Ah, we’re looking at the world through the warm, glow-y light of the Valencia filter: Joe is falling in love. Kate is not like other girls; Kate can tell that when Joe is staring intently at her, as his voice-over monologues on, he is thinking about something he isn’t sharing with her. We are to believe these two kids are in a happy romantic idyll, the kind you’re in before reality arrives. I cannot believe that Kate, who saw her new beau dispose of Gemma’s body with an alarming alacrity AND knows he has a past he has told her is so terrible they only are together on the condition that she literally never ask him anything about it, hasn’t put two and two together and fled the city/country/planet. But maybe Kate can only bear to imagine one unforgivable man is in her midst, and this role is already filled by her father, who is coming to town tomorrow.
When Rhys gave Joe his murdering orders, Joe told Rhys he was DONE with killing. But Rhys has endless leverage because of Joe’s American misdeeds. (HOW does Rhys know about these crimes?) Rhys swears this is the last homicide he will ever ask Joe to commit. I take it Joe spent his childhood deep in Dickens and never got around to the actually pertinent If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Anyway, Joe decides he needs to find out what Lockwood has on Rhys. Yet to do this, he will need to get close to Lockwood, against the express desires of his brand-new girlfriend.
When Joe pitches to Kate that she should go to dinner with her dad to show how secure she is, promising to be at her side the whole time, Kate just … goes with it?? Girl, your dad is “evil incarnate,” according to you?! You’ve been estranged for many years?? He just sent you a honey trap!! And texted the honey trap to be like, “Text me when you’re done fucking my daughter so I can arrange the wire transfer.” I thought Beck was annoying, but she was also obviously not the brightest, which made her dopey choices easier to swallow. We are to believe Kate is supersmart, and yet … the decision-making skills! Horrendous!
Meanwhile, Nadia is doing some research on the Eat-the-Rich killer. She can tell something’s not quite adding up about Dawn, the erotomaniac who has gone down for all the murders. A better choice, Nadia says, would be “an average Joe” (a Joe!) like, Edward offers, “Professor Jonathan.” Nadia can tell that Joe knows something and wonders aloud how to get close to him; Edward carelessly suggests that she “shag him,” and she is LIVID. Though I will say … that’s what Joe would do! Also, she WAS hooking up with Malcolm … it’s a gross thing for the guy she’s dating to suggest, but let’s not pretend this possibility never entered her mind!
Joe is also doing some research but, like Nadia, he’s coming up pretty empty: Lockwood has had the internet scrubbed of all damning stories. Basically, every hit is about his charity work. (Sorry, but I find it hard to believe that, given Lockwood’s alleged stature in the world and his myriad crimes, he would’ve never gotten the Koch Brothers/Sackler/etc. treatment by some New Yorker type outlet.) Nadia pops over for office hours and asks Joe about Dawn’s motivation for killing Malcolm under the guise of working on her novel. She also asks if he’s read the story she gave him, which he clearly didn’t. To get rid of her, Joe tells her that her plot is too complicated. To prove to herself there’s no way he read it, Nadia asks him a question about a character named Miranda, who definitely is not in her story.
On the way to dinner, Kate warns Joe that her dad is one of those baddies who will be totally lovable. And Tom Lockwood is impeccably cast: Greg Kinnear. He leans in to say hello and whispers in Joe’s ear, “Looking forward to getting to know you, Joe.” Well, that’s quite a fun twist.
Dad is very charming at dinner, and we get some telling childhood anecdotes about Kate-who-he-calls-Katherine (“But Barbra Streisand turned her puppy down!”) as Joe scrambles for a way to work Rhys into the conversation. I mean … he could just ask what Tom thinks of the mayor’s race? It’s not that hard. Instead, dessert arrives, and by dessert I mean a mock-up of the Katherine Lockwood Museum that Kate can have, in New York, stuffed with her dad’s collection — which, gosh, it’s just sitting in a vault somewhere! — alongside work by her favorite emerging artists. Kate goes to the bathroom to process this dream offer and to give her dad a chance to grill Joe on the important stuff: “What can you tell me about Love Quinn? Did you kill her? You ever kill anyone?” See, this is the energy I have been waiting for all season long!! Why did we have to wait seven episodes for this?
Joe explains that Love killed herself “and nearly me,” and Lockwood neatly pivots to “You know a Rhys Montrose?” Naturally, Rhys’s memoir is an “embellishment” (we already knew this), and Lockwood will have a story run on it, but it hardly seems like something that could derail the campaign. Lockwood would be grateful for any dirt Joe can shovel his way, and Joe decides that instead of killing Lockwood, he’ll use Lockwood to put Rhys in prison. “The enemy of my enemy is my frenemy” … no. Are we still saying frenemy?
That night, Phoebe comes to stay at Kate’s. She’s (understandably) spiraling; she has fired all her staff, might sell her flat, and would love to develop a trade and be capable because she just realized she has no skills. (I laughed out loud at “I’m just like this big, long baby.”) Kate, quite reasonably, tells Phoebe she ought to talk to a mental-health professional and can be checked into a discreet facility where she can be treated for PTSD. Kate’s done this before for her own mother, among others. But unfortunately for Phoebe, Adam — newly homeless — ALSO pops over to Kate’s, and even though Kate literally just said she was going to be discreet, she just up and tells Adam her plan. Adam, her unstable best friend’s also-unstable ex. See what I mean re: How am I supposed to buy that Kate is the smart one of this friend group?
Adam pleads for the chance to drive Phoebe to the facility because he wants to do one good thing. Phoebe, the paragon of judgment, says she trusts him. I thought he was going to total the car or something, but instead, the wreck he brings is an emotional one: They return engaged, her ring a bit of twine around her finger because they don’t even CARE about money now that they’re happy.
Across the way, Joe baits Rhys into coming over. He plants a camera and sets up the recording app on his phone to catch Rhys in a confession. But Rhys sniffs this out very quickly and then shows Joe his trump card: Marienne’s passport. Joe now has 24 hours to kill Lockwood or Marienne is dead. Seeing as there is zero paper trail of Joe’s involvement with Marienne (unlike his marriage to Love, for instance), I feel like this is our neon flashing sign saying RHYS IS JOE, JOE IS RHYS, which means that at some point — possibly during the locket-snatching incident? — Joe also lifted Marienne’s passport. And, apparently, locked her in a cage somewhere, as is his standard practice.
In the morning, Kate comes over to say she’s been up all night thinking about how she and Joe are so great but also have been doomed from day one. (To this, I say: Are they so great?) Kate decides that she does in fact need to tell Joe her deep, dark secret: As a teenage prodigy, she was the one who masterminded the engineering of that pipeline that gave all the kids cancer. “I will never not be Katherine Lockwood,” she laments, which is very funny to me only because, is it really so dramatic to insist “I’m Kate now” when your birth name is “Katherine”? Again, I am amazed that Kate is not going to ask Joe what the hell is so bad about his past that this does not unsettle him … maybe she already knows? Kate describes her fantasy wherein she and Joe escape to a different city every year, which is a nice meta-joke considering that’s exactly what Joe’s been doing since this series began.
Joe meets Lockwood in some rare book library at the school. Now I am suspicious of every interaction Joe has with someone without a third party present. Like, did Joe imagine this entire conversation? Joe’s already put tarps down for easy body removal, but he hasn’t really thought through his exit strategy. Before he can do what he came here to do, though, Lockwood has a few words: For one, he thinks Joe killed Love (which, Lockwood assures him, isn’t a problem because she was “a maniac”). To Lockwood, all this means is that Joe is a capable killer and good enough at murder to get away with it. Just like Rhys, Lockwood comes not to bury but to employ: Lockwood wants Rhys dead. The alternative, Lockwood says, is that he (Lockwood) will take away everything Joe has built for himself here, including his brand-new relationship with Kate that I guess we are to believe Joe cannot live without, even though he’s still hung up on Marienne?
Oh, there’s one more option, Lockwood says, which is “you could just stab me.” But in Lockwood’s totally unbiased opinion, killing Rhys is far and away the best choice. Lockwood pops open the first-edition Winston Churchill book Joe pulled to impress/distract him and writes the address of Rhys’s country house directly in the book, LMAO. Then he tosses the book Joe’s way and says, “Go be your best self.” Again, hilarious; the best scene this show has had all season. Where has this BEEN? Was Greg too busy/expensive to employ for all ten episodes?
Nadia breaks into Joe’s office/classroom and finds out that he has a hollowed-out copy of Jekyll and Hyde with a key. Also a book on torture. Yikes! Naturally, the J&H reference is supposed to point us in the direction of “Joe has split in two, and half of him is a psycho killer.” This is sort of odd because the other half of Joe, the “normal” half, was already a psycho killer before any of this happened. Still: Maybe Rhys IS real AND Joe has hallucinated/imagined all their interactions. Like how Dawn was convinced that Phoebe was communicating with her through the television! The word erotomaniac has sure been uttered enough times in this program to suggest that it is the lane we are heading down.
Joe goes to Rhys’s country house just as Rhys’s ex, Emma, is peeling out of there. Or is it Rhys?? DOES RHYS HAVE A TWIN? When he sees Joe at the door, he says he doesn’t recognize him. Hmm. Joe responds to this rationally (zip-ties maybe-Rhys to a chair in the shed). Joe demands to know where Marienne is, but this maybe-Rhys swears he has no idea what Joe is talking about. So Joe gets carried away and kills him. Oops! Then he HALLUCINATES Rhys, now in a suit and looking quite well, who cheers, “We really do have Marienne in a cage.” WELL. Well, well, well.
As an olive branch, Edward sends Nadia photos that Dawn had at her flat (his dad, the newspaper magnate, had access to the pictures), which include those of Joe carrying a takeout bag from the cheap Indian place across from that run-down-looking building. Nadia goes to investigate. Yet again, I am begging literally one person in this show to call someone before you go someplace obviously sketchy/scary … drop a pin … share your location … we live in a citizen-sponsored surveillance state where every public space is a panopticon, and it’s very creepy, but every now and then you can make it work for you! Nadia heads down some creaky-looking stairs, and what does she find but our old friend, the human aquarium!! Inhabited by none other than … Marienne.