For the first time in a while in Netflix’s sci-fi drama Maniac, we find Owen and Annie are in separate reflections in this latest C Pill experience. It appears that the problems behind the scenes have been solved, for now at least.
Owen is a fully fledged member of the Mafia, complete with tattoos, gold chains and braided hair. It is a strange look, made even more so when he begins talking about his schoolwork later in the episode. We find out that, Owen’s dad is the head of this Mafia enclave and his other son’s, minus Jed, are his willing henchmen. Throughout this episode there are less than subtle parallels with real life, as this is the confrontation section of the treatment, they come thick and fast as Owen and Annie’s brains try to clear up their many issues: In Owen’s case here, his mafia dad wants Owen to take the fall for his own misdemeanours and plead crazy to get a lighter sentence.
To further complicate things in Owen’s experience, he is working with the NYPD to try to bring down his father, whilst at the same time his father is working to find out who the rat is within his organisation, mostly with his favourite weapon – his drill, putting Owen in a precarious predicament: Faithfulness to his family or doing the thing that is right? Once again a similar sounding problem! When Owen’s father is willing to put one of his own son’s to the sword to try to torture the information out of him, you know this is getting serious and is a fair reflection on how Owen perceives himself to be under threat from his own family.
Alongside the NYPD investigation into the Milgrim Mafia, Owen has been exploring other issues with his memories. He digs into more cathartic action as he appears to be mending bridges with his memory of Olivia and how they ended their relationship, although this is less confrontation and more like making peace, building something for the future.
Annie, on the other hand still crops up from time to time in Owen’s experience, but more as a background item rather than something actively participating. Annie is now Annia, a half elf, with her sister and full elf Ellie (as Ellia), looking for the Lake of the Clouds so that Ellia can be healed of her terminal illness. The fantasy landscape and styling here is superb, alongside Annia’s behaviour as the disbelieving, downbeat, alcoholic mercenary. With a wicked hangover, Annia still has to function as she is abruptly attacked by multiple assailants with arrows flying everywhere. Annia’s hungover marksmanship leaves less to be desired but eventually she kills the assailant, who turns out to be versions of herself, and with a useful bit of exposition from a passing dragonfly we get the fact that she was “slaying her inner demons”. Another, not so subtle, parallel with reality. Dreams, gotta love em!
Annia and Ellia get captured and Annia is forced to look into the mirror of fate. What she sees is two sisters, Annie and Ellie, which has the effect of snapping Annia out of her elvish role and puts Annie back in there, complete with all her memories. Once they get released from the camp they set off again to make for the mystical, magical lake.
Splitting up the main characters and flicking between the two stories being told is a bold decision after all the fantastic episodes that have taken place with Owen and Annie together. It lacks a bit of the in-depth story telling that you got previously but, Ceci N’est Pas une Drill turns out to be only the first part of a two parter, we don’t get any conclusion to these stories just yet, but it is coming!