Last week’s episode was odd…to say the least. A “rattening” is sabotaging machinery or other tools during a labor dispute, which several of our characters experienced tonight, from Eliot and his potential Fillorian uprising, to Richard subverting security in the Underworld, and Reynard taking on the American political system. Plus there were actual rats. That also helps with a “rattening.”
As always, spoilers.
And more pictures will be added later – sadly, work won’t really slow down till after this season ends so these are just the bare bones recaps for now.
The Underworld in All Its Corporate Glory
Julia and Q come across a manhole cover with Greek writing in New York – they believe this to be the location of the Ancient One, the dragon. The dragon requires a sacrifice of milk (or baby) teeth; after Julia & Quentin briefly consider breaking into a home and being their own version of the tooth fairy in order to satisfy the creature’s demands, they instead use an extraction spell to remove a baby tooth Q still has.
While they are unsure at first if their sacrifice worked, they are soon sure that it did when the manhole cover flies into the air, allowing them to enter the dragon’s underground lair. When they question why she wants baby teeth, the Queen of the Great Worms, as she refers to herself, indicates that she collects lots of things, like humans, magical objects, and teeth, among others. They request passage to the Underworld, but also want that tiny little requirement about not dying to actually get there, and the dragon requires an additional gift. Turns out she wants that button everyone has been using to get back and forth to Fillory. Quentin is willing to give it to her in order to rescue Julia’s shade, and asks if he can borrow it ocassionally, but the dragon denies that request. She tells him he will have to find other means to return to Fillory, which is probably a good thing, because seriously, what if one of them randomly lost it at a grocery store or in one of their drunken moments at Brakebills? They need a back up plan anyway. She transports their souls to the Underworld, giving them 24 hours to do what they need to do and get back.
Julia and Q’s souls proceed to take the weirdest elevator ride ever, to come out in the Underworld, which resembles a lobby of a modern hotel. They are directed to take a number for service, which makes me wonder if the local deli isn’t just one continuous cycle of Hell. A welcome video lets the two know that they are dead, but this isn’t their final destination – it’s a purgatory of sorts. They also advise that in the unlikely event you are missing you shade to see a bellhop; Julia and Q wisely decide that this is a bad idea and keep the whole missing Shade thing to themselves after seeing another Shadeless guy roughly dragged away.
When their number is called, they ask the guy at the front desk about the man without a Shade, but he assures them that the Shade is well taken care of, but probably won’t be reunited with his person, given that it’s very hard to do after a prolonged separation. After they present their hands for identification purposes, the clerk is disturbed to see that they have each died 39 times. When neither of them seems perturbed by the news, the clerk figures out that they were a part of a time loop, and that their computers don’t handle that paradox well. While it gets sorted out, he offers to send them somewhere pleasant before bringing them to their karmic circles – Julia asks for him to check on a few names, since she’s already aware of a karmic circle they could visit.
They get sent to visit the members of Free Trader Beowulf, who help them loosen up a bit by making them bowl with them. Richard approaches Julia, having no concept as to what has happened, and Julia has to fight every fiber of her being to remember that it’s Richard, and not Reynard in front of her. She asks for his help in finding her Shade, and while the group doesn’t know where they reside, they can help Q and Julia sneak past the guards to find out. It helps them as well, since they can’t really move on until they are at peace, and Richard has been trying to find his son. Unfortunately, because he’s culpable in his son’s death, they won’t let him anywhere near the boy. He and the other members of Free Trader Beowulf have done some research to try to help them – all of that information about the gods was true. Hades and Persephone rule the underworld from Elysium, but no one has seen them for quite some time.
Richard manages to distract the front desk staff while Julia and Q sneak into a side room. At one point, the staff even comments about what a jokester he is, and they are going to call security. Julia and Quentin meanwhile, look through a book in the back office that notes that Disconnected Shades go to “E,” and they figure it has to be Elysium. While Richard is hauled off, much to his own amusement, Julia and Quentin make their way out to find her Shade.
They make it to the Elysium mansion, which Q refers to as a Shade orphanage, since it is filled with children and teens who were separated from their people. Apparently Shades don’t age exponentially with the body – it looks like none of them are over the age of 14. They spot a very cute younger Shade named Eugene performing a tiny miracle, which they all do for children who are suffering on Earth. They ask him if they possibly know where Julia is, and he recognizes her as the girl who recently joined them who sneaks into Ms. Persephone’s room.
He leads them towards her room, and Julia stops short after seeing a large picture of Our Lady Underground on the Wall. Eugene identifies her as Persephone but shares that she hasn’t been home for quite some time. Julia talks to the portrait, calling the goddess names (which is probably ill advised, but whatever) and saying how stupid it was for them to love her. Julia sneaks into the goddess’ room while Q keeps watch.
Julia hears a glass break in the room, followed by giggling and realizes whoever is in the room is also in Persephone’s closet. She persuades the Shade to come out, and much to her surprise, it is little Shade Alice, rather than her own soul. Quentin, however, has found Shade Julia in the hallway, and comes in, allowing each to reunite with their better half.
Julia’s Shade talks about how Alice talks about Q all the time, and asks her if she’s killed Reynard yet. Julia tells her no, and the Shade grabs her hand to give her strength (and also make it painfully obvious that until all that hate is out of her that she probably can’t return to Julia’s body). But at least it helps her to feel again, and Julia seems to overwhelmed at seeing Q so happy with Alice. She asks her Shade if Alice can come back as well, but only one of them can go, and Julia needs her more than Q needs Alice.
They are quickly running out of time, and Julia tells Quentin it’s time to leave. Q shares that he realizes now what was missing – why he couldn’t bring Alice back – it was her missing Shade. He promises to come back to her one day when he’s really dead, and she tells him to use the portal in Persephone’s closet that will take him back to the reception area. Julia tells him to go first, and then follows behind, with Alice’s Shade, rather than her own, coming with them. He tries to get her to change her mind, but this is what she wants to do. As they take the elevator back up before security can stop them, Alice assures Q that everything is going to be ok.
Penny Gets Shot Down, Although He is Getting Tons of Incepti-course
Penny is trying to practice casting with muscles other than the ones in his hands; why he went with sphincter muscle is beyond me, but whatever. The super positive librarian, who we later learn is named Zelda, cheers him on, but tells him he needs to stop studying and work on re-shelving books. She introduces him to Sylvia, a much younger woman who is his supervisor. Initially, I thought this was the girl who accosted Penny on his first trip to the Neitherlands, but while the actors look similar, they are not in fact the same person. Unless it turns out later on that Sylvia has a twin sister who somehow managed to survive that slashing thing Penny did to her when he was escaping through the Fountain.
In his off time, he figures out how to Incept-i-sex Kady, and she pokes him about getting into the Poison Room. He thinks there’s no way he would ever get the entry code out of the librarian, but Kady suggests that since everyone has a book in their Neitherlands Library, that she must have one too – perhaps the code is in there. Problem is, at this point, Penny still doesn’t know her name, which would make it hard to locate her book. He asks Kady what happened to Senator Gaines since he’s been gone, and it turns out Reynard’s son has returned to work, but has brought his trickster god dad with him under the guise of being an advisor.
Back at the library, Penny tries to smooth talk the librarian into telling him her name, but she shuts that down pretty quickly. As she leaves him to his work, he notices her carrying her lunch bag and makes a plan to look for it in the employee refrigerator in order to try to find out her name. Unfortunately for Penny, there’s about 20 lunches in there when he checks, and Sylvia catches him snooping around. She accuses him of trying to get in the librarian’s pants, and he denies it, only wanting her name. Sylvia shares that the librarian’s name is Zelda Shiff or possibly Shot – she tells Penny to give her the dirt once he finds Zelda’s book. He finally calls Sylvia on her continued raunchiness, and why she’s even working at the library. Apparently her dad is a businessman whose competition sometimes gets a little rough, so he sent Sylvia to the library for her own protection. Who this businessman is, we have no idea.
Penny looks for Zelda’s book, but even the book has been relocated – to the Poison Room. He incepts Kady to share that with her, and is startled to find that Sylvia has incepted him with a little trick she learned from her dad’s associates. She offers to help them get into the Poison Room, since there are things in there she wants to see as well.
Like Father, Like Son
John is trying to get a final vote for a bill he’s trying to get passed, and Reynard advises his staff to bring in another senator to talk, who previously refused to budge. When John questions him, his father clears the room and lets him know that he’s controlling them with his mind, just like John has for years without realizing it. John, not being a douchebag at heart, is really not into this, but Reynard just tells him to tell the other senator what he wants, plainly and clearly. Which just makes it more obvious that Reynard is controlling that human side of his own son as well.
When he meets with his fellow senator, John is initially iunable to convince the older man to support the bill. He tries his dad’s technique, and while it works splendidly, it also gives the other senator a heart attack. Horrified, he tries to tell his wife what’s going on, and at first she thinks he’s just overworked. As John gets more frustrated, and more vehement in trying to convince her, she suddenly has a change of heart, and believes everything he’s saying. Which freaks him out more since he realizes that he’s controlled everyone in his life, and that he can’t ever trust that he’s not unintentionally doing it, even to his loved ones.
John tries to keep Reynard away from him as he looks up information on trickster gods, but Reynard just uses his mind control to convince security to let him in. When John confronts him about everything Penny and Kady told him, he doesn’t deny it, saying he was just taking advantage of the weak, the same way deep down John wants to since he wants to become President one day. John protests, saying that the women were just trying to summon a benevolent goddess, and suddenly all of Reynard’s relationship issues come spilling out.
Apparently Persephone is a lying whore who walked all over men and other gods, and she scorned Reynard, who loved her at some point in his existence. He blows off his son’s assertions, making it clear that they are going to have so much fun together (sort of like crazy niffin Alice – maybe Reynard just needs someone who loves him back. Or he’s just a fucking disgusting entity).
John, who isn’t having any of it, manages to make his way back to the warded Brakebills and tells Kady he wants to help.
The Rats of Fillory
Eliot is flipping out a bit, because Idri is scheduled to arrive at any moment, and he hasn’t been able to locate Fen for quite a while (well, duh, that’s because she was kidnapped by fairies recently, silly) to greet her future husband as well. When the other king arrives, Eliot is nervously trying to express his affection with canapes, wine and fire dancers, but Idri is just interested in his potential new spouse, rather than all of the pomp and circumstance. Eliot softens considerably, realizing that he might finally have a relationship that he can live with forever. Idri asks for some alone time with Eliot, and I know I shouldn’t be wary, but this still all seems like an elaborate scheme to dethrone the Fillorian High King by appealing to his heart and emotion.
Eliot proceeds to put me more on edge but spilling his whole story about being forced to marry Fen, and that he didn’t know her at all. He also points out that really, he doesn’t know Idri either, but the other king offers to do something to help with that. He blindfolds Eliot with his own scarf, and while the two kings can’t do anything till they are married, Idri shares that they will learn how they each like to be touched without actually touching. And I openly cringed here – Idri was putting Eliot into an extremely vulnerable positon, and I was waiting for it to all go horribly wrong.
Well, it did-but not in the way I expected. Idri is somehow turned into a rat (hence the title of the episode), along with several other members of the royal court, including Abigail the Sloth. Because…why not? There’s actually only a few of them left who have not been turned into rats, and Eliot thinks Fen is one of them as well. It would be impossible to figure out who was an actual rat versus a magical rat, so Eliot orders the remaining advisors to find every rat in the castle.
As Margo is looking for rats, she runs into the fairy’s ambassador, and accuses him of turning Fen into one. The ambassador denies it, sharing with her that the High King’s wife is safe in her human form in the Fairy Realm, and she was only taken because Margo wanted to re-negotiate their deal. When she complains that this type of magic seems like the fairies’ whimsical bullshit, the ambassador warns her that it’s not them, but a power that acts only because it can, rather than to really accomplish anything. He tells her to figure it out, or face potentially losing her kingdom.
And then Syfy helpfully plays the commercial from the very beginning of Season 2, with the Fillorian resident who Quentin approaches for assistance after the Beast attacks, warning Q that they only look whimsical. There’s that word again.
After Eliot gathers up the rats, he holds a meeting with the only advisors left – Tick Pickwick, Margo and Abigail’s handler. They recap all of the crazy shit that’s been happening in Fillory, because it goes way beyond turning people into rats. When they don’t have any ideas, Eliot points out that since it isn’t the Lorians (given that Idri was ratted) and the FU Fighters were incapacitated, it had to be someone among the four of them. The High King has spiked all of their drinks with truth serum, and while Tick and his other advisor have some truly weird confessions, it’s Margo spilling about the fairies and Fen that really gets his attention.
And then my heart breaks more than it did back in Season 1, when they got their feelings back and said some rather harsh things to one another. Eliot is furious, since this whole thing started because Margo declared war. Well, actually, the whole thing kind of started when Ember shit in the Wellspring, but whatever, we’ll go with “declaration of war.” He doesn’t have time to clean up more of her messes, so he has her escorted to the dungeon. His love for Margo peeks through just a bit though, when he tells them to make sure she has the best room in the dungeon, and to make sure she gets her coconut oil.
Eliot uses a great deal of his resources starting to change his staff back into people, starting with Josh. Once re-humanized, and aware that Margo was in captivity, he encourages Eliot to pass some of these duties down to his governors or dukes or whatever he has. He laments that it would just be another task, selecting governors. Josh points out that he could hold an election and let the people do that job. While Eliot is thrilled about democracy coming to Fillory, Fillory doesn’t seem to happy about it, kicking him out and back to Earth.
Margo, meanwhile, gets Abigail’s handler to bring her a potion that will transport her to the Fairy Realm and potentially save Fen and the baby. She downs it immediately and disappears.
Q and A About Q and A and Everything Else
- Only with your best friend can you magically yank out one of their teeth and no one really bats an eye.
- The dragon, despite what we learn later, is herself “Our Lady Underground.”
- Wasn’t Persephone a victim as well? In Greek mythology she’s forced to live half her live in Elysium, which is why we supposedly have winter. And if no one has seen Hades in forever either, isn’t it possible that the two gods were captured somewhere?
- So is John really coming to Kady of his own volition, or is this just an elaborate trick by Reynard to draw out Kady and Julia?
Magical Moments for Memorization
“No, I’m a fucking dragon-I eat you. What did you expect?” – Queen of the Great Worms
“You know what’s safe? Nothing.” Sylvia to Penny
This Week: Episode 12
We are down to the penultimate episode of Season 2 (booooooo) “Ramifications.” The description says it’s the final showdown between Julia and the god that ruined her life, but I can’t help but suspect it isn’t Reynard they are talking about here. One could argue that several gods ruined her life, including Persephone and Ember, and I wouldn’t put it past this show to have an appearance from Ember or Umber given the title of the episode. But we shall see in just a few short hours if the promise of “it will change everything” really does.