‘The Magicians’ Season 4 Episode 6 Recap: “A Timeline and Place”
So many cliffhangers from last week’s episode of The Magicians! Penny was jumped by the same guy that got Marina. Alice is choosing a new world for her to escape to. There are the ongoing issues in Fillory with the talking animals being struck mute and of course, the Eliot monster. My biggest question for the past few episodes though has been: WHERE IS KADY? Sadly the last question does not get answered this episode.
Well, Penny wakes up in a magically reinforced cage next to Marina. They have been kidnapped by a young “horomancer” (time and dimension magician) named Stoppard who wants to send him and Marina back to timeline twenty-three because they’re alternate timeline quarks are messing with his spells. Spells to try and cure his mother of a terminal illness. He takes them back, but unfortunately for him, there is no magic left in timeline twenty-three so they are able to overtake him, grab his dimension jumping device and leave. Penny, unwisely, trusts Marina to operate it and they end up in a 1984 meets The Crucible timeline where magic is outlawed. They only have enough “juice” left in the device for one more jump. While they strategize the best way out of this timeline, Marina lets it slip that she has girlfriend she is desperate to get back to. They decide the best course of action is to find this timeline’s Stoppard and ask him for help.
Meanwhile, Alice has found the “world” she is meant to go based off of the book of worlds she took from Christopher Plover. Unfortunately for her, it’s Modesto, California. She runs into a hedge witch running the local convenience store. Later, she takes a room with a woman named Sheila (played by Camryn Manheim) who she discovers also possesses magic but is unaware that that is what her “gifts” are. Alice confronts her and tells her that she possesses magic and demonstrates her own abilities. Sheila only developed her abilities a few months ago. Alice tells her that she is a “queromancer” which is incredibly rare. Alice thinks that her purpose for being in Modesto is to help Sheila. However, Librarians have tracked down Sheila and are trying to convert her to their cause. Alice warns her not to trust them and Sheila agrees not to sign up with them if Alice agrees to teach her how to use her magic. Alice has serious doubts because of her own past bad decisions. (“Magic made all my bad decisions so much bigger and so much worse.”) Ultimately Sheila convinces her to take her on as a student.
In Fillory, Margo learns that the reason the talking animals have been struck mute is because they are having an allergic reaction to the magic Bacchus brought in. The only antidotes are special beets that only grow on a remote Fingerling (“Fingering?” – Margo) Isle called Codswall (“Cockswallow?”- Margo). Margo wants to storm the isle and take the beets by force (“we are gonna go in and take those beets. Bada-bing bada-f**k her.”) after her meeting with their regent ends in disaster and the regent telling her she is giving the entire supply of beets to West Loria. (Who is now the nemesis of Fillory due to decisions made while Margo was off being Janet.) Josh convinces Margo to try a more diplomatic tactic – a private dinner that he will coach her through.
Back in the Crucible timeline (aka Timeline 36), Penny and Marina track down this timeline’s Stoppard and have him look at the device. They look around the remains of his home and discover (via a journal that Marina stole) that Stoppard’s mother is Sonia Stoppard the famed Horomancer that single handedly pioneered her field of study. In the journal are the blueprints for a device that creates a “window in time” (“like a FaceTime for time travel”). Many of the devices in the journal require a magical chemical, “cinnabar,” that causes severe neurodegenerative illness. The illness is like “clockwork Alzheimer’s” but your brain gets “unstuck from time.” She was holding the illness at bay with magical watches that stopped working when Penny and Marina showed up from timeline 23. Penny now has huge qualms about returning to timeline 40. Marina does not. They construct the magical FaceTime device and use it to contact Sonia to warn her about the “cinnabar.” She already knows about it and refuses to quit her work because it’s too important. Penny doesn’t want to return to timeline 40 but Marina is determined to return to her “future wife.” Penny grabs the device and tries to use it but is zapped into a pocket dimension by…. Our Original Penny! (aka Penny 40.)
Meanwhile, Quentin and Julia have broken into a museum to try and study ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs to try and find a way to stop the Eliot Monster. Unfortunately for them, the Monster pops in. Stinking drunk and holding a bottle of tequila. (“This body hearts tequila!”) The Monster is bored and indulging in Eliot’s favorite past time, getting hammered. They try to get him to help translate but he is too drunk. He starts to vaguely hint at killing his body and finding a new one if they don’t find answers fast enough. However he agrees to help them by waking up a mummy and putting it to work. They learn that the “yellow fruit” the glyphs referred to is a mandrake root and they now need to find Heka, the god of magic, who has one of the Monster’s stones. Unfortunately, he is already dead and buried in a now looted temple. The Monster disappears (“this body now craves a cinnamon churro”) leaving Julia and Quentin to figure out their next move.
Back in Modesto, Alice is teaching Sheila basic spells. Sheila is very enthusiastic but for Alice it keeps reminding her of her past mistakes. Sheila compares Alice blaming her mistakes on magic to when she would blame her addictions instead of herself. When Alice goes to get a drink of water, Sheila warns her not to use the tap water because the town’s water supply is contaminated by lead from the corroded pipes. Alice does a simple purification spell to clean the water in her glass and offers to teach it to Sheila. Sheila as the idea to try and do the spell to fix the pipes in Modesto and clean the town’s water supply. Sadly, Alice informs her that there is not enough ambient magic available to cast such a large spell because of the Library’s strict control. Sheila uses her power to feel a leak in the “pipes” that the Library uses to dole out the ambient magic.
In Fillory, at dinner, Josh is guiding Margo via a magic earpiece. He tells her that you can learn a lot about people by what they choose to eat. Using this knowledge, (including the regent’s love of her isle’s alpacas) and her status as the first animal rights advocate on the throne to charm the regent. She does still have to drink some curdled alpaca milk though. Unfortunately, even charmed, the regent says she can not go back on her deal with West Loria and Margo is forced to threaten her (and her “tasty alpaca children”) until she hands them over. After, she angrily confronts Josh about him constantly comparing her tactics to Eliot’s and lashes out at him. Margo tells him that she doesn’t need a new Eliot and calls him a “brown nosing sweater boy desperate to matter to anyone at all.” He tells her that he is “just a friend that wants to be her boyfriend.” He tells her that he knows she is lashing out and that despite what she’s claimed, he knows exactly who she is.
Meanwhile, Penny 23 and Penny 40 have their meeting in the pocket world. Penny 40 (or we could call him Librarian Penny) tells him that Penny 23 has to go back to his world and take his place because it belongs to him now and that returning is “crucial.” He stays vague on why exactly it’s so important but tries to assuage Penny 23 by telling him Sonia, the genius horomancer, is going to die regardless of whether or not Penny 23 returns to his own timeline. Penny 23 is still resistant, telling Penny 40 that “you may be me, but you don’t know me.” Penny 40 fires back and tells him that there are bigger things at play than this one horomancer and Penny 23’s conscience and that is why he stepped in to offer his help. (“You may feel sad down in your soft little heart, but more importantly, you’re welcome.”) Penny 23 reminds him that his friends want their original Penny back, especially Kady. Penny 40 reiterates that it’s not his world anymore. He refills the device with Deweys and tells him the proper way to use it to return to timeline 40. He also tells Penny 23 to find Kady and tell her “I love her and I’m sorry.” Penny 23 jumps back to Marina.
Alice and Sheila find the cracked magical pipe and crack it to let more ambient magic out. The hedgewitch at the convenience store feels the surge in magic and makes a call. Back at Sheila’s house they use the extra magic to clean the pipes. Alice is elated and tells Sheila “I can’t remember the last time magic wasn’t the problem.” They toast with glasses of freshly purified water.
Quentin and Julia are still struggling to find the location of the next stone when they hear a disturbance upstairs. They run up to find that the Eliot Monster is attempting to overdose on pills. Quentin tries to stop him but is flung across the room. When Quentin yells at him that it will kill Eliot, the Monster says “I’ll find a new body, I’m bored.” Quentin finally snaps and stands up to the Eliot Monster telling him that he will refuse to help him if Eliot dies. The Eliot Monster chokes him and threatens to kill him but Quentin stands his ground and the Eliot Monster (partly because he still wants Quentin’s companionship and help) concedes and agrees to “take better care of the meat suit.”
Penny 23 and Marina have returned to our timeline and Penny confronts Stoppard telling him that he’s not going anywhere. He also tells him that even if Stoppard tries to send him back, he’s already spread out dandelion seeds from another timeline, making it impossible for Stoppard to track them all down and eradicate them. He apologizes to Stoppard and leaves.
In Modesto, Sheila and Alice come upon a group of children standing around a burst fire hydrant. Sheila tells them the water is clean and encourages them to play in it. As the children begin to frolick, Alice stays behind to watch and bask in the glow of a job well done and Sheila heads back to the house. At the convenience store, the hedgewitch meets up with a companion and they blow up the Modesto branch of the Library. At Sheila’s house, two Librarians stop her from entering, telling her “she’s been a busy girl.” Alice is clueless to Sheila’s predicament as she sits and enjoys the water.
The Magicians airs Wednesdays at 9pm on the SyFy channel.