Two episodes in, Reverie doesn’t seem to want to slow down, this week with a 007-inspired spy romp full of father-daughter drama
Reverie‘s second episode is quite like the first in its formula, punctuated nicely with a quote from Charlie (Dennis Haysbert): “Don’t waste time. Get in, get her, get out.” It seems like a mantra the series is going to live by. As soon as something is revealed, it’s upturned in favor of another plot twist. This week, we follow Rachel (Ahna O’Reilly) in a spy-themed Reverie which is starting to stress her heart. Mara (Sarah Shahi) is once again sent in to convince her to leave and return to the real world, and, again, ends up easier said than done.
As we learn more about the sheltered Rachel, we find out that she’s searching for her father, with the only clue of his identity being a 25 year old picture of her family when she was an infant. Taking all of this into consideration, her Reverie ended up being a James Bond inspired spy adventure with her at the helm, all in search of the mysterious “Vater” (we’ve all seen Star Wars, come on!).
What follows is an action-packed hour of guns, betrayal, and a whole lot of heart. That being said, there’s a lot to take in with this episode, not just in Rachel’s Reverie, but with our other main characters, particularly Alexis (Jessica Lu), Charlie, and Dylan (Kai Scott). So, let’s just get right to it with this week’s guests!
Chris (@filmwritr4) – journalist, screenwriter and filmmaker
Ryan (@RyanBartholomee) – Positivity with a hint of sarcasm wrapped in way too many dad jokes
Whitney (@WhitneyFurr1) – Proud mom of 1, Armchair Detective, TV addict
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
1. Here’s a question that we can’t believe we haven’t asked yet: What would YOUR Reverie be like?
Chris (@filmwritr4): My Reverie would be another chance to spend time with members of my family (aunts, uncles, my nana and nanny) who have passed away. I miss them every day, and I think of all the great times I had with them.
Ryan (@RyanBartholomee): My Reverie would involve being a secret vigilante with a lot of resources (think Batman, the Green Arrow or a wealthier Spider-Man). Unjust actions would not go unpunished in my Reverie. And I need those vivid colors and postcard views. Ready, set, Apertus!
Whitney (@WhitneyFurr1): A perfect world where everyone get treated equally, no injustices. We all would live in peace.
Jules (@julesbrindisi): Honestly, I’m not sure what my Reverie may be. I imagine though it would be similar to bit of a role-playing game and trying to search for answers concerning past experiences in my life. I would like it to be a bit of a thrilling adventure.
Tex (@czechTexan): I have a couple ideas for my ideal Reverie. If I were to go for sentimental, I would relive my childhood on a loop. If I were looking to have fun in my Reverie, it wouldn’t be a huge departure from what we saw in last night’s episode: guns, fast cars, explosions, fights.
2. In Tony’s Reverie last week, we saw a… peculiar reaction to Mara’s presence. You know, the entire room freezing, totally not creepy at all. In Rachel’s Reverie, we saw something completely different: thugs trying to choke her out. Paul said that was normal, just the program getting to know her. Thoughts on that?
Chris: As for the Reveries last week and this week – I’m wondering, since she has Reverie 2.0, that the advanced version of the program might depend on whatever interactions she might have with the people whose Reveries she enters. I don’t know if the program is adapting based on those interactions, or if the surrounding “bad guys” that are also in the Reveries might have it out for Mara in some way.
Ryan: It does make sense that in the pilot episode there had never been two people in the same Reverie before, so the program would not know what to do with the second participant. However, the terrifying thing is the adaptive nature of Reverie. I think Mara will have to keep stretching her abilities within Reverie to try to stay one step ahead before the program tries to foil her plans.
Whitney: Seems that the program is more sinister than we know (side eye to Paul).
Jules: There is a lot unknown about Reverie 2.0 and its technology with multiple users. While the Reverie may possibly be getting to know Mara, I think it is certainly tapping into her subconscious memories of former hostage negotiations, and that’s bleeding into the primary user’s Reverie. I think ultimately later on (also with the derealisation) that inside Reverie could turn very dangerous for Mara.
Tex: Well, Mara foreshadowed it herself in comparing Reverie to a drug. The program works differently for everyone. So, I imagine we can expect to see a trend along this line in future episodes.
3. Next up: we learned about the “Derealization” Mara is experiencing as a side effect of Reverie 2.0. Why is Paul (and Charlie and Alexis) hiding things that could be dangerous to her? What’s going on behind the closed doors at Onira Tech?
Chris: I definitely get what you’re saying about Charlie, Paul and Alexis hiding something about Reverie from Mara. I think that from the way they act whenever Mara isn’t around, they must have something to hide from her. It might be something sinister, and they may have a darker ulterior motive now that Mara is involved. Of course, they might also have grave fears about the advanced stage of Reverie that Mara has suddenly accessed.
Ryan: Perhaps they are all concerned about the public jumping to conclusions about untested issues that can hurt the investors and the future funding and development of Reverie. Mara may still be viewed as an outsider or merely a consultant, and they don’t want her to know too much. Onira Tech is trying to avoid any negative publicity as organizations naturally do. Hopefully, they disclose what is necessary for them to maintain the tightrope walk with their investors and the public. Disclose too much too soon, and investors are spooked. Disclose too little too late, and the public trust is broken.
Whitney: They are hiding things to keep Mara engaged with the program. This could very well be a test.
Jules: Although Paul, Charlie, and Alexis are all hiding something from Mara, I’m certainly interested in Monica Shaw’s part in everything. She expresses that it’s unusual for Charlie to be so concerned about the technology now since Mara has joined Onira Tech. I think Paul cares more about Mara’s well-being out of the others and Alexis is wrapped up in her own projects. However, I think the technology might perpetuate certain health conditions. In Mara’s case, since it was expressed she has an “underlying psychiatric disorder”, perhaps the technology is somehow feeding off of that. Additionally, no one knew of Rachel’s heart condition and she began going into duress, and that prompted Mara to try to remove her from her Reverie.
Tex: It’s possible that, because 2.0 has never been implemented before, the full extent of possible risks and side effects are unknown. They may be treading lightly in order to make her aware that something’s not right without completely scaring her about further use of the program, if indeed there is something to be afraid of.
4. How do we feel about the anti-anxiety pills to help said side effects? It doesn’t exactly seem like the best thing to give an addict.
Chris: The medications that Paul gave to Mara are very counter-productive for her, and from that last scene where Brynn shows up, I don’t think that the anti-depressants will mitigate those side effects that Reverie 2.0 causes.
Ryan: Paul seems to have the best intentions, but he quickly dismisses Mara’s warning without a reasonable explanation. He seems more scared of what the derealization could do and relieved that the derealization did not linger for Mara. Mara knows her own weaknesses, so her concern should not have been taken so lightly in my opinion. But kudos to her for acknowledging that she has a problem. She is past denial, which should give everyone some comfort.
Whitney: I don’t know what type of pills those are really. Mara should be cautious.
Jules: It’s such a bad idea to give Mara anti-anxiety pills! I’m glad she spoke up about how she previously threw away all of her pills. I believe Paul means well for Mara out of anyone else at Onira Tech; however it is perplexing to what he, Charlie, and Alexis are keeping from Mara. Besides derealisation, what are the other side effects of this technology?!
Tex: I said last week that the road of an addict is never easy. If the pills are truly necessary, they will prove to be a test for Mara later down the road. Then again, she may be replacing her dependence on drugs and alcohol with her trips into Reverie.
5. Alexis is clearly very protective about her family; re: Dylan. We finally learned they were twins, and he died when they were 10 or 11. So what’s with Charlie’s apprehensiveness around him? Is he hiding something, either about himself or Dylan?
Chris: That’s something I never thought about, now that you mention it. Either Charlie has a painful suppressed memory of his own about how Dylan died, or he had something to do with it and he’s hiding it from Alexis and everyone.
Ryan: I thought it was interesting how Charlie would not let Dylan into his office. Perhaps Charlie is hiding something that he does not want Alexis to find out about. If Dylan knows, presumably he would not be able to keep the information from Alexis. He could be hiding something about himself, Dylan or even Alexis.
Whitney: I think he’s hiding something about Dylan. Makes me wonder if their plan is to bring Alexis and Dylan back together somehow.
Jules: Charlie has been secretive to Mara and evasive to Shaw when asked “Why are you so concerned about her, Charlie?” In the pilot, he wished to know of anything concerning Mara. I think he’s partially similar to a father figure to Mara, though he’s closed off and hiding something. At the very least I suspect he knows the details surrounding Dylan’s death.
Tex: I said it was too early to tell about Dylan’s possible motivations after last episode. I’m gonna recycle that answer here with respect to Charlie. I think we’ll learn more as he starts to develop his character. For now the best guess I can make is that he may be a private person.
6. What did everyone think of the plotline with Rachel and her father? What different kinds of people and stories do you hope to see this season?
Chris: This week’s plotline with Rachel and her dad was incredibly intriguing and exciting, but the deeper meaning behind why Rachel chose to be a spy in her Reverie was touching and heartbreaking at the same time. The scene where Rachel met her real dad in her Reverie was so emotional, and it felt like she wasn’t going to get the closure she had sought.
When her dad finally showed up in real life, it was such a wonderful moment that makes this show worth watching. As for future episodes, I haven’t really considered that question but I look forward to seeing what Mickey and the writers come up with!
Ryan: I love the tension of Rachel’s longing for connection and belonging and the resolution when she found out the true story and how her father had never stopped thinking about her even though he had not been welcomed into her life for all these years. They also did a fantastic job of aging John Brotherton (Vater or “father”) whom I also know and appreciate from Fuller House. This whole plotline was beautiful and reminds me to appreciate the connections in my own life. I hope we see a set of twins inside their respective Reveries as I think that could have some fascinating implications and could shed light on Alexis’ loss and openness with Dylan.
Whitney: Rachel got the help she needed. Mara is good at what she does. All of these stories could be fragments of the relationship that Dylan and Alexis had. These could be his feelings that they experienced together like happiness, excitement, sadness, brokenness, anger.
Jules: I really enjoyed Rachel’s story. It was very heart-warming to see how her story played out and the end was, well, like a reverie. During Mara’s negotiation it was great to see her dig deeper for details and learning that Vater, in German, was vah-ter, the word for father. Also similar to Star Wars, that Vader turned out to be Luke Skywalker’s father.
From the trailers, it looks like we’ll encounter an array of different people, such as someone in the ballet and Mara saving children that could very well be emotionally draining for her, concerning she couldn’t save her niece and is now having hallucinations of Brynn. I’m intrigued at how the interactions with Reverie users will affect Mara and her “underlying psychiatric disorder”.
Tex: I found the dynamic bittersweet, which is probably going to be the theme of this show, in all honesty. Personally, I feel it would be a unique touch if someone who used Reverie to get in touch with their birth parents were reunited with them in real life.
7. Finally, where is this plotline with Brynn going? We can infer why Mara’s mind chooses to see her, given the trauma over her death, but why is she actively seeking these hallucinations out?
Chris: As for the hallucinations Mara is having about Brynn, I think she wants to find closure for her death – and maybe to have a Reverie of her own where she saves her and her mom from being shot.
Ryan: Mara’s curiosity and bravery will surely lead to some interesting data about the side effects of Reverie. Perhaps Mara only sees it as a study of the inner workings of her subconscious. She is an expert at reading people. Let’s see if she can read the images and characters that her mind creates for her.
Whitney: I’m sure Mara will see Brynn more and more. I think seeing her niece gives Mara comfort. I can imagine what Mara’s Reverie would be like now.
Jules: I think there is such a curiosity to Mara as to why she is seeing Brynn. While it is disturbing to see your dead niece, I think it’s human nature to wonder why something that means so much to you is suddenly appearing in your life, and how significant it may be. That is why Mara is seeking out Brynn, and somehow hoping it’ll lead to more answers about that night from Brynn’s perspective, as well as more closure.
Tex: There are several reasons why Mara might choose to seek these hallucinations out: unresolved feelings of guilt, missing her family, the subconscious need for closure… It’s interesting that her subconscious chooses Brynn and not her sister, which could also point to feelings of failure to protect, as children are the embodiment of a defenseless nature.
“Bond. Jane Bond.” cements Reverie as a standout network TV show in the way it carries itself
Reverie‘s writing and pacing is a fresh take on the typical self-contained episodic formula. Yes, we have seen a straightforward setup in regards to Mara rescuing Reverie users, and it’s likely we will see the same technique employed through the season. However, what distinguishes the show, the way it breaks from that mold, is in its normalcy. We get to see simple conversations and exchanges between Mara, Charlie, Paul (Sendhil Ramamurthy), Alexis, and everyone else at Onira Tech, interactions which seem to be setting up many overarching plots in the background, not simply acting as filler for ‘drama’. Each moment seems like it needs to be seen, and might be relevant in the future.
Sarah Shahi continues to impress with another extremely emotional and cathartic performance, something we see becoming the norm on this show. This episode reveals a lot more about Charles and Alexis in its in-between moments, which is great for both of their characters. The writers did a great job of revealing enough to let us know a few details about their personalities and lives while also creating more questions about them to be answered.
As much as we love the non-stop, no-nonsense action of Reverie, it would be nice to see at least one slower interlude episode this season. It’s great to have a show that isn’t 90% filler with only single-episode plotlines, but there is a balance to strike. All action, all the time doesn’t allow for a full exploration of the subplots that are being built up so far.
Nevertheless, it’s clearly only the beginning for Mara and the team at Onira Tech. There’s lots more time to get into the details of the Reverie technology, and we’re happy to let that suspense build for at least a few more episodes. We look forward to learning more about the side effects of Reverie 2.0, and what that might mean for Mara, especially in terms of her hallucinations of Brynn and what they might do for her mental health. With so many more questions to answer, Reverie looks like it’s going to be capturing our attention for a while.