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For the fictional book, see The World in the Walls.
The World in the Walls
The World in the Walls
Original Air date February 8, 2016
Written by John McNamara
Directed by James L. Conway
Episode Navigation
Preceded by
← "Consequences of Advanced Spellcasting"
Followed by
"Mendings, Major and Minor" →


"The World in the Walls" is the fourth episode of first season of The Magicians, and the fourth episode overall. It aired on February 8, 2016.

Synopsis

Quentin wakes up in a mental hospital and must set his panic aside to seek the help of the one person he least trusts. Julia is hurt after her fallout with Quentin and commits to learning more powerful spells with the Hedge Witches.

Plot

Quentin wakes up in his dormitory bedroom; no, it's not, his roomate isn't Penny, it's some other man, though he doesn't notice; the drawers don't contain what he expects. He notices his arm has an armband, like hospital patients wear. The room seems wrong, it's institutional and empty. He notices his roommate, who must be in the wrong room, or something, and sees bars on the windows.

Outside his room, he's in the hallway of a hospital or clinic; medical-looking people and patients in the informal clothing patients wear. Nobody is familiar, until he sees Eliot, who seems quite confused and demented, until Jennifer London sends him off to Arts and Crafts.

Quentin and Dr. London talk, and he's sure he is in a dream, which she doesn't believe. He tries to show her some magic, and it doesn't work. He remembers saying (in the first episode) that he can't be kept here; she asks if he remembers why the court ordered him held. She calls in Penny (who seems to be an attendant, he looks subdued and even subservient, and speaks in a distinctively South Asian accent), who shows medications he found in Quentin's trash. She says this is what happens when he doesn't take his prescribed medications: he hallucinates of being a magician at Brakebills. He sees moths all around, like the Beast had around him, and he panics. Dr. London calls for assistance as he collapses.

Quentin is in the hospital's common room with a puzzle in front of him. Alice comes over, in street clothes, and briefly shows him a playing card with the Brakebills logo. She says none of this is real, it's just us two. He doesn't remember what's going on; he was at a party, fell asleep, and now he's here. She says he came to save her, but first we have to break the illusion, she crash-landed on this planet 9.3 light-years ago and Quentin's a ship captain who can rescue her and ... at this point Henry Fogg, also a doctor, interrupts her and calls an attendant to lead her away. He comments that she seems to be speaking ideas out of "Star Trek," this is an homage to Lev Grossman's first novel "Warp" about a man who cant tell Star Trek from reality. Dr. Fogg asks if Quentin is feeling any better; since he is, he calls in a visitor: Julia, with a visitor badge.

Julia is telling Quentin that Yale's a kind of a letdown; she's been at Yale for months, and Quentin has been here. He tries to convince her this is an illusion; he does a simple spell for fireworks, but she can't see them. She is unconvinced of the illusion. She responds strangely to him, and he's now not convinced it's Julia either.

Patients are in line for their medications, Quentin first; Penny the attendant insists that Quentin take each of his as they watch. Then Quentin is in his room, and a vision of Jane Chatwin appears, saying this is a strong spell, and the spell is in the book, and the book is him. She fades away. Then he wakes up, with the Fillory books on his lap, to the sound of his roommate tearing pages out of one of the books.

At Music Therapy, people are suggesting songs to sing, and Quentin seems to realize something: Penny is annoyed by the songs, particularly songs that Quentin knows, they get stuck in Penny's head. Quentin starts singing a song, the song that Penny had complained about Quentin singing in his mind in the earlier episode, and everyone is happily singing it with him, and he sees Penny is being annoyed by it. Moments later, talking with Dr. Fogg and Dr. London, he says if he can reach "the real Penny" ... Dr. Fogg stops him.

In Dr. London's office with Quentin, she brings in Quentin's father, who notices that Quentin's face shows some bruising, which Quentin doesn't remember, Dr. London says that Quentin did it. She shows him a video, probably from his arrest, ranting about needing his powers to fight the Beast; Quentin's father explains that at the dinner to celebrate Quentin getting into Yale, he started talking about moths and calling his father the Beast, and tried to kill his father. He needs to accept that he has problems, and to get better.

In the common room, Julia is trying to talk to Quentin, but he seems too drugged or otherwise zoned out to hear her. She goes to talk to someone, and passes by Penny the attendant, who is sweeping the floor while quietly singing the song that Quentin started in Music Therapy. As he does so, another Penny, dressed in regular clothes, and speaking in Penny's usual accent, notices attendant-Penny, and tells him to stop singing the song. Getting no response, regular-Penny calls for Quentin, sees him, and tells him he warned him about that song; regular-Penny says "this is the most pathetic loser dream ever". Attendant-Penny announces dinner to everyone, in his Indian accent, and it's Indian food; regular-Penny glares at Quentin and calls him "you racist motherfucker." He tells Quentin this is all a dream, Quentin needs to stop singing that song so he (Penny) can go back to sleep. Quentin realizes it worked, he's called the real Penny into his dream. He asks Penny to find him in the real world where he must be asleep. He then tells Penny to wake up...and Penny, in the real world (shown by a different color palette) wakes up.

Julia and Marina have been at the bodega doing a spell, that raises Julia power overall; Julia is surprised Quentin "would fall in so deep". Marina says from the strength of their spell, probably Quentin won't ever come out of it, even with Penny's help. Julia didn't know it was going to have that effect on Quentin, nor did Kady, also at the bodega. Marina tells Kady to get on with her part.

Back in the dream, Quentin steals the keys from a clinic worker, and uses them to get into the dispensary. From there he gets a roll of tape (which he had earlier been told he couldn't have). He also notices that the name of the hospital is Ellsworth Downs.

Back in his room, Quentin is taping together the torn pages from his Fillory book; as he does so, he is scanning the pages for references to "Ellsworth Downs". He finds the character "Ellis Wirth-Downs, the Madness Maker." He reads about this magician in the story, who could drive other magicians insane; but he had been cursed, but Jane Chatwin had figured out how to break the curse, which involved something to do with a game of chess hung from the air. He can't find more about the curse or how it was broken.

In the real Physical Kids Cottage, Eliot tells Penny that Quentin was at the party last night, he's probably sleeping it off somewhere. Kady comes in and leads them to the closet where Quentin passed out last night. They try to wake him, but he's beyond their ability.

Marina and Juliet are walking in forest outside the Brakebills wards; they can't see Brakebills because of the wards, it just looks like forest. Marina says this is to get them bigger, better magic, but they have to wait.

In the Cottage, Dean Fogg examines the sleeping Quentin; he's under a Scarlatti Web spell, which no magician can break; he will summon a Matarese to do so.

In the dream, Dr. London tells Quentin she thought he was making progress, but she opens a door and two attendants grab him and take him away.

Another Professor has joined them in the Cottage, and Dean Fogg asks him to lower the wards. Julia and Marina see the wards go down: Marina knew Dean Fogg would need a Matarese, so he would lower the wards for it. Now Marina and Julia can just walk in.

In the Cottage, the Dean summons the Matarese onto Quentin, which looks like a gold scorpion. He begins to break the spell. That gets Quentin half-way out of the spell; Penny has to help. Penny goes into a trance as they do more magic on Quentin, the scorpion climbs down Quentin's throat...and Penny is back in the dream, searching the hospital for Quentin.

Dream-Quentin is strapped to an operating table, with Dr. London and Quentin's father about to do a lobotomy on him. Real-Penny barges in tells Quentin to stop talking or listening, none of the dream is real; the scorpion climbs out of Quentin's mouth and the dream freezes. Penny tells Quentin to erase the dream, element by element.

Marina tells Julia she was kicked out of Brakebills, three months before graduation. Her memories were removed as usual, and stored; she plans to get them back. Marina enters a room off the Dean's office, which is normally sealed by the wards.

In the Cottage, Penny wakes up, but Quentin is still asleep. Nobody can figure out why the spell isn't gone. Kady realizes something and slips away.

Kady meets Julia in the Dean's office, and tells Julia she has to reverse the spell, Marina won't, and Quentin is still stuck. In the inner room, Marina searches a hidden closet and finds a box with her name on it, which she takes.

Back in the dream, Quentin finds himself in a room with nothing but a circle of lights. Jane Chatwin appears, and Quentin asks what to do. She says he made the trap himself. He then sees Ellis Wirth-Downs, the Madness Maker, in front of him, smiling, and a game of chess hanging from the air.

In the Cottage, Julia is telling Dean Fogg she can give the wording of the spell, but the Dean says it's too late. But he's sure Julia didn't do this by herself.

Jane Chatwin tells Quentin he made this dream to escape from his daily life, but he also made the escape, which is why Jane and Ellis are here. Quentin reads more pages from the repaired Fillory book: Ellis's curse involved playing games, and Jane cure was to "stop playing...and start living". Quentin smashes the chess board...and wakes up in the Cottage.

Marina and Julia are outside the Brakebills wards as they go back up, but Marina has her box of memories.

Dean Fogg tells Quentin that he should have said that Julia had not had her memories properly erased, and that he and Eliot should not have met the hedge witches alone. He is concerned that they think magic means flying above right and wrong. Quentin says "I don't need to be taught what magic is or isn't; I need to be taught magic, so I can decide what it is or isn't, for me." Dean Fogg agrees.

At the bodega, Marina is overwhelmed with the knowledge she has gotten back from the box, and wants to share with the other hedge witches. She does a spell, which grabs Julia's arm and crosses out the stars tattoed to it. Marina says Julia will now learn what it really means to be cut off from magic.

Cast

Starring

Guest Starring

Co-Starring

  • Valerie Tian as Healer Faye
  • Matthew Beairsto as Ellis Wirth-Downs
  • Jagen Johnson as Quentin's Roommate
  • Kevin Li as Young Professor

References