Rabbit Hole (Season 1) Episode 3 Recap & Ending Explained: The first two episodes of ‘Rabbit Hole’ gave us a look into its world of corporate espionage. John Weir came across as a paranoid, although suave, agent who went through a whirlwind within a span of a day. His chance encounter with Hailey Winter opened the narrative to another set of complications. It is yet to be seen whether it was a chance encounter or intentional. Nevertheless, the narration keeps us as paranoid as John, making us want to scream, “What the hell is going on?”
The latest episode, streaming on Paramount+, is filled with a set of revelations, just as before. It largely elaborates on the cliffhanger ending of the second episode.
Rabbit Hole (Season 1) Episode 3 Recap
Episode 3: The Algorithms of Control
The episode shows a set of varied timelines to make sense of the history between John Weir (Kiefer Sutherland) and Ben (Charles Dance). In 2018, Ben narrated a plan that, in his words, requires an absolute commitment, absolute trust in one another, and absolute doubt about everyone else. John agrees to it, and so does Valence (Jason Butler Harner). So it turns out the three were working on something together. But how did they all end up in the same room?
How did John and Valence meet?
After John’s mother drove him away from their home, he was a wreck. He kept believing that his father needed them to be with him. One day, he even traveled to their old home just to meet him. Due to his continuous irresponsible behavior, his mother sent him to a boarding school.
That’s where he met Valence, who was a bright student from their class. John approached him and showed the newspaper clippings that he stole from Ben’s place with some circled-out letters. Valence considers it a cipher, and they both start studying how to crack it. One night, they both sneaked out and went to John’s old home with the hope of unlocking Ben’s locker.
Fast forward to 2013, Valence and John were part of a company that helped clients with their commercial requirements. We see one of these cases in a discussion where John proposed to defame an emerging competitor snack brand for their already established client in that market segment. Jonn & Valence managed it by adding their moles (the employees from John’s recent organization) to the test groups of the new brand to change public opinion and create hysteria surrounding it.
With their knowledge and skills, Valence thought of a bigger plan. He essentially pitched data mining, which was not an established phenomenon back then. He tried to convince its power to John by noting how important it can be to understand, change, and manipulate public opinion. It can be used by anyone from corporations to politicians, which can help their firm grow exponentially. John agreed in a heartbeat, and that’s how Arda Analytics was born. Then in 2017, he returned home when a news broadcast talked about a flight’s disappearance around the Indian subcontinent.
How and when did John and Ben meet each other?
John goes back to his apartment and realizes someone is already inside. While Ben welcomes him, John has no idea who this is. Until then, he considered that his father died by a tragic suicide. However, after decades, he learns that his father, Ben faked his death due to an imminent danger to their family. John is understandably furious since his mother had to keep moving from place to place, and the paranoia ended her life. Ben, however, is insistent on John’s help since he has run out of places to go to.
While John was furious at the time, he could not take his mind off the conspiracies that Ben was going on and on about. He reveals it to Valence, who finds it all too convenient that the guy who had proof about his claims died in a flight that mysteriously disappeared. They both contemplate whether they should cooperate with Ben or not since his suicide defined their life’s trajectories. Valence stops him from pursuing Ben’s unreasonable requests.
However, in 2018, one of Ben’s theories about an attack on Panama and the Suez canal came true. It made John & Valence join Ben’s attempts at saving democracy. Ben narrated the importance of ‘The Algorithms of Control.’ He mentioned a man named Crowley, who helped several governments with his psyops and is now looking to establish a new world order by himself.
Crowley followed the chapters of Ben’s aforementioned book to establish one’s influence. It includes steps that sound terrifyingly similar to the world we live in, where a regime is established by polarising public opinion. Then a charismatic leader is brought in as ‘the solution to bring peace and order.’ Due to his old age, Ben wanted John and Valence to take the baton from him. Since the two also opened his locker, his faith became stronger.
What is John’s current plan with Ben?
Ben is still just as cynical as before about almost everything around him. One of those things is Hailey’s (Meta Golding) intention to get closer to them. John tries to make him believe that she is harmless. But Ben considers killing her a better solution than getting backstabbed. Alas, she does not get killed. But John opens up about his anger toward Ben for faking his suicide and making his and his mother’s lives living hell.
The argument soon reaches their current plan of reaching Crowley. John believes that getting into Valence’s comms can help them. Ben still believes that Homm can lead them to it. So they decide to go their separate ways and try to figure out Crowley’s whereabouts.
John breaks open one of the walls to take out parts of a laptop and assembles it to gain internet access. Due to Hailey’s increased curiosity about his profession, John shares his plan to try different possibilities of Valence’s passcodes based on his knowledge of him. He fails in his first two attempts. It takes him to the map of the tech analytics team working for Xander (Jonas Chenick). While John stays online, they try to locate John’s location and send teams to get hold of him & Valence’s authenticator.
Meanwhile, Hailey butters up John to make a way out, with a phone, without his notice. Ben, in the other room, tries to get Homm to open up by using the deadliest tool of kindness – hoping Homm’s Stockholm syndrome to make him cooperate. He also uses the tool of the common enemy to gain access to Homm’s knowledge about Crowley. But Homm does not give in that easily. While speaking with him, Ben notices Hailey walking out and gets suspicious. So he follows her while making sure that he triggers Homm’s paranoia.
On the other hand, we learn that Ben wanted Arda Analytics to attract Crowley toward them. He expected Valence and John to split up and Valence to lead the company as an interesting option for crony corporations and politicians to manipulate people’s opinions. Ben believed that it would surely make Crowley come to them on his own. However, he makes sure that neither Valence nor John has a family that Crowley can use as tools to manipulate them. He seems cautious owing to his own past experiences.
Rabbit Hole (Season 1) Episode 3 Ending Explained
Does John manage to crack Valence’s passcode?
Ben goes out to the backyard and shocks Hailey with his sudden presence. Luckily, she manages to hide the phone from him. Meanwhile, John continues with his attempts to crack Valence’s passcodes using their common interest in numerology as a guiding tool. He eventually realizes the cipher they used for his old home’s locker. Valence used the alphanumerics to John’s name, considering he was the closest thing to his father and something that he will always love and never forget.
While John manages to crack the code based on the passcode ‘Safety,’ Xander is already on his way to send his teams toward John’s location. Since it is past 15 minutes, Ben forces John to dismantle the device. He refuses to do so due to his faith in his recent crack. He enters it, and voila! Now he gets access to Valence’s comms. Just in that brief window, Xander walks out to meet Madi.
He realizes that an email was sent from his ID to hers for an urgent meeting to discuss John at that exact time. He realizes that Jack has entered their messaging server and runs back to save the day. But he realizes that it’s too late to cut John’s access to it. He informs the same to a caller, whom he calls ‘sir.’
Madi walks out of the building, making a futile attempt to explain her recent mission to her colleague. Suddenly, she notices a body that falls right behind her. Looks like, after Valence, Xander became the target for the anon call-induced suicide. However, it is still not entirely clear who the caller is.