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Episode Recap: Twenty-Three

The group takes a beat to strategize, as Josh and Julia travel to a familiar place to help.


Get ready for some SERIOUS Magicians backstory history, brush up on your previous episodes, because we are going ALL IN on the time-loops here, team. Here’s how it goes down:

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The High Kings and Queens of Fillory - Alice, Quentin, Margo, and Eliot - having been dethroned, are now all wanted by the current government (mostly run by Tick). The gang knows they need to contact Julia to help find the sixth key, but also know they’ll never get out of Fillory alive, and so they send Josh. Julia, by the way, has developed some pretty serious power since she's helped the fairies. In fact, her powers seem to be growing stronger the more she does good deeds. And since the Fairy Queen told her she could never have the sixth key, her meeting with Josh seems like a dead end. BUT...then suddenly, they're in a Tesla Flexion. Remember that? Okay, now here's where this gets tricky.

You'll remember a long time back when Julia used a Tesla Flexion to contact Alice from Timeline 23? And “Alice 23” was all distraught because Quentin was dead and she gave them information but they only had two minutes to talk? Well, this time Josh 23 arrives from that same timeline (Timeline 23) with news: the beast is still alive there, magic's gone, and they need Julia and Josh's help. And, it turns out - the Beast in Timeline 23, has one of the keys!

So, Julia and Josh actually travel into Timeline 23 and decide to help. And you know who they discover? MARINA! Well, Marina 23. See, in the current timeline, she's actually dead, because she ran afoul of the Beast when Julia was trying to defeat Reynard. But here in Timeline 23, she's very much alive, and she and Josh 23 tell them that since almost all Magicians are dead now, they teamed up to find the Tesla Flexion to bring them in to help kill the beast.

While they strike a deal to take the key from the Beast as long as they kill him, finally Marina confesses: sorry, it's a trap and it turns out the Beast is after Julia. So they brought them here from their own timeline. Julia, however, has God-like power. She can kill the beast herself if she wants to. Marina is skeptical until Julia heals all of her pain and scars. And so, now they're all linked up, and after a quick visit to Dean Fogg, they learn that everyone is either a ghost or still sort of alive and the spell they'll need is somewhere in the library, being worked on by the ghosts of Eliot and Margo. While they do find the spell they need (which also happens to be the spell that killed Margo and Eliot in Timeline 23), they meet a familiar face: Penny 23. In this timeline, he and Julia are way in love. It's nice to have him back, albeit, a little awkward.

While they all start plotting their next moves, they encounter, OH NO! THE BEAST! It's been a while since we've seen him! But he definitely kills Josh 23, and when he turns on the gang, Julia blasts him with her near God-level magic, which removes his secret identity. The moths clear to reveal that in THIS timeline – Quentin is the beast! But how? Didn't Alice 23 say that she killed the beast when they last saw her in the Tesla Flexion? Didn't she say the beast ripped Quentin apart both physically and his shade? Everything!? Yes!

And so, they escape quickly and find Alice 23, working for the bunnies. (She's a radish smuggler.) It turns out that in this timeline, when Alice saw Quentin and Julia in the Tesla Flexion, she was granted the power to bring Quentin back, but without his shade. And without his shade, Quentin became a new incarnation of the Beast. Also Alice 23 promised herself to someone for eternity. Where have we seen a captured Alice before? Library perhaps? Julia agrees to kill Beast-Quentin, with the dagger that she had previously used to kill the other Beast and Reynard, but Marina pulls Julia aside with a plan - killing Quentin will be easier if they sacrifice Alice. Julia tells Marina the truth about the current timeline, where Marina is dead because Julia used her as bait to kill Reynard, but it backfired and Marina ended up dead. Now, Julia can't replicate that. Marina is strangely touched.

The gang arrive in Fillory and find that Beast-Quentin has been fan-boy stockpiling Fillory stuff for a long time, and living in his creepy Fillorian paradise. Julia gives Beast-Quentin her shade and tortures him with his own feelings into giving her the key around his neck. Now that he can feel the full weight and guilt of what he's done, Beast-Quentin is devastated. He tells her that in this timeline, he killed her because he saw visions of the future where Julia opened the locks to bring magic in, but instead, she let in a terrible monster. He doesn’t say much more because he kills himself and the gang leave back to their own timeline.

This time, they have Marina with them and also Penny 23. Is that good or bad? Julia says she honestly doesn't know.