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Episode Recap: No Better to Be Safe Than Sorry

Quentin and Josh get cake. Quentin reflects on his actions.


It’s the Season Four finale of The Magicians. Holy Brakebills. OK, where were we?

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Quentin’s discipline is Minor Mending, and somehow Alice and Quentin are rekindling their love. Eliot is still possessed, and now Julia is, too. Josh is a fish and Margo is tending to him. Kady is sick and suffering in the Best Apartment Ever. Penny is ready to help the crew defeat Evil Eliot and Evil Julia. Evil Librarian Everett is trying to become a god. And Quentin and Alice just powered up with magic from the Fillory reservoir that Fen found.

After learning that Evils Eliot and Julia were raging around the Library, Quentin and Alice head there to stop them and try out the whole ice-axes-special-bottles-incorporate-bond plan. Penny pops in, axes in hand, and whacks Evil Julia. The plan works! It takes most of their magic, but she’s demon-free and in pain but no longer possessed. The gang needs more magic and heads right to the reservoir, which the power hungry Master Librarian Everett has somehow managed to drain. Dammit!

Julia is quickly taken to the emergency room, but her wounds are healing and then reopening. We're in uncharted medical territory with this one, so Penny 23 calls The Binder. And his dilemma: Should she go towards the goddess path, or revert to being human. Julia is unconscious and Penny 23 makes the call for her. Julia is healed, and seemingly human again.

Julia talks to Quentin and fills her in on the plan that she sensed while she was possessed. The Monsters want to kill their parents, the old gods, and will kill any and all humans in order to do so. The good news: The scroll she found that would lead to them happens to still be in the pocket of the coat that Julia is wearing. She gives the scroll to Quentin – a door to the plane of the gods.

Fish-Josh becomes normal Josh. He and Margo are kinda lovely and sweet and this relationship is great. Then Penny 23 appears. Margo asks if Eliot is OK. And of course, Penny 23 prioritized Julia because he is in love with her. Nevermind that they didn’t even see Evil Eliot in the Library, Margo is mad. As the two of them argue, Josh realized he’s got some residual fish-magic. Or just has some magic because of his time in the reservoir. Either way, that’s good news. Right?

Kady finds Zelda receiving medical treatment. She is furious that the Library – and, by extension, Zelda -- let Penny 40 die, but she decides to live and allows herself to get treatment for the exposure to the Poison Room. She challenges Zelda to prove that she is not blindly and idiotically obedient to Everett.

Julia is no longer bulletproof, and no longer a goddess. She also has no magic. She’s on the path to being human again. And she is furious with Penny 23. Julia is sad to be without magic and mourning the change and mad that he just decided for her, without her input. But when he apologizes and walks away, she asks him to stay. Josh, Quentin and Margo discuss what to do next. Everett wants Evil Eliot’s god powers so he’s at risk. And also, he’s still Evil. After Margo walks away EE suddenly appears, looking for his sister and the magic scroll. Josh grabs it and accidentally opens a portal. He and Quentin jump through it before Evil Eliot can. Then Fogg walks in and transports EE to Fillory.

Quentin and Josh head through a wormhole and land in an office. A balloon drop follows, and what looks like a mid-level corporate manager bro in golf attire greets them with a hearty congratulations. He’s impressed that they followed all the tasks on a quest and got the scroll and arrived at his office. They explain that they kinda didn’t do any of that but do need to talk to the old gods. He’s not having it, and begins to walk away, but reluctantly agrees to give them five minutes. After hearing their plight, he has some advice: Drop the monsters into “the seam,” the place where the universe and the anti-verse are connected and the seam between worlds leaks out and creates a “pocket world.” Quentin realizes he’s talking about the Mirror World. If they can find “the seam” in the Mirror World they can toss in the Monsters and they will be trapped there forever. Middle Manager gives them some congrats cake and they’re out.

Back at the Cottage, Josh and Quentin fill in everyone on what they learned. Alice, Margo, Julia, Kady and Penny 23 all hear their story. And Josh and Quentin eat the most amazing cake while they share their tale. Alice thinks she knows where the seam is in the Mirror World. She sensed something dark and frightening behind a door there when she was a niffin. Evil Eliot is still wandering confused in Fillory thanks to Fogg’s spell. So Quentin proposes that Penny travel them to EE to surprise him, but they still need magic to work the incorporate bond and save Eliot. Kady suggests using hedge witches, and talking to everyone in the community so that they can power up the crew by doing a simultaneous spell and working a massive amount of cooperate magic in order to hold the bond until the group can throw the monster spirits into the seam. Everyone thinks it’s risky, but agrees.

Alice and Quentin talk, and each tries to convince they other that they should search for the seam alone. Then they agree that actually they are at their best when they work together. They kiss. Nearby, Julia tells Penny 23 that she is devastated that she can’t help the group. He comforts her – Penny 23 is in love and reassuring and strong and it’s awesome.

Evil Eliot is in a forest in Fillory. Penny 23, Quentin and Margo work the plan and surprise him. Margo hits him with the ice ax and Penny readies the bottles to catch the Evil Monster essence. The group does spells to hold the bond and save Eliot, and magicians and hedge witches worldwide pitch in, too. Eliot is bleeding heavily and he begins to come to and recognizes Margo -- but he is seriously injured and swept into surgery, the old-fashioned way. No magic – all of the ambient is being used by everyone to hold the incorporate bonds.

Penny, Alice and Quentin enter the Mirror World with the bottles holding the monsters that possessed Eliot and Julia. Alice reminds them that they can’t use magic in the Mirror World – it “goes bad fast.” They quickly find the door and enter an alt version of a lab from Brakebills. They uncover a creepy old mirror and realize they have found the seam. Quentin throws in one bottle – it works! Just one to go.

And then Everett walks in. He’s vibrating with power and he wants the bottle. He breaks the mirror so that Quentin can’t throw the bottle through. Alice warns him he can’t use magic. Everett wants that bottle desperately to become a god. Alice tells Quentin to give it to him. She and Penny start backing toward the door. Quentin tells Everett OK, making him believe he will give him the bottle, and then nods to Penny 23 and says: “Take her. Do it.” Penny pulls Alice to the door to leave the room as Quentin heals the crack in the mirror. As it repairs itself, Everett is enraged and asks Quentin what he’s done. He answers: “Just some minor mending,” and as the mirror is fixed he tosses the bottle into the seam. It makes it through. Quentin’s magic ricochets around the room and kills a furious Everett. It continues to ripple uncontrollably through the room and kills Quentin. He evaporates, and is gone. Penny pulls Alice out of the room.

All over the world people sense that magic is back – they don’t know what happened, but they know that it worked. There is palpable relief. Penny 23 and Alice survive. And magic from the reservoir begins to leak out of mirrors everywhere.

Penny 40 is in the Underworld and the elevator dings. It’s from the time before when he was sent to collect secrets taken to the grave. And who’s on the elevator? Quentin. Penny welcomes him to the underworld. Oh shit. Quentin is sad and confused and assessing everything and he wants to know – did he do something brave to save his friends or did he finally find a way to kill himself? It’s devastating. Penny 40 takes him to observe his friends in order to learn the truth. They are brokenhearted and mourning him at night by a fire. Everyone throws an object into the fire that means something to them regarding Quentin as they sing to his memory.

Alice, throws in a mug that Quentin repaired when they were at Brakebills. Kady, thows in Quentin’s first edition of Fillory & Further that Plover signed in their presence. Penny 23, tosses an egg from the time they got over their dragon egg hangover.

Eliot appears and he is limping but OK, leaning on Margo who is supporting him. Quentin takes in breath when he sees him. Then it continues…

Margo throws the crown that she presented King Quentin with into the fire. Dean Fogg tosses in Quentin’s entrance admission form for Brakebills. Eliot bites a peach and throws it into the fire. Tragedy.

Quentin and Penny 40 leave and return to Penny 40’s office in the Underworld. Quentin wants to know what will happen to everyone. Magic returns to Brakebills. Dean Fogg finds more students on the globe. Zelda is cleaning the Library and asks Sheila to find Alice and plead with her to run the Library. Margo and Eliot are in Fillory and heading to the castle when they realize that they are not in “their” Fillory, but instead in the future.

Then a local tells them that Acting High King Fen and Josh the Fresh Prince were overthrown 300 years ago. Quentin tells Penny 40 that he is most worried about Julia. She is at the mourning site and tosses a deck of cards into the fire – where they freeze in midair and then move at her command. She is sad, but relieved to see that she has magic. Penny 23 is at her side.

Penny 40 takes Quentin deeper into the Underworld. He hands him an Underworld Metrocard and says goodbye. Quentin walks through a door – and he’s gone.