Maniac season 1, episode 4 recap: ‘Furs by Sebastian’


The previous episode of Maniac ended with Annie and Owen taking the second of the Neberdine drug trial’s three pills and finding themselves in a fantasy together.

In the fantasy, which was just getting started as this episode of Maniac ended, Annie is known as Linda and Owen is Bruce. They are a married couple in 1980s Long Island.

At the start of Maniac‘s fourth episode, “Furs by Sebastian,” Owen/Bruce is reading a book in his car by Dr. Greta Mantleray while listening to a totally tubular ’80s jam. The book is a self-help tome that Owen is hoping will help him fix his marriage.

Meanwhile, Annie/Linda is at the DMV attempting to report a dangerous driver. She has a license plate but not a name and address so the DMV worker looks them up. Linda sees the information reflected in the worker’s glasses, writes it on her hand, tells the worker she’s changed her mind about filing a complaint and returns to Bruce in their car.

She reports that she failed the written again on Maniac. Then she tells him to take her to the address she got from the DMV worker.

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It’s a store called Furs by Sebastian. As Linda gets revved up for a confrontation, she instructs Bruce to distract “them” when they go in there. Bruce has no idea what’s going on. Who’s he distracting? And why are they going to a fur store in the middle of the summer anyway? Linda just tells him to go in the store without further explanation.

When they enter, Linda is disappointed. The salesperson who approaches them isn’t who she was hoping to see there.

She leaves Bruce to come up with an answer to the question of what they’re there for. He tells the salesman he’s looking for something to wear to the opera. Annie asks for directions to the bathroom. As she leaves him, Bruce looks even more confused.

Linda sneaks into the store’s back room and snoops around. She notices another room with an alarm. Fortunately, the code is on a post-it above the keypad, so Linda easily lets herself in. The room is filled with cages. Linda approaches one containing a ring-tailed lemur she calls Wendy.

Linda’s planning to rescue the lemur when a man comes into the room. She hides as he sprawls out on the couch. Then another man exits an adjoining bathroom and she crawls out of his line of sight on this episode of Maniac.

The men discuss the value of the lemur and how their father is planning to turn it into a hat the next day. The men start practicing a dance routine, apparently, they’re part of an aspiring boy band. While they’re distracted, Linda crawls out of the room unnoticed.

In the store, Bruce is doing his best to seem wealthy and the salesman is doing his best to get him to buy something. As the salesman asks if Bruce would be interested in bulletproof furs, Linda emerges from the back room and tells Bruce they have to go.

Bruce takes off the fur coat he’s wearing and tells the salesman they’ll think about it. Linda says Bruce looks better in leather and they leave as the salesman tries to convince Bruce to come back later.

In the car, Bruce demands to know what’s going on. Linda tells him they have Wendy, Nan’s lemur. Bruce hasn’t heard of Wendy or Nan. Linda reminds him that Nan was the woman she was taking care of at work. She had stomach cancer and died the previous day. On her deathbed, Nan asked Linda to take her pet lemur to her estranged daughter.

Two days ago on Maniac, two men tried to buy the lemur from Nan but she wouldn’t sell her. Then, after she died, Linda was taking the lemur to the daughter but stopped to use the bathroom first. During that time, the men stole Wendy. She just saw a van screeching away.

Bruce is amazed. Why didn’t Linda tell him any of this? Linda explains she was embarrassed because she messed the whole thing up like she always does.

Bruce wants to call the cops and clear things up that way. But Linda tells him the lemur is illegal. The authorities can’t find out about it or they’ll send it back to Madagascar. Besides, Nan was specific that the only one who could get the lemur to her daughter was Linda.

Bruce declares they have to break into the fur store that night. Linda is touched that Bruce is willing to help her. He doesn’t think she’s bonkers? He tells her that’s why he married her — she’s a force of nature.

At home that night, Bruce eats with their three young children. A babysitter enters and Linda leaves to Bruce’s reassurances that he’ll pick her up later and he’ll bring her gym bag.

At the hospice where she works, Linda reads to Nan’s roommate, Harriet. Linda is concerned that Harriet may be sad that Nan is gone but Harriet confesses she’s elated that it was Nan and not her.

At the front desk, Agent Lopez from New York Fish and Wildlife is waiting to talk to Linda about Nan and her lemur. He asks Linda where the lemur is now. Linda lies and says she doesn’t know.

As they talk, Linda is called on the PA. She tells Agent Lopez she has to go and turns to leave. Before she can get away, though, he asks her about Harriet. Linda claims Harriet has dementia so it would be a waste of time for Agent Lopez to talk to her.

Later that night, Bruce waits in his car in the hospice parking lot. He listens to a call-in show about marriage hosted by Greta Mantleray.  When Linda approaches the car, Bruce switches the channel to some music.

He gives her the gym bag and a jar of pills he got her for her allergies.

As they pull out of the hospice parking lot, the Fish and Wildlife Agent turns on his truck and follows them.

While Bruce drives, Linda ponders one of the pills. She says she’d heard that you shouldn’t take antihistamines because they stop your body from defending itself. She stares at the pill, which looks like the first pill in the drug trial. Bruce begrudgingly tells her she shouldn’t take them then and she puts the pills away.

Linda reaches into her gym bag and withdraws a gun. Bruce is freaked out but Linda explains it’s their kid’s squirt gun. She just spray-painted it black. She also withdraws a brick.

In the next scene, Linda uses the brick to smash the store’s window in. To her delight, no alarm goes off. Watching her, Bruce comments that he doesn’t even know who she is anymore.

They go to the back room but it someone changed the code Linda used earlier. Linda tries to think of alternatives and quickly figures out the new code.

Meanwhile, one of the guys Linda hid from at the store earlier drives up in a van. He cautiously enters the store with a pizza. He walks through the broken glass and finds the brick Linda used to smash the window.

In the back, Bruce and Linda quietly enter the alarmed room. They find the other guy from earlier fast asleep on the couch. They tiptoe around him, grab Wendy’s cage, and sneak towards the door.

When Bruce opens it though, the other guy is standing there. He knocks Bruce over the head with the brick. and he goes down. The guy then turns the brick on Linda.

When they regain consciousness, the two guys and their father, the salesman from earlier, Sebastian himself, are facing them. Linda says she’s the legal guardian of the lemur, but Sebastian counters that the lemur became his when he stole it from Linda.

He threatens Bruce and Linda and tells them one way or another they’re going to watch him skin the lemur.

Suddenly a siren sounds outside. Agent Lopez from Fish and Wildlife instructs Sebastian and sons to come out with their hands up. Sebastian tells one of his sons to go check it out. The son comes back to report it’s the cops.

At the news, Sebastian dons a fur and grabs two guns. He moves towards the front of the store where the authorities are waiting in the parking lot. Agent Lopez tells Sebastian to come out with his hands up and with his hostage, Wendy the lemur, unharmed.

When Sebastian doesn’t comply, Agent Lopez signals another agent to shoot a smoke bomb into the store. In response, Sebastian shoots wildly towards the Fish and Wildlife agents. His sons awkwardly join him in the firefight.

When the sons leave, Bruce and Linda free themselves, grab Wendy, and try to crawl to safety at the front of the store. When one of the sons is shot to death, however, they decide it’s too dangerous. Instead, they find the back exit and escape that way.

Bruce and Linda make it to their car with Wendy and screech out of the parking lot. Agent Lopez watches them from behind his truck where he’s pinned down by gunfire.

By early morning, Bruce and Linda get to Nan’s daughter, Paula’s house. Paula recognizes Wendy immediately. After commenting on the early hour she lets Linda and Wendy in.

Linda starts to tell Paula why she’s there but Paula tells her Linda doesn’t know why she’s there. Linda corrects her. She tells Paula that Nan was giving Paula the lemur as a gesture of reconciliation.

Paula asks why. Linda tells her she believes it’s Nan’s way of saying she loves Paula on Maniac. Paula says the lemur’s message is the opposite of that. She got a letter in the mail from her mother that outlined why Nan thought lemurs are better than human children.

Waiting in the car, Bruce continues to read his self-help book by Greta Mantleray. He flips a page and encounters a photo captioned “Olivia Meadows, your ’emotional poltergeist.’ who you screamed at during your BLIP.”

Just then a large truck drives by, startling him.

The noise from the truck startles Linda in the house too. As Paula finishes reading Nan’s scathing letter to Linda, Linda comments that maybe Nan’s right. Maybe Paula shouldn’t have children.

Paula is clearly angry on Maniac. She says Linda is exactly the kind of person her mother would send to deliver her lemur. But it’s too late because Paula’s already pregnant. Linda congratulates her.

Linda leaves Paula’s house with the lemur. Bruce doesn’t understand what happened. He wants to go back and talk to Paula, but Linda won’t let him.

As they drive away. Linda tells a story. One morning when her family lived upstate she and her sister woke up and found that their parents were gone. Her sister got scared, so Linda told her they’d go find them.

They started walking down their long driveway and Linda noticed her father’s grey pick-up truck in the distance. She knew it was on because she could see the exhaust. As they got closer, she could see it was just one person, her dad, in the car sitting in the driver’s seat crying.

When she saw his eyes in the rearview, she knew her mother was either dead or gone forever. All she cared about in that moment was keeping her sister away. So she told her sister they should go back to the house and bake a cake and pretend it’s her birthday. Her sister agreed.

Bruce asks when her parents got back together. Linda looks confused. Bruce clarifies — Linda’s parents aren’t divorced. Linda says that maybe she’s just tired, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

The couple arrive back at their home and dismiss the babysitter. Linda lies down on the couch and tells Bruce she wants to keep Wendy.

Bruce responds by apologizing that he can’t make Linda happy. Linda tells him he does make her happy. He indicates he believes her, but he doesn’t really seem to.  Then, he goes to take out the trash.

As Bruce drags the trash can down the driveway, Fish and Wildlife vehicles speed up to the house with sirens blaring. Bruce gets on his knees with his hands in the air as the agents hold their guns on him. Bruce tells them that Linda had nothing to do with it, he’s guilty.

As Bruce is taken away in handcuffs, he notices someone watching him from the back of a parked car. Inside the house, Linda seems unaware that anything’s happening outside.

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The episode ends with shots of Annie and Owen In the drug testing room in the real world as they continue to dream.

What fantasy will the pair be plunged into next? And what does a fantasy about a lemur have to do with improving Annie and Owen’s psychological health? Your guess is as good as mine.

Our recap of Maniac‘s fifth episode will be available shortly. If you want to review any Maniac details, take a look at our recap of episode 3 and stream the series on Netflix. And share your thoughts on all things episode 4 in the comments.