“The Consultant” is a darkly comedic show that doubles as an entry into the sci-fi and horror genres with its portrayal of office politics and work ethics in modern corporations. The central plot in the show begins with the tragic announcement of the death of the CEO of Compware, which is a fictional gaming company. The CEO is replaced by the titular character, named Regus Patoff, who claims that the deceased CEO, Sang, had entered an agreement that now allows him to take over Compware’s proceedings. So, while the blood stains on the walls of Sang’s office are drying up, Regus starts steering the proverbial ship while making the workspace a living hell for anyone with even a hint of self-respect. The story largely revolves around game designer Craig and creative liaison Elaine. There is a plethora of supporting characters with small arcs of their own. But they don’t impact the plot as significantly as the aforementioned three characters; hence, I’ll leave them for you to explore. In addition to Regus, Craig, and Elaine, Patti (Craig’s fiancé) is pretty important as she brings the light of the Lord with her. So, without wasting any other moment, let’s dig into these characters and see what they’re made of.
Major Spoilers Ahead
If you strip away the body horror and sci-fi aspects of Regus, he is still a great villain because he is the amalgamation of every bad CEO in existence. The dude doesn’t even know the job he has signed up for. He has a generation gap with his employees. He is vile, disgusting, and lacks even a morsel of empathy. Regus lies like anything because he knows that he doesn’t have to face the consequences of his actions. He says that Compware is about to go under, but we never see any data to suggest the same. Like the inexperienced Sang, we simply believe the “truth” he’s spewing because he’s sophisticated and talks in a complicated fashion. Patoff also personifies the notion that the oldies always know better than the youth, and hence they should be the ones in control. They don’t want to learn. They just need to rule over the next generation before they realize they’re doing just fine without the intervention of these boomers.
The only counterargument out there is that “Regus gets the results.” Elaine even states that Regus is the reason why Compware didn’t go under. Yes, exploiting employees by making them work insane hours is obviously going to “get the results.” But who’s going to benefit from it? Are the low-level and mid-level employees going to get a cut of the profits? No. Only people in Patoff’s position are going to rake the moolah and chill out while everyone underneath them continues to erode and get replaced. When you bring back the body horror and sci-fi aspects into focus, you can say that Regus doesn’t reap the benefits of oppressing the people working for him. Well, that’s because he doesn’t need to since he’s essentially a golden android (maybe). However, it’ll be stupid to assume that when CEOs like Sang sign Patoff’s document, they don’t give away a portion of their shares to the organization that has made Patoff, thereby allowing Patoff’s makers to shower in the money that Compware earns.
Craig represents every mid-level employee who is getting crushed by the theatrics of their bosses. He is a talented individual who can come up with ideas on the fly. Craig is a great communicator and has a great rapport with his team members. But his non-confrontational nature and his penchant for pettiness always keep him on the back foot. He becomes so busy sticking it to Regus that he forgets to be associated with the one thing that can propel him out of Compware and land him in a company that isn’t headed by someone like Regus. Even after learning that he’s the most expendable aspect of Compware, he doesn’t work on building his resume so that the next big gaming company can hire him. He thinks that being miserable and dirty is a form of rebellion, whereas all it does is harm his reputation and make him unworthy of being hired again unless somebody like Elaine does him a favor.
He does learn, though, that going down so-called “rabbit holes” and being passive-aggressive won’t do him any favors. He literally swings a hammer to bring about change. While that’s not advisable, you can see that as a metaphor and echo the sentiment by fighting for what you deserve. No matter how brash and arrogant your boss is, you have to ensure that you are getting credit for what you’ve done. Because that’s the only way to boost your resume, which in turn will help you exit your toxic workplace and walk into greener pastures. The only thing that can be learned from Craig’s personal life is that if you truly love someone, you should learn how to divide your time between them and your work. If you think that your fiancé’s religious beliefs will eventually get in the way of your relationship, then you should be upfront about it instead of cosplaying as a theist. Building your marriage on a foundation made of lies is never going to work out, period.
Elaine represents every HR professional and assistant-to-the-boss that you’ve ever encountered in your life. In fact, she is synonymous with the kind of employee who’ll suffer every kind of abuse and feign ignorance when they’ve to speak up against their boss. “The Consultant” does a really good job of justifying her actions by showing the steps leading to any decision that she makes. When she takes hold of Iain’s chamber, we are told that she is doing it to help the nervous man. When she drives to the office in the middle of the night because Regus is calling her, we’re made to believe that she has no other option but to listen to what her boss is telling her to do. When she is tasked with kidnapping an elephant and letting it loose in Downtown L.A. and using her body to convince her ex-boyfriend to get the job done, it genuinely seems like the only option at her disposal. They even give a plausible reason behind the hidden cameras in the office that only Elaine can access. But during the concluding moments of “The Consultant” Season 1, we see that she always had the choice to not do the things she did. And yet, she did it because she harbors dreams of becoming the boss of Compware.
I hate HRs and assistants on a personal level, and Elaine’s characterization validates my hatred for these departments. I don’t dislike the fact that they are the most self-centered individuals in an office space. Everyone has the right to be self-centered. Capitalism has turned the corporate minefield into a dog-eat-dog world. But it is their pretense that everything that they are doing is either for the benefit of the company or to help their fellow colleagues, which is really irksome. In addition to that, it’s the constant lying and covering up for their boss that genuinely infuriates me. Even if the proverbial iceberg has hit the proverbial Titanic, they won’t let anyone know about the reality unless the boss wants everyone to know. On the flip side, they’ll wiggle their way into every professional group and report everything they’ve heard from the employees to the boss. If it’s something constructive, they’ll probably keep mum on it. If it’s something not-so-constructive, they’ll spill the details and get you fired. So, be whatever you want to be, but don’t become like Elaine. There’s a good chance that no one will criticize you personally because of your proximity to the boss. However, behind your back, they’ll be roasting the hell out of you.
Patti’s proximity to religion and the nature of her job (plastic surgery) makes her self-contradictory, doesn’t she? Because, as per her beliefs, every human being has been made in God’s image. But Patti can reconstruct any human being if they pay her and her company good money. Shouldn’t that be considered a sinful act? Is she atoning for that particular sin by bringing another person into God’s light? Yes, I am talking about Craig’s conversion, which feels like something that Patti is forcing him to do even though his heart is just not in it. If Patti is indeed a woman of science, she should be open to the idea of coexisting despite the difference in religious beliefs. In fact, she should be opposed to the very idea of God because her whole profession is based on facts and data, and there’s no space for religious mumbo-jumbo in science. And I think that, on some level, she is aware of her hypocrisy and is hugely insecure about it, thereby making her the perfect prey for Regus Patoff.
While Regus is the evil boss for every single character in the show and Frankenstein’s monster for Frank Flores, I think he symbolizes the Antichrist for Patti. Everything from the way Regus “seduces” Patti to the way Regus is framed in Patti’s dreams makes it seem like “The Consultant” has gone into possession horror territory. If that seems unbelievable, just look at what Regus does to Patti by the end! When Elaine finds Patti in the records room, typing away mindlessly, it looks like she is in a trance, which is only broken when Craig’s name is spoken. We know that Regus is capable of manipulation. But what he does to Patti feels demonic. And there’s no way to say if Patti is still prone to Patoff’s “spells.” During the ending of “The Consultant” Season 1, we see that she is ready to move on. She looks healthy. However, there’s a very good chance that she’s still Patoff’s pawn, and he’s going to use her if Craig tries to come after him. All we can do is hope that Patti’s definition of God shows her the right path before Patoff gets to her.