‘The Regime’ Episode 5 Recap & Ending Explained: Do The Westgate Rebels Overthrow The Government?


There’s one thing this week’s episode of Winslet-starrer The Regime makes abundantly clear. Elena is way more delusional than she is evil. She would’ve probably had a much longer and way more notorious reign had she been a queen in medieval times. If there was no one above her to condemn her for the unbelievable amount of lunacy she’s capable of, her tendencies would’ve proved much less self-destructive. Luckily, in the modern world, it’s unlikely for the Chancellor of a Central European country to get away with causing a civil war.

Spoiler Alert

What’s the situation inside and outside the palace?

Christmas has forgotten to bring the tidings of comfort and joy to the fictional Central European country. Elena rules like a child playing with a dollhouse. She’s pushed the country to the edge with her unbelievably shortsighted and selfish political strategies. It’s been six months since she’d made the abominable decision to have the president of the sugar beet farmers’ union arrested under false charges. The move that was intended to crack down on the protests only served to aggravate it even further, as foreseen by the members of her cabinet who have somewhat functional brains. With their lives going up in flames, the Westgaters have come together to form an army and called for a revolution that’d force a shift in the political scenario. Elena’s military, no matter how well-equipped with fancy weapons, is no match when it comes to the number and the desperate might of the Westgate rebels. The country’s in absolute disarray as the lunatic queen asks her pretend son Oskar to pick up the Christmas carp. It’s as though she’s formed an imaginary bubble of protection around herself and convinced herself that the palace is an impenetrable fortress. The minister of transportation and the rest of those who’d rather take their chance by defecting than dance to the whims of the Chancellor have fled the country. Sadly, the burden still falls on the staff and the likes of Singer and Schiff to maintain the facade of calm even when they’re scared out of their wits. 

What’s Elena and Zubak’s new dynamic like?

Elena is right about one thing, though. She and Zubak really are two little lunatics who fit like a glove. And since nothing is too good for Elena’s new fixation, a dream interpreter makes the risky journey to the palace even amidst all the violence in the country. And like every other employee, the dream interpreter does her job well, and stuffs Elena and Zubak’s heads with all the reassuring lies she’s getting paid for. Being a naive little mad lad, Zubak even takes the “homework” seriously and refrains from biting Elena as he does in his dreams. But given that he’s nutty enough not to know the difference between reality and the tall tales his subconscious concocts, he’s also rather insecure that Elena doesn’t really love him. Why? Because she didn’t save him from drowning in his dream. What do you say to that? There’s no lie Elena wouldn’t tell to comfort Zubak now, including holding back on her very natural reaction to the godawful portrait he’s made of her. Nicky has certainly not taken it well ever since he’s seen his wife pounce on another man. But considering he’s still willing to be a puppet in her hands even after his failed suicide attempt over how much she’s hurt him, he’s not really ready to move on. 

How does Elena plan to deal with the call for revolution in her country?

It’s not just that Elena fails to be evil enough to strategize ways to hold on to her chancellorship; what’s even more baffling is that she doesn’t even seem interested in fixing the mess. It’s really too bad that an anxious Laskin has to follow her around in the greenhouse, practically begging her to do something about the situation at hand even though she’s none the wiser. The cuckoo queen would rather pick flowers for her dead father and introduce her new beau to him. What a hold the man must’ve had on his daughter! How’d a woman run a country if she can’t even stand up to the decomposing corpse of her father and has to make her boyfriend set the boundaries for her? You can only talk sense into someone who’s at least willing to listen. For someone who’s delusional enough to believe that no one is starving in her country, it’s obvious why Elena would reject Singer’s last-resort strategy that can help her hold on to the loyalists. Singer’s idea wasn’t half bad: if she gave her country a Christmas bonus of sorts, she’d at least have something to show for herself when NATO came knocking on her door. The most fascinating thing about all this is the process of realizing just how crazy Elena is. She isn’t even deliberately downplaying the situation. She truly does believe that her relationship with the rebels is that of two estranged lovers. She’s certain that a country full of her scorned lovers will come around and throw themselves at her feet in no time. 

Do the Westgate rebels overthrow the government? 

The penultimate episode of The Regime does relieve us from one of the most gnawing questions we’ve sort of been losing our minds over. Why does no one ever address just how unstable the Chancellor is? If it weren’t for Singer, Schiff, and the new Defense Minister pouring themselves bottomless drinks and plotting a coup, we would probably have missed the satisfaction of seeing Elena’s nuttiness acknowledged. But they wouldn’t have risked uttering the blasphemous words if their entire game didn’t hinge on their Chancellor’s episodes of psychosis. If they can use the medical contingency clause to overthrow Elena, not only will the power hierarchy recognize them as the leaders of the country, but they can also tell the world that the resistance has been brewing within the palace all along. The trouble is, it’s taken them a bit too long to make up their minds about betraying the Chancellor. As the Westgate rebels take over the news channels and blast “The Barber of Seville,” Agnes’ joke about it turns into a foreshadowing of sorts. 

Even as the rebels have surrounded the palace, Elena’s denial is still her strongest defense. A very sloshed Singer is practically giddy with excitement as the Chancellor wonders if she should address the rebels from the balcony. We all know he’s hoping that she’ll get shot and they’ll finally get the country back in order. But Elena has an even better plan up her sleeve. Why risk dying when she has the perfect scapegoat who’d lay down his life for her? Apparently, there’s a quick fix to this situation. And it is for her to step down and for the kin of the Founding to become the new Chancellor of the country. The naive Zubak is too thrilled at the prospect of getting to do his part for the country to see that he’s putting his head through the noose. 

Parting ways with the position she’s held in the country for seven long years isn’t easy for Elena. Even as she addresses her “beloveds” to resign as Chancellor, her mumbling repetitions of all the good she’s done are only her way to delay the inevitable. What yanks her out of that state of misery is the rebels breaking into the palace. Zubak’s the fierce protector he’s always been as he safeguards Elena from the bullets flying all over the place. In the ending sequence of the penultimate episode, Elena loses everything but her life. The Westgate rebels have overthrown the government that’s tormented them long enough. It’s only made all the more official with the glass case holding Elena’s father hitting the ground and shattering into a gazillion pieces. It’s hard to deny how satisfying it was to watch Singer and Schiff fly off to safety, leaving behind the crazy queen who made life a living hell for everyone around. But at the same time, it’s impossible not to mourn the innocent lives that were lost in the process of putting an end to the evil regime. Had the rebels broken into the palace a day later, Agnes would’ve been on the plane to France with her little boy. A stray bullet ended the dream of a better life for Agnes. We can only hope that Oskar, now that he’s all by his lonesome, somehow survives the ordeal. As for Elena, Zubak will likely find a way to sneak her out of the palace unscathed. But where will she go from here? 

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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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