Maniac Season 1 Episode 4 Review: Furs By Sebastian

Owen and Annie get entangled in a strange experiment

At this point enough has happened to at least attempt making some sense of what’s happening in Maniac. I have two theories going on at this point that could explain the strangely different world our lead characters have inhabited. Let’s talk briefly about that world though before we get on to the speculation.

The last episode ended with our Number 1 and 9 candidates put together in a shared reality, one where they’re husband and wife. This episode is almost exclusively set in that alter-reality as Owen and Annie embark on a quest to retrieve a Lemur from a fur shop owner who has two metaphorical sons. Only dealing in Lemurs is illegal so the cops are on the case as well. The quest is personal for Annie who’s trying to fulfill one of her patient’s last dying wish of reuniting the Lemur with her daughter. A shootout and some letters from the dying mother to her daughter ensure that things don’t go well and Annie fails to get the resolution she demands.

The immediate thought is that the fusion of wires connecting 1 and 9 thanks to the supercomputer’s tear has led to Owen’s and Annie’s thoughts intertwining and creating a shared reality in which they live happily together. It has the same elements and people of the current reality in different roles and even feels much closer to our perception of the real world than the laboratory does. Despite the inherently bizarre of their quest, their relationship and the repercussions, both protagonists are a lot more comfortable in that reality than the present one. They enjoy a rich lifestyle with three kids and enough money to pay $60 to a babysitting nanny for a day, when the actual world has them struggling to make ends meet. This could possibly be building towards an outcome where they both prefer the alternate reality as opposed to the real one.

That is, until the second theory comes into play. That this entire elaborate fictional world is nothing but a setup to assess the behavioral tendencies of our players. With Owen being the repressed, easily submissive one and Annie being the rebellious, outspoken and even dominating personality, even the creation of a fictional setup refuses to alter the very core fabric of their defining traits. This might have something to do with who movies ahead in the pharma-drug experiment which in turn could see a third reality being presented in an experiment with the final drug.

Maniac embraces its absurdity whenever it gets an opportunity and it’s evident in how intricately the craziness factors into the entire subplot of retrieving the Lemur. The PIN code cracking is a fine example. Annie manages to decipher the hilariously simple codes twice, once when a PIN as simple as 1234 is plastered on top and the second time, when it’s not, because it was changed to the silly alternative 5678 instead. How convenient.

Things are certainly getting interesting as the show comes out of its early Netflix slump. With six more episodes to go, we can expect some more breathing room before Maniac rushes to what should be a maniacal finale.

Overall Score: 8.0 out of 10.0

We’re doing individual episode reviews of Maniac. Even though all episodes are out on Netflix, viewers may want to savor the show one episode at a time. These episode reviews may contain spoilers so discretion is advised while reading them.

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