‘Eric’ Recap (Episodes 1-6) Explained: Did Vincent Find His Son Edgar?

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The new Netflix original series Eric tells a compelling story about a father’s realizations and determination against the backdrop of difficult social times in New York City in the 1980s. Set during a time when the spread of HIV/AIDS and homophobia were both on the rise, the six-episode series follows an egoistic puppeteer, Vincent, as he reacts to the sudden disappearance of his young son, Edgar. Vincent, portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch, is undoubtedly the highlight of the show, although McKinley Belcher III’s determined police detective, Michael Ledroit, is even more enjoyable. Eric successfully delivers a layered and emotional tale and makes for a rather inspiring watch.

Spoiler Alert


What is the Netflix series about?

Set in New York City in 1985, Eric begins with an introduction to the central characters, a puppeteer named Vincent Anderson and his nine-year-old son, Edgar. Brilliantly talented in designing and using puppets, Vincent works as the creative head for a children’s TV program named Good Day Sunshine, which he has also co-created. Despite the initial success of the children’s show, which is very similar to the real-life “Sesame Street,” the program is currently facing low viewership, making the channel heads want to make changes and innovations to it. Although the other showrunner and Vincent’s close friend, Lenny, is open to this idea, the protagonist is absolutely not convinced by this demand to change. He feels this to be an unnecessary intrusion into the creative genius that he considers himself to be and remains perplexed about the situation. 

Present at the shoot and the following meeting at the studio on this occasion is Vincent’s young son, Edgar, who is a big fan of his father’s show. Although the two seem to be close at first, it becomes apparent that Vincent is actually not very open to his son. The man’s only style of parenting is to instill values of hard work and dedication in his son, which he feels is necessary for survival in the cutthroat world they live in. But in the process, he is clearly distant from young Edgar, who can hardly ever reach out to his father for any support or understanding. After all, the boy has to struggle with a major crisis at home, for Vincent and his wife, Cassie, are constantly quarreling, terribly failing to keep their marriage afloat. All of it affects Edgar, who wants to reach out to someone with his fears and confusions but is unable to do so. 

One morning, as the couple are still fighting and yet wanting to give themselves another chance, Edgar has to walk to school all by himself, for Vincent is too caught up with Cassie as usual. But this morning turns the couple’s lives upside down, as Edgar never returns home and goes missing without any trace at all. An NYPD police detective, Michael Ledroit, is assigned to the case as he works on the Missing Persons desk, and his search for Vincent takes him through other disappearances of children in the past. While the Andersons each react differently to the crisis, Vincent gets terribly addicted to alcohol and drugs, while he sets out on a city-wide search for the boy, together with an imaginary monster puppet, Eric.


How is social injustice a theme in the series?

Eric is most certainly a series that wants us to focus on certain themes and issues through its plot, and racial injustice is a recurring element throughout its duration. The USA in the 1980s was not technically as racist as the previous decades, with more awareness and active steps taken by the government, but the racial undertone that has always existed in certain parts of American society was still very prevalent. After all, people were learning to live with the inability to express racist thoughts and ideas during this time, making racism exist in a very indirect manner. The biggest example of racial discrimination presented in the series is the very different reactions to the disappearances of Edgar Anderson and Marlon Rochelle. When Edgar goes missing, the police and the media immediately report about the incident, and there is an effort from all sides to find out more about him and what has possibly happened to him.

However, when fourteen-year-old Marlon Rochelle disappeared in a similar manner, there was no public outcry or media coverage at all. Marlon has been missing for the last eleven months, while his mother, Cecile, still tries very hard to find out anything about her son, all by herself. The most glaring reason for this difference is that while Edgar belongs to an influential white family, Marlon is a Black kid with no family recognition at all. The Andersons are renowned because of Vincent’s rich real estate tycoon father, but the form of the business and, therefore, the wealth and influence are all products of racial privilege. While Edgar’s disappearance is covered in every news TV program and his parents are regularly given chances to speak to the masses, the only way Cecile can reach out to the public is through missing posters of Marlon on the streets and on milk cartons. 

Other than this instance, there are far too many examples of racism at work in Eric. The security guard at the building, George Lovett, is the first to be arrested as a suspect because of evidence that Edgar regularly visited his apartment. A prior charge of sexually assaulting a minor against George’s name also makes the police nab him, but it is later revealed that the earlier case was proved to be a false one. It is easy to pin blame on Black men solely because of the social inequality that they have to live with. Ledroit’s boss in the police department, Cripp, is relieved to know that the suspects, both in the case of George Lovett and later the unhoused man, Yuusuf Egbe, are Black. He suggests Ledroit arrest the men without much consideration, solely based on the fact that they are Black, meaning that the police department will not face any consequences even if they are wrong. 

However, racism is not the only social injustice that the characters have to deal with, as homophobia is also a recurring element in the show’s plot. Discrimination, prejudice, and crimes against the LGBTQ+ community were at a record high during this decade, and Eric has all of them. Whenever Marlon’s disappearance is discussed, the fact that he was probably gay is used to suggest that the boy either ran away or got killed because of his preferences. The idea very clearly is that anyone non-heterosexual is asking for violent measures against them, and the perpetrators behind these attacks would not face any repercussions either. Michael Ledroit sits at the most difficult juncture of this terrible society, as he has to face discrimination from all sides as a Black gay man. This is also why Ledroit does not ever come out, since the only person who actually knows—the sister of his recently deceased partner, William—also does not support him.


What is the mystery behind Marlon Rochelle’s disappearance?

The irony of the New York society presented in Eric is that although the blame for high crime rates and violence is thwarted upon the homeless and displaced community, who are also mostly Black, the real filth of society turns out to be the supposed protectors of it. Throughout the decades, police violence has also been a recurrent occurrence in the United States in reality, and the series draws inspiration from this shameful attribute in its plot. During his search for Edgar, Ledroit realizes the double standards of the city and its authorities, so he starts to investigate Marlon’s disappearance at the same time. For the most part, the detective is confident that the two cases are linked, and he fears that a nightclub named The Lux has something to do with it. This is because the owner of the club, Alexander Gator, had been previously imprisoned for running an underage sex trafficking ring at another club of his named The Sierra.

Ledroit suspects that Gator, who happens to be his childhood friend and romantic interest as well, might have gotten back to his old habits, but this is actually not true. Instead, while Gator was in jail, one of his managers at the club, TJ, had started a trafficking ring simply because of the high demand for it. The raid on Gator’s previous establishment found high-profile people like politicians and Hollywood stars to have been involved, and the clientele mostly remains the same even now. Ledroit is finally able to get his hands on the camera footage from the night of Marlon’s disappearance, and it reveals what really happened to the boy. Marlon was gay, and since there was no way for him to fulfill his desires in a safe manner, he got involved with the ring at The Lux, which at least allowed him to get intimate with other men. Incidentally, he was frequently asked for by the deputy mayor, Richard Costello, who was a closeted gay man. 

Along with the criminal racket run by TJ, two corrupt police detectives from the vice desk, Kennedy and Nokes, were also running a scheme to earn money at The Lux. The detectives knew about the trafficking ring, and they agreed to keep silent about it as long as they earned a cut from each of the underage workers. However, Marlon and Costello had become more of lovers, and on this night, they were seemingly just making love, which irked the detectives as they were not earning any money from it. As a result, they violently attacked Marlon, and Nokes kicked the boy to death. Costello’s brother-in-law and an influential businessman, Bruno di Bari, who handled the sanitation of the entire city, was also involved with the trafficking ring, along with running a drug trade as well. He arranged for the body of Marlon to be thrown in the vast dumping yard, just like the bodies of other underage victims were also disposed of. Bruno seems to have made a deal with his brother-in-law to never tell anyone about his homosexuality in return for more power and protection with regards to his illegal businesses. 

This whole incident also claims the life of another man, as Nokes kills his partner, Kennedy, fearing that he would unwillingly reveal their secret to someone. Kennedy had indeed threatened TJ by reminding him of the incident with “No. 8,” which basically referred to the basketball shirt that Marlon wore at the time of his death. On the other side, Vincent’s friend and colleague, Lennie, takes his own life after the identities of those linked to the Sierra scandal are about to be made public, for he had been found guilty in the case but had managed to keep it a secret so far. At the end of Eric, Michael Ledroit gathers the courage to take action against the corrupt men in power, and he gets Nokes, Costello, and di Bari arrested. While TJ is revealed to have skipped town, Gator also seemingly avoids an arrest, helped by Ledroit, since he was actually innocent. Meanwhile, Cecile Rochelle still keeps searching for any remains of her son, which is an immensely difficult task considering how large the dump yard is.


Why does Eric appear to Vincent?

During all this time, our protagonist, Vincent Anderson, keeps going to great lengths in order to find his son, Edgar, with the firm belief that the boy is still alive and unharmed. Vincent’s character goes through a life-changing realization when he finally accepts that he has not been a good father. In a sense, there was already a belief in him that Edgar was not actually kidnapped, but the boy had actually gone away, which suggests that he knew of his shortcomings, especially the uncomfortable dynamic that the boy had with his parents. Along with all his shortcomings as an egoistic and generally harsh person, Vincent was also simply blind to his son’s troubles and feelings. In his effort to prove how difficult the world was, through small matters like always competing with his son, he wedged a distance between himself and Edgar, with the boy feeling that his father was simply not accessible to him.

Thus, the young boy came up with the only way he deemed adequate to reach out to his father—by drawing and designing a cartoon character to be made into a puppet. This very character is Eric, the titular monster that Vincent keeps hallucinating. The low voice of the beast, his grumpy nature, and his frequent use of cuss words seem to suggest that this is Edgar’s innocent way of portraying his father. After the child goes missing, Vincent grows convinced that bringing Eric alive through his TV program will bring Edgar back, and so he sets out on a long journey accompanied by only the hallucination of the beast. 

While Vincent’s journey of bringing Eric alive does not work in the way he thought it would, it does make him realize his own issues and come to terms with his own struggles in life. A major reason for the character’s nature is the fact that his father never gave him the love or attention that a child needs and his growth had been stunted from his very childhood. In fact, a phrase that his father used on one rare occasion when they spent a day together went on to become the name of his show—Good Day Sunshine. Vincent had been still craving his father’s validation, which was getting in the way of his own life, and in the end, he finally decided to sever all ties with his parents altogether. Eric plays a role in all this development, and the imaginary monster becomes the first and most crucial point of connection between Vincent and Edgar.


How Did Vincent reunite with his son Edgar?

Amidst all the other occurrences in Eric, Edgar’s disappearance does take a back seat, although there is really not much mystery to it. Edgar had indeed walked away from his usual school route when he saw Yuusuf on the road. For quite some time, the boy had observed Yuusuf, an unhoused man who lived in the underground railway tunnels, and he wanted to reach out to him. Since Yuusuf is a graffiti artist, the young boy probably found him to be the closest alternative to his father and grew interested in him. On the day of his disappearance, he followed the man and was then kept safe by Yuusuf for the entire time. The man was ready to return Edgar to his parents when the child missed them, but the NYPD’s raid in the tunnels disrupted this plan. 

Ultimately, Edgar survives, despite suffering a fall into the sewer waters, and is able to climb back out from the underground tunnels. But it takes Vincent to don Eric’s bodysuit and express how he has changed his perspective to make the boy finally return home. At the end of Eric, Edgar reunites with his family, but Vincent divorces Cassie after realizing that this is the best way forward for the family. The series ends with a scene in which Edgar wears Eric’s suit and talks to Vincent in the monster’s voice, symbolizing how the imaginary monster had indeed completely bridged the gap between the estranged father and son.


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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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