‘The Regime’ Episode 3 Recap & Ending Explained: Will Zubak Leave The Palace?


A graceful mind or not, The Regime is certainly a lot more fun now that Chancellor Elena Vernham is truly starting to come into her own. Any rapid shift in Elena is, without a doubt, a morbid exhibition of her messed-up mental health. And it’s in this week’s episode that the unstable tyrant breaks out of her cocoon and becomes the intriguing evil that we’re used to seeing in Will Tracy’s shows. With the repartee getting more whimsical by the minute, it’s all coming together to give it the Succession zing that it’s been missing, you see?

Spoiler Alert

Why does Elena agree to a land reform project?

At a certain point, you’ve got to ask the question that you’ve been meaning to ask all along. How is Elena letting herself get convinced that Zubak’s “country medicine” is actually working? I mean, she does seem to have a working brain. So why would a woman of such brilliance, who’d made a name for herself as a physician, gulp down a bowlful of earthworm-infested soil? Chances are, Chancellor Elena Vernham really is so delusional that she can get into a completely different headspace so long as it goes with her latest fixation. And since her latest fixation is Corporal Zubak, no amount of nonsense coming out of his mouth can put her off. Instead, she’d go as far as to risk dipping into the holding company funds, funds she and her close ones have stolen from the very people whom Zubak is now a representative of. And now that she’s fooled herself into believing that she can be a beacon of hope for the working class, she aims to take from the rich and give to the poor. It’s concerning how much power Zubak holds over the cabinet of nervous bureaucrats. Despite Mr. Singer’s very legitimate concerns over the disastrous effect this land reform project would have on the economy, Zubak is adamant about getting what he wants. 

Why does Elena change her mind about the land reform project?

So much about Elena is absolutely inexplicable that all we can do is wait to get to know her demons better. On the surface, she comes off as tremendously self-destructive. But the more we get familiarized with her whims, it seems as though she does have control over how far she’ll let herself go before causing irreparable damage to herself and her regime. Granted, she didn’t give much thought to the far-reaching repercussions of the land reform project before she plunged into it, but she does pull the brakes when sense is talked into her. She knows that the empire she’s built on the backs of her people will come crashing down if she goes through with it. And it’s this anxiety that makes her mind run off on one of her weird workout sessions with Zubak. While it does seem like a lapse of judgment that she confides in Zubak about her crime against the country’s people, the fact that Zubak goes berserk and abusive does end up helping her in a way. This may just be the first crack in her idealistic image of the man her cabinet terms the “belligerent buffalo.” Zubak does nothing to help his case when he takes the audacious initiative to blurt out an apology to the crowd on behalf of Elena. Thankfully, it’s her father’s birthday party. However, awkwardly, the impromptu birthday jingle does drown out Zubak’s impulsive toast. Elena’s just now starting to see how detrimental Zubak’s influence can be to her policies and her autocracy. She’s also accepted that the land reform project is a bust. She can’t be Robin Hood and the capitalistic ruler of her country at the same time. 

What makes Elena forcefully acquire the Faban Corridor?

Freud wouldn’t know where to start when it comes to Elena and her messed-up daddy issues. It’s bad enough that she keeps his slowly decomposing corpse locked in a glass case and even displays him to the gawking guests on his birthday. But she takes it a notch above and has full-blown back-and-forths with her dead father. It’s increasingly evident from these “exchanges” that she’s caught in a dilemma between wanting to overshadow his achievements and hankering for his approval. Even though we do see her hallucinating her father talking back, we know for a fact that all of it is happening in her head. So, the fact that she hears her father disapproving of the land reform project only means that she disapproves of it herself. But the same isn’t the case when it comes to the Faban Corridor fiasco. If the voice of her father is any indication of how the man was when he was alive, Joseph must’ve been a vicious bully to his own daughter. Chances are, forcibly annexing the Faban Corridor, a region severed from Elena’s country by civil war (if we go by real-life geopolitics), was her father’s dream. And since she’s still not given up on trying to impress him, “reunification” with the Faban Corridor seems like the best way to look like the leader he always taunts her about not being. But there’s another reason Elena does something so risky that it’d turn both NATO and America majorly hostile. She enjoyed the attention she was getting when she wasn’t so isolationist. And as bullying Judith Holt didn’t get the uproar she’d hoped for, she now wants to do something way bigger for her face to be on all the front pages. 

Will Zubak leave the palace?

Having to dodge being crushed under Elena’s stomping foot has made it pretty standard for her cabinet and her husband to be on constant guard. But even though this group is the first to be immediately affected by the decisions born out of her paranoia, they’re kind of paranoid themselves. Nicky sort of has an upper hand here, given that Elena and him sometimes share a bed, although Zubak would rather they didn’t. Being that close to Elena is no small matter, and considering how she treats everyone, it should even be taken as a privilege by her own husband. So, while Laskin, Singer, and Schiff have banded together to mourn the dying gasp of their queen’s sanity, Nicky has taken the time to turn the enemy into a potential ally in Elena’s eyes. Sure, she’s been badmouthing China as a good little pet for America. But now that she’s taken her tray off of the popular kids’ lunch table, it only makes sense to join the one who’s been shunned. What’s a better way to stick it to America than to join hands with China?

It’s all fun and games as long as your eyes are on Elena and your mind’s occupied by thoughts of what a nutcase she is. It gets uncomfortably real when you see how her lunacy affects countless people who have nothing to do with her personal issues. The innocent people of Faban Corridor end up paying the biggest price for her fading obsession with Zubak and her crazy dream to impress her dead father. Elena’s military force, including the newly anointed Faban Freedom Captain Zubak, wreaks unthinkable havoc in the Faban Corridor as the deceitful dictator lies through her teeth about it being a peaceful, lawful reunion. It paints a rather real picture of how world geopolitics works, with people in power like Elena guarding themselves against criticism with their habitual whataboutery. Who’s going to tell her that America’s exploitation of Afghanistan and Iraq in no way justifies what she’s done in the Faban Corridor? 

As it turns out, Elena’s not above mending her fences with the people she’s previously turned against. Bartos’ invitation to the Faban reunification celebration gala doesn’t just give the comedian spicy material for some garish pedo jokes; it also shows that she’s serious about discussing China with someone who can actually help her out. Zubak doesn’t like it one bit. And while Elena is having a laughing fit, ignoring everything else around her, Zubak’s rage is reaching a boiling point. I don’t know if Elena saw it coming or not, but Zubak physically assaulting her was always how it was going to go. She’s probably chosen the wrong toy to play with, as this one wouldn’t be so quiet about her declining fascination. Of course, his decision to punch out the rage and Bartos being unfortunate enough to be on the premises make it a more digestible outcome. Given what a terrible person Bartos is, it doesn’t really make your eyes well up. But what does get you furious about the ending sequence is Agnes’ plight in the midst of it all. It’s bad enough that she has to share her son with a lunatic who doesn’t care if he lives or dies. Elena didn’t even notice that Oskar had a seizure at the gala. But now that she’s let Zubak go, as is evident from his being escorted out of the palace by security, she needs something else to occupy her mind until she moves on from this premature goodbye. And that distraction, for now, is Oskar, the poor epileptic kid who’s been going through hell without his medication and now has to bear the brunt of this odd “co-parenting” situation. 

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Lopamudra Mukherjee
Lopamudra Mukherjee
In cinema, Lopamudra finds answers to some fundamental questions of life. And since jotting things down always makes overthinking more fun, writing is her way to give this madness a meaning.

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