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THE MAGICIANS Recap: ‘Ramifications’ Reveals a Whole New Set of Problems for Fillory

THE MAGICIANS Recap: ‘Ramifications’ Reveals a Whole New Set of Problems for Fillory

Warning: the following recap contains spoilers from Wednesday’s episode of The Magicians, “Ramifications.” It is a recap, after all! Don’t say we didn’t warn you …

Well, Quentin actually did the impossible: he brought a niffin back to life on The Magicians. I’m in shock, but I’ve never been more proud of our Q!

Sure, he had to use up all of Mayakovsky’s magic batteries to do it (which I’m sure will come back to bite everyone in the butt when magic dies and the batteries are no longer available), but he finally managed to merge Niffin Alice and Shade Alice back together in “Ramifications.” He actually brought her back! Like, for real! And boy oh boy are we glad The Magicians wasted no time after Quentin and Julia traversed the underworld to retrieve her Shade, huh?

But this wasn’t some fairy tale happy ending for Q and his lady. When Alice came back, she was pissed as hell at Quentin for “saving” her. To be honest, she seemed to be no different than Niffin Alice when it came to her attitude and general mannerisms. And so, I have so many questions. 1.) How did being a niffin affect our regular, human Alice? 2.) Does she remember everything she did/felt/wanted as a niffin? What about as a human? Does she still feel/want those same things? Can she even do magic anymore? 3.) Why is she mad at Quentin when he did exactly the same thing of what she was trying to do for her brother?


Thankfully, we slowly got the answers over the course of “Ramifications.” According to Mayakovsky, Alice can’t do magic yet because she’s a “newborn” and has to relearn how to cast. After being able to understand magic on levels humans could not, I can understand why Alice would be a little miffed about losing that. To make matters worse, she’s also quickly forgetting everything she learned as a niffin—and for a knowledge addict like Alice, losing everything she learned is pretty much the worst thing that could happen. But human Alice must remember she didn’t want to be a niffin in the first place, right? And that Quentin did the right thing by bringing her back? Right? Right?! Sigh, I guess we won’t learn that this episode.

Since Alice wasn’t too crazy about hanging with Quentin at the moment, he got to work with the High King on finding a way back to Fillory after Eliot was banished by Ember for unknown reasons, and Quentin gave their button portal to the millennial-hating dragon guarding the underworld gate (hoo). Knowing—thanks to riddles—that the first portal was still working, they tracked down the clock that the Chatwin kids used to enter Fillory in the books, which led them to what they thought was Fillory and Further‘s biggest fan besides Quentin … but the random memorabilia collector actually turned out to be presumed dead god Umber.


Yup, Ember’s brother Umber was alive and well this whole time! Turns out he faked his own death after making a deal with Martin Chatwin: if he left Fillory, Martin wouldn’t kill him in his quest to conquer Fillory. So Umber moved to the next best place in the universe, Vancouver (natch), and collecting Fillory memorabilia and making plans to build a new world. He also dropped some seriously horrifying knowledge on Eliot and Quentin about how they were never supposed to fix Fillory; they were just meant to flounder and entertain Ember and Umber as they failed to rule it. That’s why Ember banished Eliot: he was too boring for the god of chaos in that he was actually doing a good job in leading Fillory. Twist!

So now, armed with the magical clock, Eliot and Quentin plan to return to Fillory. But their plan’s the same was the Beast’s was way back when he only had 10 fingers: figure out a way to conquer Fillory and drive Ember out so he doesn’t destroy it or can’t banish Eliot again. My, how the tables have turned. The heroes have become the villains …or have they? By wanting the same thing as the Beast for a different reason, does that change things? Or does the way they go about it make the difference? There are so many moral implications and questions here, I don’t even know where to start!


Back at Brakebills, Julia re-teamed with Kady and John Gaines to come up with a new plan to take down Reynard: They’d use their knowledge that Reynard hated Our Lady Underground (a.k.a. Persephone, Queen of the Underworld), to lure him out and kill him. But Reynard knew that his son had turned on him, so he killed John’s wife as an “investment in their future.” That completely sent John over the edge, so he used his mind control powers on Kady to force her to kill him, giving her the power she needed to kill Reynard. Combined with Penny stealing The Art of Killing Gods book from the Poison Room, they now had everything they needed to kill Reynard.

And they almost did it, too! But just as Julia was about to pull the trigger with her god-killing gun, Persephone appeared for the first time in decades to ask Julia to spare Reynard’s life. Turns out that the trickster fox was actually her son, and she wanted to deal with him in her own way. Julia obliged, but Kady couldn’t believe Julia would just let Reynard go after everything they had been through in trying to kill him. I’d call that a big win for Julia, making the right call even without her Shade to steer her in the right direction, but Kady’s suffering from PTSD at the moment from being forced to legit murder someone so she’s not exactly thinking clearly.


But let’s go back to Penny for a second. He stole The Art of Killing Gods book from the Poison Room, but not without consequences. His new librarian friend Sylvia died, because the Poison Room is named quite literally for the poisonous air in it. But before she died, Sylvia clued Penny in to some big bad cosmic cataclysmic event heading our way: The Great Blank Spot. Apparently everyone’s life book in the library ends in 20 blank pages, and no one knows why. The Order of the Librarians have known about it for years, and whatever causes it is coming in just a few weeks. Are we looking at another magical apocalypse here? But the Wellspring was just fixed!

But that seems like a problem for season three, because right now there’s a whole lot wrong to deal with in just one episode. Like Penny getting fatally poisoned from being in the Poison Room. Or Prince Ess of Loria taking over Fillory by force after his father was turned into a rat for mysterious reasons. Or Fen, Josh, and Margo being held hostage in the fairy realm. Or Alice still acting like a niffin despite being the first person ever brought back to life after becoming a niffin. Or, you know, the fate of Fillory resting in chaos god Ember’s hands. Things are looking pretty dire and grim. Must be season finale time!



– Quentin putting Mayakovsky in his place was truly a beautiful sight to behold. It’s about damn time! And then Quentin doing the same for Umber later in the hour was just amazing. Quentin is just on his game this week. After a whole season of him moping and grieving and dealing with losing the love of his life, it’s awesome to see him finally getting up and fighting for what he believes in and what he knows to be right.

– Eliot’s speechless reaction to seeing Alice restored to her normal … or, well if not “normal” then at least former self was just perfect.

– Also perfect? Josh’s reaction to finding out he’s the new High King of Fillory now that Margo went to the fairy realm and Eliot was banished, leaving him the only child of Earth left. He immediately got high, declared “Hakuna matata” and fixed most of the issues plaguing the land. Josh is actually a pretty dope leader! And then he selflessly went to the fairy realm to help bring Fen and Margo home. I never thought I’d say this but … Josh FTW.

– I didn’t know how much I needed a rap music video with Josh taking over as High King of Fillory until I got it, and now that’s all I want to see for the rest of my life. That might be the best sequence of the entire season.

– Turns out it was Ember who turned people in Fillory into rats! It was something that had been on his bucket list for centuries, apparently, and now he’s just crossing things off his list before he destroys Fillory for good via total chaos. I guess now we know why he s-t in the Wellspring.

– “I’m a monster.” “You’re a survivor!” This is the exchange I’ve been waiting for all season. After her rape, abortion, and loss of her Shade, Julia has constantly been on the opposite side of our “heroes,” called names and seen as a villain by the other characters so often that she started to see herself as “broken.” I never liked the implications the show seemed to be saying about sexual assault survivors and people who have had abortions being “less than” or somehow changed for the worse permanently, and finally the show addressed that. Julia isn’t a monster, she’s a strong survivor who can overcome her trauma. I think it took a little too long for the series to come to this moment, but I’ll forgive that because they eventually spelled it out. And in choosing to let Persephone take Reynard instead of Julia killing him, Julia was rewarded with getting her Shade back!

– “There are consequences to killing a god.” Persephone’s words are going to have a much larger impact than anyone realizes right now.



Eliot: My pregnant wife is locked up in fairy gitmo, I’m betrothed to a rat, my pinot noir grapes are nearly ripe … my adventure’s just begun. So why else would Ember banish me? [Pauses] Because I’m a f-k up. Yes.

Josh, upon learning he’s the only child of Earth left in Fillory: Oh my god. They were my ride home!

Tick Pickwick: On to business then. Half the court are still rats, the talking beavers are in revolt … they’re demanding dental coverage.

Eliot: Will you please tell me what Puff the magic dragon said to you?

Margo: Why the f-k are you taking a nap instead of looking for me?
Josh: Margo? I thought you were banished.
Margo: No dumba-s, I’m stuck in the fairy realm. How can I see you?
Josh: Oh s-t, she must have mixed in the wrong strain. We wanted “bang like happy pandas,” not “see other worlds.” Never let an amateur pack your bong, OK?
Margo: Listen dips-t, you have to find Raif, the squirrelly little prick who works for the sloth. He got me here, he can get me back.
Josh: You could say please.
Margo: No, I literally could not.

Sylvia: I know it’s hard for men to imagine women having their own reasons for doing anything, but I’m looking for my own book. I’ve been hidden away in a library for the last year, no TV, no wifi. I had to find some way to entertain myself. So I started reading Kanye’s book. By the way, he’s really misunderstood. Anyway, right in the middle of a sex scene, the book just stopped.
Penny: Kanye dies during sex?
Sylvia: That’s the weird part. There were 20 more pages. All blank. It’s a glitch, right? But then every other book I checked of somebody alive, right now, ends in 20 blank pages. The Order’s known about it for years, call it the Great Blank Spot, some kind of cataclysmic badness.
Penny: Well what causes it?
Sylvia: They don’t know, just that it happens soon. Like, weeks.

Penny: When they named it the poison room, how literal do you think they were being?
Sylvia: Let’s just do this fast.
Penny: Yeah.

Penny, meeting who he thought was Fillory and Further’s second biggest fan after Quentin: Holy s-t, there are two of you.

Mayakovsky, trying to “help” Alice: Adderall. To fortify you. Makes you write like Tolstoy. Don’t make face. Drugs are fun.


Umber: If I had to leave Fillory, Canada was the obvious second choice. What is it that you enjoy about Fillory?
Quentin: It reminds me of a time before I realized how s-tty being an adult is.
Eliot: And there’s opium in the air.
Umber: And how do you feel about turtles?
Eliot: Indifferent, I guess?
Quentin: Not a fan?
Umber: Would you sleep easier knowing that your entire world rested on the back of one? Or several?
Quentin: Why are you asking?
Umber: Because as visitors to my previous work, you make for an excellent focus group for my new world.

Umber, showing off his new world shaped like a cube: I call it Cuba.
Eliot: That’s already a place.
Umber: Is it?
Eliot: Yes.
Umber: You’re sure?
Eliot: Absolutely sure.
Umber: Oh. Damn it.

Quentin: You have every season of Law & Order on DVD.
Umber: Most perfect show in creation.

Josh, after the Lorians invade Fillory and start slaughtering the guards in the castle: “Hakuna matata” has failed me.

Umber: Heed my warning: nothing entertains Ember more than a whimsical death.

Julia: Hey, how’s Penny? Still alive? [Pauses] I could have worded that better.
Kady: Yeah.

Josh, as he disappeared into the fairy realm: Tick, tell my story!

Quentin to Alice: The world’s a better place with you in it.

What did you think of this week’s The Magicians? What do you think is going to happen in the season finale? Only one episode left this season, guys! Tweet me and let’s chat all things season two at @SydneyBucksbaum!

Images: Syfy

The Magicians airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Syfy.

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