There a moment in “Divine Elimination” where despite creepy crawly, tattoo demons and Julia’s continued quest to capture the trickster god that raped her, it felt as if the episode was going to lean itself heavily on the lighter, rompish elements of the series. There was Margo, Eliot, Quentin and Alice all trying to kill on another due to a curse left for them in their thrones and Penny’s exasperation at trying to deal with them. There’s Margo’s truly delightful delivery of “you just shot me, you cock” and Eliot’s overall boredom and laissez faire attitude to ruling, despite how regal he looks in his royal attire. The stakes were there but man, it felt fun and, from a technical standpoint, it was the third episode of the season and it’s not often in television series where the big moments fall so soon in the season’s narrative.
And yet by the end of the hour, the Beast may be dead but so is Alice and Quentin had to kill her, Julia has lost the dagger to Raynard and Marina has been killed after having been taunted and tortured. And Penny? Who the hell knows where Penny has ended up. Things are, to put it simply, looking dire and despite the absolute devastation the episode leaves the audience in with Quentin laying bleeding on the ground, sobbing as Eliot cradles him in front of Alice’s lifeless body, and Julia stands above Marina’s broken and bleeding one, it also adds an added spark to the series as it finally lands home that what they’ve been saying all this time has been true-this isn’t the fairy-tales of our youth, for both good and bad.
Julia’s storyline has always been darker than the rest (not just in storyline either-her apartment seemingly has no light whatsoever) and it only continues to grow worse as any hope she seemingly had to get revenge has been extinguished. If there’s any problem I’m having with the season so far it’s the utter dismal and lack of empathy the other characters are demonstrating towards Julia and the trauma she endured. While these characters are notoriously cliquey and are known ass holes, the further they press with their apathy towards her and then, even aggression, the more it telegraphs as the show dismissing her rape and not just the characters. Luckily, Julia is written with such an assertive agency regardless that she is compelling and hardly defined by her assault or the lack of empathy she’s given from those around her. It would simply elevate the story to do so.
The Braikbill’s side of things has always adopted a lighter touch than to Julia’s real life magical parables, but despite the pointed comic touches there is no doubt that the end of this episode is the most tragic the show has ever been as, for the first time, the core characters have lost one of their own. Even as a viewer who never grew to Alice in the same manner as others I was still saddened to see her go even if the manner in which she went was hugely satisfying. It’s been known for quite a while that despite Quentin being the written protagonist, it’s Alice who’s been the hero of the story, further demonstrated as she’s the one to kill the Beast in the end. Her power, as has been mentioned before, far surpasses her peers and the full extent of it even frightened her. We finally see just where her power can take her as her magic consumes her in her overtaking of the Beast, leading to her eventual death herself as Quentin is forced to kill her to protect Eliot and Margo as her humanity was replaced with something more sinister.
It’s a bold and visually beautiful episode, one that allows the natural and surreal beauty of Filory to contrast with the horror and violence taking place in it. Like Julia’s world of saturation and grays, the colors and vibrancy of Filory too plays and important narrative role, showing that despite the appearance of a magical real, despite the visage of grace and wonder, there are horrors lying underneath. Alice burned blue and screamed in agony as magic consumed her, and Quentin’s demon scorched the earth when in attacked Alice, as Eliot’s silver suit shined bright amongst the carnage. There’s a purpose to every visual decision, demonstrating that no matter the larger than life appearances, deaths or aftermaths, what lies underneath the magic is something very human and therefore, often very tragic.
And we’re only three episodes in!
So, do we think Alice is really dead? Will it cheapen the storyline if she isn’t? What about Marina? Or poor Marina’s cat? Let us know in the comments below.