Maniac season 1, episode 9 recap: ‘Utangatta’


When we last left Annie and Owen in episode 8 of Maniac, Annie had made a deal with the malfunctioning super-computer to stay in her fantasy world forever, and the computer had eliminated Owen —who’d turned into a hawk — from the fantasy.

As the ninth episode of Maniac, “Utangatta,” begins, Owen has been thrust into a new fantasy. Now he’s an Icelandic spy named Snorri who recently killed someone. He’s meeting with a superior who dismisses the death as an accident but Snorri clearly feels guilty.

The superior encourages Snorri to take control of his behavior and stop admitting guilt — his fate and the fate of the Earth depends on it.

Later, at a NATO meeting, Snorri is instructed to admit his guilt, which he immediately does. He reads a small statement written on tiny paper about the punishment he should receive for his actions.

The meeting attendees argue over Snorri’s fate. Some want to hand him over to the aliens who are apparently threatening Earth, some want to kill him themselves, and some wonder if he deserves either of those options.

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Snorri feels very guilty however and wants to tell the parents of the individual he killed, Ernie, what happened to their son. The group records his confession. Snorri explains that on a birding expedition he discovered an injured Ernie. At first, he thought he was a magical being. He brought him home and nursed him back to health.

Then he informed his superior, Admiral Grimssom. Snorri trails off during his next sentence when he notices Annie smoking and watching his confession from the gallery.

Snorri continues his story. He and the Admiral were planning to make an agreement to introduce Ernie to the world. Ernie said his species could eliminate all humanity’s problems and Snorri believed he wanted to help mankind.

The night before the introduction they had a party. Snorri put his drink down on a sound system connected to a microphone. When the system was jostled some of the drink got into it. So when Ernie took the microphone to give a speech, he was electrocuted.

As he ends his story, Snorri screams in agony and the room starts to shake.

The man running the meeting announces that they’ve learned that a large mass has moved past the Earth and a heat ray is trained at the planet. Ernie’s people have arrived for revenge.

Snorri is taken away as he individually apologizes to each country.

In the lab, Greta meets with Dr. Fujita and Dr. Mantleray about her assessment of the computer. Greta says the computer is suffering through pathological bereavement. She’s cycling through delusional emotions.

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The computer started talking about keeping the participants prisoner, toying with them and hurting them. When Greta told her that was unacceptable the computer threw her out a window.

Dr. Fujita and Dr. Mantleray check but everything seems completely normal with the trial. Greta thinks they’re covering for the computer. She believes that the right thing is to shut down the trial.

Dr. Fujita lashes out at the idea. She thinks Greta is jealous of what they’re accomplishing and she’s trying to sabotage their work. She stalks out angrily and demands Dr. Mantleray throw Greta out.

With Dr. Fujita gone, Greta implores her son to stop the trial. Dr. Mantleray isn’t willing to do it. If he does everything will be lost. Greta reminds him of the Hippocratic oath: “First do no harm.” Dr. Mantleray just thinks she’s trying to diminish him.

Greta can’t understand why he won’t listen to her. Dr. Mantleray breaks down, crying that Greta was an awful mother. In his emotional state, he goes blind. He panics. Greta tries to reassure him that it’s psychosomatic and suggest she hug him to calm him down but that just makes him more frantic.

In Owen’s fantasy, Snorri sits handcuffed to a chair. He reaches for a pen on the desk. He’s about to stab himself with it when he hears gunshots outside. Annie enters. She’s a CIA operative and she’s there to help him.

She tells Snorri that Ernie and his kind are there to kill humans so they can sell them as exotic meats across the galaxy. Snorri refuses to believe it.

Then Annie drops another bomb. Snorri’s body is human but his conscious is alien. He’s there to stop Ernie and Snorri’s just his cover. Snorri can’t remember so she’s there to wake him up.

Snorri asks who she is but she says she doesn’t know. She lost most of her memories when the CIA tortured her and turned her into a killing machine. Snorri observes they’re the same — neither of them knows who they are.

Annie agrees. Then she tells him she needs to get him to the extragalactic radio so they can unlock a portal to let his forces in. Snorri has trouble processing that one.

She takes a step back and asks him what the Icelandic word “Utangatta” means. Snorri defines it as meaning something is amiss. But Annie wants to know what it means to him. Snorri says it means every relationship he’s had has been false and he’s always felt invisible and it makes him sad.

Annie leads him out of the room. He follows as she takes out operative after operative. Snorri asks who they all are. Annie says she calls them inner demons — it seems he’s got them too.

Snorri victoriously joins in the killing and praises Annie’s gun prowess. Finally, they make it into the elevator.

Meanwhile, in real life, Dr. Fujita realizes the temperature in the participants’ room has skyrocketed and the researchers are locked in their lab. In the common room, one of the orderlies notices smoke coming from the ceiling.

From the lab, Dr. Fujita talks him through ventilating the mainframe. When he pulls the red override knob, though, the computer electrocutes him.

In the fantasy, Annie uses a device to retrieve Snorri’s recall trigger. He spits out the tiny trigger and it pops into a piece of popcorn, similar to what Owen saw in Maniac‘s first episode.

Owen now knows who he is. His accent disappears. He tells Annie they’re in a test. Annie doesn’t believe him. Owen explains they’re in the last stage of a drug trial but the computer is all messed up and Annie made a deal with it to never wake up.

The elevator doors open and Grimsson is waiting for them. He tells Owen he’s sorry he couldn’t wake him up but Annie’s more real to him now. Owen wants to know how Grimsson and Annie know each other but Grimsson ignores the question.

As Grimsson escorts them away, Owen repeats the question to Annie and she tells him Grimsson’s her handler.

Grimsson takes them into a room full of unconscious people lying in beds. Grimsson explains this is the place where the computer keeps her long-term patients. She uses them as her entourage when she goes into others’ fantasies but they’re actually prisoners who are brain-dead in the real world.

They come upon a bed with Annie’s name on it. When Owen reminds Annie of the deal she made to stay there, Annie remembers.

Annie asks Grimsson where she’d find the computer if she needed to talk to her. He tells her and Annie leaves.

Owen asks her to wait but Grimsson tells him to let her go. Owen complains Annie’s always leaving but Grimsson says if Owen gets distracted by her they’re all dead. To help Annie, Owen needs to go with Grimsson.

At the elevator, an exhausted and overheated Annie uses the numbers to input a code and then collapses.

In the lab, a still blind Dr. Mantleray calls for Dr. Fujita. Dr. Fujita says she has no control over the computer and Greta gloats that she was right. Dr. Mantleray tells Dr. Fujita to shut it all down. Dr. Fujita responds that she doesn’t think he understands the implications.

In the fantasy, Owen and Grimsson are walking down a hall complaining about the heat. Grimsson has figured out a way to deactivate the computer.

They approach it and Grimmson sits Owen down at a station. There’s a silver Rubik’s Cube there that Owen needs to solve. He starts working.

Grimsson encourages him. Owen asks who Grimsson is. He says Owen always thought of him like the brother he wished he had, so maybe he’s that.  Or maybe his purpose was just to get Owen to that moment. He tells Owen to keep working.

At the same time, the computer in human form wakes up Annie. She tells Annie she’s tired of her trying to run away. Annie tells her she changed her mind about their deal. The computer wants to know why.

Annie says it was a bad deal. She makes bad deals all the time. The computer used that. But Annie doesn’t want to pretend her sister didn’t die. She asks the computer to let her go.

The computer asks when she’ll stop feeling the way she does about her dead lover. Annie tells her she’ll always feel that way. She just has to figure out how to adjust. The computer snaps that she doesn’t know how. Annie counters that nobody does and then demands the computer take her to her sister.

The computer drops Annie off at the park she and her sister visited before Ellie died, which we saw in her memory in episode 2. Ellie greets Annie. Then she asks what Annie wants to say. Annie tells Ellie she’s sorry that she was drunk at her funeral, she’s sorry she’s a bad dog-sitter, she’s sorry she was so awful to Ellie at the motel.

Ellie wants to know why Annie wouldn’t take the photo of them in the car right before the accident. Annie claims she doesn’t know but Ellie insists she does. In a rush, Annie confesses that she wouldn’t take the photo because it broke her heart that Ellie was leaving New York and she wouldn’t get to see her anymore. Ellie was the only one who knew all her stories and about their mother.

Ellie asks Annie if she remembers what she told her the day their mother left. Annie says she doesn’t want to say that. Ellie tells her that won’t work for her. She’s tired too — she wants to go.

Annie nods and repeats what she said: “Sometimes people leave and we don’t know why.”

The sisters hug. The computer watches from the elevator. When Annie and Ellie part, Ellie walks to the elevator with the computer and as the elevator doors close the computer wishes Annie luck.

In the lab, Dr. Fujita is explaining that if they shut everything down there will be a complete meltdown. Dr. Mantleray says that if she won’t do it, he’ll do it himself. He feels his way to the kill switch. Dr. Fujita tries to talk him out of it but Dr. Mantleray won’t be deterred.

It doesn’t work. The computer’s disabled everything.

In the fantasy, Owen is still working on his Rubik’s Cube. Finally, he finishes — he’s put together all 6 sides.

In the lab, the computer becomes compliant again. She serves up a video game graphic that says Owen saved the day.

Dr. Mantleray takes Dr. Fujita to the mainframe. They open a panel and start pulling wires. The computer asks Dr. Mantleray not to punish her because she’s sad. Dr. Mantleray pulls another wire. Suddenly he can see again.

The computer asks Dr. Fujita if she’s going to put her under. Dr. Fujita apologizes. The computer asks if she’ll wake up again. Dr. Mantleray pulls another wire. The computer shuts down. Dr. Fujita cries.

Dr. Mantleray approaches his mother. Greta tells him she tried to help the computer. Dr. Mantleray breaks down in tears.

In the fantasy, a door opens next to Owen’s station at the computer. He enters a room that looks like the common room. It has a planter in it. It’s the place where Annie said goodbye to her sister. Annie’s still there. Owen asks a miniature Annie if she’s okay. Annie says she is.

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The scene fades out as Owen and Annie wake up in the testing room and the episode ends.

It was a strange and emotional penultimate episode of Maniac. Our recap of the finale will be posted soon.

Let us know what you thought of episode 9 in the comments. Also, read our other Maniac recaps, including the recap for episode 8, and stream the series on Netflix.