Delving back into the fantastical and alternate-reality worlds of Annie and Owen, we continue the path to the Lake of the Clouds and whether Owen can avoid his fathers drill-powered trepanation.
Self-aware Annie and Ellie are surprisingly succeeding in their quest to reach the mystical lake in the hopes of healing Ellie, even with Annie’s continual skepticism. But, alongside the quest going well, they have also made a connection, one that brings them ever closer. But in reaching their terminal location, the lake doubles as the site of Ellie’s death, it also means that Annie needs to say goodbye to Ellie, that is her confrontation. The reality of giving up the repetitive behaviour she has developed, in order to keep hold of that littlest piece of her sister, is too much of a step for Annie. She can’t do it.
Back in the gangster world, Owen has found out that his reflection has brought him back to Olivia and how good a fit they seem to be. Owen makes a connection with Olivia and it appears that Owen is aware of his decisions to follow this path, albeit still with heavy things to deal with on his end.
Milgrim senior is still on the hunt for his rat and he has now gone as far as killing one of his own sons. If Owen wasn’t sure before that he has to do something about this, then surely this is enough to tip him over the edge! Back at the dingy hotel room with the NYPD cops, Owen is still trying to finalise things when Jed appears in the motel room. Jed brutally kills the cops in the belief that he is the fifth Milgrim son, given up and cast out, vilified as the crazy, needy one (a parallel to how Owen perceives himself). As if Maniac hasn’t been convoluted enough, it appears that Jed is a cop but also a wannabe criminal in a scenario not dissimilar to The Departed. However, this doesn’t last, just like in the film, as another undercover agent arrives and even more brutally and suddenly kills Jed and rescues Owen from his situation, avoiding making the hard decisions and being lead on the path to do what is right.
As Owen escapes, rescuing Olivia too in a move that he has harboured for a long time, we get a flash forward of how their lives pan out. A hellish future marriage, and too many children to count, seems to be awaiting them and in a direct parallel to Owen throwing himself off the roof, he bids to end it all, except he fails at this again! But not to fear as Owen turns himself into a hawk (yes I did just write that!) and flies off, fully aware, to get to Annie. This visualisation of his potential future also explains his reluctance to commit in the real world if this is where he believes he will end up.
In an emotional climax to this episode, Owen finds Annie but with an evil-looking, Narnian witch GRTA shooting him down, we are left with GRTA trying to persuade Annie to stay in the system with Ellie, something that she wants to do so that she does not need to face up to that confrontation. However, we know that saying yes to staying will make Annie a McMurphy victim. As we near the end of the series, we are no clearer as to the final destination of either of these characters, indeed everyones futures are entirely up in the air!