We Reject Your Influence
Javi brings a freshly caught payara fish to the base where Amber is being held at the start of Echo 3 episode 5. Tommy, a high-ranking bureaucrat for the guerillas, talks with Amber about her situation. He makes their position clear: they know that Amber is a CIA agent and want to hold her as a prized possession.
In the conversation, it is also revealed that the man Bambi killed (we saw a flashback in the last episode) was not Amber and Bambi’s father but their mother’s abusive boyfriend. Amber holds her ground well and Tommy is forced to retreat.
He then visits the house of the leader of the guerillas and proposes an idea. Tommy says that they should set up cameras and record Amber saying vile things about America and its disillusioned institute of democracy. His idea is quickly dismissed. Before leaving, Tommy had told the workers to put Amber “on the program”. We then see her being kept in jail and forced into moving into a restricted area with guards all around. She meets Hildy, a German prisoner in the other cell.
Hildy has an undiagnosed mental illness but she does not recognize it. When Amber sees Hildy moving about freely, she asks her how do the guards allow her. Hildy replies that her contribution to labor ensures this. Amber starts contributing in whatever capacity she can towards various chores in the facility. Her work is appreciated and she seems satisfied living with the locals there doing the work and having her freedom.
She and Hildy grow close in the process. Amber plans an escape from the base via a small opening in the roof. Every day, bit by bit, she breaks the hole wider in order to be able to get out. Amber has flashbacks to the moment before she was taken by the arriving soldiers and does not know yet if Prince is alive or not. In a game of Hildy and Amber each telling the other the truth of their lives, Amber surprisingly admits that she does not love her husband.
He looks down upon her and has already thought in his mind that Amber is dead. That is why he has not come with his cavalry to rescue her. Tommy’s idea of recording her for a bigger impact is accepted by the higher-ups and he returns with the cameras to the base. Amber is dolled up but is difficult to follow Tommy’s script. Tommy, after several failed attempts, forces her to lie on camera and follow his word on the threat that he will place her in the male prison, where her safety will be grossly in danger.
Amber is left with no choice but to comply and says on video whatever Tommy asks her of against America and its values. She breaks down after he leaves for a small break. Hildy rebuffs Amber’s claims that she will escape from the place as Hildy feels Amber will not be able to kill the soldiers. She still tells her the way out regardless. Behind the helicopter pad, the guards leave an ATV that Amber can use to take the path down to the waterfall.
From there, Amber has to follow the river that flows down into the Amazon and that is her way out. The day of the reckoning has come and Amber is ready to escape. Hildy stays in bed, not wanting to leave and Amber goes alone. Her plan goes superbly as the guards and rebels are busy having a party. She does not kill the soldier who is on duty, just as Hildy precited, and takes the ATV into the jungle.
The guard ultimately alerts the others of the escape and they put their vast resources to track her down. As Amber keeps going through waterfalls, the guards get closer with sniffer dogs. In one of the waterfalls, Amber badly hurts her head and has a concussion. He finally reaches a river and finds a fisherman in his boat. After waking up, she discovers that the boat is empty and that the soldiers are waiting for her at the shore.
She is taken back to the base. Tommy is livid and gathers all the rebels and the workers in the middle. To pay for her treachery, he orders Hildy out of her cell. Despite Amber’s pleadings to kill her instead, one of the guards kills Hildy right in front of everyone, sending Amber into a state of shock.
The Episode Review
Echo 3, especially in part II, has taken a different path from the expectations we had for the show. The style of storytelling and construction of individual episodes is different from the first three episodes. Boal has a precise idea of what he wants from the story and his judgment is immaculate in episode 5.
Without story progression, the focus here is on Amber’s character. Since her capture, we have not seen much of Jessica Collins but she got her shining moment in this episode. In many ways, “We Reject Your Influence” felt like a mini movie on its own. Boal remains flatteringly true to the conflation of his cinematic universe and extracted exactly what we wanted from the escape attempt.
The defeating sense at the end is thanks to the tense buildup with the introduction of Hildy. The misdirection at the start and the emphatic taste of reality, in the end, is what perhaps might end up defining Echo 3.