Rabbit Hole – Season 1 Episode 3 “The Algorithms Of Change” Recap & Review

The Algorithms Of Change

Episode 3 of Rabbit Hole begins in 2018 with John’s father discussing the rules of this game. The enemy is everywhere but can’t be seen. Highly intelligent and highly resourceful, to come out as a winner requires absolute trust in each other and absolute doubt in others. And the people in the room during this chat? John Weir, his father… and Miles Valence.

During flashbacks, we see John being put into a boarding school by his mum, where he’s also joined by Miles Valence. Miles is equal in smarts with John Weir, and he confides in the guy about what he’s found back home before he was orphaned. Specifically, a whole bunch of books and detail about code breaking. He enlists Miles’ help to sneak out and break into the family safe, desperate to find out what’s inside.

Now, the reason for John being orphaned comes from a fire that broke out in the house earlier off-screen. As John and Miles head back to the smoldering ruins, they find the safe.

Fast forward to 2013, and John Weir works with Miles to mess with peoples psyches, using science to completely usurp the competition for clients, messing with test groups. This is the start of their algorithmic model, and the subsequent inception of Arda Analytics, and he pitches the idea to John Weir about using Big Data to drive companies and predict customer behaviour.

We then jump to 2017. Miles and John Weir both work together to build up Arda Analytics. Back home, John is in for quite the shock when his dad, Ben, happens to be there. John is understandably shocked, given the flashes of that office room with blood on the wall.

Ben needs John’s help. He’s run out of places to go, and it turns out his mother actually knew about Ben’s fake death too. He rambles on about a plane exploding out the sky (which we see on a news report earlier on) and claims that a guy called Crowley, looking to bring about a New World Order, has “got away”. The evidence of which happens to be on the persons of a guy on that very flight that blew up.

John forces his dad out but he’s clearly rattled by this. John confides in Miles about what’s happened, including how his life has been built around everything they found in the safe. John also goes on to mention the operations that Crowley had planned, including how the Russians have been secretly orchestrating a terrorist-style attack on the Panama and Suez Canal so they’d have the only viable trade route to sell oil to Europe and North America.

A year later, the terrorist attack goes ahead and John decides to hear out his father after all. In a busy café, he points out that he’s been hunting Crowley and how he wants a regime of his own. Ben points out the eerie reality that we’re currently experiencing in different places of the world, including marginalizing people, destroying faith in the media and electing a charismatic leader that can be controlled by higher powers.

Back in the present, John Weir is still wanted for murder and he debates about whether to outright kill Haley. She happens to be sitting at the table, as Weir admits that he’s not 100% sure she’s not involved. There’s an undercurrent of humour running through this chat, as the trio trade insults and light bites of exposition.

After, John Weir attempts to hack into Miles’ computer, but after two failed attempts, it pings across to a control center over at Arda Analytics with two operatives that realize what he’s doing. John puts his trust in Haley, which seems like the wrong move, given she ends up taking a burner phone before heading outside to get some food.

Ben meanwhile, heads in to see Edward Homm, who remains silent in the wake of questioning. Ben reveals that they’ve saved his life. Whatever he was investigating, it’s big enough that “they” wanted him dead. The they, of course, seems to reference Crowley.

As we see from further flashbacks, Ben actually orchestrated everything they’ve done, including staging a break-up between John and Miles, taking Arda Analytics public and convincing Crowley to get involved through using their data to help with elections. “I like being the bad guy,” Miles says, after the deed is done.

Outside, Ben confronts Haley and asks her two questions – who are you and who are you working for. The first, Haley doesn’t blink. The second, she blinks constantly. Ben seems to believe her though and asks what’s in her hand. She hurriedly drops the mobile she initially had in her hands (the screen shows she was looking at crypto currency) and she eventually heads back inside with Ben.

Back inside, John manages to crack the code and break into the laptop, where he begins looking through the messages. However, Xander Arnaz (the guy looking to stop John and watching his every move) closes in on his location. Given they’re under a strict schedule of less than 15 minutes of internet, John is breaking his own rule here.

Before the team can hone in on their exact location, Xander is called away given Special Agent Madi is waiting in the hallway. He tells his staff not to make a move until he’s back. He’s the acting CEO right now and doesn’t want to see Madi right now. That is, until he realizes she’s received an email telling her to meet at 10.15.

Xander suddenly realizes that all of this was a ruse for John to get extra time to download the intel from the server. It works too, and they eventually close everything down and pack up to leave.

Phones are blended, the house is quickly exited, and we cut back to see what’s inside the safe during those earlier flashbacks. There are a whole bunch of documents regarding big data and manipulating human behaviour. John is exasperated, until he realizes that the code to enter the safe was actually a numerical version of John’s name.

As the episode closes out, we cut back to Xander one more time. He phones through to his boss (presumably Crowley) and breaks the bad news. Unfortunately, he’s given instructions that are similar to Miles’. He heads over to the window and jumps out. He lands hard on the ground floor, right behind Madi who happens to be on the phone, pointing out that there’s something much larger going on at Arda Analytics and they need to investigate. Well, that’s certainly going to be fast-tracked now!


The Episode Review

This episode does a really good job of explaining more of the past, giving plenty of exposition whilst also not showing its entire hand. It’s actually pretty impressive how well the writers have managed to show part of their hand while keeping the ace up their sleeve for the larger picture.

We see a lot more regarding the bigger picture with Crowley, the conspiracies across the world and how systems of control are used against the public. I’m not getting into politics here (we’re an entertainment site after all!) but you can see some parallels in history over how these methods can be used to shape public perception.

This chapter has some really solid moments, including that super tense segment with Ben and Haley. It’s pretty clear that she’s lying about one of the questions but which one (or both) is up for debate. The tells for lying generally come from blinking repeatedly and not blinking at all… and she does both. We’ll have to wait and see where that goes, especially given the crypto currency screen.

But then it’s not all super tense and suspenseful scenes either. Somehow Rabbit Hole manages to add in some humour too, typified by that chat around the table with the trio at the start of the episode.

All in all, Rabbit Hole is shaping up to be one of the best thrillers of the year. Fingers crossed the show can keep up the momentum!

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4 thoughts on “Rabbit Hole – Season 1 Episode 3 “The Algorithms Of Change” Recap & Review”

  1. Three different timelines in 8 min 13 sec. Can’t writers just tell a story without all these time jumps. One per episode is enough.

  2. Hey Sterngard, you’re absolutely right I do apologize. I’ve just gone in and changed that to boarding school. Thanks for reading the recap and the heads up on that correction, I really appreciate it!

    -Greg W

  3. The fire occurred when young John took a handful of M80 fireworks, and tried blowing the safe open.

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