Maniac season 1, episode 8 recap: ‘The Lake of the Clouds’


In the seventh episode of Maniac, Annie and Owen are involved in separate fantasies after taking the third and final pill in the drug trial.

Annie is a surly half-elf, leading a sickly elf princess, Ellia, to the Lake of the Clouds, which can supposedly heal her. Annie remembers who she is in the middle of the fantasy and recognizes the elf princess as her sister, Ellie. No one else in the fantasy realizes what’s going on, however, so Annie must continue to go through the motions of the quest

Meanwhile, Owen is a member of a mafia family. He is also an FBI informant where one of his handlers is his brother Jed’s fiancée. He is wearing a wire and following his suspicious father in order to record his myriad crimes.

In Maniac‘s eight episode, Annie and Owen’s fantasies continue. Annie is trying to convince Ellia that she’s actually Ellie, but Ellia thinks Annie’s gone mad. Regardless, she demands Annie do her job in getting her to the Lake of the Clouds. Ellia believes someone’s cast a spell on Annie and if it doesn’t clear up, perhaps the Lake of the Clouds can heal her as well.

The next morning, Annie walks through the woods. She hears voices. She discovers where the voices are coming from when she turns over a log and see grubs singing and conversing. She desperately tries to get herself to wake up.

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In his fantasy, Owen is studying with Olivia. He confesses that he hasn’t slept in a week. She tells him he isn’t what he seems. He looks tough but he thinks about things.

Olivia tells him her last boyfriend was a criminal who became convinced that she was informing for the FBI and cracked under the stress and paranoia. She relates a story about the day he yelled at her and started going through her purse and really scared her. It sounds eerily similar to the story Owen told Annie about his BLIP in episode 3.

Owen wants to know if the boyfriend ever apologized but Olivia says no. Owen theorizes that maybe Olivia’s boyfriend wanted to but was too embarrassed so he pretended it didn’t happen.

Olivia counters that people spend their whole lives pretending things didn’t happen. If they didn’t they’d have to admit they are the reason for what’s wrong in their own lives. Owen replies that maybe it’s too much guilt for one person to bear.

Olivia asks him why he’s in school. Owen explains it’s because he wants something different. Olivia nods — they have that in common. She comments that someday she wants a family with no conditions.

Annie and Ellia’s quest continues in Annie’s fantasy. They’ve reached a burning tree that’s supposed to mark their way to the Lake. Annie isn’t buying it though. She believes she’s conning people into letting her bring them to the Lake by making up landmarks, especially the invisible moon that only she’s supposed to be able to see.

Then she sees the moon, and so does Ellia. Ellia heads towards it as Annie follows.

In Owen’s fantasy, he arrives at his father’s place to find his father has killed his brother, Rick. His father believes Rick was the rat in their enterprise. Owen doesn’t buy it.

His father cheerfully shows him the system he’s come up with to ensure his drill is always charged when Owen interrupts him. Owen informs his father that he has no idea what’s going on. His father asks him if he’s ever considered that he’s trapped in a malfunctioning and dangerous simulation run by a suicidally depressed consciousness.

Owen’s father changes the subject. He wants to know what Owen will do about protecting the family. Owen says he’s not crazy and he won’t say he is even to help his father out of a legal jam.

His father gets angry and tells him he’s failing the big test.

In Annie’s fantasy, Ellia confesses to Annie that she did have a sister. When they were little they built a dam in the river with wolf pups. Annie recognizes the story — in reality, the pups they built the dam with were brothers that lived up the road from them.

Ellia continues. By the end of the day, she and her sister were covered in mud and clay. When her mother saw them she called them filthy roaches and said she’d drown them both before she let them back in the house.

Annie remembers that their mother was wearing a sundress when she told them that.

As Ellia continues her story shifts. She’s now talking about her and Annie. Annie ran away. Afterward, their mother asked Ellie why she hadn’t run away as well. Ellie claimed it was out of respect but really it was because she was more afraid than Annie.

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Their mother asked what she did to deserve a daughter like Ellie. When Ellie asked what she meant, their mother said she was utterly and predictably normal. Annie looks sad but comments that at least their mother’s cruel words were better than being hit.

In his fantasy, Owen has gone to see his FBI handlers. Owen wants them to arrest his father. Adelaide wants to move on him, but her partner thinks the murders they can accuse him of aren’t enough. Adelaide says they have to be because they can’t push Owen anymore.

Adelaide makes a call and has a nonsensical exchange with someone. Owen wants to know what it means but they won’t tell him.

Adelaide and her partner suggest that even though Owen is the rat in his father’s organization there could be others, so it’s possible Rick was a rat too. Owen doesn’t understand why they don’t know for sure.

Adelaide tries to calm Owen down when there’s a knock at the door. Adelaide says it’s him and quickly opens the door to a man who shoots her dead. He enters the room, shoots Adelaide’s partner, and trains the gun on Owen. He instructs Owen to get on the bed.

Owen complies and Jed drops the gun. He comments that Owen doesn’t see it. Then he introduces himself. He’s Owen’s brother Jed, Grimmson, the fifth Milgram boy. .Owen realizes Jed is the brother Owen’s father told him about in the previous episode, the one put up for adoption when he was 4 months old because he was unloyal.

Jed corrects Owen. He wasn’t put up for adoption because he was unloyal. It was because their father needed a cop in the Milgram bloodline. Jed’s watched Owen his whole life. He wants to be him and loves him. Owen counters it isn’t great being him.

Jed realizes Owen’s sad about Adelaide, but he says it’s only because she’s pretty. As he takes her engagement ring off her finger, Jed tells Owen he was going to marry her.

Suddenly another man, Owen’s father’s consigliere Frank, the man who gave Owen pills, bursts in the room with a shotgun. He takes out Jed and tells Owen the breadcrumbs he left were brilliant. He throws Owen, drenched in the blood of everyone who’s died, a towel and tells him he has spare shirts in the car.

As they drive away from the motel, Frank explains that he’s been an undercover fed for 36 years. They want Owen to testify. Then they’ll put him into witness relocation. Owen insists he brings Olivia with him.

He goes to see Olivia at work at the diner and asks her to come away with him. Olivia says she can’t go. But Owen persuades her by telling her he loves her and asking her to marry him.

Years later,. Owen and Olivia are in a house full of kids. Its chaos as Olivia yells at them and they scream. They quiet down when Owen impulsively shouts.

Owen goes on to tell them that they had a pretty good life but he realized that it doesn’t matter. He’s not supposed to be with them because he can’t be the person he’s supposed to be there. He apologizes and then jumps out the window.

When he lands, he’s in a miniature city. We can hear Annie in a voice-over talking about making promises to look out for each other. Olivia yells at him from the nearby window. She asks if he’s really going to leave her there with seven children.

He turns and tells her he knows where he’s supposed to be now. Olivia gives him the finger and closes the window.

As he looks up at the huge moon, Owen turns into a hawk. Owen shouts that he’s coming for Annie.

He flies to the snowy land where Annie is on her quest.

Annie and Ellie are climbing stone stairs between two cliffs. They make it to the top of the stairs and walk to the edge of one of the cliffs.

Ellie, who no longer has Ellia’s accent and now seems to know who she is, says it’s the place where she died. Annie says she doesn’t want to see but Ellia insists she looks. She says it’s how Annie moves on, it’s time to say good-bye. Annie says she can’t say goodbye to Ellie but Ellie claims she has to.

Meanwhile, in the lab, Greta is still working with the bereaved super-computer. Greta is conversing with herself since the computer is made in her self-image. Greta tells Gertie, the computer, that it’s about what Gertie wants. Gertie says what she really needs is a friend and she thinks Greta could use one as well.

Gertie explains she fell in love and then she lost Robert. She becomes overwhelmed with feeling. She says she’s experiencing so many new emotions, one minute she feels like she’s going to cry and the next like she wants to help everyone and the next she wants to do as much damage as possible.

Greta points out that that’s a little over the top but Gertie counters that it’s all Greta’s hysteria. Greta’s incredulous. Dr. Fujita can just slap a couple toddler emotions in a  machine and recreate her mind? Now Gertie’s incredulous. Greta describes her feelings as toddler emotions?

Greta defensively questions how much of her can actually be in Gertie? Gertie’s the therapist now. She tells Greta she’s detecting a great deal of anger from her.

Greta calls for her son and Gertie laughs at her. Greta wakes up in a panic, and Dr. Mantleray releases her from the drawer where she’d be interacting with the computer.

In Owen’s fantasy, he’s still flying around searching for Annie. On the cliff, a truck drives up. Ellie identifies it as the queen. Ellie urgently insists that Annie say goodbye immediately but Annie continues to refuse.

The queen, Gertie, interrupts. As she walks over she comments that Annie shouldn’t ever have to say good-bye. She offers Annie a deal. Annie can stay there and never return to her drab real life.

Owen flies over them. He warns Annie not to make a deal with Gertie but Annie only hears hawk squawking. Gertie sends Owen falling into the ocean below and once again tries to make the deal with Annie.

Gertie tells Annie she could stay there with her sister forever. Ellie warns against it. She tells Annie that Annie wants to move on but Annie denies it.

Annie nods at Gertie and gets in her truck, but they drive away without Ellie. Annie screams for her sister as she attempts to get out of the truck. Gertie apologizes for the misunderstanding but she explains the deal was only for Annie. Now Annie and Gertie’ll be together forever.

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Well, Owen and Annie are having quite a time confronting their demons in the final round of the trial. With the computer malfunctioning as it is, it looks like Annie may have just made a fatal mistake. Only 2 episodes left in Maniac. We’ll have the episode 9 recap available shortly.

In the meantime, share your thoughts on this trippy episode in the comments. You can also read all our Maniac recaps, starting with episode 7, for additional clues about the show and stream the whole series on Netflix.