We truly get the 4-1-1 in this episode as some questions are answered and even bigger problems are presented. “The 4-1-1” begins with Margo, back at Marina’s place with her axes recounting her quest in the desert to Quentin. “That’s when I told the foreskin, ‘Welcome to the new desert order. It’s gonna suck for you,’” she finishes. As she introduces her axes by name, Sorrow and Sorrow, Julia walks in and asks where she got the axes. Margo tells the story again (hilariously with the same exact, though less enthusiastic, wording), when Penny arrives and she has to tell her story yet again. When Alice enters at the very end of her third retelling, she refuses to tell it again.
Margo makes a smoothie while the group contemplates whether the bottles used in the desert can hold the Monster and his sister. Alice suggests casting an incorporate bond on the bottles to strengthen them and pin them in place “like a paperweight,” Penny explains. Alice recalls that Mayakovsky was under one for years, and she goes to the person who cast the spell, Dean Fogg.
In his office, Fogg explains that he cast the spell, but Mayakovsky wrote it. He knows more about incorporate bonds than anyone and is no longer a bear. Mayakovsky became human when magic returned and went to Breakbills South (where first years go to train with him and discover their discipline).
Back at Marina’s loft, Alice, Quentin, and Margo discuss the predicament but ultimately conclude they will have to talk to Mayakovsky, and Penny travels Alice and Quentin to Breakbills South. As they search for Mayakovsky, Alice tells Quentin she does not want to be alone with him either, hinting at their current very awkward relationship. They find Mayakovsky passed out on the floor and wake him, though he does not know where he is.
Alice finds notes strewn about the room and explains to Quentin that Mayakovsky created a spell to let his current consciousness swap places with his consciousness in the future. The Mayakovsky before them has dementia. This was likely a mistake, as two of the numbers in the spell were inverted, but there is no way for them to reverse it. Quentin however says he will just talk to Mayakovsky in the past using his spell.
In Dean Fogg’s office, Kady meets with Fogg and Zelda who explain that they want to steal Everett’s (Head of Circulation at the Library, plotting to kill all hedges and likely hoarding magic) book from the Poison Room to uncover what he is planning. Kady objects to accompanying Zelda into the room, but Library protocol requires librarians to enter in pairs, and she reluctantly agrees.
Margo flips through the Binder book at Marina’s loft with Julia and Penny. When she gets a paper cut, the book slams shut, biting her when blood touches it. The pages now have very faint writing that is written in Margo’s blood. “If it wants blood I got blood, brb.” Margo grabs the book and leaves. She returns with the book closed on her used tampon. “It’s shark week… you can thank my uterus later.” It provides the book with enough blood to make the text readable. Penny very reluctantly reads the text. (It is in Latin, and Julia cannot cast.)
An arm suddenly reaches from between the pages, and an entire man steps out of the book, “The Binder stood before them. and as they stared eyes full of wonder, the Binder thought to himself, “Took you long enough.”
Zelda and a disguised Kady enter the Library and make their way to the Poison Room. Everett is supposed to be in a meeting but nearly catches them when he suddenly appears. “I snuck out,” he explains, when Zelda asks and she covers by requesting a private conversation in his office.
At Marina’s, Julia, Penny, and Margo listen as the Binder continues to speak in third person (much to Margo’s dismay) about his knowledge of Julia and her powers. He starts to tell his story but passes out, just managing to say his book is missing pages. Penny opens the book and discovers there are pages ripped out. Margo sees a shadow upstairs and leaves to follow it. She finds a room with flower petals spread everywhere, but when she enters, the doors close and the curtains are shut as a floating bottle (wielded by an unseen force?) hits her over the head.
Josh rushes to High King Fen and Tick describing a vision he had of himself on a TV show set for his own baking show. Tick and Fen believe that the Winds of Fate arrived early in addition to several other odd happenings, and Josh concludes that there is something wrong with Fillory’s ecosystem. Tick recalls an imprisoned naiad mentioning the ecosystem, and they go to talk to her. Josh is slightly terrified of her The Ring/The Grudge vibes as she condescendingly explains the problems are due to “The Thirteenth,” who tried to capture naiads and dam the water but refuses to say more.
Alice and Quentin review the details of sending him to his earlier self’s body, with Alice lecturing over the importance of Quentin not doing anything to affect the future. Mildly annoyed with her, he steps onto the table and casts the spell. Present Quentin is sent to his past self, while past Quentin inhabits his current body. Present Quentin is dressing in his room at Breakbills South when past Alice enters his room and kisses him, climbing on top of him and stripping. He pushes her away and quickly leaves under an excuse of forgetting condoms (which are laying on the nightstand).
Past Quentin (in present Quentin’s body) questions present Alice over why he is suddenly in the lab. But there is no magic left for her to cast her spell, so she hastily tells him that Mayakovsky transported them to the lab for tests. Spotting ropes, she tells him they must tie all the ropes into knots. He complies and kisses her on the head as they begin.
Stuck in the Library waiting for Zelda, Kady calls Fogg to ask for help. To create a distraction, he goes into a class of first years and proceeds to cast a cloaking spell (a spell the Library does not allow).
Zelda and Everett discuss a librarian’s perfume in his office as another arrives to inform Everett of Fogg’s rule breaking. Zelda takes the Poison Room key before exiting the office.
Penny and Julia enter the flower petal-covered room looking for Margo. Yet again the doors close, the blinds draw shut, and several candles suddenly light as romantic music plays. A tied up Margo falls out of the closet, exclaiming that a “weird ass ghost” tied her up and that she can see him with her fairy eye but cannot hear what he is saying. Penny astral projects and sees Hyman who says he and Penny 40 bonded (“I seriously doubt that”) and they became his ‘favorite characters’. When magic disappeared, he left Breakbills to find them and discovered he can now become objects. Penny demands the missing Binder pages back, when he realizes Hyman took them to hopefully advance Penny and Julia’s romance.
Having researched The Thirteenth King and discovering his is stricken from all records, Fen and Josh return to the naiad’s jail cell demanding answers. She refuses, but Tick arrives with water from her well (which is basically her blood), and he begins drinking it to torture her. Fen remembers the name “Roderick” from a Fillorian children’s game called Bear Skip: “Thirsty Roderick, thirteenth of his time always liked to have a good time.” The rhyme also mentions cisterns, and Josh hypothesizes that the naiad means the movement of magic rather than water to underground reservoirs. A large pool of magic under the castle may be responsible for the strange happenings.
Present Quentin, still in the past, questions Mayakovsky about incorporate bonds (though Mayakovsky thinks he should be off having sex as with Alice). When he doesn’t relent, Mayakovsky explains that those spells require he know his discipline, which Quentin never received. He tosses Quentin a bottle of alcohol and pulls out a device to begin working.
Kady and Zelda are outside the Poison Room where Zelda retrieves their “protection,” bugs that must be swallowed whole so they will absorb any poison in their bloodstream. (They only last an hour.) They drink down the bugs and enter.
Present Quentin is face down on the desk with Mayakovsky over him, as he pulls a device out of Quentin’s ear and takes notes. Mayakovsky knows that this Quentin’s consciousness is from the future. Quentin confesses that he is but won’t tell him anything else. Mayakovsky concludes that he must have finished the spell he is working on and that is how present Quentin is speaking with him. He writes down the incorporate bond spell for Quentin and dismisses him. Before leaving, Quentin asks what his discipline is, and Mayakovsky tells him “repair of small objects.” Quentin is notably disappointed and leaves, but past Alice is listening at the door. She demands answers about what he is doing and their relationship. When he refuses, she offers a memory charm in exchange for answers. He agrees and tells Alice that bad things happened to them both. She tells him, “You are the best thing that ever happened to me. When you go back just remember that, ok?” and casts her memory erasing charm.
Past Quentin and present Alice talk about Mayakovsky, and he suggests they have sex. They kiss, and Alice attempts to kiss him a second time, but present Quentin returns and stops her.
Julia and Margo insert the missing Binder book pages, and the Binder springs to life and tells his story. He was a librarian specializing in the inherent magic of gods. He theorized that a god’s power, when killed, could be bound to an object and then tied to a magician’s, giving the magician the powers of a god. With the gods turning off magic when one of them is killed, the librarians had no way to test their theory. But the gods made two mistakes in the form of twins (the Monster and his sister). They possess the power of many gods and they could not die. The Library moved forward with their experiment on the older female sibling, and the weaker boy was left behind alone. The girl was split into four parts and bound to four stones, and those stones were bound to the librarians Bacchus, Iris, Heca, and Angus. Once completed, the new gods feared the Binder’s knowledge and turned him into a book.
A librarian read the Binder’s book and hid it in the mirror world. However, he heard of Julia’s predicament and tells her that he can take her in either direction. She can choose to become a mortal human or a goddess again. He asks that, after she gets her answers, she burn his book so he cannot be used again.
Kady and Zelda hastily search the Poison Room, and Kady locates Everett’s book. Zelda speed reads his book and discovers that Everett is hoarding magic to become a god and that he will succeed, according to the book.
Fen, Josh, and Tick stand in a hallway of the castle where the floor layout is identical to a Bear Skip board. Fen, Tick, and Josh play, but Josh wins exclaiming, “Honey or die!” and a secret door opens. Throwing caution to the wind, the trio enter.
Kady and Zelda hurry back to the door as Kady asks about the odd taste of chocolate in her mouth. “As you absorb more poison, the after taste changes,” Zelda tells her. “It’s when you taste mint that we’re in real trouble.” They ascend the stairs and discover the locked door and realize they are trapped just as Kady tastes mint.
Julia and Penny discuss her options, running through a pro/con list of each choice. Julia kisses Penny, hinting that they could try a relationship if she was human. As they make out, the Eliot Monster suddenly appears. Distressed, he tells them that his sister is dying and the body he chose was not strong enough. “I need to find one that is more durable, like yours,” he says, as he grabs Julia and vanishes.
Now soundly back in the present, Quentin and Alice discuss his discipline and his slight disappointment. She asks him to show her, and he repairs a broken cup. “It feels like I helped it wake up and remember what it was before,” he tells her.
The Magicians airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on SYFY.