“The Magicians” Season 4 Episode 8 Recap: “Home Improvement”


Image courtesy of the SYFY Channel

To quote Margo, “Jesus based on the novel Push by Sapphire!” What an episode! Episode Eight, “Home Improvement” features sex voodoo dolls, literal cat ladies, and a large quantity of missing dragon sperm. No seriously.

The episode begins in Fillory with Fen training for her quest to track down the creature plaguing her with prophetic dreams. Margo approaches her, and almost gets a dagger in the face, to make the case that all of Fen’s dreams have been tied to her in some way and that she should come along on the quest as a side kick. Fen reluctantly concedes and presses Margo for information on her relationship with Josh. Margo brushes off any romantic implications, somewhat unconvincingly.

Meanwhile, Alice is negotiating with Dean Fogg and The Librarian. The Librarian needs Alice’s help locating her daughter who is trapped in the mirror world. Alice existed for a time in the mirror world when she was a niffin doing “experiments,” but is hesitant to help the Library after they spurned her offers to help and imprisoned her. She eventually agrees to help after The Librarian promises her to free Sheila, burn their books, and give Brakebills a larger amount of magic per month (the last item at the insistence of Dean Fogg.) Alice tells them that Harriet (The Librarian’s daughter) is now in “shards” and that they must be located in the mirror world and then pieced back together for her to be brought back. In order to locate the shards they need a beacon spell. Unfortunately for Alice, the spell must be performed by a mother and a daughter together so she is off to track down her estranged mom.

Back at Marina’s loft, the Eliot Monster is going through major withdrawals (“It is not a good morning, America”) and losing patience. Quentin assures him that he has found some leads, but he needs more time to track down the dead god’s missing organ stone. The Eliot Monster leaves, (“there’s a man in the tv who must be dealt with.”) and Kady takes Quentin to Pete (now “Lovelady”) for help tracking down the missing stone on the magic black market. Pete tells them that the stone is now in the hoard of the east river dragon. They must seek out the dragon’s herald to request an audience and bring a valuable item to trade. Quentin takes off in search of said item, and Pete pulls Kady aside for a talk. He promises his loyalty to her as repayment for saving his life, if she leaves her “college buds” problems behind in order to help save the hedge witches. All hedges are now a target of the Library after Whitley’s attack on the Modesto branch and are deemed “terrorists.” The Library is using the attack as an excuse to make all library cards mandatory and outlawing certain spells. Kady insists that the solution is to turn Whitley in to get the heat off of their backs. She cannot turn Whitley in because she is also on the Library’s list and asks for Pete to do it himself.

Image courtesy of the SYFY Channel

Penny 23 gives Kady Penny 40’s message, and she does not take it well. “In other words he’s not coming back right? What am I supposed to do with that?” she replies angrily, and he tries to assure her that Penny 40 was broken up about leaving her behind but that she will move on and eventually be happy. She storms out.

After a tense greeting and several attempts to get her to leave, Alice’s mom agrees to let Alice in and attempt the cooperative spell to make the beacon. They continue to shoot barbs at each other, especially over her mom’s cooperation with the Library and the rewards she received in return. (“You always resented my flowers. You’re both pretty. You both deserve my attention.”) Obviously, they fail to meet the needs of the cooperation spell after several attempts. Pushing Stephanie’s magic meter to almost empty. They begin to really bicker when there is a knock at the door. It is Stephanie’s friend Carol. Stephanie tries to use this as an excuse to get Alice to leave (“last time you saw her, you electrocuted her.”) but Alice refuses to leave without the spell. When Carol enters, she tells Alice that she too is a fugitive from the Library because she now sells illegal “marital aids” -aka voodoo dolls for lovemaking. Of course, at this moment, two Librarians also show up, and Alice is convinced that Stephanie called them on her. Stephanie denies it, but Alice is convinced and triggers the house lockdown mode in order to shut them out.

At the dock on the east river, Quentin and Julia meet Harold, the herald of the east river dragon. (“I responded to a confusingly worded help wanted ad.”) He promises them a meeting with the dragon in exchange for tracking down and returning a powerful “elixir” that was stolen from her. He tells them that she will give them whatever they choose in exchange for its safe return. He also gives them a clue by showing them a poison dart that the thief used. Quentin recognizes it immediately as one of the darts that Poppy stole from Fillory.

Image courtesy of the SYFY Channel

Back in Fillory, Fen and Margo go to the location from her dreams where she spotted the creature. They are confronted by the “prophet” (a woman in a cat mask.) Margo instantly marks her for a phony, but Fen insists on following through with the tasks the woman sets for them in exchange for her prophecy – namely landscaping and gardening the woman’s yard. Margo insists that this is some “Mr Miyagi bull sh*t” and decides to confront the prophet. She traps the prophet in some vicious vines and forces her to tell Fen the truth. She is a fraud. The creature is a questing animal known as “The Napster” (“like the music sharing site? I met Sean Parker in an Arby’s!” – Fen) who always appears to people in their dreams near the fraud’s house. The woman was tired of these people trashing her yard and decided to pose as the Napster to get some help fixing it. She tells them that the only way to catch the Napster is while you are dreaming. “I hate Fillory for making me say this, but let’s go shut down the Napster,” declares Margo.

Quentin finds Poppy hiding out in the Physical Kids’ house on campus. And surprise! She is pregnant! Very very pregnant. She convinces Quentin that the dart was stolen from her and also that he is the father of her baby. When Julia tracks them both down hours later, she finds Quentin glowing and serving Poppy’s every whim. Julia calls in Kady and Penny 23 and they all agree that Poppy is lying and hiding something. They discover Poppy’s illustrated dragon erotica (“The Dragon Riders of Porn” written by Poppy) and the bottle of elixir, now empty. As they read through the book they stumble upon a particularly graphic (and hilariously censored) image that reveals that the elixir they are searching for is actually “dragon spooge.” Penny 23 is horrified and drops the empty bottle. Poppy confesses that she impregnated herself with the dragon semen. (“My kid is going to be epic!”) She becomes extremely protective, and Quentin is still fully on board. Julia warns them that magical pregnancies are tricky and can affect not just you but the people around you. She notices Quentin rubbing Poppies belly and has an epiphany. She pulls Kady and Penny 23 aside to tell them there is built in protection magic emanated by the fetus activated by touch. They go back to the book (“Pregnant dragon porn?” – Penny “Don’t kink shame!” – Julia) and learn that if someone touches a dragon egg, the spell kicks in and they become its nurturer.

Image courtesy of the SYFY Channel

They also discover, via the book, that dragon eggs take three years to gestate, but Poppy looks full term and claims to have only inseminated herself a week ago. Poppy, the lying liar who lies, is at it again! Poppy is just normal human pregnant and stole a dragon egg to fertilize it. And told Quentin who is now bonded to the egg. (“it’s called a misdirect!” “yeah so that you wouldn’t find Falkor.” “We aren’t calling it Falkor!”) Penny 23 slips on some oven mitts and snatches the egg. However, the egg pheromones compel Penny 23 to lick the egg. He does and becomes part of the nest. He then hands the egg to Julia, who willingly grabs it, but is unaffected because magic does not work on her. Kady pulls out the gun that she kept from her past life, and they run off with the egg.

Back at Stephanie’s home, the Librarians are plotting how to break in and arrest “the fugitive.” They activate “the screamers” – enchanted books that scream at full volume. Alice continues to lash out at her mother until she confesses that she did not call the Librarians on her daughter but actually on Carol. They lock themselves in a book free room and Stephanie demands that Carol turn herself in. Carol cries, “all I’m doing is selling intimacy aids!” but Stephanie points out that “voodoo dolls for f*cking are still f*cking voodoo dolls!” It is then that they have the idea to turn the dolls on the Librarians, using the DNA on the coffee mugs they used when they visited Stephanie earlier that morning. It turns out that the real reason Stephanie was trying to force Alice away was because she had planned to turn Carol in and did not want Alice to get caught as well; she was trying to protect her daughter. They use the dolls (by flicking them repeatedly in the groin area) to incapacitate the Librarians, allowing Carol to escape. Alice confesses to her mom that she never believed her mom truly cared for her, and it was her bitterness that caused the cooperative spell to fail. They try the spell again, and this time it works. Alice has the beacon.

At the docks on the east river, Kady and Julia face off against Quentin, Poppy, and Penny 23. The ensuing ruckus wakes up the east river dragon. When the dragon learns what has transpired, and that the egg belongs to the Seine river dragon, she agrees to take it (#frenemies). Back at Marina’s, Penny 23 and Julia are talking about her still mysterious condition when Harold comes calling with a message from the east river dragon. He gives her the organ stone and tells Julia that magical creatures need Julia to solve her “current circumstance.” In order to do this, she has to “seek the binder.” Poppy has resolved to keep her human baby and names Quentin the godfather of her child.

Image courtesy of the SYFY Channel

Alice gives the beacon to the Librarian and Dean Fogg suggests they celebrate the rare occurence of them all doing something good “for the five seconds it lasts.” Alice asks for Sheila (“five seconds over”) and Fogg brings in Sheila – who has joined the order of Librarians. Alice is shocked and upset, but Sheila insists that this was the best thing for her and she is able to do so much more good now. Alice insists that the Library is corrupt, but it is too late and she has to let Sheila go.

In Fillory, Fen catches the Napster in her dream space. It turns out the Napster is a literal human/cat hybrid. She offers to tell Fen her destiny, or because hers is unpleasant, to give her someone else’s. Fen, always placing others above herself, is tempted to ask for Margo’s. The Napster questions this and Fen’s self worth. Fen resolves to making herself a priority finally and asks for her own. Of course, the Napster then reveals that her fate is tied to Margo’s afterall. The Napster tells her that all of the leaders of their world are going to gather and when that happens Fen must depose and dethrone Margo, using any means necessary, including violence.

With the Eliot Monster one step closer to completing his body and Fen faced with an impossible task, the stakes are getting higher and higher for our intrepid gang of magicians.

The Magicians airs Thursdays at 9pm on the SYFY Channel.

Britt is a Los Angeles based writer, burlesque performer, and life long nerd. A former drama kid turned playwright and classic ambivert, (shout out fellow ambiverts! There are dozens of us! Dozens!) her love of books, snacks, and cats makes her a Ravenclaw with Hufflepuff leanings. She is a voracious reader, writer, and unapologetic binge-watcher. Her lifelong obsessions include Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who, Arrested Development, Neil Gaiman, and Frank Herbert's Dune series. Her current obsessions include: Sherlock, Black Mirror, The Great British Baking Show, RuPaul's Drag Race, and Counterpart. She will also gladly talk people's ears off about graphic novels if they let her, which they usually don't. Find Britt on Twitter @MsGeorgiaOQueef

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