‘Rabbit Hole’ Episode 3: Who Is Crowley? Why Did John’s Father, Ben, Fake His Own Death?

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John’s relationship with his father, Ben, defined much of his life. In one of the first interactions we saw between John and his dad, in Episode 2 of “Rabbit Hole,” in a flashback to 1981, they were playing a memory game, with Ben making John tell him the cities that fell on Route 66. Later, he would give him some candy from the safe, and these very interactions must have ignited the little boy’s curiosity regarding what was in the safe. This very curiosity becomes his crutch, helping him deal with his dad’s suicide. It was probably this coping mechanism that made him get obsessed with what he found in the safe and build a career out of it, even though he did not understand what it was as a boy. Ben Weir was an extremely paranoid man, but it is hard to say if his fears were all unfounded.

Ben worked in intelligence, and his literal job was manipulating people by using behavioral science. This “inception” style job involved techniques ranging from planting a simple wiretap to orchestrating discussions to make people do or believe certain things, whatever suited their agenda. Even a casual comment by a passerby or even your wife of many years could not be trusted because there is no telling if that was their uncorrupted opinion or an influence from an unwanted force. Basically, he knew that there was no such thing as free will and that everything was a product of a marketing agenda, as he says in Episode 3 of “Rabbit Hole.” Ben Weir was likely a pioneer of it, and as he says, he “wrote the book” on how to control people and a country. From the way he talks about it, it was not just a theory but something he had successfully done in the past.

Ben definitely worked for an organization because the resources required to influence people on such a large scale would probably not be available to just one person. This organization likely did not work for any one country but was a free agent. From what we have heard from John’s father, we know that Crowley worked with him. Though we are only done with “Rabbit Hole” Episode 3, we believe that we have a fair grip on Crowley’s identity. Working in the business of manipulation, orchestrating the absurd and the impossible on a daily basis, it was only a matter of time before someone got too ambitious. What is the ultimate goal a person can achieve? It is world domination. The sky’s the limit for a person with ambition, but the real power is where the people are.

This reminds us of something said by “Littlefinger” in “Game of Thrones.” In a scene with Cersei, he makes a wise observation that power is where people think it is. But Cersei very nicely reminds him that power is power. Crowley is the human personification of this scene. In order to create a new world order, he had to destroy the existing one, and for that, he had to control it first. People thought power was with the leaders, so he needed them to listen to him. His real power needed a smokescreen formed by existing presidents while he went about doing whatever he wanted for his ultimate goal. But it must have all started when he was working with Ben. He got ambitious, and if he wanted to conquer the world using manipulation, his first move must have been to conquer the agency he worked at. Some people must have rebelled, and Ben was certainly one of them. Crowley probably could not have people as skilled as him working against him. It was a battle of the minds, and Crowley knew that it was always possible that he would be outsmarted or out-manipulated. He must have wanted to kill Ben and others like him, and in the event, he was not successful, he would not hesitate to use their families against them.

Ben was already scared and paranoid regarding Crowley, which is why he freaked out when his wife told him that she could hear clicking noises from the telephone. Ben suspected foul play and probably realized that Crowley was either closing in on him or sending him a warning. There was never any doubt that Ben loved his wife and child. That is why he knew he couldn’t let Crowley get to them, and he had to fake his own death. The death itself was staged in a way that had to be believable for Crowley. It wasn’t by natural cause but by suicide, and as problematic as this sounds, it was Ben’s way of telling Crowley that he had given up. Any other form of death might have been suspicious, and even though Ben would have disappeared, he might have been prompted to keep an eye on John and his mother. But by making Crowley absolutely believe that he was dead, Ben made sure that Crowley never looked at his family again.

Crowley continued with his ambition, and eventually, he started hitting new ground. In a conversation Ben had with his son in 2018 regarding the chapters of the “book he wrote,” he says that it is possible to elect a president of your liking who would do what you want. Ben was talking in 2018, so it is possible that the show drew some real-life parallels, doing an inception on us. That is excellent writing. Basically, Crowley is out to dominate the world, and he already has his claws in it, through Arda Analytics and the people around John, to the extent that they are willing to jump from rooftops at his one message. Ben faked his suicide to stop him and is now back from the dead, at least for his son, for the same purpose. The future narrative will tell who has the stronger game to achieve what they want.


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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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