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Continuing their quest to get the key that Benedict took with him to the Underworld, Penny goes through the book depository and ends up at the Underworld Library. There, Penny finds that things aren't going great there either. After giving the people in charge a (fake) update on what's happening on Game of Thrones (because of COURSE that’s their question), Penny meets up with Benedict. It turns out though, that Benedict hid the key in the library.
Heading back inside the library (where he owes them an eternity of servitude), Penny bumps into Stephanie, his old supervisor at the Magic Library. She leads Penny to Cassandra – like the mythical all-seeing Cassandra that nobody believes. And she looks A LOT like Alice. And may be Alice? It's hard to know. Anyway, she's cursed to write everyone's stories and that's how Stephanie knew she had to help Penny. She hands him a paper where he reads about the rest of the gang. Mainly, he learns that Poppy is trying to create the magic bridge that can get them into the library. That will take magic that Alice can do, but when Alice refuses, so does Victoria. In the process though, the gang learns that Harriet (Marlee Matlin) is actually after a giant magic battery called the Alexandra cell. Finally, Poppy sneaks into Alice's room and steals Alice's notes about how to make a bridge. Victoria is back in on the plan and the gang is led into the void.
Victoria has to stay in this place the whole time, but everyone else ends up in the library to find the bookworm. (Kady and Harriet, though, have other plans…more on those in a bit.) When Poppy and Quentin realize that Penny failed in getting them back the key, they decide to regroup and try again some other time, but on their way out, they bump into Alice. What's she doing there? Poppy, sort of scorned, leaves Quentin, and crosses the bridge back to the real world by herself. BUT, it turns out that Alice had actually met with Harriet and Kady previously.
So - Harriet is angry that the library wants free information for all. Turns out she’d offered Alice a piece of the big battery Harriet's after. She turned them down, but because she's Alice, of COURSE she went off to figure out how to get there herself and now is faced with the Head Librarian. Alice offers her niffin notes in exchange for access to the library. See, Alice misses knowing ALL of the magic like she did when she was a niffin and is working on her grand unification theory of magic. The Librarian is about to offer her a deal when she is called away.
Meanwhile, Irene McAllister comes to ask Julia to return her favor (magically heal a rash she's gotten from using that weird magic cocaine.) Weirdly, Irene has a fairy with her that Julia can't see, but secretly...Fen can. (Fen's been hiding out on Earth since learning that Fray wasn't her real daughter.) Why does Irene have a fairy? Turns out, even though fairies are responsible for all the pain that Fen has been put through, she agrees to talk to the fairy and finds out that something is definitely up. As Julia and Fen probe deeper, they learn the McAllisters are enslaving fairies, and SEVERING THEIR LIMBS to grind down into that magic cocaine.
As Harriet and Kady search the archive room for the magic battery, they instead find and steal a suitcase full of that magic cocaine made of fairy parts. And then…a revalation! It turns out that the Head Librarian is Harriet's mom! Since Harriet's been out living in the real world, she's aged faster than her mother, but it's always been a fraught relationship. Harriet went to Brakebills, she was always looking for Fillory, and she’s been estranged from her mother since she demanded the library be free for all.
Just after Penny found the key (Benedict had it), he sends it to Kady and Quentin, who dive back through the void and get home. Harriet stays behind to confront her mother and escapes, diving through the void mirror just as one of the other Librarians smashes the mirror. Victoria and Harriet are trapped in limbo. Maybe forever!
As for Penny, it turns out his friend Stephanie has betrayed him. Even though the key has made it up to the world, Penny is led away.