The Sixth Key is nearly in hand, but to find what else might lay beyond the door at the End of the World, Julia might have to track down none other than Reynard himself.
Now that new Penny or “Penny 23” is here to stay, Josh tries to catch him up to speed with everything that’s happened in their timeline so far. Penny 23 tracks with most of it, except for Kady. Let’s just say she’s a little more than devastated to have a “fake” Penny back to take her Penny’s place.
Julia and the gang has taken the warning that the Beast — aka Quentin — gave them in timeline 23 to heart. If they’ve learned anything from killing Umber and quenching magic, it’s maybe something along the lines of not putting horses before carts. Uncertain, they send Alice to the Library to look for answers. Penny 23 tails her there, and overhears a conversation between Alice and the Head Librarian about syphoning the magic from Julia, before the door at the end of the world is unlocked. As a “failsafe”. The gang also learns that the only beings that have seen what is beyond the door are gods.
Eliot and Margo are in dire need of the Sixth Key, trapped in the fairy realm. They track down Fray, now working in a Fillorian pub. She helps them set up a meeting with the Fairy Queen. Eliot and Margo try and make a deal; Fillorian lands promised to the fairies, in exchange for the Key. But the Fairy Queen knows that they don’t own the land they are promising. This is a deal they can’t strike until they’re won Fillory back. So Eliot and Margo, with some help from Josh, stage an election. Except this time, they’re not running as a pair. They win over the people primarily by sending Julia with her new-found god powers to cure the land of its ills. And then Margo wins the election anyway. Because yeah, that was bullshit.
Julia has been doing a lot of miracles lately. But Our Lady Underground still hasn’t been answers her calls. And to top that off, Kady and Penny 23 have gotten the idea that the only god they can talk to about the door at the end of the world is Reynard. Without that god spark, they hope he will be powerless. They find Reynard still on Earth, working as a pizza delivery guy. They corner him, until he spills the beans about what lies on the other side of the door. All the “rejects” apparently lie beyond. The magical creatures that the Architect who built the place thought were unworthy. Julia freezes Reynard, trapping him for eternity.
Now that Margo is High King, the deal with the fairies is made. The Fairy Queen even gifts Margo with a new “fairy” eye. The Sixth Key is in hand, and they’re ready to bring magic back. But not without some consequences. Including the cancer which plagued Quentin’s dad returning. Not wanting it to be all for nothing, Quentin decides he has to go through with it, regardless. He makes his goodbyes. Time to go to the end of the world.
I don’t even get the point of removing Margo’s name from the ballot. Why would Eliot ever take a stance like that? It seems entirely outside of his character to spew such nonsense. That he would even consider coddling Fillory’s patriarchal ways is just bullshit, plain and simple. Was it all just playing into getting their “moment”? Margo winning by a landslide because she chatted up some talking bears about beastiality? We already knew that Margo was the High King Fillory deserved. Without all this hoopla. And if we’re being honest here, you know who the Fillorians would have elected? Julia. You know. Because she’s the godly one bringing back all the forests and crops and shit. She’s the one on the ground actually making a difference in Fillory, for the first time since the Beast. That’s huge. And the Fillorians were seeing her do this shit.
Yeah, it’s a funny gag that the Fillorian population of talking animals surprisingly vastly outweighs humans. But what Julia started doing for Fillory was a bigger move than Margo was ever able to accomplish. And certainly a bigger deal than just approving of a bear’s fucking a human girl in a Fillorian pub. I’m not here to rain on the Margo parade, mind. It just doesn’t track.
I really want to be happy for where Julia is at, as we come up on the finale. This, in some ways, is where I always saw the show taking her. Because the boiled down truth was always this: Julia is a far more interesting character than Quentin. Yet in the books, we saw her sidelined. She has higher stakes. She’s endured trauma. She’s ruthless, brilliant, and has raw, unfiltered magical talent. Now it shows. She’s had far more screen time and far more character development than Quentin this season. Not that I wanted Quentin to be lost, as a character. I appreciated the scene with Quentin and his dad at the end of this episode. Despite that it felt a little crammed for time, it was still hugely touching.
But the resolution of Julia’s trauma arc is still a travesty. And here we see it “concluded”. That’s if it even sticks. It’s as if the show is using Penny 23 as a mouthpiece for the audience. “Shoot him,” he says, as I think most of us were saying. “After everything he’s done to you two.” But Julia and Kady leave him frozen for eternity instead. Kady delivers some line about what she wanted, all this time, was punishment. Bitch, where was that at the end of the last season? The start of this one? Our Lady Underground interfered with their justice to save her rapist son. She ripped out Reynard’s god powers, slapped them onto Julia without any warning, then demoted the rapist to a pizza boy. WHO, REGARDLESS OF GOD-STATUS, IS STILL FULLY CAPABLE OF LIVING OUT HIS RAPIST LIFE TO THE FULLEST.
In this episode, Quentin gives this whole speech to Alice about choice. How taking choice away from people, preemptively or whatever, is never the answer. Magicians writers, are you listening to yourselves? Our Lady Underground robbed Julia and Kady of their choice to take their justice on Reynard. To take his life, or spare it. And Julia was fucking chill with that shit. Now, casually to fulfill some plot exposition, you bring Reynard back in for a slap on the cheek. It’s not about what happens to Reynard. It’s about taking away a survivor’s choice. And then not putting that shit in context.