Rabbit Hole – Season 1 Episode 1 “Pilot” Recap & Review


Episode 1 of Rabbit Hole begins with a look at our protagonist, John Weir. He sits in a confessional booth, drumming his fingers nervously against the wood. He needs help as he feels lost. He hasn’t slept in a few days and nothing seems to be making sense. He tells the priest he’s not close with many people, given his line of work, and he just wants someone to listen to him. It seems like now is as good a time as any.

We then cut back three weeks earlier. John Weir is in a bar and changes the channel on the TV over to football. Another guy, Merril, approaches and isn’t happy with that and wants to change the channel. It’s a brief encounter though, as Weir concedes and allows him to switch it over. There, he notices stock crashing on TV and immediately gets on the phone.

John Weir doesn’t pay much attention to this though, as a woman called Hailey across the bar approaches, and begins chatting to him. She’s got some time to kill before a few meetings she’s attending and wants to blow some steam with him.

After sleeping together, Weir gets dressed and drops his fa├žade. He tells Hailey that she’s going to have to tell Madi that if she wants leverage over him she’s going to have to work harder. And with that, he finds a camera hidden in the room and destroys it, pointing out that his marriage has been over for a while now. It would appear that Hailey is innocent, given her incredulous reaction, but who knows!

When Weir leaves, he’s paranoid and believes he’s being followed all the way to the station by a blue Mercedes. Outside, we get a look at this Madi character, who happens to be an FBI investigator called Jo Madi. She’s part of the Financial Crimes Unit, and confronts Weir when he shows up at the office. She points out that Merril seems to have duped into selling his stocks.

As we learn, there was no TV broadcast, and John Weir orchestrated all of this so his client could make a quick buck by scooping up the sold stocks at a discount rate. The entire thing was an elaborate hoax. Madi points out this is corporate espionage, but Weir spins it as “consulting”.

When Madi leaves, John Weir confirms everything with his team, whom he riffs with afterwards. All seems to be going well until that night when John notices that same blue car parked in the parking lot again, seemingly confirming that he’s being followed.

John Weir’s journey takes him to see his next client, Arda Analytics, which happens to be run by his best friend, Miles Valence. Valence points out that data is everything in this world and Arda Analytics is there to “make sense of it all”. In his office, Valence tells Weir that “his client” wants Weir to be hands-on and craft a narrative. Specifically, that Baromar Group company is working with the Treasury Department.

John has taken a client, Arda Analytics, run by his best friend, Valence. They have had a falling out, but he wants him to do something for him. Specifically, working on a narrative that the Banomar Group company is in bed with the Treasury Department. That deflects the attention away from Luxbrant, who are dealing with difficult allegations of their own, specifically involving using child labour in their factories.

Luxbrant need some photographs to “prove” this meeting has gone down and confirm their story. The target is the CEO of Banomar Group, Dana Heinrich. They need to see her with Edward Homm, the US Treasury investigator. The pair don’t know each other but if they can get them within ear’s shot of one another, it’ll feed into the larger narrative that they’re colluding.

So how do we get those two together? According to John, it’s pretty cut and dry – stage a car accident to force them together. It works too, and they manage to craft a full stage narrative and pass the details on to Valance. Easy right?

John Weir leaves the office and again, notices the blue car parked outside. Only, he also notices Hailey across the way as well. This gets the alarm bells ringing so Weir has the team dig up her history. Apparently Hailey is a lawyer that lives in Pittsburgh. She works for a non-profit there, the Homeless Aid Network. She has expensive taste, which doesn’t seem to match her income, and sniffing around Valence’s neighbourhood doesn’t seem to match Hailey’s MO.

Weir has a bad feeling about this, and decides to confront Hailey outright, who reveals that she actually swiped right on him on a dating app, which showed up while he was in the bar. And if that wasn’t enough, up on the massive billboards behind him, a news report breaks that John Weir is a murder suspect for Edward Homm, the Treasury Investigator we learned about before.

John Weir runs for his life, trying to escape the authorities. While escaping, Weir learns that Valence has completely set him up, including doctoring video footage of him driving Edward’s car. Weir is ten blocks away from the office but before he can make it inside, the whole top floor suddenly explodes. CCTV cameras capture Weir outside, watching the flames lick hungrily up the building. Weir tries to phone Valence but it’s no good, he’s not picking up.

John decides to head into the office personally, posing as a deliveryman and forcing a security guy to hold onto the box, which he claims happens to be a motion-sensored bomb. Weir rushes up to see Valence in his office, demanding answers. Valence seems to be spooked, glancing up at the camera nervously.

Valence’s laptop holds another clue, a message from ANON-01 which reads “DO IT. NOW.” And that message sees Miles Valence head out onto the balcony, drop the phone, and fall backwards off the rooftop to the ground below.

That puts John Weir in a very compromising position, and he’s forced to flee down the emergency stairwell to the main entrance. He blows the bomb (which happens to be a simple smoke bomb) to serve as a distraction and he manages to hurry outside. Predictably, Valence’s death is also pinned on Weir too.

However, John Weir heads back to his childhood home, the one we saw in various flashbacks peppered throughout this chapter, where Edward Homm is alive and well, and tied up in his basement. John takes a bite of his apple and replaces the blindfold over the man’s eyes.

The Episode Review

Rabbit Hole holds more than a few similarities to The Capture, which is a British series dealing with deep fakes and surveillance footage being doctored. Paramount’s latest original though, feels like a blend of that and 24, thrown in with a touch of Homeland for good measure. There’s plenty to like about this opening episode, which is smartly written, has a good deal of exposition neatly exuded across the 45 minutes, and immediately has us questioning everything that’s occurring on screen. In essence, it’s exactly what you want from a thrilling pilot episode like this!

The show definitely has potential to keep things interesting, although as we’ve seen from some shows (like the aforementioned Capture) the end result can turn a bit too incredulous and farfetched. So far though, there’s plenty of questions being raised, and the show has enough intrigue with it to keep you guessing what’s going to happen next.

With two episodes releasing at once, thankfully we don’t have to wait around too long to get some answers!

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You can read our full season review for Rabbit Hole here!


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