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Fillory is under threat, so the gang plans a murder. It's body-swap time.
A group of children are lost to Takers, and The Dark King is the one summoning them. Eliot, Margo, Julia, Fen and Josh discuss. They decide to search for weakness and kill The Dark King.
Eliot doesn't want to murder The Dark King, aka Seb, a person he has feelings for — which "shouldn't happen to a person more than once." (Remember Mike? Good point, Eliot.) Margo promises that if he can find Seb's weakness, she'll make sure he doesn't have to kill him.
Eliot visits Seb and asks if he would step down. Eliot says he would help. Seb can't. He's tied to a "conduit" for Fillory. (Maybe the key to his longevity.) They kiss. Eliot sees a tree tattoo on his chest. Seb breaks away, apologizes and says they shouldn't see each other again; Eliot leaves.
Eliot shares what he learned: The conduit theory and the tree. If they cut it down it could make Seb mortal. They divide duties. Josh volunteers for tree-chopping and Eliot is volunteered for Seb-chopping. Which he does NOT want.
Margo pulls Eliot aside with a solution: A body-swap. Margo will do the killing, as Eliot. They switch, and if they tell anyone they can't swap back. Margo/Eliot sees Charlton. Eliot tells her to be open to Charlton. Margo tells Eliot that if Josh wants to talk about their relationship, don't.
Julia tells Fen she isn't feeling great. A bunny confirms: Julia's pregnant. Fen tells her it's "Red Monkey Month" and her pregnancy will be accelerated.
Margo/Eliot visits Seb in the throne room. The castle was hit by a sleeping curse (care of Julia and Fen). Seb asks Eliot to help. Margo/Eliot walks him through the cure to get close; Seb withdraws. Charlton gives advice. She tries again, and teaches Seb the spell. He cures everyone and says they should talk.
Margo and Josh search for Seb's tree. Josh tries to talk about their relationship. Eliot/Margo avoids it. Josh accuses Margo of not acting like herself. Josh insists she explain what's going on before he takes her to the tree. Eliot/Margo says she doesn't want to apologize for something that she doesn't feel bad about. It feels like a break up. Then Josh points out the tree and says he'll signal Eliot.
Eliot is with Seb when he gets the signal that the tree is down. Charlton says it's their only chance. Margo/Eliot pulls a knife on Seb, who overpowers him. Seb asks Eliot to explain what is happening when he is stabbed from behind by Julia.
Margo and Eliot return to their bodies. Margo is upset that Eliot blew up her relationship with Josh. They talk and she tells him it's OK that he was into Seb. He was "hot and complicated."
Later Seb, stabbed and dead on the ground, sits up. He's not so dead, after all.
Brakebills has a bit of a botany problem…
Alice is with Hamish, the Botany guy. He sees the paper Alice took from Q's things. He recognizes markings on the plant and wants to bring in an expert to find out more.
Guest botanist Raylan arrives and studies the drawing. He can identify the plant. Alice steps away and when she comes back Hamish is on the ground and Ray is running off with Q's page. She uses magic to stop him. He hits the ground and his chest opens, a cloud emerging from his body.
Hamish thinks he was carrying spores now searching for a host. They fill in Penny, and tell students they need to be quarantined. Then those students zombie-walk toward them, asking for the page. Alice, Hamish and Penny hide in the clean room with Evil Fogg. He says he developed a cure for this and who he created it with — so Alice says they don't need his help and can find the published work. They leave Fogg in the clean room, crazy and angry. Alice, Hamish and Penny get the book they need for the cure, chased out of the library by a possessed student. Penny knocks him out so they have a test subject. It works! The spores leave … and enter Penny! He asks for the page and they run off.
Hamish tells Alice the cure works. He also suggests she give them the page. Alice gets mad, and Hamish shares that his wife died years ago. They discuss living with loss. Then Alice has a realization: She knows what to do.
Alice tells Penny she'll give him the page if he explains why he (the evil symbiote) wants it. The answer: It's instructions for a seed that can grow into almost anything. Alice gives him the page; he collapses. Alice says the shared power of the organism was spread out and weakened. Penny comes back to himself and returns the page to Alice. He remembers that the symbiote was trying to get it for "The Couple." And that "The Couple" are powerful and scary.