Voyages into the land of the dead are a time-honored tradition in epic fantasy and they usual require some kind of sacrifice. This week, on The Magicians, Julia and Quentin discover that the underworld is guarded by a dragon who will literally eat you if you don’t come back to the real world on time.
Spoilers ahead for Season 2, Episode 11 of The Magicians: “The Rattening”
A lot has been made this season about Julia’s “shade,” the dark part of her soul that got removed by accident. After hitting up some alternate worlds last week, Quentin actually found a childlike version of Julia’s dark soul living in the underworld, and now thanks to the mouthy dragon, they are intent on reuniting Julia with what is essentially … herself.
In order to convince gate-keeping dragon to let them enter the underworld, Quentin gives up the button which is normally used to hop between worlds, which means, in theory, there’s no way back to Fillory. (Back in Fillory, everyone is turning into rats and Eliot is freaking out.)
Once in the underworld, a lot of shit goes down. Julia meets up with all of her dead friends who used to be hedge witches in the Free Trader group. This includes Richard, whose body was possessed by Reynard when Julia was raped last season. The reunion is creepy for obvious reasons. Julia also finds out the savior goddess her and her friends had hoped to summon — Our Lady Underground — was really just an AWOL version of the ancient god Persephone. Julia looks at a portrait of Persephone pissed-off and says “selfish bitch.”
Luckily, though Julia is able to find her childlike shade, there’s a twist. She and Quentin find Alice’s shade, too, which is both delightful and depressing for everyone. Essentially, the reason why Quentin has been unable to bring Alice back to life is because he didn’t know her shade was trapped in this netherworld, too. He realizes the reason he couldn’t “make the math work” was because of this specific missing piece of Alice’s soul.
The young, innocent version of Alice’s shade tells Quentin where the nearest portal is out of the underworld, and everyone heads back out to the real world. Except, in another twist, Julia doesn’t decide to take her shade out of the underworld, instead, she decides to rescue Alice’s. While this will be good for bringing Alice back to life for good, it could end up being pretty terrible for Julia, who is still, after all that, shade-less.
And who knows what the dragon is going to say when Julia and Quentin return to her lair with a weird little girl who is really the missing piece of their dead friend’s soul.
The Magicians airs on Wednesday nights on Syfy at 9 p.m. Eastern. The second season finale will air in two weeks on April 19.