Episode 4 of Brave New World begins with John being brought before Linda where he mourns for her. While he does, the Director and Mustafa discuss his strong emotions and what this means for New London. Bernard meanwhile, is tasked with integrating John into this new, drug-induced society.
Only, the duo have difficulty connecting given Bernard struggles to understand his emotions. Instead, he constantly offers him Soma pills to deal with any emotion that’s against the status quo of happiness. As they head up a lift together, John watches the induction video and eventually meets Julian, who treats him like… well… a savage. It turns out he’s an Alpha-Exotic which puts him at the upper-echelons of society given less than 1% have that gene.
John seizes his opportunity to escape when Bernard finds himself distracted. He bolts from the room, refusing to have tests done to him. As whispers grow to low murmurs, John runs away from the crowd as they point and call him a savage. Eventually he finds himself in the company of the Epsilon workers.
Lenina meanwhile speaks to Frannie about their past fears of indoctrination, watching as young girls walk past and are subtly shocked with cattle prods for not complying. While everyone around her continues to pop pills – including Bernard and The Director – Lenina struggles to focus and eventually heads over to speak to Bernard about what they experienced in The Savage Lands.
Bernard though continues to turn toward the Soma Pills over every little subject and despite his insistence that they make everyone happy, she sees straight through his facade and the true reality that he won’t face himself – he’s discontent and unhappy with this life.
The Director eventually arrives before John and promises to give him what he wants – a way out. Together, they walk toward a cliff-edge where the Director has a transport prepped, ready for him to leave. John suddenly realizes who he is – the Director is his Father. As they argue, the Director slips and falls to his death. John meanwhile hurries back to New London, still haunted by what’s happened.
Bernard learns the truth about the Director too, thanks to the eye-optics left behind in the Director’s office but he struggles to find anyone who will listen. When John pops up on the scanners, Bernard hurries down to the nightclub he finds himself in, pushing past the naked bodies to take John to safety.
Lenina goes through John’s belongings and finds his music player. Putting the headphones on, she lets the music consume her. It’s all too much for her though and desperate for a release, she heads over to Henry’s apartment determined to make love and try to push her emotions aside.
In the wake of what’s happened, Mustafa tells Bernard he’s being tested and he needs to induct John into the society. As she confirms the Director has been killed, Mustafa remains convinced they can come out the other side stronger. As she leaves, Bernard hands over some Soma pills to John who sighs heavily and eventually succumbs to this, popping a few in his mouth.
The Review Write-Up
What’s particularly interesting with this episode is just how much emphasis has been placed on these Soma pills to get by. There’s seemingly an inhibitor for every single emotion and it’s clear that the utopian facade is hiding a much uglier truth. No one seems particularly happy in this world and between drugs and sex, the world is completely devoid of life and individuality.
This systematic breaking of the hive mind – foreshadowed through the rogue Jack – could well be giving us a glimpse of what’s to come across the rest of the series. So far though the show has done a great job building up its central cast of characters to have plenty of doubts over their reality but right now no one seems willing to face the ugly truth.
Quite how this will unfold across the second half of this series however, remains to be seen.