Fillory is kind of broke.

Margo and the Eliot golem converge on Brakebills like everyone else in this episode, and share with Q that Fillory is out of funds.  Quentin suggests that they rob a bank, and Margo and Eliot are pleased as punch that their subversive natures may be rubbing off on their little king.

Our little boy’s growing up so fast

But alas, it is Q’s dedication to Julia that prompted the request to rob a bank.  While this would also have been a perfect time to tell them that Alice is riding shotgun, Q holds back, focusing on the task at hand.

The gang celebrates their little thievery corporation, but make it clear to Julia that they still hate her, while also sympathizing with her plight. Because, as Margo points out, “It’s the 21 century – it shouldn’t be this hard for a girl to get an evil demigod abortion.”

When they start to plan next steps, of course Margo is the one person in the room who has already robbed a bank – apparently, she had a lot of issues in high school.

And every girl with childhood family issues suddenly wishes she had thought about robbing a bank to get attention


The Heist

They go to scope out the bank, as Margo pulls an Ocean’s 11 to explain how the heist will work. All of the major banks are protected by the normal alarm bells and whistles, but most people are unaware that those security companies are owned by Magicians. The people that work there are all Muggles, and unaware that the vaults are specifically warded against magicians. To get into the vault of the bank they are considering, it requires two of the managers of the alarm company to simultaneously have their fingerprints scanned to deactivate the security system.

Once the alarm has been disarmed, one has 10 minutes to get downstairs, get past a pair of armed guards, and enter a 10-digit code to fully unlock the vault.  If the code is entered incorrectly, or one takes longer than 10 minutes, it’s pretty much over.  Because at that point, a Battle Magician is dispatched, and they shoot first, ask questions later.  Margo is excited, however, to have Penny on board – once they can drop the wards, he can just travel inside.  Of course, though, the floor of the vault is warded with sigils that trap anyone trying to travel into the vault – if their feet touch the floor, they get stuck and all of the air gets sucked out of the room.  Seeing as Penny likes air, and to deal with the fact that he still can’t do magic at the moment, Eliot offers to make him a gravity belt so that he can travel in, float around to get the gold, and travel back out.

They target the bank security system managers to get their fingerprints, with Margo referring to the three owners as Librarian, Neckbeard and White Privilege.  They need at least two sets of fingerprints and Kady and Quentin go after the Librarian and White Privilege at a local bar.   At first, when Margo describes the spell makes it seem like they will be biting off the fingers of the managers, but instead, if it works properly, sticking the other person’s finger in one’s mouth will transfer a copy of it onto their own hand.  Apparently the DNA transfer doesn’t need to happen just through the mouth, though, as Q finds out with his Librarian, who clearly lets her hair down when out drinking.

Oh, Q…

The next morning, the gang gets down to business – they send a swarm of bees into the bank, thus causing the customers and employees to evacuate.  Posing as exterminators, they direct the bees outside of the bank and use their finger trick to take down the wards.

Penny travels in to the vault at that point, using the gravity belt to navigate to the gold.  Problem is, when Eliot made the gravity belt, he didn’t really account for the weight of the gold – the more Penny loads into his bag, the lower he gets to the floor trap. And of course, he ends up touching it just slightly, trapping him in the vault that is now losing air.

Close to the 10 minute mark, the gang realizes something is wrong, and Penny incepts the Eliot Golem’s mind to tell him he’s trapped.  Kady, Eliot and Q make their way back inside to rescue their friend, only to have to get past two guards who were previously banging in a closet when the evacuation occurred.

I think this bank has a bigger problem that just Magicians trying to break in

Eliot uses the most awesome invention ever (particularly for middle school mixers) called the Wrecking Ball.  The tiny disco ball bursts forth with music and lights, compelling the guards to dance away before they can confront the intruders.

Yet another invention Syfy would make soooo much money from

Unfortunately, Penny is still trapped in the vault, and it’s too much of a barrier for even Kady to get through. But…it’s definitely something Alice could crack, if Q would just let her free.  She talks him into giving her 30 minutes a day to roam free in exchange for saving Penny.  She even offers her “word as bond” that she won’t cause trouble, since she knows that fucking around means getting sent to the box.  Q reluctantly lets her out, confusing the hell out of Kady and Eliot, since it appears that he’s cracking the vault’s code, rather than Alice.

They get in just in time to save Penny, but run out of time as they try to escape the vault, which tips off the Battle Magician to come attack. With nowhere else to go, the group runs back into the vault so as not to get shot by the numerous magical tasers at the disposal of the Battle Magician.

Julia, meanwhile, has been rebuilding the time machine thing that her and Q used last season to go back in time (based on Richard’s notes), since it could power the 15 second reversing time spell.  Which is a good thing that she worked on that, because of course things are going horribly wrong.

She gets herself from Brakebills to Margo, who is waiting with the van, and gives the gang four rewinds of 15 seconds each.  The first three times, they all rush out when the Battle Magician opens the vault, and get themselves killed each time (well, the third time only Penny got caught in the path of her magical taser thing).  The final time, they actually get smart – Kady will blast the Battle Magician while the other three run.

Unfortunately, the Battle Magician has moved to a different spot and attacks them from the side, taking down Eliot on the spot.  Kady blasts her and then cold cocks her for good measure.  They grab the gold bars, and run out after Julia doesn’t answer Kady through the lockets, leaving Eliot’s golem behind.  Because you know, it’s just a golem, Eliot’s not even there, right? Well…not quite.

El is really not reacting well to the dead golem issue

The group races out to the alley to find Margo thrown aside and the invisible goblin choking Julia to death.  Kady pulls a Wonder Woman with the taser-like light saber thing the Battle Magician was using to destroy the goblin.

Kady is a serious bad ass

Julia’s free, but in pretty bad shape – she loses consciousness, and when she wakes up, she’s in the Korean market.  She asks Kady if Sun did the procedure, and if the fetus is gone, and Kady responds…sort of.  Sun has done the operation, but there was a complication.  And Kady doesn’t confirm that the trickster god baby is gone.

oh COME ON already!


Q & A About Q & A…and Everyone Else

  • So, Alice was calling Quentin “Q” when she was trying to reason with him to let her out of his back – is there still a little bit of the human Alice in there, or was she using his nickname to manipulate him into doing what she wanted?
  • Still love Tick Pickwick and his super pleasant advising to the High King and Queen.

Seriously, Tick should be our new Press Secretary, he’s so cheerful

  • When Kady and Julia are scoping the bank initially, Kady points out that banks connected to the Federal Reserve all have magical wards.  Since things went horribly tonight with getting all of the gold they needed, will they hit up a state bank next?
  • I love the anthropomorphizing of the books in the series, even if has only been with making them get it on and be Nazis.
  • I find it interesting Q takes the Librarian lady, who looks an awful lot like an older Alice.


  • I don’t have enough time tonight to lament Eliot’s plight, but noooooooooooooo….(weeps quietly)
  • I’m still going to hold out hope for Menny/Pargo – when they were talking in the Physical Kids cottage before scoping out the bank, Penny is standing behind Margo, although he could have sat down next to Kady – I’m going to cling to this desperately so my ship doesn’t totally sail.


Magical Moment for Memorization

“Our garbage fire of a relationship that ended with Eliot’s dick in your mouth?” – Alice to Q, when he argues that their relationship helps him to know what Alice really wants.


Next Week

Next week’s episode “Word as Bond,” has us meeting a 500-year old niffin who kind of looks like Charlie from Lost, Julia apparently gets deadly revenge (on who, we aren’t sure), and there’s a group of intelligent trees that apparently fuck everything up (because when don’t intelligent plants fuck things up?).  I’d say hang tight till next week’s episode, but it’s kind of in like 18 hours, so yeah…sleep during some of that time and count down to 9 PM EDT later today.


Photos courtesy of