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Reverie questions what is real in 'No More Mr. Nice Guy'

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Jun 13, 2018

Please note that this is a recap and discussion rather than a review, so there are spoilers below for Episode 3 of Reverie, "No More Mr. Nice Guy." If you haven’t seen it yet and are wondering what we thought of it, just know we liked it enough to want to talk about it each week.

This week’s episode of Reverie had a lot packed into it. We learned quite a bit about what the tech can do and how it learns about you. It turns out the software has much, much more going on than just creating fantasies.

We begin with some real-life consequences for Onira-tech’s lack of responsibility over its users refusing to leave their Reveries (and the failure to include some sort of safe shut-down mechanism, which I addressed in last week’s recap). The wife of a man lost in a Reverie, named Nate, is suing the company because her husband is addicted to the software. You can’t help but sympathize with her — he’s lost their job, the couple is about to lose their house, and there’s a baby on the way. Mara asks for 24 hours to get Nate out of the program.

It is, of course, more complicated than it seems. What first appear to be the issues of a man who refuses to grow up and accept his responsibilities become much more in-depth thanks to Reverie. Mara discovers that Nate is responding to a home invasion that happened a few months ago. When a man appears inside Nate’s Reverie and kidnaps him against his will, though, she knows there’s even more to the story.

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Credit: Colleen Hayes/NBC

Mara learns that the man returned to Nate’s home a few weeks later and threatened to kill him and his family if he ever spoke with the police. Nate doesn’t have an outlet to express his perceived failure because of toxic masculinity norms, so his only refuge is Reverie. Mara connects with him by sharing her own past, realizing that what she’s asking Nate to do — confront his pain — is something she hasn’t done when it comes to her sister and niece. Eventually Nate emerges from Reverie and identifies his attacker, ensuring that the man will be behind bars for a long time to come.

Elsewhere, Mara and Alexis have a bit of a heart-to-heart. Alexis isn’t great with social situations, and Mara helps her learn to communicate more effectively. We also get a hint into Onira-tech’s goals — to increase Reverie users — but we also see how Alexis thinks of Reverie. It’s a gift for people to connect and build bridges with one another, a way to work out problems.

It’s Paul’s Reverie that helps Mara figure out what’s going on with Nate. Paul had some serious issues with his alcoholic father that he needed to confront. Even if he didn’t want to, his Reverie understood that it was what he needed. It’s interesting, the idea of Reveries used as therapy to confront your fears. But at the same time, it’s not being done in cooperation with a therapist; this is a computer program deciding what you “need” for your mental health. It has a lot of complicated implications, both good and bad.

Mara decides to face her past

After being confronted by Charlie, Mara admitted that she’s seeing Brynn in the non-Reverie real world. This after Paul informed Charlie that Mara’s brain scans were fine, but still volatile. At the end of the episode, Mara goes to the house where her sister and niece were killed and finds Brynn there. They interact for the first time, with Brynn telling Mara, “You’re here for a reason.” The world glitches around her, making Mara think she’s actually still in a Reverie, and then the episode ends. So the question is, what’s happening, and is it happening to Mara or the world around her?

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Credit: Colleen Hayes/NBC

Violence against women in Reveries

This is the second episode to feature a man pushing, shoving, or otherwise committing an act of violence against Mara in a Reverie, and it’s a bit disturbing. This isn’t a charge against the show; it’s a commentary on how these men are reacting to something they don't want when they are in a dream world they know isn’t real. It will be interesting to see whether this trend continues with other male Reverie users.

"No More Mr. Nice Guy" was more about expanding what we know about the VR world of Reverie and trying to figure out what’s happening with Mara than the larger mysteries surrounding the show. Where will the next episode go from here, and more importantly, will it pick up right where this one left off? I'm excited to find out.

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