Penny learns for himself that the world of the Neitherlands is not as friendly as he had assumed. As Quentin and Alice work to save their friend, Julia faces opposition as she tries to join an eclectic group of magicians known as the Free Traders.
In the middle of a fountain is a statue of a lady with a jug. Penny rises out of the water, gasping. We notice that the sky has three moons. Penny looks around and wonders where he is. The fountain seems one of a series of fountains with walls separating them, each with different decorations. He sees a woman walking near one fountain; he tells her "I come in peace". She answers that she hasn't seen him here before. He says he's not from here. As she gets closer, she pauses, reacts, and says "nice try, psychic", but he can't read her. She's Eve, she lives here, born and raised, she's the welcome committee. Penny asks where he is; she answers the "Neitherlands", the place between all other places. He says he came from Earth; she says they don't get too many of them. She asks what brought him here, a cape, a ring, what? He has a button, he shows it to her, and she grabs for it. Others appear around them, she turns serious and throws magic at him. He Travels somewhere else, to another fountain, with different decorations; he starts to search and realizes that there are dozens of fountains, to the horizon. He draws a circle, sits in it to meditate, and opens his eyes in what looks like the Physical Kids Cottage. But in it are Julia, Quentin, and Alice, all dressed unusually and acting unusually (e.g., Julia is dressed as Princess Leia and talking about the hyperdrive, and Alice is dressed as Daenerys Targaryen and talking about her dragons). Penny laughs, it looks like another of Quentin's dreams.
Quentin wakes up in his bed, gasping, and tells Alice he just talked to Penny in a dream: Penny's been gone for six weeks, but Penny feels it's been six hours, he's in the "Neitherlands", he can't find the fountain back to Earth, and he can't just Travel, he can't aim, so he needs help.
In the Cottage common room, they talk with Eliot and Margo; the Fillory books say little to nothing about the Neitherlands. Alice says she knows someone who's traveled. Eliot is not very helpful, he's very stoned. While he's sitting, a glass shatters. Margo says Eliot probably needs the Infirmary.
Penny is wandering the Neitherlands, hunted by Eve and her friends; he walks near a fountain, and steps on a panel on the patio, which gives beneath him. He falls ... and is falling out of a library drop chute into an immense Library, with stacks further than the eye can see.
Julia is in her apartment, logging onto a website for "Free Trader Beowulf". We watch her chat a bit, she seems to be using the handle "vicious_circe". They seem to be setting up a meeting at her place, IRL, she thinks it's tomorrow, and there's a knock at her door: The meeting is right now, at her (messy!) apartment. First to arrive is Richard, who says he needs a few hours to calculate the portals, so she can straighten up. He asks if they can use her guest room for "the project", which she hasn't heard of; he offers her a loose-leaf binder ("The Spellbinder") with "the next 12 spells".
Richard is chanting and waving his hands over an area of Julia's wall, which he opens to reveal a suburban scene, and welcomes in Silver. Next, come Bender, Menolly (clearly most members of this group use online handles for names, and also they've been collaborating via chat for a good while), and Asmodeus, who turns out to be Kady. Julia and Kady are ill-at-ease, but Richard says they need to work together, they are needed.
Quentin and Alice are walking in the Chicago suburbs at night, Quentin doesn't know where they're going, Alice wants to make this quick and without him. They enter a house, where there seems to be a Roman-style orgy going on; they briefly discuss what sort of magic is active here. It turns out, this is Alice's house, as she greets her Dad, who is holding the chain to a man's slave collar.
Alice's Dad explains they are doing the Roman festival of Venus, and he studies historical magic; there are dozens of people there, with sex everywhere, which Dad refers to as "tame". Dad takes Quentin away for a "fatherly chat", while Alice really is looking for her mother, who is in the bath.
At the Cottage, Professor Lipson is examining Eliot, but there's nothing wrong with him other than his massive drug problem. But she notices that Margo is having a medical problem, which she demonstrates by placing a wineglass near Margo, and seeing it shatter. Something or someone is draining Margo's life force. The doctor asks if Margo has "engaged in any unprotected rituals", and Margo is aghast, referring to "that son of a bitch."
Kady and Julia are in Julia's apartment, as the others are chanting something in another room. It looks like they need to learn the 12 new spells in the Spellbinder. Kady and Julia try a little to repair the hurt between them over Hannah's death.
Penny is wandering the halls of the Library, and suddenly a Librarian named Zelda Schiff walks in on him, addresses him as "William", and says he's late. She is an older woman, who seems to already know him, but he knows nothing of it. Schiff is also a member of The Order, the keepers of the libraries of the Neitherlands, the greatest store of knowledge. The people up above who are after Penny are "locals", who used to work for the library, but are no longer workers and are banned. Schiff says some locals work for a "nasty entity", the Beast (among other names). Penny just wants to get back to the Earth fountain; she says she will lead him to a local map.
In Alice's house, she finds her mother lying in a bath; she insists she's "Stephanie", not "Mom". Alice is still incensed that her parents aren't even curious about happened to Charlie; Mom says it won't bring him back, so why ask. Alice and Mom clearly have a strained relationship; Mom says she's worn out from the conversation, steps out of the bath and leaves.
In Alice's bedroom, she complains to Quentin how irritating it is with her parents. They discuss Quentin's relationship with Julia, which he explains was never anything. Alice says Mom knows "Joe", a traveler from another world, best to talk about it when Dad isn't around because Mom's affair with Joe would upset him.
Julia and Kady are practicing a spell, and it brings up Kady's memory of Antarctica; Kady explains how she left there, and Brakebills, to escape being wiped and expelled. She went from there to New York, to kill Marina, but ran into Richard instead, who got him into Free Trader Beowulf. There's a crash outside, the lights flicker, they go to the door and ask if everything's OK, and the others say "Yeah, great, all good." They go back to learning spells.
Schiff is leading Penny through the Library, and they get to a shelf with books whose titles are the names of people: "Quentin Coldwater", "Alice Quinn", "Eliot Waugh" (2 volumes), etc. Schiff says the Library has "all the books ever written, all the books never written, all the books of all the people who ever lived." Penny finds his book (complains about the flowers on the cover) and opens it; Schiff says people who read their own book often find they don't like the main character or the ending); he puts it back unread. She finds what she was looking for, the book on Martin Chatwin; Penny asks if there's anything in it about the Beast, but Schiff can't lend it without a library card. She goes to a copier, copies several pages, gives them to Penny, and pushes him on the chest. He falls back and vanishes ... and suddenly he's back on the surface, amidst the fountains.
At Alice's house, it's daytime, Alice, Quentin, and Alice's parents (now dressed normally) are sampling left-over delicacies from last night. Quentin expresses interest in Daniel's recent book on Roman magic, to get him away from Alice and Stephanie. Alice makes a somewhat generic daughter-to-mother apology to Stephanie Quinn, and then asks about Joe. It seems Stephanie wasn't hiding Joe from Daniel anymore, Daniel loves him too, they're sort of a triad; "Joe's anatomy is adaptable."
Eliot and Margo knock on a door, and a girl who looks just like Margo opens it. A man appears behind the other Margo, and he says "I can explain". Margo rushes towards him and collapses to the floor.
At Alice's house, Alice and Quentin are meeting with Joe, who thinks they're consulting him as a sex therapist; they say they have a friend trapped in the Neitherlands. Joe knows the Neitherland and the fountains well, but a map wouldn't really help, he knows a spell they can do here to make a beacon, so the fountain to here lights up there. It's a sex magic spell, and they have to climax at the same time; Alice says that might be a problem.
Alice talks with Stephanie, while in the background Joe seems to give advice (with strange hand-gestures) to Quentin. Stephanie says Alice needs a special guy to appreciate her; maybe several.
Margo wakes up, with Eliot, the other Margo, and what appears to be Margo's ex-boyfriend drinking together. It looks like a cross between an apartment and a workshop. The ex-boyfriend asks if she's all right, Margo complains he stole her life force. He says there was a hole in the cast, it's fixed. It seems she broke his heart when she left, so he created a golem of her so he can keep loving her. Margo is grossed out, "I'm going to take the Margolem and destroy it". As she says this, Eliot and the golem are snorting cocaine together. Margo drags Eliot somewhere else and complains, but Eliot says he likes the golem. Margo is annoyed at him as well and asks him to go home.
In Alice's room, she and Quentin try to have sex together, and he is awkwardly trying to make it better for her. They argue a bit about their relationship, and how he pays attention to her, and give up.
Kady and Julia are still practicing spells, they've finished the 12 new spells, the last of which is to reverse entropy. The pizza delivery man arrives, they sit and start eating, and Julia notices the clock is spinning backward. It stops and goes forward again, and she and Kady are now standing again, with no pizza, and wondering what just happened, as the pizza delivery man comes... again. Kady's sure it's not the entropy spell, it's time magic, which takes more power. Then they hear the sounds of laughter and celebration from the other room, where the others are doing whatever they are doing.
Richard talks with Julia and Kady, they are pushing the bounds of what's magically possible, raising power to break the glass ceiling. Kady objects, you raise too much power and you explode or become a niffin. Richard says they aren't using Brakebills' rules, but a new methodology. Julia asks what's all this for. Richard says it's personal and then goes through the group members who have issues (Menolly is dying of cancer, Bender's meds have stopped working, Richard was once an addict and had his infant child die of his neglect). So they're doing time magic, but they need energy, and Richard had done research: they don't need to generate power, there's a source of inexhaustible power they can tap into. They're trying to summon a god.
Eliot and Margo are back at the Cottage, and Eliot seems to be sober and trying to apologize. He also thinks Professor Lipson might be wrong, Eliot does have something broken. Margo kisses him... and then Margo walks in (oops, it looks like Eliot apologized to the golem). Margo says she didn't destroy the golem, she might come in handy. The apology is forgotten. Margo seems to have lost her snit with Eliot.
Alice is in her room at the Cottage, and Quentin comes in; he apologizes for being a poor boyfriend, and mediocre overall, and wonders why she likes him. She says she just does, and he agrees he loves her. After an awkward start, they have sex together, and we see a light appear on the Earth fountain in the Neitherlands (the one with the lady with the jug).
Penny sees the light in the distance and says "Quentin, you did it." He Travels to the fountain, escapes Eve's hunters, and dives into the fountain. He pops into existence in Alice's room as they are still having sex. Quentin says "Welcome back."
- Jason Ralph as Quentin Coldwater
- Stella Maeve as Julia Wicker
- Olivia Taylor Dudley as Alice Quinn
- Arjun Gupta as Penny
- Hale Appleman as Eliot Waugh
- Summer Bishil as Margo Hanson
- Jade Tailor as Kady Orloff-Diaz
- Mageina Tovah as Zelda Schiff
- Mackenzie Astin as Richard Corrigan
- Judith Hoag as Stephanie Quinn
- Tom Amandes as Daniel Quinn
- Jonathan Scarfe as Joe
- Keegan Connor Tracy as Professor Lipson
- Katie Findlay as Eve
- Marco Grazzini as Lasaro
- Bobbi-Jean Charlton as Silver
- Fiona Hogan as Menolly
- Jesse Reid as Bender
- Cardi Wong as Pizza Guy
- Byron Noble as Roman Slave
- Magical Button
- Fillory and Further
- Books of Everybody
- Santa Claus' Sleigh (mentioned)
- Order of the Library of the Neitherlands
- Free Trader Beowulf
- Project Ganymede (mentioned)
- Heart of the City Pizzaria
- Some of the names shown on the books Penny sees in the Library of the Neitherlands belong to crew members on the show: Jill McQueen, Pat O'Brien, Mitch Engel, and Elie Smolkin.