Look, having someone’s secret plans revealed via slideshow isn’t the most-thrilling villain exposé known to man, god, or librarian. But that’s what we have Matt Frewer (aka Max Headroom, aka Dr. Aldous Leekie) for. He could sell us anything — even a millennia-old conspiracy only suited for something like The Magicians. On a slideshow.
The main conflict of season four has involved the monster inside Eliot—a mysterious being who’s been attacking gods and stealing large stones from inside their bodies. Now, the latest episode “4-1-1” has finally brought the truth—thanks to Frewer, who’s playing a former Librarian called the Binder. And the truth is a lot bigger, and badder, than we ever could have thought.
Using a shadow puppet performance that, let’s face it, is just an old-school version of Powerpoint, the Binder reveals the purpose of the stones and why they were inside the gods’ bellies in the first place. We thought the gods were safeguarding the stones from the monster, who now plans to use them (and Julia’s indestructible body) to rebuild his far more dangerous sister. But that’s not the whole story. The stones didn’t just live inside the gods—they made the gods.
The Binder describes how, long ago, he’d discovered how to take a god’s powers and bind them into objects so librarians could harness their power. The only way they could do it without killing a god, thereby triggering a shutdown of magic like we got at the end of season two, was by taking a set of twin gods and fucking with their lives. The female twin would be split into four pieces and bound to stones, a process that would reduce the male twin to a childlike state as he’d be without his other half.
He would then be banished so he couldn’t interfere with their plans. Hmm, a childlike creature who was doomed to live alone. Sound familiar?
Four librarians—Bacchus, Angus, Iris, and Heka—agreed this was totally a cool thing to do and sacrificed the monster’s twin sister, a scene we witnessed in a previous episode (as seen above). They took the stones inside themselves and were turned into gods, banishing the Binder into a book after he had second thoughts about what he’d done. So, there you have it. Bacchus and the others—including Iris, the one who was guiding Julia into her own godhood—weren’t gods after all. They were librarians, masquerading as deities.
It’s a fascinating twist that opens a lot of doors for the series. It’s another way of showing how screwed-up the whole notion of godhood is on this series, as several of the gods we’ve gone to for “advice” were people who’d not only cheated to get on the guest list, but were mortals who had since lived so long they stopped caring about humanity (something Julia is now very concerned about). Yes, I know some deity origin stories are about mortals or half-mortals who’d ascended for various reasons, but it doesn’t often show the side effects this, well, bleakly.
It also shows the lengths that people will go to in order to gain power. And now that we’ve learned how Everett has been siphoning magic to turn himself into a god, it raises the stakes even higher. Thank you Matt Frewer, and your godlike slideshow.
I recognise that Quentin and Alice are most-definitely-likely never ever ever getting back together, and I’m OK with that. I feel the show has been handling their ever-changing relationship well—especially in this episode, as they were forced to confront how past feelings don’t always mean a present romance is a good idea. It’s a hard lesson we’ve all had to learn at some point in our lives. [Editor’s Note: They are totes getting back together. -Jill P.]
I’m surprised it took this long to finally learn Quentin’s discipline. It’s not exactly the most thrilling, but it does come with a heavy dose of metaphor. And perhaps it’s just the thing that will come in really handy before the season is through.
I loved hearing Margo keep explaining her musical trip in the desert. We’ve all been in that situation where we’ve had to repeat a story to multiple people, and tend to fall back on the same version of it. Granted, she was loving the attention, but eventually, it wears on even the Margo-est of us.
We’re totally going to see Christopher Plover inside the Poison Room and I don’t want to.