‘The Regime’ Episode 4 Recap & Ending Explained: Will Agnes Betray Elena?


Are we having fun yet? From the way things are going in Elena’s very unfortunate central-European country, things might just culminate in another civil war. I don’t know if it was admirable or shortsighted of The Regime to give us a protagonist to loathe in the first couple of episodes without much context as to why we’re to find her lunacy amusing. But now that the 3rd and 4th episodes have laid the stakes bare and the dangers of Elena’s unpredictability are known to us, it somehow makes the cuckoo dictator seem less alien. What a sad world we live in, eh?

Spoiler Alert

Does Elena hold Edward Keplinger prisoner?

Well, don’t say that you actually expected that we’d be done with Zubak already. Rotting in the dungeon wouldn’t have been so torturous for the Butcher if the radio wasn’t scheduled to blast the Chancellor’s manipulative lies and denial every day. It isn’t so much what she’s saying but just her voice reminding him of the cruel rejection that makes him such an insomniac mess. But wait, Zubak’s days in the dungeon are about to get a lot more interesting. If it wasn’t such a normal thing in Elena’s autocracy, I would’ve thought that Zubak was hallucinating Edward Keplinger as a prisoner. It really is so Elena to push her leftist opponent off the throne and then hold him prisoner in the dungeon underneath her palace. What better way to remind him where he belongs in the power hierarchy and make sure that he wouldn’t be planning to take her down? 

Why are the Westgaters protesting?

Sure, it’s normal for perimenopausal women to experience hot flashes and excessive sweating. But when it’s Elena, the entire palace turning into the North Pole isn’t enough to calm her down. I mean, how unbelievably nutty does someone have to be to expect everyone around to pretend that they feel just as hot when the central AC’s been blasting and freezing them? No coats or a whisper of complaint allowed! But none of that compares to Elena’s shameless denial in the face of all the ways the country’s economy has taken a major blow ever since her free trade deal with China. I mean, for someone who can blatantly deny any unrest at the Faban Corridor ever since the forceful “reunification,” it’s only expected that Elena would call the news about the sugar beet farmers’ wretched condition a vicious lie spread by the Americans. 

Cheap Chinese sugar taking over the market has obviously put a lot of sugar beet farmers out of work, and even factories have ceased operating in Westgate. Remotely taking part in the meeting straight from her bathtub, Elena has some gall, asking her cabinet to “be better at being normal.” It’s bad enough that the conditions of the starving protestors have put her autocracy in the way of possible outside intervention; a pregnant protestor also had to go ahead and get her stomach kicked by a police horse. What a nuisance for poor Elena! Now she has to reluctantly agree to a Q&A with Westgate children in her palace and do some damage control over the death of the pregnant protestor. The trouble is, Elena can’t even fake her empathy. So instead of a moment of silence over the tragic deaths of the pregnant woman and her fetus, Elena loses her cool and lashes out at the children for asking if they’re going to have to ration food. She wants them to fill their bellies with nationalistic pride and “cut down” on the “butter and wine” like she has. Breathing in all that dry air has understandably caused her nose to bleed. Why let that opportunity go when she can pass it off as a pulse frequency attack by the CIA? 

How does Elena plan to curb the protests?

Elena’s practically impossible to guide. No amount of strategic thinking on her cabinet’s part can actually penetrate through that armor of delusion around her. She doesn’t even seem to think it’d have any far-reaching repercussions that she’s publicly blamed the dead woman for being dumb enough to go to the protests when she was pretty far along in her pregnancy. I guess Nicky’s the only one who can at least raise his voice when times are dire enough. So, after a lot of whining, Elena does choose to do something about the distance between her and her subjects and shows up at Westgate. Silas Ganz, President of the Sugar Beet Farmers’ Committee, may be a gracious host, but Elena’s almost on the verge of throwing up, having to breathe the same air as the working class. She knows she can’t possibly get away without feeding them a few reassuring lies about curbing Chinese sugar imports. But as she later calls Laskin in to plan a dirty move against Ganz, we know that she has no intention of alleviating the pain of the Westgaters. Laskin’s prompt action of stuffing Ganz’ office with guns and American cash does nothing to put an end to the protests, as predicted by Laskin himself. If anything, Silas’ arrest enrages the crowd, who now will be termed the “armed insurgents.” Nothing wrong with shooting them now, I guess. Pinning the blame on America for instigating the protestors didn’t work. Having to use force to bring the protestors down to their knees or six feet under wouldn’t have worked either, considering she’d be called a monster. Site Five massacre flashbacks, anyone? Now that she can paint the protest in a much more vicious light and instill the fear of a civil war in her subjects, Elena can call the mass murder she’ll likely carry out in Westgate totally lawful and necessary. 

Will Agnes betray Elena?

Agnes’ pain is understandable, as her own son gets treated like a toy when Elena’s in the mood to play house. She’s just as quick to cast him aside when her own negligence toward the epileptic kid makes his breath stink up the air around her. Oskar’s now been handed the hygrometer in Zubak’s absence, a job the little kid doesn’t understand head and tail of. You can’t blame Agnes for not jumping on the offer when she gets texts from an unknown source, claiming to be Americans who want to help break her and Oskar out of the hellhole. But the worse it gets for Oskar, the more desperate Agnes gets to risk it all and seek a way out. And as a jittery Agnes takes the call from the anonymous American and learns that she’d need to slip them some inside information about the palace, she weighs the risks and the rewards. Maybe it’s the guard passing by that reminds Agnes of how much worse it can get for her and Oskar if she’s caught. So, for now, at least until she can give it more thought, Agnes will likely refrain from defecting. But something tells me that things are going to get bad enough for her to rethink her decision soon. Now that Elena has lit the country on fire and is likely to aggravate the unrest at Westgate even further, everyone in the palace is about to go on a lockdown for their “safety.” Chances are, Agnes will find the claustrophobic torture and Oskar’s plight unbearable. Considering Elena and Zubak’s fiery reunion and the chaos that’ll ignite are also going to make the palace all the more uninhabitable, Agnes will probably be the one to strike the first blow to the dictator’s reign by defecting to the Americans. 

How did Zubak win back Elena’s affection?

Nice guy Ed has no business being stuck in the dungeon while the country is told that he’s living in a mansion and spreading lies about Elena. He’s made life down there as comfortable as it can get, though. He’s made friends with the guards who were supposed to keep him in check. They even sneak in some sausages and schnapps when they can, and they are visibly miserable when they have to follow orders and beat him to a pulp. Maybe if it were just him, Edward Keplinger would’ve spent the rest of his life in the dungeon without making any fuss. But Elena’s got his family hidden away somewhere. Ed does make a mistake in trying to talk some sense into Zubak. Ed’s original plan was to get the Butcher to shift alliances so that he could use him to get back at Elena. The first mistake was to think that Zubak is one of those poor brainwashed folks whose pain was replaced by anger. But things aren’t that complicated for Zubak. There’s only one thing he wants: for Elena to want him back. So, despite the friendly hand Ed puts forward, Zubak is far from convinced that he should switch sides. Ed not being a good liar also makes it quite difficult for him to play along with Zubak’s anti-American sentiments, even just for the sake of manipulating him. All that complex political discourse proves heavy on Zubak’s already agonized mind. Perhaps to soothe him, Elena’s voice in Zubak’s head fills him up with reassuring lies. He’s always been the hound who’s ripped into anyone who spoke ill of Elena.

In The Regime episode 4’s ending, Zubak once again does what his beloved would’ve wanted him to do. He wasn’t wrong in thinking that choking Edward Keplinger to death would impress Elena, as, pretty soon, he’s escorted upstairs into the palace. I doubt that there’s anything that can comfort Nicky now. He’s just seen his wife jump on another man with more passion than she’s probably ever shown for him. With Zubak and Elena now closer than ever, the imminent mayhem in the country will likely be made a million times worse. 

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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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