Reverie: 1.03 No More Mr Nice Guy
While the first episode of Reverie did a great job of setting up the show's premise and giving an emotional story to the case of the week, the following Bond. Jane Bond didn't have quiet the same impact; the low-budget spy shenanigans were largely hollow. Fortunately the third episode is the strongest yet, with an interesting and heart-breaking narrative for the case of the week, while adding mystery to the appearance of Mara Kint's dead niece Brynn and the real goings on at Onira Tech.
Dennis Haysbert's Charlie Ventana is certainly hiding something; he claims to be concerned for Mara's wellbeing after he learns that she is having visions outside the Reverie. Sneaking into her apartment and running secret tests suggests there really is something darker at play. I'm reminded again of early Dollhouse, which largely focused on the cases of the week with something darker arising out of the fantasies of its clients. I'm sure Alexis Barrett's desire to give the entire world access to her technology is going to lead down a dark and tragic path, particularly if more nefarious corporations and the Department of Defence are involved.
No More Mr Nice Guy presents two sides to the technology; the all absorbing fantasy world that new case Ashley Zukerman's Nate has found himself caught in after a harrowing real life event and the therapeutic nature of the technology. We learned more about Sendhil Ramamurthy's Paul Hammond this week as he invited Mara into his own Reverie, a recreation of his childhood home. There's something both wonderful and disturbing about the idea of the Reverie creating subconscious desires or needs the user may not have intended; for Paul it was a strange door holding his abusive father, a man that forged much of his anxieties in later life.
And for Nate, the subconscious creation is the man who attacked him in his home. After Mara fails to pull him out of a life of bank heists and high action, he is confronted by a terrifying, tattooed spectre on a motorcycle that drags him away in chains. Again, there is great use of Mara's detective skills to piece together the incident that pulled supportive family man Nate away from his work life, wife and unborn child.
After discovering a man with a knife in his home, it soon transpires that the same man returned weeks later and threatened his life at knife point if he spoke to the police. It is this trauma that has caused him to pull away from real life, examining in altogether more catastrophic ways how something as therapeutic as a world where he can regain is confidence can become as addictive as any drug.
At the moment, despite the impact of the people funding themselves trapped in the Reverie, there is something still quite light and fun about the series. Mara seems to be enjoying her new role and the downsides are largely being glossed over on favour of a sense of adventure and wonder. I can't help but think this is all a bit of a smoke screen: The success or failure of Reverie may be in whether it delves deeper into the darker underbelly of the premise or maintain its lighter case by the week tone. At this stage, I'm just enjoying the show; I'll be intrigued to see where it takes us.