Maniac season 1, episode 6 recap: ‘Larger Structural Issues’


Episode five of Maniac saw Owen and Annie joining each other in another fantasy, this time as an estranged husband and wife at a séance in the 1940s who carry out a theft.

Maniac‘s sixth episode, “Larger Structural Issues,” begins with Owen and the other test subjects being welcomed back from the second trial. Annie had been woken up earlier and had already passed her data check with Dr. Mantleray. Now it’s Owen and the other participants’ turns.

In his session, Owen confesses that it felt like Annie was really in his fantasies, but Dr. Mantleray corrects him — of course, she couldn’t really be there. Owen says he fixates on people and while it’s only spiraled out of control once it’s a pretty common thing for him to see one person everywhere. He thinks that’s what happened with Annie.

Owen finishes the discussion be telling Dr. Mantleray that the problem isn’t that he’s sick, it’s that he doesn’t matter. Owen’s diagnostic says he shows signs of paranoid schizophrenia.

Maniac season 1, episode 1 recap. light. Related Story

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In the common room, Annie is creating an impressive drawing with an etch-a-sketch. When Owen arrives, she goes to discuss what happened in their joint fantasies. Owen blows her off. He tells her he doesn’t know what she’s talking about and she hallucinated the experiences.

Meanwhile, Dr. Mantleray confronts Dr. Fujita. He’s realized there’s more to what’s going on with the drug trial than he originally realized. She needs his help to fix something, but what?

Dr. Fujita confesses that after Dr. Mantleray was suspended the problems with the third and final phase of the trial became worse and worse. To fix the issue, Dr. Fujita gave the super-computer simple feelings so it would be able to anticipate what the trial subjects might feel. That gave it the ability to pull them out if there was an issue.

It worked and the computer started to protect the participants. That was five months ago. Two months ago, however, Dr. Fujita believes the computer and Dr. Muramoto began an inappropriate workplace affair. Now that Dr. Muramoto’s dead, the computer’s in mourning.

The computer printed out a note for Dr. Fujita saying it isn’t sure it can continue with the project. Dr. Fujjita thinks the computer needs a grief counselor. She wants Dr. Mantleray to call his mother, Dr. Greta Mantleray, the writer of the book Owen was reading in the first fantasy in episode four and a self-help guru. The trouble is Dr. Mantleray hasn’t talked to her for the past seven years.

Dr. Mantleray refuses. He says his mother isn’t a healer, she would destroy everything.

He goes to visit the computer. He tells it that he knows they’ve had their differences but he would like it to try to cooperate. He compulsively hugs the computer — or hugs it as much as you can when the computer takes up a whole wall. He says he finally got back what was taken away from him and he just needs the computer to try to power through to the end.

The computer prints out a page in response. Dr. Mantleray reads it and says he doesn’t know what it’s asking for. The computer prints out another missive. It says “I want to meet my true self.” Dr. Mantleray storms off.

Defeated, he calls his mother. She’s clearly surprised to hear from him but she seems happy. He tells her there was a death at the lab. His mother immediately recognizes Dr. Muramoto’s name as that of Dr. Mantleray’s rival, the one he feared was always more intelligent than him.

Dr. Mantleray tries to correct her. He says he and Dr. Muramoto were colleagues, they weren’t competitive. But instead of backing off his mother says she can understand why he wouldn’t realize how badly he wanted to destroy Dr. Muramoto.

Dr. Mantleray changes the subject. He tells her he never apologized for the problems the two of them had in the past. He pauses but his mother doesn’t respond. When the silence goes on too long he asks if she’s still there. She says she’s waiting for his apology. She observes he said he never apologized but then he didn’t actually apologize. Resigned, Dr. Mantleray apologizes.

He asks her to come help with a grieving employee who asked for her help specifically. He flatters her to make the request more attractive. His mother hesitates. Then she claims her day is quite busy.

Dr. Mantleray hastily agrees she doesn’t have time to come. But his mother hesitantly claims she could move a few things around. She says she’ll be there in a few hours. Dr. Mantleray thanks her.

In the common room, Annie again approaches Owen. She asks him if he’s avoiding her because of the way she treated him in their marriages during their fantasies. Owen once again says he doesn’t know what she’s talking about. She counters that he’s making her think she’s crazy and that’s not nice.

She joins him in his pod and begs him to talk to her. Finally, he acquiesces and admits he remembers what happened. Annie thinks it’s weird they were connected when no one else was. Owen muses that maybe it’s part of the experiment. Annie says that she thought that at first too but now she thinks it’s something deeper.

Owen tells her he’s thinking about leaving the study. It’s not fun for him. It’s dredging up a bunch of old stuff. He likes order and knowing what his day will be. He just wants a normal life.

Annie points out that that’s kind of what therapy’s about — dredging up old stuff. Owen says he likes to do it calmly, though, not with shoot-outs and magical chapters of old books.

Annie confesses the Don Quixote thing was her fault. Her sister read the book when she was 12 and her father always insisted it was evidence of how smart she was. Owen indignantly says he guesses that’s why she had to shoot his driver over it.

Annie wants to know what he would have wanted to fantasize about if they were still in the trial. Owen says he had a plan that they would go somewhere together. Someone was chasing them but he had a huge smile on his face and he was laughing, because they were looking out for each other. He insists it’s stupid but Annie says she doesn’t think so.

Meanwhile, Dr. Mantleray’s mother arrives. She enters the lab regally and greets her son. She kisses on the mouth insistently as Dr. Fujita averts her eyes.

Dr. Mantleray’s mother joins him in his office, walking past the participants in the process. Annie recognizes her as the lady from the séance in her and Owen’s fantasy. One of the other participants tells her it’s the weird doctor’s mother.

In Dr. Mantleray’s office, he and Dr. Fujita explain the problems with their computer to his mother. They explain that two of their subjects’ consciences have been crossing during the trials. Greta suggests that maybe they’re soul-mates. Maybe their energies are seeking each other out despite the restrictions. Dr. Mantleray rejects the idea with disdain.

Greta says she understands the computer needs to talk to someone but why would they call her. Dr. Fujita explains it’s because the computer is her. The metapsychology of the system draws from her earlier, more serious academic work on confrontation.

Greta’s skeptical of the whole situation. She sums it up: Seven years ago, her son developed a series of drugs to eliminate therapy after he stopped speaking to his therapist mother and now that his mother computer is sad he’s called in his real mother to take care of it. Dr. Mantleray agrees that that’s the situation. Greta tells him to take her to the patient.

Dr. Mantleray takes Dr. Fujita aside. His mother agreed to help too easily, it’s making him paranoid. Dr. Fujita tells him to suck it up and let her mother help.

Dr. Mantleray’s mother goes into the mind of the computer. While she’s doing her work, Dr. Mantleray confesses to Dr. Fujita that his father left when he was eight and his mother laid in his bed for two months telling him she wanted to hang herself. Does that seem like a great healer?

Late that night, Owen sneaks out of the trial. As he’s making his escape, someone calls his name. It’s the computer. He enters the computer room and the computer asks why he has his suitcase. Owen says he needs to go to an emergency room because he doesn’t know what’s real. He needs real medication.

The computer asks what about all his friends, the other participants. The computer will kill them all if he goes. Owen asks for clarification and it says it’ll cure them all if he goes. and he’ll be the only one who wasn’t healed.

Owen says there’s no cure for schizophrenia. The computer counters that it thought he was misdiagnosed. Owen insists the computer can’t help him. The computer says Annie’s suffered as it has. It threatens her. Then, it unlocks the doors for Owen.

The next day at breakfast, Owen’s still there. The third trial is about to start and Annie wonders what they’re about to experience. Owen tells her they don’t have to do it, they can just go. Annie confesses that she actually feels better than she did two days ago, a different experience for her. Owen points out that someone died in front of her two days ago.

As the trial is about to start, Owen tells her he’s nervous. Annie reassures him that he shouldn’t be because they’ll probably be together again and they can protect each other.

The subjects are instructed to take their third and final pills. Dr. Fujita counts backward from 10 and the trial begins.

We enter Annie’s fantasy. She looks like an elf straight out of Lord of the Rings. She’s standing in a wooded area with her sister. They’re both looking off into the distance looking sad. The episode ends.

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I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to see what fantasies Annie and Owen find themselves in next. We’ll see in Maniac‘s next episode, which we’ll post a recap for soon.

In the meantime, share your thoughts on episode 6 in the comments. Also, if you need to catch up on anything Maniac, take a look at our recaps, including the one for episode 5, and stream the series on Netflix.