Mara meets a mysterious man named Oliver Hill and learns much more about Onira-Tech
Reverie starts with a bang this week! The episode opens with Mara (Sarah Shahi) standing in a street with no memory of how she arrived there. When she’s about to be hit by a car, a strange man appears and saves her. The mystery man says his name is Oliver Hill (John Fletcher) and claims to be a co-creator of Onira-Tech. But he started having mental problems that he says were caused by Reverie 2.0. Mara questions whether this entire incident is another derealization, but Oliver shows her his arm, where he has burned himself to remind himself that the world is real. Mara is shaken — will Reverie cause her to lose her mind? And why has she never heard of Oliver?
Things get more confusing when someone breaks into Onira-Tech and steals a BCI. Mara quickly tracks down the culprit, a man named Glenn, who is operating in a part of the system called “Dark Reverie.” Mara learns that he’s trying to steal from a medical supply company to help his ill 9-year-old neighbor named Quincy. Glenn has severe OCD himself and Mara wants to help him.
Mara also learns that Oliver was telling the truth. He did help create Onira-Tech, and not only did he work with Alexis (Jessica Lu), but they also dated! But then he tried to burn her house down (um…what?) and now everyone at Onira-Tech has a restraining order against him. Mara still questions whether Oliver had mental issues before or if Reverie caused them.
Although some of our questions were answered with this week’s episode, we still have more! Let’s meet our guests!
Jules (@julesbrindisi) – Chef who loves to immerse herself in TV and clings onto strong female characters
Tex (@czechTexan) – TV enthusiast, Sarah Shahi fan, fourth horseman of the apocalypse
Chris (@filmwritr4) – Journalist, screenwriter and filmmaker
Kim (@KDL0888) – TV show addict, hardcore fangirl
Cat (@Cat_grl6) – Researcher by day, TV addict by night
1. Mara finds out from Paul this week that he tracks the neurodata of everyone who enters Reverie. Do you think Paul is being honest with Mara about her neurodata levels? Is he being honest about his own levels, and more importantly, the levels of Oliver (his were supposedly much higher even before he entered Reverie)?
Jules (@julesbrindisi): I really want to believe in the best of Paul and his intentions towards Mara. Though I’m getting the feeling he’s being honest about Mara and his own neurodata levels though not Oliver’s.
Tex (@czechTexan): I think we’re slowly learning that nothing (and no one) at Onira-Tech is what it seems. Paul seemed genuine in his gesture of showing Mara the saved data, but he’s definitely got incentive to mislead her given his long standing connection to the program and Mara’s reluctance to go back into Reverie.
Chris (@filmwritr4): I think Paul is being honest about Oliver’s levels, since his behavior has definitely shown a high level of abnormality. He may have a point to make about the real intentions that Paul and Charlie have about Reverie, but his mental instability has to be considered. Now that I think about the scene, I’m not sure if Paul is being honest about Mara’s levels or his own simply because of the effects that Reverie has on both.
Kim (@KDL0888): I thought about this a lot and when Paul says “We’re not insane..are we?” I have a slight feeling that all is not as he says it is. Particularly when it comes to Oliver’s levels and Mara’s, although with her having that severe of hallucinations, I would bet hers are definitely higher than he says they are. But I also think Mara is hoping that Paul IS telling the truth because she was real quick to agree with him and move on.
Cat (@Cat_grl6): I think Paul is probably being honest about Oliver’s levels. I’m not sure if he’s being honest about his own or Mara’s. If Mara’s levels are changing already, I don’t think he would admit that to her.
2. Mara learns that her task this week is to stop a man named Glenn from robbing a medical supply company. Did Glenn become obsessed with stealing the medicine for Quincy as a way to avoid dealing with his own illness?
Jules: I definitely think he’s genuinely concerned for Quincy’s being, though I don’t think he’s consciously doing it as a way to avoid his own illness, but it seems it could be that way.
Tex: I think that’s the most reasonable assumption. He stayed in reverie to avoid having to confront his illness in the real world. And also he “knew better”. As Mara said, given his condition, he wouldn’t survive prison.
Chris: I think Glenn has a genuine level of concern for Quincy, because he cares so much for him and he wants desperately to save his life. I’m not sure, though, if he’s doing this to avoid having to deal with what’s affecting him because it still remains present in everything he does – even during the scenes where he actually tries to get past the obstacles in his way during the robbery.
Kim: Absolutely. He as much as admitted that was the case..save the boy save himself.
Cat: It was really touching when Glenn finally talked about how long he had been watching his neighbors from his window. His illness has kept him from having a really close relationship with Quincy, but he has had as much of one as he is able to. His heart is in the right place for sure.
3. If Glenn succeeds in stealing the medicine, it could mean that someone else in the clinical trial won’t receive their dosage. Do you feel this is morally acceptable?
Jules: I definitely feel this is wrong. He’s robbing someone else of the dosage, not to mean also messing up the ethics of the clinical trial as a whole.
Tex: On the surface, no it isn’t. But life is never black and white. To truly answer that question one would have to consider the person who lost their trial dosage as a result of Glenn’s actions. Is that person an upstanding member of society? A terrible person? A child? And what about them makes them more personally deserving than Glenn? You know, putting aside the theft from a trial study that Glenn has no right to.
Chris: Though he may have had good intentions, I don’t think it would be morally acceptable for him to have done this. That’s not just because stealing is a crime, but also because there’s the possibility that another deserving youngster or adult may end up facing the same fate as Quincy did before Glenn stole the medicine.
Kim: It’s always tricky when it comes to kids and what people are willing to do for them. Morality sometimes takes a backseat to just helping the kid. It’s quite possible that Glenn never even gave others a thought when he decided to steal the dose for the kid because to him..save the kid=save himself.
Cat: It all turned out okay in the end but no, I do not think it is morally acceptable to choose one person’s life over the other in a case like this.
4. When Charlie goes to visit Oliver, he warns him, “Don’t try to make me angry. Remember what happened last time.” Any theories as to what happened in their history?
Jules: I have no idea, though the conversation among Alexis, Charlie, and Mara is eye opening to Charlie’s reservations toward Oliver. Additionally, Alexis had Charlie take the reins to talk about Oliver. Sooo, that says something.
Tex: Whatever it is doesn’t bode well for Charlie. That’s a pretty ominous statement to make and I feel like Charlie knows more about how Glenn came to be shut out of the company than he’s letting on.
Chris: I think Oliver did something that endangered the progress of the Reverie project, while putting Charlie and the other employees of the company at serious risk of harm. If he claims to know all about the program itself, and its dangerous potential, he might have tried to put a stop to it.
Kim: This brings up a lot of speculation and even more questions concerning what actually happened with Oliver. I’m not sure we have the whole story from Oliver or Alexis, and I’m positive there is so much more to Charlie than what we’re seeing. I think Charlie may have a hero complex concerning the women in his life–Mara and Alexis both. Oliver’s reaction tells me the “something that happened” is big enough that he’s extremely wary of Charlie. My guess, Charlie had him committed to an institute? Maybe.
Cat: All I know is that I would not want Charlie as an enemy. Oliver needs to watch his back!
5. Do you feel it was reckless for Mara to help Glenn steal the medicine?
Jules: A bit, she means well and I feel that she really solely wants to help people and despite that, she blurs what may be right and what is wrong and might pivot a crucial decision in future episodes, though that may make her a great negotiator because of it.
Tex: Reckless maybe, but sometimes the best option isn’t a perfect one. It was her best shot at successfully negotiating him back into the real world.
Chris: In normal circumstances, it would be, but in this case there were some benefits to the act. It revealed holes in the medical supply company’s security system, and it also helped Quincy to stay alive, though again I don’t think stealing medicine would be the right way to do that. The whole storyline itself, though, illustrates how screwed up the current system of for-profit medicine is in our world, with all the red tape and bureaucracy that goes with it.
Kim: A little reckless, yes. Mara shows a lot of “helping people keeps me sane” just like Glenn and has “outside the box” solutions/ideas to things she’s asked to do. She’s already said “Don’t take this (helping people )away from me.” So her recklessness may be part of the driving force keeping her from collapsing. I’m not sure she’s really dealt with the deaths of her sister and niece and has just put all of herself into helping people. Her visions of Brynn are her brain’s way of saying, “You can run but not hide.”
Cat: If things had not worked out the way they did, I would say yes, it was a little reckless. Mara obviously knew all along that Charlie and Monica were in on it, so that makes it a lot less reckless than it seemed.
6. What do you think Oliver is planning to do if he obtains the BCI he is trying to steal?
Jules: I feel Oliver is a bit bitter about being fired from the company and feels wrong, perhaps he has something to do with next episodes catastrophe?
Tex: Clearly he feels Reverie 2.0 is a danger, and based on what we’ve seen, he may be right. I imagine he’ll attempt to tamper with Reverie.
Chris: I seriously think Oliver wants not only to stalk Alexis until he can finally win her back, but to get revenge on Charlie and the company he was fired from.
Kim: He already said he lost the girl he loves (Alexis) and I think he wants to show her he is “all better”. I think he’s stuck on the idea that The BCI and Mara will get him Alexis back.
Cat: I think it’s important that he knows much more about the system than anyone else other than Alexis. He could do some real damage if he’s able to access reveries.
7. Mara was too busy this week to have any derealizations, but why do you think Mara is seeing her niece Brynn and not her sister?
Jules: I think she obviously greatly misses her family and clearly had a strong connection to her niece. I think she ultimately wants answers as would anyone trying to to deal with a loss. While it may not be the most stable way to go about it or cope, hopefully she finds clarity in the future.
Tex: I touched on this a bit previously. Reverie 2.0 has the ability to observe the user and alter the reverie in accordance with things they didn’t even know about themselves. Assume the same is true of derealizations. My theory is that Brynn is the best manifestation of Mara’s personal feelings about the tragedy. She represents Mara’s repressed failure and guilt because children are inherently fragile people in need of protection, something that was not only part Mara’s responsibility as sister/aunt, but also her job. Something she excelled at until it mattered most.
Chris: I have no idea, honestly. Maybe it’s the trauma she’s experienced from her memories of that incident, but maybe it’s also the side effects from the medication. Maybe it’s both.
Kim: Hmm..this one’s a little hard to tell yet. This ties in with my answer to question 5 — I think seeing “Brynn” is her brain’s way of telling her “You can run but not hide”. Not seeing her sister might be guilt or she can’t face her sister and explain how she (Mara) let it happen. She was the great negotiator and she blames herself. It’s easier to face Brynn than her sister.
Cat: I think the reason Mara is seeing her niece and not her sister is that her niece is a child and is more vulnerable. It plays more on Mara’s emotions to see her and it reminds her of her failure to fix the situation.
A few questions are answered this week and we learn more about Alexis and Onira-Tech
This week’s VIP award goes to Alexis. She opens up to Mara more than ever, sharing some intimate details about her relationship with Oliver and how well they worked together until things went way off the rails. We see emotional depth to her character this week and ultimately it makes her more relatable.
The main plot with Glenn, his ill neighbor Quincy and the medicine is resolved nicely. Mara and Charlie (Dennis Haysbert) pretend to help him steal the medicine, but Monica (Kathryn Morris) shows up with the CEO of the company. Monica and Charlie tell the CEO that they were testing his security measures, and the CEO gives Glenn the medicine as payment. It’s a happy ending.
We also learn a bit more about Mara and Charlie’s history and we see another side to Charlie when he goes to visit Oliver and threatens him. Charlie may think the situation is resolved, but Oliver is not going away.
The show covers a lot of ground in one episode. We aren’t given much backstory on the “Dark Reverie” and how it can exist as a different system in real time. It also seems like Mara is placing an awful lot of trust in her coworkers. Alexis did open up to her more this week, but Paul (Sendhil Ramamurthy) seems almost too good to be true. Is his friendly and open attitude hiding something sinister?
The addition of the Oliver Hill storyline can create a whole new direction for the show. If he does steal a BCI, he’ll be able to enter other Reveries and create all kinds of havoc for everyone, but he seems to have unfinished business with Alexis and Charlie most especially.