Maniac Season 1 Episode 5 Recap
Maniac season 1 episode 5 brings us the Owen-centric experience under the effects of the B pill, to bookend Annie’s experience in the previous episode. This time, the pair are Oliver (Ollie) Hightower and Arlene (Arlie) Kane, a couple of thieves attending the Full Moon Seance in 1940s era New York. The two have history, having once been romantically involved.
“Life is Simple as Hell Until You Bring on a Partner”
Ollie is everything that Owen is not. Suave. Confident. Able to mesmerize a crowd with a story while stealing a key from Lady Neberdine’s butler. The only thing that seems to rattle him is the appearance of Arlie at the same seance. The two, like many others in attendance are there for one reason. Somewhere in the mansion is hidden the priceless, lost, and incredibly small 53rd chapter of Don Quixote. The chapter is rumored to imprison the reader in his or her own mind, in locked in the fantasy of his or her choosing, until the victim eventually dies.
With Arlie’s help, Ollie cracks the safe containing the manuscript, only for Arlie to steal it from him, as she’s stolen everything else in Owen’s life. Except this time, Ollie replaces the manuscript with a playing card in a deft sleight of hand. In the end, Ollie reveals that his job was not to steal the manuscript, but to test Lady Neberdine’s security, which Ollie found lacking.
“I Felt Like I Had 100 Dreams All On Top of Each Other”
Arlie assists Ollie only because she plans to steal from him. She charms her way through life, taking what she wants from people once she has gotten them to lower their defenses. Throughout the experience, Fujita attempts to pull Owen and Annie from one another’s visions, resulting in Arlie jumping from the 1940s to a version of her youth with Ellie, set in the Neberdine pod.
Mantleray is successful in bringing Annie back from the effects of the B pill before the other participants, and questions her about her experience while under, noting that lying will get her expelled from the rest of the study. She experienced a number of scenarios that reflected her latent and repressed desires, and Owen was in each of them with her. When Owen first told her that the pattern was bringing them together, Annie dismissed him as crazy, but now she’s not so sure. Annie passes the test without any room to spare.
“I Think Our Computer Is Horribly Depressed”
GRTA continues to weep physical tears that interfere with the study and bring Owen and Annie together. Fujita diagnoses GRTA as depressed following Muramoto’s passing. To Fujita and Mantleray’s surprise, GRTA has taken an active role in the experience shared between Owen and Annie, taking on the persona of Gertie Mantleray, the Lady Neberdine. While Fujita is successful in separating Annie from Owen, the blown circuitry that connects Owen, Annie, and GRTA remains broken.
Owen and the other participants are brought up from under the effects of B, effectively ending that portion of the trial. Owen looks around for Annie, but her chair is empty.
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