Brave New World Season 1, Episode 4 recap: John finally accepts his place in New London

BRAVE NEW WORLD -- "Swallow" Episode 104 -- Pictured: Joseph Morgan as Cjack 60/57 -- (Photo by: Steve Schofield/Peacock)
BRAVE NEW WORLD -- "Swallow" Episode 104 -- Pictured: Joseph Morgan as Cjack 60/57 -- (Photo by: Steve Schofield/Peacock) /

John has a rocky road to assimilation in Brave New World’s fourth episode.

The fourth episode of Brave New World sees Bernard, Lenina, and John struggle to reintegrate or find their place in New London after the traumatic incident at The Savage Lands.

Bernard is entrusted with keeping a watchful eye on John, but cannot seem to do his job right. His myriad of failures leads The Director to chastise him. Meanwhile, Lenina feels different and cannot stop thinking about what happened during her and Bernard’s terrifying adventure.

As for John, poor John, well, he loses yet another parent in this episode and is virtually trapped in a place he was raised to fear and loath (not by his mom but by his surroundings) for his entire life!

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John cannot seem to make heads or tails of New London despite everyone trying to force him into the customs and traditions of the utopia. All he wants to do is sit by his dead mother’s side, but that cannot last forever.

Bernard takes over as John’s counselor and tries to coax him into taking soma and getting fitted for his optic.

None of this goes according to plan as John renders himself mute, refusing to respond to any of Bernard’s questions. Even Henry, another Alpha, cannot get John to cooperate when fitting him for his new contact lens.

By the time his lens is prepared and about to be implanted in John’s eye, he hits his breaking point. Slapping the optic out of Henry’s hand, John bolts out the door and immediately finds himself lost in the vast, immersive, and hypnotizing world of New London.

He wanders the corridors, eventually meandering all the way down to the cafeteria where the Epsilon workers gather for lunch. It is perhaps the best place for John since CJack60 and the others don’t pressure him into chatting.

One of the Joseph Morgan-clones, who I’m assuming was CJack60 given his canon curiosity for any oddities in the fabric of New London, offers John his lunch and seems fascinated by his presence. To John’s credit, he does accept the meal and seems to relax for at least a moment.

The Director, who we officially learn is John’s real father, finds him by using Indra’s surveillance. He removes his lens to ensure he and his son can have a genuine moment off-the-grid. John appears to understand who The Director is without him saying so. Given everything his mother told him over the years, it doesn’t take much for him to put two and two together.

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The higher-up offers to escort John somewhere safe, somewhere new he can call home. He brings him to a cliff’s edge and suggests he board a rocket to get out of New London. Despite John’s fears, he cannot return to The Savage Lands, he’ll be killed.

His father claims he can find somewhere else beyond the Barrier, with all its vast open spaces and winding roads. Uneasy, John decides to confront his dear old dad about abandoning his mother. The Director argues that he doesn’t understand their life. Mothers, fathers, and sons do not exist in New London.

“They do now,” John fires back.

When it becomes obvious John isn’t going to board the rocket voluntarily, his dad tries to force him and the two get into a scuffle on the cliff. John inadvertently pushes his father over the edge, killing him.

Horrified by the incident, he runs back into the only other place he has left — New London. He accidentally wades into a sex club and gets caught up in an orgy. All the neon lights and sex are overstimulating for John who panics and crawls inside a strange cylinder-like machine in the middle. He reaches the top and screams for help while yelling at the surrounding zombie-like residents to leave him alone.

BRAVE NEW WORLD — “Swallow” Episode 104 — Pictured: Alden Ehrenreich as John the Savage — (Photo by: Steve Schofield/Peacock) /

Brave New World: Bernard is forced to take John under his wing.

Witnessing John’s strife through the eyes of all the inhabitants, Bernard rushes to his side. Grateful to see a familiar face, John finally clambers down and allows the Alpha Plus to guide him to safety. But all he really wants is to see his mother.

Allowing John a final moment with Linda, Bernard talks to Mustafa. She theorizes that John has been sent to New London as a test, of sorts. Since Indra is a perfect machine, she believes it has introduced a new element to “destabilize” things so it can re-stabilize, grow, and evolve.

MEAWW made an interesting observation about this episode’s comparison to disease, which is in line with what Mustafa said in an earlier episode about a “virus” potentially invading New London.

According to her, they are all on the cusp of something much bigger than themselves and Bernard appears to be at the frontline. She also informs Bernard that The Director is dead and he will now be of vital importance to guiding and conditioning John.

Let’s rewind a bit though, as Bernard’s arc preceding this development is important to understand why it’s so crucial for his character.

Brave New World’s entire fourth episode sees Bernard getting kicked down repeatedly. Despite his best efforts to put on a smiling face, pretend everything is okay, and tell Jenina that they should ignore all of the crazy events that occurred in The Savage Lands, he’s crumbling within because no one appreciates him or even seems to respect him.

The Director is seriously disappointed by him for both losing track of John and his debacle in The Savage Lands. It is implied that the Director may have sent Bernard there to take over as the new Warden as he had previously done to the current Warden — well former since I’m pretty sure he’s dead now.

He also gets a bracing wakeup call when he discovers fellow Alpha Plus (and Lenina’s former fling) Henry not only has a better office but a stronger relationship with The Director. In fact, The Director was acting on Henry’s advice when he sent Bernard on his “vacation.”

Henry doesn’t even care to listen to Bernard when he offers proof that The Director and John are related — something he learns after trying to visit his boss and discovering his abandoned optic on the desk. It shares identical genetic markers with his son’s lens.

All of this leads to him feeling dejected and out of place. Feelings and emotions that should be virtually nonexistent in the utopia. Bernard needed a win, and he got one with John. It’s a chance for him to prove that he can do something right and get back on track.

In the final moments of the episode, Bernard escorts John into a lift. It’s a scene opposite of their first lift ride together, where John, who fears heights, panics at the glass elevator and refuses to take soma. By the end, he is defeated and resigned to the fact he has nowhere else to go. Begrudgingly, he finally accepts the little happy pill from Bernard, and swallows.

BRAVE NEW WORLD — “Swallow” Episode 104 — Pictured: Behind the scenes: Pleasure Garden — (Photo by: Steve Schofield/Peacock) /

Brave New World: Lenina returns to an old bad habit.

In savage terms, Lenina is acting “depressed,” in Brave New World‘s fourth hour. Of course, that terminology and feeling should not and does technically exist in New London. But Lenina is despondent, lashes out, and obsessed with the savages.

She tries to talk to Bernard. The man Bernard was earlier in the season, the one who expressed similar dissatisfaction with his life, has disappeared under the shiny Bernard who wants to pretend everything is doing just fine.

Lenina sees through his act but she cannot force him to act the way she wants him to. She mentions that she liked him better in The Savage Lands and it’s understandable as to why. The experience they were having before the massacre appeared groundbreaking and surely felt that way for both of them.

Now, Bernard is acting as if none of it mattered because he doesn’t want to risk his place in society or tarnish his reputation as an Alpha Plus.

Even though Bernard recommends Lenina take some soma and get over her trauma, she cannot bring herself to do so. She spends hours in bed, staring at the ceiling, and looking dissatisfied. Frannie can’t get her excited for sex or any of the new additions to New London’s tech-savvy landscape. At one point, Lenina lashes out at her best friend, although she immediately apologizes. She’s also off her game at work.

Feeling alone and restless, Lenina pulls out John’s clothes from when they got decontaminated after breaching the Barrier. I’m not sure why or how she manages to keep them, but she pulls out his personal belongings from a stash under her bed.

Inside, she finds a music player and listens to a song by Neil Young. It’s a touching moment, as music is not allowed in New London and Lenina is moved by the sound.

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Season 1 of Brave New World is now available to stream on Peacock TV.