We’re almost at the end of The Magicians season 2, with episode 12: Ramifications. As is usual with the recap, there’s SPOILERS!
The ‘previously’ on this episode is bringing a lot of characters to the brink of major actions: Kady (Jade Tailor) and Penny (Arjun Gupta) are still on the hunt for the ‘Art of Killing Gods’ book from the Poison Room, John (Christopher Gorham) is finding out more and more that he has been using his power on people around him, and Julia (Stella Maeve) has discovered that ‘Our lady Underground’ (Garcelle Beauvais) is Persephone of the Underworld (where the shades go), when she and Quentin (Jason Ralph) bring Alice’s (Olivia Taylor Dudley) shade back with them instead of Julia’s.
Opening in Brakebills South, Q and Julia talk to Mayakovsky (Brían F. O’byrne) about bringing the Alice Niffin back to life using Alice’s shade as the missing piece. They convince him, reminding him that his relationship with Emily (Abby Miller) is one of the reasons that Alice went down the path that left her in this predicament. Using his magical batteries (that he previously used Penny to fill), they set up a cage containing Alice’s shade for the ritual.
The ritual is successful, but Alice is not happy that Quentin has performed it, with the niffin threatening him mid-ritual. Alice appears as a human after it, but is very quiet and despondent, as well as extremely angry with him for doing it.
In the library, Penny and Sylvia (Roan Curtis) hatch a plan to get into the Poison Room using the fountains, as the room itself is actually in another realm, and the door in the library is only a portal.
Back in Brakebills South, Q is surprised to see Eliot (Hale Appleman), who has been banished from Fillory. Eliot is looking for a way back, so wants the Chatwin’s button, and is pissed off when he finds out that Q traded it for passage to the underworld, quipping that “you gave our only means of travelling to Fillory, to fuck Trogdor?” (A Homestar Runner reference!); he then sees the returned Alice and understands.
In Fillory, with Eliot and Margo (Summer Bishil) having vanished, Josh (Trevor Einhorn) is left as high king and takes a ‘Hakuna Matata’ approach to ruling, leading to he and all his advisors getting high and partying. While still high, Josh sees a vision of Margo from the Faerie realm and she threatens him, telling him he needs to find a way to save her and Fen (Brittany Curran).
Julia returns to Brakebills and comes to a resolution with Kady, and Kady agrees to be her conscience and keep her in check. They meet with Senator John Gaines, and he reveals the connection between Reynard (Mackenzie Astin) and ‘Our Lady Underground’ (Persephone). They form a plan to teach John magic and for him to take on Reynard.
Moping in Brakebills South, Q and Eliot figure out that the first portal to Fillory is still open and that it must be the clock that Q saw at his first interview for Yale. Assuming that it had been sold off after the interviewer died, they look to track it down.
In the Neitherlands, Penny and Sylvia go to the fountain that leads to the Poison Room and find it is locked and heavily enchanted. Sylvia manages to unlock it, and insists on going too, despite Penny’s objections. Questioned by Penny as to why she wants to go, she reveals that she has discovered an event called the ‘great blank spot’, where all the books of people currently alive contain a gap of 20 blank pages; she wants to read the books of the librarians, including her own, to see what causes it and change it if possible, a thought prompted by Penny repeating time due to the time loops.
Entering the Poison Room, Sylvia and Penny find an extremely dusty and old room, and begin their search for their respective books.
In Washington, John is confronted by Reynard about going back to see Julia and Kady. Reynard has apparently killed John’s wife and gifts him her ear as a warning, telling him that he needs to embrace who he is and that he will eventually understand.
Travelling to Vancouver, Eliot and Q visit the buyer (Nico Evers-Swindell) of the clock, and are initially rebuffed, but after figuring out that the buyer is a Fillory collector, Q charms his way in, making a connection. While Q is looking through an abandoned screenplay for a Fillory movie, the buyer criticises it, intimating he knows Jane is the Watcherwoman, and revealing to Q that the buyer has been to Fillory. It turns out the buyer is Umber, the God who created Fillory with his brother Ember.
In Brakebills, Julia and Kady have worked out how to trick Reynard into appearing, by creating a storm that makes it seems like Persephone is coming. John turns up and uses his powers to get Julia to leave the house, while he makes Kady kill him, and collect his power. Coming back from the ‘food run’ John has sent her on, Julia finds Kady covered in John’s blood and in despair.
Back in Brakebills South, Alice is frustrated that she can’t do magic and that the knowledge she has is fading. She struggles to write down as much of it as she can, while she argues with Mayakovsky about the meaning of life and being human.
Hunting through the dusty shelves of the Poison Room, Penny finally finds the book Kady needs, but as soon as he touches the book, he feels pain in his arm. Rushing back to Sylvia to warn her that they need to get out, he finds her reading her book, but covered in sores. Sylvia tells him that he has to leave her there, as her book didn’t have blank pages and that she dies in the Poison Room.
Chatting with Umber in Vancouver, he tells them he’s been hiding out in Vancouver since agreeing with Martin Chatwin to fake his own death and leave Fillory. Eliot loses his patience and says he needs to get back to save the kingdom, but Umber laughs and says that he was never supposed to rule sensibly, but was meant to be there for entertainment, like a reality TV star. Umber explains that Ember likes chaos and with both of them there, balance existed, but without Umber, chaos reigns.
Penny returns to Brakebills with the book and delivers it to Kady, but collapses as he does so. With the book now in their possession, Julia finds a spell that turns metal objects into God killing weapons, so she infuse’s a bullet with the power.
In Fillory, Prince Ess (Arlen Escarpeta) arrives to find out where his father is, and attacks Josh and his advisors. After locking themselves in the throne room, Josh uses his magic weed to subdue the Lorians, but in their escape becomes affected himself; as the weed takes effect, he sees Fen in the Faerie realm and takes the elixir to travel there himself.
Back with Umber, Umber reveals that Ember was the one who turned all the people into rats, and Q implores him to return to Fillory. Umber sees the mistakes made in Fillory as being too big to overcome, but Eliot convinces him to give them the clock and allow them to try to fix Fillory.
With all the pieces in place, Julia and Kady launch their plan, creating the storm to trick Reynard; he duly appears and Kady goes out to confront him, telling him that John made her kill him, allowing Julia to sneak around behind him with the gun containing the God killing bullet. Suddenly, the storm abates and Persephone appears. Julia is angry, as after all this time, when ‘Our Lady Underground’ abandoned them, does she appear now? Persephone explains that Reynard is her son and she begs Julia to spare his life, while Julia angrily tells her what Reynard has done. Julia gives him mercy, on the understanding that Persephone will deal with Reynard, and Persephone leaves with him, making Kady furious. After Kady leaves, Julia’s shade appears, sent by Persephone.
Quentin goes back to see Alice and apologise for hurting her, but says he was only trying to do the right thing and that the world is a better place with her in it. He reminds her she is Alice Quinn and that there’s nothing she can’t figure out.
Afterwards, Eliot discusses with Q what their next action should be and he runs through some options. Unfortunately, what Eliot describes is basically the same as what ‘The Beasts’ was, and the episode ends with them realising this, and that they may not have a better idea…