the rook chapter 4

“Life is a string of experiences and even if they’re horrible, they make you who you are.”

Desperate to regain her identity, Myfanwy delves deeper into her past at the Glengrove House when she tracks down her initial therapist, while Monica Reed and Gestalt search for a recently auctioned EVA responsible for Myfanwy’s amnesia.

Using the effective nature of the flashback, “Chapter 4” rewinds the clock to 2008, giving viewers a glimpse of Myfanwy’s first therapy session with Dr. Andrew Bristol (James D’Arcy, Dunkirk, Cloud Atlas, Agent Carter) not long after her initial EVA discovery. Not only does their interaction marvelously craft Myfanwy’s arduous task of unmasking her past life, but it also hints at a deeper connection the pair would eventually share, a connection somewhat obvious but no less effective once Myfanwy discovers the truth.

Were it not for the captivating nature of Myfanwy and Bristol’s reunion, Monica’s pairing with Gestalt would have been a capable primary narrative.

For those who have undertaken any type of therapy or medical treatment, the doctor-patient relationship is a sacred thing. It’s more than the written rules and policies like HIPPA; the vulnerability one displays when sharing such intimacy with another human being requires complete trust. Thus, it comes as no surprise when Myfanwy discovers that her pre-amnesia self already sent Bristol a letter, knowing he would be someone she would go to. Unfortunately, that knowledge comes with a warning for her to steer clear of Bristol and that particular avenue of information.

She ignores the warning and is rewarded with all the gory details. The ‘Bristol Incident’ centers around the man himself where, after a fight with Bristol, an emotionally-charged Myfanwy unintentionally set fire to Glengrove, burning it to the ground and killing an unknown number of people. As tragic as the incident was, the primary motivator behind it—Bristol’s affair with Myfanwy—is every bit as bad.

Despite the heinous nature of his actions, a thread of their connection remains when Myfanwy hugs him and is bombarded by fragments of their time together. It’s only after succumbing to those desires in the present that Bristol gives Myfanwy the rest of the story: his actions were at the behest of Linda Farrier, who believed Myfanwy’s crush on the doctor could unlock her untapped EVA potential. Not only does this drive Myfanwy from Bristol’s bed, it reinforces Peter Van Syoc’s warning to Myfanwy that the Checquy itself was ready to sell her off.

While Myfanwy searches for her past, Monica Reed partners with Gestalt to recapture Nazim, the EVA sold at auction, who escapes his Russian escort. When Farrier visits a woman imprisoned in Checquy HQ, the ‘King’ finally reveals what viewers have been wondering; despite her motherly attitude towards Myfanwy, Farrier was the mastermind behind Myfanwy’s almost-abduction as she was ready to offer a one-for-one trade, her ‘Rook’ for Nazim. Though it’s uncertain if Nazim knows the whole truth, his lack of trust in Farrier forces him to seek out the one he’s most affected thus far: Myfanwy herself.

A bit lacking in action, “Chapter 4” is a slight step down from previous weeks, though it gives us the first major piece in the Myfanwy Thomas jumbled past. It builds upon that revelation by giving viewers the truth of Farrier’s duplicity and willingness to sell Myfanwy off as nothing more than a capital good or service. This, coupled with Farrier’s determination to keep Conrad in the dark suggests that he may be the most vital Checquy member for Myfanwy to put her trust into. Then again, maybe he’s not. That abject uncertainty is the power behind The Rook and the need to tune in each week.

Up/Down the Exchange

  • Other than the Gestalt (and even that is sketchy), I have no idea who Myfanwy should trust. Though I never believed Farrier was on the up-and-up, it will be a blow when Myfanwy learns of Farrier’s betrayal. As mentioned above, that side deal puts everything I questioned about Conrad—well—into question. I’m sure the ‘Queen’ has secrets of his own (least of which may be his affair with Home Secretary Birch) but it could very well be that he’s the one Myfanwy needs to trust. Why else would Farrier continuously (and, might I add, badly) lie about Myfanwy’s situation?
  • One thing that works and yet disappoints, is the measured use of extra variant abilities. While this is not an action-drama like The Gifted, a few more physical examples of EVAs would be a welcome change of pace from the focus on Myfanwy’s “who do I trust?” conundrum. I do appreciate the erosion of layers as it comes to Myfanwy’s own abilities, considering even Farrier and the Checquy can’t pinpoint their extent. With four episodes remaining, it seems inevitable that this slow but inexorable burn of intrigue will explode in a symphonic crescendo where the scope of Myfanwy’s EVA is climatically revealed.
  • Monica Reed’s contributions this week were a bit disappointing. From losing her tail on Nazim to not given a real chance to display her abilities, she’s saved from obsolescence thanks to her interactions with Gestalt. Despite the evidence, she’s holding onto the idea that Marcus was spying on the Lugat Syndicate and not a Vulture helping to auction off EVAs. Granted, this is Myfanwy’s story, but Reed brings enough mystery to the table that I want to know a bit more about her.
  • Finally, Gestalt continues to impress. From their interactions with Reed to Alex and Teddy cornering Myfanwy in the Archives—to mute her effect in them—the synchronicity of the four actors combined with the EVA ability itself, makes Gestalt the most fascinating character in The Rook to date. It also calls into question if they have any other latent abilities that have yet to be revealed.