The end of last week’s episode found both Quentin’s (Jason Ralph) dad and Bacchus dead. Neither are great turns of event, but at least Bacchus’ death was supposed to help Eliot (Hale Appleman). Unfortunately, the Monster seems to have no interest in leaving poor Eliot’s body.
Last season we learned that the Josh (Trevor Einhorn) from timeline 23 suffered from sexually transmitted lycanthropy and had to go through something called the “quickening”. Well, lucky Josh-40 acquired the same STD in our main timeline and his starting to go through the quickening himself. The mysterious illness plagues Josh with nightmares, dead animals in his sheets, and oh yeah, the need to have sex with an uninfected person or else kill them.
After telling Margo (Summer Bishil) about his dilemma, Josh realizes that as “Isaac” he wasn’t forthcoming with a woman about his STD status and goes to find out if she’s okay. Wellllllll, she’s not. In fact, she’s going through the quickening herself and hasn’t just killed a man, but brutally dismembered him. Oops?
Meanwhile, in the library, Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley) finds herself with none other than Christopher Plover. Yes, the pedophile who created The Beast. He offers help to Alice find her and her friend’s books in exchange for her assistance in finding a quiet place to retire. Does he deserve it? No, but Alice doesn’t have much of a choice. They come up with a plan and steal the manuscripts before they are rebound.
Searching for a reason why she still retains her godly invulnerability, but still cannot perform magic, Julia (Stella Maeve) travels with Penny-23 (Arjun Gupta) back to Fillory. In Fillory, she finds Shoshanna of the Maenads, Bacchus’ now godless followers. Shoshanna has Julia and Penny participate in an “intimate” ritual which involves Penny anointing Julia’s naked body with oil. And yes, there was a sexy soundtrack on top of this scene.
The two then bring the water from the foot-bathing part of the ritual back to Shoshanna who promptly declares that Julia is definitely still a goddess and that while she might not have magic, she definitely has power. And Shoshanna now has a new deity to follow.
Back on Earth, Margo and Josh attempt a spell to end the quickening. Josh eats a Komodo dragon’s heart and both scream a lot. It becomes apparent that the spell was ineffectual when Josh feels “urges” in the car with Margo and jumps out in order to avoid them. He has Margo bring him to Brakebills where he locks himself in a cage. He has no interest in murdering or raping anyone, no matter what that means for himself.
Margo has spent the past two episodes trying to help her friends: trying to help get Eliot back and help Josh through the quickening. Margo is terrified of losing another friend and locks herself in the cage with Josh. She verbalizes her consent and has sex with Josh.
Following the death of his father, Quentin returns to his father’s home where he starts to clean up. His father collecting model planes. While the Monster is content to watch Q at first, he grows bored and breaks a plane. At first, Quentin is angry but then is convinced to destroy the models himself. He finds the destruction cathartic.
In nearly simultaneous succession, we learn from Alice that Q’s book ends next week, and from the Monster that Eliot is dead. He felt his soul die.
We have barely moments to recover from this devastating reveal before the camera travels into the Monster’s eyes until we find Eliot. Eliot, standing in an empty paper Brakebills yelling for Margo.
I have three main thoughts about this week’s episode, and despite the hype and lead up to the quickening, none of these actually really have to do with Josh. I promise I still love Josh though.
Firstly, Julia. My dear, Goddess, Julia. Julia has been through the wringer. She: was prohibited from studying magic at Brakebills, physically stripped of the work she did to actually earn her hedge witch stars, raped, stolen of her shade, and gave away her godliness nearly the moment after she achieved it. Julia has lost nearly everything. In this episode though? In this episode, Julia laughed, smiled, and joked. And it was such a great change. She’s healing. Julia said it best herself, “I’m not a delicate flower or piece of glass. I’m a person, and people heal.”
Second – I have to address the elephant in the room. Eliot is alive! We all knew he would be alive, but there was a moment there when the Monster claimed he felt Eliot’s soul die, that I wasn’t too sure. Next week’s episode appears to be an Eliot episode in the vein of last season’s “Be the Penny”. So, I. Am. Stoked.
Lastly, we gotta talk about Margo. Margo freakin’ Hanson. Margo, the girl first introduced as the party girl sidekick to Eliot. No discernible personality other than sarcastic. Over the seasons we’ve seen Margo and Eliot’s love and dedication to one another, but in this episode, we really get to see the love Margo has for her best friend. And she doesn’t even interact with Eliot.
In this episode, Margo puts everything into helping Josh. While it seems like at first, it’s just because someone needs to help him, and I guess they’re good friends, it becomes clear that it’s because of Eliot. Margo wasn’t able to save Eliot, so she must do everything she can to save Josh. Every one of her actions is defined by that loss. Margo willingly acquires a disease that will require her to kill, be killed, or change the course of another person’s life. And she does it with barely a second thought.
Both Julia and Margo’s losses come to a head in this episode in very opposite ways. While Julia is finally starting to shed hers, Margo starts to embrace hers and not just feel the depth of her loss, but let it change her way of life.