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Recap / The Magicians (2016) S04 E11 "The 4-1-1"

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Season 4, Episode 11

The 4-1-1

Julia, Penny, and Margo learn about the Binder; Alice and Quentin visit Mayakovsky for a binding spell; and Kady and Zelda try to get ahead of Everett.

Tropes That Appear In This Episode:

  • Bears Are Bad News: Lampshaded in a Fillorian version of hopscotch. In order to win you need to "skip the bear". If you land on the bear, you lose.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: The naiad is linked to the water of her well, describing it as her blood as if it were on the outside. Tick tries to torture her into compliance by drinking some, which causes her severe pain.
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  • Brought Down to Normal: The Binder offers to make Julia human if she so wishes, if godhood doesn't appeal to her.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Mayakovsky is back from being a bear, having managed to regain human form after magic returned.
    • Hyman shows up after a season's absence, having gone looking for the Physical Kids when they stopped showing up at the Physical Cottage.
  • Cliffhanger: The Monster kidnaps Julia in the final scene, as the sick woman he met last episode has proven an insufficient host for his sister.
  • Deity of Human Origin:
    • Bacchus, Heka, Iris, and Aengus were once mortal Librarians, until they chopped up the Monster's sister, bound the pieces of her body in stone, and used those stones to become gods.
    • Everett is planning to recreate this ritual and become a god himself, which he'll succeed at according to his book.
  • Didn't Think This Through: It didn't occur to Margo that it would be vastly more difficult to free Eliot from a being of god-like power using weapons and jars meant to seal weak spirits. Alice comes up with a way to adapt.
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  • Double-Meaning Title: "The 4-1-1" means the lowdown on a situation, and it's also literally Episode 4.11 of the series.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Mayakovsky has a history of coming up with brilliant magical innovations that soon after backfire on him. Dean Fogg talked him into creating an unbreakable binding spell and then used it on him, because Mayakovsky is the only person who could create a spell that Mayakovsky couldn't break out of. As seen last season, Emily used one of his magic batteries to turn him into a bear, which Mayakovsky couldn't undo at the time because he didn't have access to magic. Finally, when he discovered Mental Time Travel, an accident causes him to trap his mind in the future.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Alice creates a memory wiping spell to erase the memory of Quentin's past self when they swap. The spell fizzles out, so she's forced to improvise. In the past, Alice uses the same spell to convince Quentin to share what went wrong with their relationship, since she won't remember it anyway. Mayakovsky doesn't bother in his conversation with Quentin, since he's so drunk he definitely won't remember the conversation.
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  • Loophole Abuse: The Binder created a method to bind the power of a god to an object, then in turn bind that object to a mortal, granting them godhood. However, since the old gods take it badly when their children are killed, he had to find a way to gain the power of godhood without killing a god. The Monster and his sister were the solution, as they possess Complete Immortality. Even chopped into pieces, the Monster's sister isn't technically dead.
  • Mental Time Travel: Mayakovsky developed a spell which allows a person to swap their mind with a past or future version of themselves. He botched it and swapped with his older, senile self. Quentin uses the fixed version of the spell to talk to Mayakovsky in the past to learn the binding spell.
  • Mercy Kill: In exchange for helping Julia, the Binder wants her to destroy his book so he can never be used again.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer for the episode seems to suggest that Quentin and Alice would get back together. In the episode proper, this is because Quentin travels back in time to when he and Alice first got together at Brakebills South, which proves rather awkward.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted. When Margo realizes the Binder needs blood to reveal the writing in the book, she takes the book to the bathroom for a few minutes and comes back with enough blood. "It's Shark Week," as she puts it.
  • The Reveal:
    • Quentin's discipline is repair of small objects.
    • The reason the Monster doesn't remember anything is because he and his sister are two halves of the same whole. When she was taken from him, his memory was fragmented.
    • The Monster's sister was used in a ritual by ancient Librarians to turn them into the gods Bacchus, Heka, Iris, and Aengus.
    • Everett is hoarding magic to turn himself into a god.
    • Fillory's various problems seem to be the result of a reservoir of magic hidden beneath Castle Whitespire.
  • Rule of Three: Margo shares her story about how she came by the axes three times. When Alice shows up, Margo refuses to go for number four and has Quentin fill her in.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: When the Binder had second thoughts about the method he created to make mortals into gods, he was bound to the book to force him to only do as he was told.
  • Shipper on Deck: Hyman wants to get Penny 23 and Julia together because he's realized from watching them that they'll never act on those feelings themselves without a push.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Josh was eating a biscuit "not off the floor" when he had a vision.
  • Tempting Fate: Zelda assures Kady that the antidote for the Poison Room will remain effective so long as Kady doesn't taste mint. Then they find the door locked and Kady tastes exactly that.
  • Third-Person Person: The Binder speaks exclusively in this, because even though he can take human form, he's essentially reading his own book. Margo lampshades it, but the Binder doesn't notice it himself.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Hyman has become much more proficient with his possession powers between seasons, able to control multiple objects at once with ease.
  • Trapped in the Past: Mayakovsky can't reverse his Mental Time Travel spell because his future self is too senile to remember how and his past self, trapped in his ailing future body, can't undo it from his end, either.
  • We Need a Distraction: Dean Fogg gets drunk and teaches a class forbidden magic so the Library will find out and rush to stop him, thereby allowing Kady and Zelda to get into the Poison Room.

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