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Episode Recap: The Art of the Deal
Quentin and Alice search the castle for an important artifact while Julia and Fen make a dangerous alliance.
It turns out the sixth key in the Quest of the Seven Keys – is in the throne room at Castle Whitespire. The problem with THAT, though, is that Margo and Eliot have been dethroned and are currently flying around Fillory on the Muntjac. When Quentin, Josh, and Alice sneak in to look for it, there’s a lot of grumpy sniping between Alice and Quentin – because what else is new?
Meanwhile, 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 them that they'll need a necklace from her uncle, and that in return, she needs a Fairy. Julia goes to see an elder McAllister (Uncle Edwin), who has been creating the necklaces. He has a Fairy slave who's been around for centuries, and Julia is further enraged to find that the McAllisters are cold and ruthless profiteers of Fairy magic. 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.
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. But, it 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.
It turns out that the eldest of the Fairy slaves made a deal with the people of Earth centuries prior – and the Queen reveals this deal was made by her own mother. The slaves' sacrifice on Earth created a home on Fillory. But now they can never go back. Because Fairy deals are the key to their survival and unbreakable, she refuses to break it. 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.
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. Penny’s pretty mad at Sylvia for getting him captured by the Library guards, but it knocked a million years off her sentence in the library.
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? 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.
Back on the Muntjac, Margo and Eliot use the one bit of leverage that they have: the return of magic to Fillory. And for now? It seems to work with the neighboring kingdoms. 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!
Finally, 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 because it's what is holding everything together. So...that's not gonna go great.