WARNING: If you don't want to know what happened in this episode, don't read this photo recap!
Once again, Quentin and Alice are arguing. Alice is frustrated because Quentin doesn't trust her, and Quentin’s frustrated because...well, yes, he just doesn't trust her. When Julia breaks up the fight, Alice takes the book, which nobody really thinks is a great idea. And…the sixth key of their quest is in the castle at Whitespire.
Julia has decided that she needs to get the Earth-bound fairies liberated before she continues on the quest. And so she and Fen go off to confront Irene McAllister for keeping them as slaves. Irene tells Fen and Julia that they'll need a necklace from her uncle, and that in return, she needs a fairy.
And so Julia goes to see Saul Tigh, an elder McAllister uncle who has been creating the necklaces. He has a fairy slave who's been around for centuries, and it further enrages Julia, making her want to go off and liberate them even more.
After Julia and Fen are told by the McAllister's slave that the whole family is coming to town and bringing their fairy slaves, they decide to try and liberate the fairies with someone even more powerful: the Fairy Queen. Woah. This is big news.
Meanwhile, Penny finds out that the underworld is just a way station before you move on to another place. You basically get a MetroCard pass for the train to get out of there. Also? Just before you move on, you give your secrets to the library and then get a MetroCard for moving on. Just...not if you're contracted with the library.
And in Fillory, Quentin, Josh and Alice tell Margo and Eliot about the next step of the quest. Also, the gang has learned that Fillory is back at war with the Stone people and the Floaters. Ever the Kings and Queens (even though they've been dethroned), they decide to intervene.
Julia and Fen convince the Fairy Queen to render herself defenseless and put on one of the collars and pretend to be their slave to sneak into the McAllisters. The Fairy Queen tells Julia she's god-touched and is baffled by the fact that Julia wants to do good - like as a motivation.
When they finally sneak her into the McAllisters' house, the Fairy Queen is locked in a cage with all the others. She tells them who she is, and her story is corroborated by the eldest Fairy there: she's here to liberate them. All the while, Fen goes off to look for the collar breaker.
Turns out, the McAllisters need to produce a big order of magic cocaine and need to grind up a lot of fairies quickly. And also turns out, there's not a collar breaker - it's just a beheading machine that kills the fairies.
Some history: The eldest of the fairy slaves made a deal with the people of Earth centuries prior: and that sacrifice on Earth created a home for fairies on Fillory. But now they can never go back. Because fairy deals are the key to their survival and unbreakable, The Queen refuses to break the deal. It's their only leverage as a culture. So, she refuses to save her people.
Though…on second thought, she does. Breaking a fairy promise means that their culture is ruined, but it also means that they can free themselves from the McAllisters. Which they do, in a bloody uprising. The only person to escape? Irene McAllister.
Penny swindles a dude out of his MetroCard by telling him he's going to a place worse than Hell, and just as he's about to take it and run, he's visited by Hades, the god of the Underworld. Hades tells him that magic will return some day, but Penny has the opportunity to stick around and grow in power for all eternity while his friends battle for magic and ultimately die as humans. Tempting, no?
At the same time, Alice and Quentin and Josh sneak into Castle Whitespire to find the key, where Alice confesses she's working for the library to get magic back. Josh figures out where the sixth key is…but we won't know until the next episode!
Penny gives the Underworld Metrocard to Sylvia so she can finally move on and see her family. And…he joins a book club in order to free himself from the shackles. They pass around the books of human stories, and Penny settles in to do some long reading.
The Queen admits that the Fairies' word will mean nothing going forward, but that Julia is the first human who wanted to work with the Fairies and not take something from them. The Fairy Queen is grateful, but also tells Juila that one of the seven keys is in the Fairy realm, and they can never have it becauase it's what is holding everything together. So...that's not gonna go great.