Joe is absolutely horrified to see the decrepit basement and his human aquarium with Marienne starving inside. He has brought Marienne offerings of kindness, including a book, pencils, and an apology. Hallucination Rhys, who is also Shadow Joe, is simply delighted. Nadia is crouched behind a wall and miraculously evades discovery. When Joe leaves, she and Marienne hatch an elaborate plan to kill Joe that involves ketamine (courtesy of Edward, the boyfriend-slash-drug-dealer) for sedating Joe, a drill for the door, and a knife for Marienne to finish the job. Wow, two of my favorite things: Women in STEM and women supporting women!
Meanwhile, Kate is at Adam and Phoebe’s engagement party, which is actually their wedding. Adam’s evolution from casually shitty boyfriend to gold-digging megalomaniac is complete and not the most subtle storytelling, but when has You ever aspired to subtlety? Phoebe is in a great place (doing coke and spiraling). Her parents are boycotting the festivities now that they know it’s a wedding. I know Phoebe is having a full meltdown, but I love her robe! It’s cool that she can still dress well in a crisis. Kate attempts a last-ditch intervention and begs Phoebe not to marry Adam, but Phoebe lashes out. She is NOT a fairy princess, so she MUST get married? Sure! Fine logic, our clearest head is prevailing. Kate escapes to the bar to text her date, who is MIA. When is Jonathan getting to the party?
Well, Joe is just a tad busy figuring out how he will flee the country once he lets Marienne go. Hallucination Rhys/Shadow Joe tells Joe to check his freezer, and I’m like, Jesus Christ, how many body parts are we gonna collect? But it turns out it’s a GUN that Hallucination Rhys/Shadow Joe wants Joe to use to kill Marienne, thus ending her suffering. Joe disagrees and beelines for Sundry House. As soon as he sees Kate, things go all soft-focus. Again I don’t know about the rest of you, but Kate as Joe’s object of obsession just isn’t hitting for me. It might be because Joe’s attentions have been so divided all season — he’s clearly MORE fixated on Rhys, plus he never let go of Marienne — and also because the chemistry just isn’t crackling like we need it to. It all just feels very crowded and disjointed.
Upon hearing that Kate tried and failed to get Phoebe to call off the wedding, Joe decides that his “mission is clear,” and HE must stop the wedding. Yet ANOTHER mission for Joe! At such a late hour! That has nothing to do with the part of the show we are actually invested in (Joe being a serial killer who now has a split personality)! See what I mean re: crowded and disjointed? At first, I hoped there would be some payoff for that season-opener question of what Joe said to Phoebe that changed her life while he was blitzed out of his mind. But nope! (I am preemptively annoyed thinking about how we are never going to find out … sloppy storytelling and also rude!) Really the only point of this is that Phoebe is on Diazepam, among other meds, which are scattered all over Sundry House, and Joe palms a bottle for later. This conversation they have does not, in fact, get Phoebe not to get married but instead is the final nudge she needs for a full psychotic break. Then Adam arrives with those douchebag blonde highlights (you know the blonde I mean) and has Kate and Joe thrown out.
Kate is walking BAREFOOT through London alongside Joe, who is having quite the leisurely night for someone who just realized he blacked out and kidnapped Marienne and left her to starve to death in his human aquarium. Joe tells Kate some very sweet, romantic stuff about how her love transformed him — “You have changed me the way opening a window changes a dark room” — before bailing on her because he says he has “things to take care of.” Okay, but Joe was supposed to be at a wedding all night until they got thrown out, soooo how does this not set off alarm bells in fair Kate’s brain?! She is too smitten to notice. Also, this show doesn’t exactly do “passage of time” clearly, so I have no idea how long they’ve known each other, but it feels like … not very. Maybe two months? Kate is as dopey as Phoebe.
By the harsh light of morning, we learn that newlywed Phoebe staggered out into the night, had a breakdown, and got sectioned. As Kate tells her dad, who was waiting outside her door with coffee, Adam is in charge of all of Phoebe’s money and her life, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. Anyway, Lockwood is here to offer his daughter his company, sort of out of nowhere? He has decided, apropos perhaps of Joe’s arrival in Kate’s life, that Kate’s life is too small for her, and it’s time to come into the big leagues, where she’ll have this magnificent big operation with which to do what she pleases. For instance, “save 10,000 kids for every one you hurt.”
Joe spends his morning dropping off breakfast for Marienne. He uses Marienne’s phone to text Beatrice, Juliette’s sitter, who replies that Marienne is a junkie who has lost custody and shouldn’t bother coming back — Juliette’s grandma is taking Juliette to the U.S. Marienne howls that Joe may as well kill her since the only reason she had to live is gone. Hallucination Rhys/Shadow Joe encourages this mercy killing.
Alas, Nadia is the clumsiest would-be criminal in the world who tries to jump the turnstile getting on the Tube, and spills all of her suspicious supplies right in front of a cop. Girl, just put money on your Oyster card?! But no, instead, she gets arrested.
Joe decides it would be a great idea to take a handful of Diazepam to shut up his shadow self until the morning. Personally, if I had a habit of blacking out and doing murders, I would not choose this critical juncture to fuck around with narcotics. (At least set an alarm before you pass out!) Joe has some unsettling and extremely obvious drugged-out dreams.
In the dream, Joe cannot remember the code to his own cage. The one he keeps typing in is 121389, which, I realize as I type this, is Taylor Swift’s birthday (Dec. 13, 1989), but I can’t believe that’s why they picked it … or is Joe Goldberg canonically a Swiftie? If so, hilarious Easter egg. In the dream, Joe kills Marienne by (accidentally?) spiking her coffee with peanut oil, which is how he actually/intentionally killed Beck’s first boyfriend in season one.
Then Joe hallucinates Gemma, whose purpose in the dream is not totally clear to me — she just taunts Joe for killing her and not accepting responsibility for it — but soon enough she disappears, and then Joe approaches a lectern in a classroom full of Becks. Beck is also at the front of the room, reading “Bluebeard’s Castle,” a story about a woman who marries a rich guy only to discover that he’s murdered his past six wives. Relatable! She introduces Joe to the room as the man who “finished writing my book after I died in his arms.” She calls him “pathetic,” and then when Joe turns around, he sees his human aquarium, quite well-stocked, occupied by Love. She’s got some reading material, too: Rhys’ book. Marienne is also there, asphyxiating on the floor. Love asks Joe what love (lowercase L) is, then hands him what turns out to be a gun: “Somebody does need to die for this to end for good,” she tells him. The gun is at his temple; with a bang, he wakes up.
Joe tells Hallucination Rhys/Shadow Joe that he knows what he needs to do to “end the cycle once and for all.” As you might expect, Hallucination Rhys/Shadow Joe does NOT want Joe to commit suicide. But Joe doesn’t want to listen to that half of himself anymore.
Back at Sundry House, Adam is enjoying what he thinks is his ideal S&M experience, but just as he’s saying, “I’m in control now,” his dom and some heavies bust out a bunch of knives and murder him. Clearly, this is Lockwood’s work, and Kate puts that together very quickly. I understand we are supposed to see this as underlining the theme of the season/show — men controlling women and committing horrific acts of violence under the guise of doing what’s best for said women — but that whole plot has been handled in such a ham-fisted way that it doesn’t really add anything to the main proceedings, sorry!
Kate visits her dad at his airplane hangar (LMAO, of course he has a workshop for putzing around with airplanes) and reams him out for having Adam killed. Lockwood, the picture of innocence: “I did what you asked me to do!” Obviously, if she didn’t want Adam killed, she shouldn’t have told her dad — noted bad guy!! — how much Adam sucked. This is EXACTLY why Meadow really didn’t want to tell her dad about what Coco said to her! When your dad goes around doing murders, you really need to watch what you say around him. Kate doesn’t see it that way. She tries to cut ties forever.
Dad ignores these wishes and tells her the truth, which I don’t know about all of you, but I feel like it is something she should’ve seen coming: Her entire “independent” life was built for her by her dad, who made all the calls and pulled all the strings so that she could feel like she was doing stuff for herself but all the while she would have no iota of her identity that genuinely belonged to her. Much like Joe with all the women he supposedly loves, Lockwood’s thing is “keeping her safe” by doing things Kate would find appalling — like making Me Too allegations against Malcolm disappear — if only she knew about them, which, by design, she never will, unless/until her dad reveals them. No matter what she does, she’s his favorite kid. “I own everything in this world I want, including you.” The best part of this whole scene is when Kate leaves and her dad calls after her, “I want you to drive careful though, okay?” A+ line reading! Greg Kinnear GETS it.
Honestly, this season would have been SO much better if we’d met Lockwood in the premiere! Instead of this convoluted split-personality actually-Rhys-isn’t-Rhys thing, Joe could’ve had a real nemesis: a man who could out-Joe Joe over the very woman Joe was trying to court and protect. Think about how gothic-horror-twisty it would’ve been for Joe’s rival for Kate’s heart to be Kate’s DAD. And for Joe to see what the endgame of his life would/will be like if he keeps on like this — it would shatter his fantasy that there’s some end to his behavior, some final act of violence that would be enough. Because nothing will ever be enough! Guys like this don’t change! But instead, oh well, we got five episodes of murders about rich people who weren’t interesting enough to stay at the White Lotus, committed by Joe in a fugue state while conscious Joe dithered around chasing his own tail. Real missed opportunity.
Back in town, Nadia gets released from the police station. Her boyfriend has been patiently waiting for her outside with a backpack of ketamine, plus he helped her make bail. He is so devoted and she is so distracted. No way both of them survive the season. They are too pure.
Joe finally gets back to his human aquarium only to find Marienne unconscious. Apparently she took all the drugs. My hunch is she pretended to take those drugs and is faking it, like how she faked being unconscious when he brought her down here in the first place. Full-circle fakery! Hallucination Rhys/Shadow Joe is taking Marienne’s death at face value and is just thrilled. God, he’s annoying. Is there any way for Joe to kill him?