Does Hazel miss the squeaky-clean cell of the Hub as she scrubs urinals at the Shangri-Lanes? Apparently not! She lives to troll Byron, who she (mistakenly) believes is still watching her every move. As long as he’s seeing the world through her eyes, she may as well put some disgusting stuff in her sights. Very weird all around, but what IS a normal way to react to your body being turned into a panopticon run by your psychotic billionaire husband? As Hazel hisses, “That’s right, you sick fuck,” into a urinal cake, her co-worker Jay walks in to be like, “… Who are you talking to?” and more importantly, to just introduce himself to us as a character we will be seeing more of later.
Hazel’s not the only one working hard today: Her dad is at Judiff’s house. Judiff has gotten awfully cute for a work meeting. She bugged Herb’s house, knows that Diane is a doll, and has some useful legal information: California is a two-party consent state, meaning that what Byron is doing to Hazel is illegal (I mean … duh!?! That’s not the only reason forcibly implanting a surveillance chip into your unconscious wife’s brain isn’t allowed!) but that in accordance with the “Well, He Started It” provision, with which of course we are all familiar, Hazel could now legally surveil him. So they need to lure Byron out of the Hub to get him to admit his crimes on tape. I’ve gotta say, this is all very optimistic: not the luring him outside part — he’s already outside, as we know — but the “get him to confess and it’s game over” thing. But maybe what this world needs is a little bit of Judiff’s can-do spirit.
Judiff tells Herb they can’t have secrets between them, and while at first he thinks she’s talking about Diane being a “synthetic partner,” it turns out she’s actually talking about the opioids she found in his medicine cabinet. Herb was diagnosed with cancer two years ago; he says chemo is not for him. Oooof, imagine him getting that news eight years after his daughter falls off the face of the earth and he’s just in that house all by himself! Judiff wants to know if that’s why he left her — to spare her from what he went through when his wife got sick. Judiff says she could’ve handled it, and I believe in her, but Herb is not sold. She leans in for a kiss and he skedaddles.
Rachel Lindsay appears on TV to report that Byron is outside the Hub for the first time in forever. Byron complains to Bennett that he can’t possibly prove he’s a normal guy when he is being watched all the time. GEE, BYRON, THAT SOUNDS LIKE A REAL DRAG. Byron has given Bennett the Hazelcam and Bennett is not supposed to give it back, no matter how much Byron begs or threatens. So Byron gives Bennett the task of watching it and telling Byron everything Hazel is doing.
And what is Hazel doing? What are any of us doing most of the time? She is staring forlornly at the underwhelming contents of her refrigerator. She spots a cancer community support-group mailing and I wonder if she pieces together its purpose — we learn later on that Herb has cancer, but maybe Hazel thinks it’s for people who’ve lost loved ones, that Herb is in a support group of widowed people? Unclear. Herb has left Hazel a note saying she needs to make herself scarce because it’s Diane’s and his anniversary. As I expected and perhaps you did too, Hazel is relating to Diane re: what it’s like to basically be a sex doll with no autonomy. “Byron never took me anywhere, either.”
Hazel recalls one of her worst anniversaries: Back when she’s still in that “slick-straight hair and white clothes and tortoiseshell shades at the pool” life, Byron offers her anything her heart desires and she says she wants to go see Warpaint play in L.A. She gets so excited when he says yes and surely you know where this is going: Hazel actually wears black (!) and squeals with glee at the prospect of getting into a car (!!) only to find that Byron spent his day and who knows how much money to … build a new cube. And coerce Warpaint into rescheduling their L.A. show so they could play this pathetic concert for two.
“I can’t believe I actually thought that he was capable of doing something normal,” Hazel says quietly as she fixes Diane up, and then my worst fears are realized when she says — literally these exact words! Out loud! Because why be subtext when you can be dialogue? — “I was you. I was Byron’s doll. That’s why I get you. THAT’S why I’m going to make Dad take you out tonight!” I’m sorry, but I mean, come ON. I just feel insulted. Does the show not think we are smart enough to connect those dots? We are seven episodes in. I am wounded by this, truly.
Back at Byron’s headquarters, Herringbone shows up in a ski mask with a (unloaded, essentially decorative) gun. He wants to talk to Byron. He makes the same mistake Fiffany did and thinks Byron can be reasoned with and will not oust him forever for his acts of violent insubordination. I just feel like Herringbone could’ve made a pit stop at an urgent care and gotten his fingers reattached before staging this hostage situation? Like, I’m not here to tell anybody else how to live their life, but personally my priorities would be more along the lines of (1) get a medical doctor to salvage fingers from travel cooler; (2) reattach the aforementioned fingers; (3) maybe just chill out for a little while, reflect on the choices that brought me to this place; (4) never see Byron again because DO YOU REALLY THINK HE WILL BE FORGIVING?! Did nobody use their time in quar to watch The Sopranos except for me? I mean, yes, this scene was almost worth it just for the back-and-forth of Byron asking, “What did Hazel say?” and Bennett replying, “I’m being held hostage,” to which Byron goes, “God, she’s so dramatic,” because he doesn’t realize Bennett is the hostage in question. But still.
Herringbone thinks selling out Fiffany will get him back in Byron’s good graces, when obviously all it proves is that he is a self-serving snitch who cannot be trusted. Though he begs for Byron’s forgiveness — “I’m nobody out there!” “Well, I wiped your identity” — he is, predictably, sent to the pasture cube, which feels like an amateur move on Byron’s part, because doesn’t he realize it is dangerous for Fiff and Lyle to be reunited so they can scheme together? Wouldn’t it be smarter to build a separate pasture cube? Am I the only one thinking things through around here??
Herb returns home to find his dolled-up doll and his daughter adamant that Diane be brought out to dinner. Hazel will lurk at the bar to intervene and/or provide moral support in the event Herb and Diane are harassed by their fellow patrons. Hazel also does some advance work, whispering to the hostess, “Pretend she’s real and tell the staff,” before letting Herb and Diane settle in for their date.
Who shows up at the bar but Jay from the Shangri-Lanes? Hazel and Jay have good chemistry. Also, in this particular instance, I find Hazel very relatable because in our post-quar lives we will all probably struggle with basic social skills. Jay invites her to “talk shit with your new co-worker,” which is a perfect opener. I love his questions for her, and his enthusiasm: “Were you in a cult? You just came out of nowhere … If you were, that’s fine. I would join one!”
While this goes on, Shane — you may remember him from earlier this season, he’s the guy who owns the plane now — pulls up a backward chair like some kind of A.C. Slater and crashes Herb’s date. He asks a bunch of questions as if he is genuinely interested in the answers re: Where’d you get Diane? Only to, inevitably, escalate to being a dick. We find out that Herb got the $6,000 he needed to buy Diane by selling the plot to his wife’s grave, which … sounds intense.
Hazel is about to step in, but then she catches sight of the TV: Byron is giving an interview. “My wife has brought something to my attention,” he says. “I’ve become a bit of a stranger to the world.” In the Hub, his life was just screens, screens, screens. He looks knowingly at the camera and announces, “I’ve put the screen down.” He is ready to connect on a PERSONAL level. “You’re going to start seeing a lot more of me soon!” Not at all frightening information, that.
Hazel freaks out and goes over to Shane. Just in case Byron is not watching, she needs to feel free. For 20 minutes. With Diane offered up as collateral — quite the sign of trust from Dad! — Shane lets Hazel borrow his plane. It makes her so happy. She scream-laughs. The clouds up here are seamless!
When she lands, this little electronic skygram thing hovers above her, like those drones that delivered prizes in The Hunger Games. It’s a Manila envelope that is universal television shorthand for divorce papers. (In real life, anything can come in those 8.5” x 11” envelopes. But if you get one on TV, it can only mean one of two things: Someone is divorcing you or you’re getting a court summons. Either way, somebody gets to chuck the envelope at you and say, “You’ve been served.”)
Hazel opens the envelope to find — yes, duh — divorce papers. Is this the most dramatic delivery of divorce papers since my personal favorite, “Surprise, there’s an airplane here to see you”? And, more importantly: Has Byron even signed these papers yet?