The Ardent Eccentric – The Magicians – S2 E10 – The Girl Who Told Time

“The Girl Who Told Time” is a little puzzling in who it’s talking about – are we talking about Jane Chatwin? Or some of the other members o the gang who in essence “told” time to go f-itself.  But let’s explore a little more before we decide.

As always, spoilers.

So while I had every intention of getting this up with pics earlier in the week, this will have to do for now – I even saved pics but don’t have time to upload it all before 9 PM tonight. I have as many life duties currently as our favorite High King of Fillory. In this episode, time did not heal all wounds, but manipulating it get you what you need.


I Know You, I Walked With You Once Upon a Lifetime…

Julia and Dean Fogg are working one-on-one on a spell, theoretically in a timeline where Julia doesn’t end up as a hedge witch.  Julia wants to connect the sequence of Atsuko’s Spectral Refraction to a separate spell, and Fogg is impressed that she’s adapted it – it’s a second-year spell and she’s applied the theory to create something new.  Turns out her discipline is meta-composition, which makes her a Knowledge Student (so like the Physical Kids, but focused more on the mind).  These kids get to sleep in the attic above the library, which probably doesn’t lend itself for excessive drinking, but Fogg assures Julia that it’s rather spacious and luxurious.  He actually enjoyed his time there, meaning he too was a Knowledge student in his days at Brakebills.  Julia has a rare gift that goes beyond getting a degree, and Fogg is looking forward to seeing the magical discoveries she’s going to make.

Turns out, though, that this is just a memory – I’m assuming by Fogg, because Julia doesn’t remember the 39 times she was at Brakebills.  Fogg is releasing her from the clean room that Kady put her in, since she’s not a student there, and he’s not running a jail.  She doesn’t feel like she should be released, since she should feel terrible about what she did to Quentin, but just doesn’t.  Fogg encourages her to remember that she is a searcher, and wants her to move beyond her fear and self-pity to help save herself.

On the other side of campus, in the Physical Kids cottage, resident lycanthrope Josh is making a little cash for himself by using his cooking skills to whip up some good hallucinogens for his fellow students.  Todd, not having any current drama to speak of, and a friend, purchase several delicacies, one which causes levitation, another that is like being hugged by a rainbow, and the third like being blown by a rainbow.  While Josh is making a sale to the overly eager Todd & friends, Quentin shows up on an errand from High King Eliot.

Eliot has requested that Josh come to Fillory to employ his cooking skills, and after gladly agreeing, Josh awkwardly asks Quentin how he’s doing with the whole “insanely-powerful-magical-entity-who-you-used-to-be-in-love-with-shoved-down-your-back” thing.  Q tells him about how he had to let Alice go, and that he’s figuring out ways to self-medicate, even if they don’t have Abilify in Fillory.  Josh suggests that he try some of his delicacies – after all, they don’t have to return to Fillory immediately, right? Of course, then I wonder how that all works with the Fillorian – Earth time difference, but whatever, I don’t think that’s what I as the viewer was supposed to be focusing on…

Instead I should be focusing on how rad Q finds all this shit, since he can see into other worlds on Josh’s afternoon treats.  Turns out to be less rad though, when Julia’s Shade, lost and confused, reaches out to him for help since she can’t find her way home.  He promises to try to help her, although he doesn’t have the slightest idea as to how.

After delivering Josh to the royal kitchens, Q has to tell Eliot that he needs to return to Earth based on the vision, which El can’t really deny, even though he wants him to stay in Fillory.  Eliot hugs his younger king, leaving him with some comforting words:

If you miss my wedding, I will kill you.

Q makes his way to Julia’s apartment, but she won’t let him in initially – she’s too ashamed of what she did, and what she is still capable of, since the whole emotion/caring thing she’s doing from memory, rather than actually feeling anything.  But then Q says the magic words:

I talked to your Shade.

Julia is rightfully freaked out about this, given that she thought her Shade was gone for good (asking for reassurance that the Shade is still alive is a little bizarre, in my opinion, because is the Shade really ever alive, or just existing in between inhabiting skin suits? But I digress – Fillorian Philosophy 101 over).

The two make their way to Brakebills to do some research (seriously, I feel like Julia and Q do research more than Penny and Kady bang in random places), but they aren’t getting anywhere.  They are interrupted by a rather high/hungover Todd, who overhears their conversation about Shades and mentions that Fogg brought them up in class just the other day.

Fogg is a little hesitant to share why he was talking about Shades – turns out there was a very persistent student interested in them as well: Alice Quinn.  Apparently in the 39 lifetime nonsense Jane created, during the 23rd lifetime, Alice was the sole survivor of the battle with the Beast.  She became super obsessed with the afterlife and reaching out to lost souls and Shades.  The problem is, she never shared with Fogg where she was looking for the Shades, and also, it already happened in another timeline, so you know, there’s that.  Julia suggests they use a Tesla Flexion to reach out to her.

The Tesla Flexion, however, has only been successfully cast once, but luckily they are using the original equipment donated by Fred Flexion.  The Flexion is a gap between worlds, and a tent covers that gap so that people can meet up (like Q and Alice).  Julia and Fogg will cast the spell, but Quentin only has two minutes, and he can’t touch anything, since it would probably cause a horrific explosion of a paradox.

Fogg and Julia cast, and in the shadow of the tent, a figure can be seen.  Q steps inside to see his beloved Alice.  Apparently in the 23rd timeline, the Beast ripped not only Quentin’s body apart, but his Shade as well (and four of Alice’s fingers on her right hand).  She searched the world for someone who could help her, and found out that Shades are in the Underworld.  However, to get to the Underworld, one needs an Ancient One, or a Gatekeeper, which Alice never found (and suddenly the River Watcher from Episode 1 popped into my head – I think I know who our Gatekeeper is!).  They also left each other fighting in her timeline, and Q assures her that he loves her, regardless of the time and universe.  They go to kiss, but she disappears as the Flexion falls away before Q can cause an exploding paradox.

Julia and Q are looking through books later, trying to find an Ancient One, and Q is enjoying being angsty.  But he perks up when Julia discovers what she believes to be an Ancient One – a dragon.  I however, am still sticking to my belief that the River Watcher has something to do with this.


These Fairies Definitely Aren’t Flora, Fauna & Meriweather

In Fillory, Eliot is freaking out about his upcoming wedding, and we finally get a sense of how time runs in the magical land versus time on Earth.  While the High King is trying to coordinate his soiree, Quentin is keeping himself continually drunk, presumably to stop thinking about Alice going free.  It’s only been a day since he left Earth, but in Fillory? It’s been three months since he left.

And, like Fogg with Julia, Margo is having none of his wallowing in sadness and self-pity.  She’s had to deal with Groomzilla since he’s been gone, and the stress of that, plus not getting any sexual satisfaction recently, is driving her mad.  She implores him to be Eliot’s Earth bound errand button boy so that she can have a moment to herself in a hot bath to…err…make a little magic happen for herself.  And to be Eliot’s friend – because being his political confidant is not what he needs at the moment – Eliot definitely needs a friend.

Eliot, meanwhile is playing backgammon with prisoner/FU Fighter/ex-Fen lover Bayler and lamenting the fact that the people of Fillory don’t love him despite all he has done for them so far – he only has a 26% approval rating.  He asks Bayler for his opinion as a reflection of the people, you know, given that the other man tried to murder him at one point, but that was before Eliot introduced him to the Earth delicacy, naaa-chos.

He reminds Eliot that traditionally, a wedding is a time to welcome in the people, and that he should consider it as a way to improve his approval rating, even though Idri wants a private ceremony.

Eliot checks on Fen, who seems to be handling this whole husband-wife-husband thing far better than Eliot would have. She is happy to strengthen their marriage and strengthen their kingdom so it’s even better for their coming child. Eliot seems to believe her but is still a little wary since she’s been acting weird lately.  He invites her to a wedding tasting in the kitchens with Josh, but Fen declines, citing morning sickness, and Eliot takes this to be contributing to all of her overall weirdness lately.

While morning sickness can cause that type of weirdness, it definitely not that – it’s the creepy, hovering fairies she keeps seeing around White Spire who are more interested in her pregnancy than a high-risk OB/GYN.

While Fen thinks she’s losing her mind, Eliot is busy trying a classic delicacy cooked up by Josh – oysters and pearls. While the High King adores it, he rejects it as not being “Fillorian” enough for the wedding. Josh is understandably offended given that half of Fillory eats boiled mutton, and Eliot suggests they meet the people halfway.  Josh then points out what every good scientist knows – garbage in, garbage out.  Cooking a meal half made with shit is still going to taste like shit.

Not making much progress, Josh instead appeals to the more emotional side of food – what does Eliot want the people of Fillory to feel as they join the wedding feast? Eliot just wants people to like him, so Josh offers to whip up a potion to supplement the food instead.

Eliot then consults with Margo asking for advice about women (HA!), since he thinks his pregnant wife is having weird pregnant wife thoughts.  Ummm….just because we are all women doesn’t mean we know what it is like to be pregnant, goofy Eliot.  He muses that he always feels like he’s interrupting a conversation, but there’s never anyone there actually talking to Fen.

And of course, at that moment, those creepy ass fairies decide to hover over the High King, thus probably making him suspect Margo of being pregnant, given she does the same thing that Fen has been doing.

Later, Josh brings them a half eaten plate of nachos that has a hidden message to the rest of the FU Fighters from Bayler.  Turns out the group is still going to try to kill him and Margo, through the unguarded West Gate on his wedding day.  Rather than confront their prisoner, however, they put the note back in the food with a tracking spell on it for the Royal Dishwasher to find, since he’s the one who has currently been delivering the messages.  Right now, though, he’s catatonic in an armoire, since Josh’s potion was a wee bit strong.

Eliot and Margo implore Josh to deliver the potion and mix it in their FU’d (see what I did there?), since the insurgency doesn’t know Josh well enough to be suspicious of him. It works spectacularly, and Eliot grants him permission to go shave any nymph in the kingdom.  Seems a little bit nymph rape-y, since what if the nymph doesn’t want to be shaved at the moment, but again, whatever.

The High King and Queen toast to Margo’s quick thinking regarding tracking the FU Fighters, and Margo realizes she still hasn’t talked to Fen since she last talked to Eliot.  She heads off to find her, only to encounter a “talk to the hand” fairy who isn’t interested in re-negotiating the terms of their deal.

Fen, however, is super excited to discover that Margo can also see the fairies – that is, until Margo tells her why the fairies are there in the first place.  This is a pretty big blow, but to her credit, Fen keeps her composure and just tells the High Queen to fix this.

She does lose her shit, however, when she gets to Eliot, crying about how the fairies are going to take their baby.  When Eliot turns around, however, it’s one of those dick fairies and he ominously tells her a deal is a deal before pouncing on her.


Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing

Kady is annoyed that Fogg let Julia go, because she still has to figure out what to do about Reynard, and doesn’t want to run into Julia at the moment.  Penny wants to help, but Kady refuses, citing the billion year contract he signed with the library the last time he thought he was helping. Penny scoffs, saying that there’s no way he’ll start any time soon (given that it takes them 4 weeks to process a book request), so he has plenty of time to help her.

Much to their surprise, however, as they head out of the Physical Kids cottage, they are immediately transported to the Neitherlands Library.  Turns out HR is far more efficient than the Library Loan system, as the Librarian informs him that as of today, they want to officially welcome him to the Order.  While Kady is allowed to be there to help Penny with his transition, she can’t be around while they discuss Order business, so she wanders off to look for something to help her in defeating Reynard.

While exploring, she runs into another Librarian, who may be able to help her identify a book about killing gods.  Since the Norse gods killed each other often, and the Beast killed Umber, Kady thinks that surely there has to be a how-to manual for this sort of thing.  Unfortunately-she’s wrong – Mr. Librarian is not at all helpful, telling her that there is nothing written down about killing a good, therefore she won’t find any information in the library.

Penny meets up with her – he’s also not getting the kind of help he needs/expected from the Order.  While there are books that can help heal his hands, he has to do the research on his own time.  WTF, Neitherlands Library? That’s like the worst bait-and-switch ever for an employment contract.

Penny, however, seems to be taking it far better than I am, and tells Kady that in the meantime, he’ll do his job, which is to track down overdue library books and be the “muscle” to get them back from offenders. Since he still can’t cast, Kady helps him with a locator spell, and away they go to the Internet company, Fuzzbeat – the site for serious news…and cat videos.

They meet up with Harriet, a deaf magician and current holder of the overdue book, “Principles of Conjuring Fundamentals.” Harriet starts signing, and Penny, kind of being clueless, thinks she’s tutting (yes, absolutely, right there in the middle of the office, Penny) and ducks down to protect himself.

Kady signs somewhat ok, but Harriet opts for reading lips instead.  Apparently her clickbait website is really an illusion for encoded magic – an article about pandas that look like pandas is really a spell for creating dark matter.  Which, I don’t know, seems a little dangerous to be floating around under the surface of lists about animals and things they resemble.  But Harriet is frustrated that the Library is not very accessible for people with disabilities, and this site gives her a way to give access to other Magicians.

Her and Kady turn Penny away to talk as she retrieves the book, and Harriet asks her about what prompted so many questions.  Kady shares with her how she hasn’t been able to find info on killing the trickster god, but Harriet points out (as she is clearly enchanting the sign out card in the back of the book) that there is no type of knowledge the library doesn’t have.  Which means it’s there, just not where that dude was looking.

Penny returns the overdue book to the male nameless Librarian, who upon opening it, is subject to whatever spell Harriet put on the book.  Against his will, he heads towards a locked room in the library, before throwing himself on a kill switch – essentially committing suicide to stop himself from opening the door.  (Kind of feel like they could have put in an “unconscious” switch to just release a noxious gas here, but whatever, it’s their library).

We find out our librarian’s name was Howard, and he killed himself to prevent himself from stealing contents from the Poison Room – a room of books banned from the public for being too dangerous.  Apparently there is world destroying magic behind that door (or, you know, god killing knowledge) and each member of the Order is expected to give their life rather than release information from the Poison Room (well this doesn’t bode well for Penny, does it?).

Kady and Penny head back to Fuzzbeat to confront Harriet, but she’s cleaned out the office and moved onto a different location.  She did leave them a greeting card, however, with the magical dewey decimal system number of “The Ars Decidium,” or “The Art of Killing Gods.”


Q & A About Q & A and Everything Else

  • Are we ever going to find out The Librarian’s name, or is she just “The Librarian?” Usually with this show if we don’t get a name, the character is dead within the hour, but maybe “The Librarian” is a name of sorts, which is how she’s managed to survive to appear in 4 episodes.
  • This episode had more obscure name dropping references than an episode of Archer.  Eliot references adapting a polling spell from the Earth magician Nate Silver, and I once again have to commend the writing team for this show – Nate Silver is a statistician and ABC News correspondent.  Of course, given his polling predictions for the US election this past year, Eliot’s modifications to the polling spell might actually be giving him a false picture of the opinions of the people of Fillory.
  • Josh also has gotten a recipe from Chef Thomas Keller, who owns and operates The French Laundry, an award winning California restaurant.  Apparently he had to get Keller pretty wasted to get the fellow chef to spill his secrets.
  • So is Todd really as free wheeling as he acts, or is it just that – an elaborate act? Does he miss Eliot and Margo so much that he’s acting out in the hopes that his classmates will come home, so to speak?
  • The fact that Dean Fogg had a dark artistic rivalry with Bob Ross, and that it would be a part of Fogg’s memoirs, literally made me do this:


Magical Moments of Memorization

“Rapist monsters are everyone’s problem.” – Amen to that, Penny.’


This Week

Tonight’s episode. “The Rattening,” has Eliot facing his worst nightmare, while Julia and Q get some help going to the Underworld from a mysterious creature.  What is Eliot facing? A total shortage of alcohol in the kingdom? Oh…oh wait that’s right – the fairies attacked his pregnant wife last week.  That might be something he’s concerned about too. We will see tonight!