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Quentin has a million questions, but no answers. First -- Holy crap, Fillory is real?! And Penny was there? And why was The Beast there since The Beast isn't part of the Fillory novels? Frustrated, Kady and Penny leave to do the ink spell that will tether Penny's body to earth. Kady lets Penny in and tells him about her family: mom died when she was young and dad is a pot growing hippie who loves her no matter how much trouble she gets in. Which let's face it, is a lot. Meanwhile, Julia's search for a new source of magic leads her down a dark alley where someone is following her. After Julia gets the jump on the lady and demands answers, the mystery woman reveals that she too was banished by Marina. Could she be a new ally?
Turns out, this is Hannah, a hedge witch with a complicated past and some fun new spells to try. Hannah offers Julia the new spells if she can do them with her. So off they go to Julia's new safe house where they do a little magic and decide to steal some new spells from Marina. (Danger!) Back at Brakebills, Quentin is trying to have a quiet evening in, when he's suddenly kidnapped. Turns out that Eliot and Margo and the other upperclassmen have kidnapped ALL the first for years for something called "The Trials." If they can't pass these three challenges they get kicked out of Brakebills for good.
The first task Quentin and company gets is to translate and cast some 100-year-old spells… not easy. But, the whole idea of The Trials is to think like a magician. So Q and Penny decide to cheat, using Penny's astral projection power to copy off of Alice (duh). Eliot finds out that they cheated, but they still pass! Meanwhile, Hannah and Julia decide that if they are going to steal Marina's spells, they need someone on the inside. So Hannah reaches out to someone with whom she has "history." You bet there's history… the magician she contacts is her daughter, KADY. Kady says she won't help the two and tells Julia why Hannah was really banished; a spell gone wrong that killed two people. This is also why Kady has to steal stuff for Marina. (Drama!) With all this new info, Julia calls off the newfound partnership with Hannah.
Everyone is celebrating passing the first trial. Everyone that is, except for Quentin. In a rare show of kindness, Margo shows up and gives Q a little pep talk and offers him a drink to get the celebration started… oh wait… no. She's slipped him roofies. When Q comes to in the middle of a forest, Eliot is there and tells him the next challenge is for him to catch a fish… with a bow and arrow. Even weirder; Alice has to chop down a tree with a rope, Kady has to catch a pheasant with a net and Penny is told to catch a horse with an Ax. Penny soon discovers that everyone was given a tool to take care of someone else's task, so with a little communication, they work together to pass the second trial! Huzzah!
Julia attempts to cast a spell to steal Marina's files, but turns out you NEED two people so Hannah shows up and saves her right before she's about to blow herself up. Julia is still very hesitant, but finally agrees to let Hannah help her. Together, they get Marina's files. And then…uh boy… Hannah's nose begins bleeding and her eyes go all blood shot and crazy looking and then OMG THERE IS BLOOD POURING OUT OF HER HEAD! Marina must have put some SERIOUS wards on those cabinets because just like that: Hannah is dead.
Now we have come to the third and final trial. Margo and Eliot explain to the remaining first years that the last trial is a to reveal their truest self to a magical adept by midnight. Which already isn't easy. Put that on top of that the fact that they have to do it naked and tied together… awkward. They'll know that they have completed the trial when their ropes magically fall off. Penny and Kady start their ritual with some body paint in the garden. They gaze into each others eyes and try to think of what their deepest truths are. Which is when things go south. Penny, not one for mushy feelings, actually tells Kady that he thinks he's falling in love with her. And Kady comes back with the fact that ever since they first met she has been using him to steal stuff. So it's a mixed bag, but their ropes fall off.
Things aren't going great for Alice and Quentin either, who, as the clock strikes midnight, are still in ropes. Depressed and knowing that they have failed they start to open up to each other. Alice tells Q that she holds back with her magic everyday for fear that she'll be branded a freak, but she is powerful. Quentin tells Alice how he's constantly running away from himself cause he's really just a scared little boy and just like that their ropes fall off. It wasn't too late! But OH GOD WHY ARE THEY TURNING INTO BIRDS?!