‘The Irrational’ Episode 10 Recap & Ending Explained: Did Matthias Kill Alec Mercer?

The tenth episode of The Irrational did not have any other case for Mercer to solve other than the one he had been trying to solve for the past 20 years, the Church Bombing case. The bomber Wes Banning was in prison, but The Irrational episode 10 showed us that not only did he escape from prison but he also reached Mercer. In an interesting exchange, Mercer tried to figure out what Banning wanted, and in doing so, he learned a thing or two about Banning’s character and his real motivation behind building the bomb. 

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Spoilers Ahead


How Did Mercer Know That Banning Had A Bomb?

At the beginning of The Irrational episode 10, we see Banning getting attacked by a fellow inmate while he was being transferred in a police van. Banning escapes and becomes a problem for Marisa, whom he had threatened in one of his statements. Mercer knew about this, which is why he told Marisa to leave her office, which was stupid advice as she was literally in the FBI building. The officers were prepared to take Banning on if he ever came Marisa’s way, but Banning wanted less to do with her than with Mercer himself. 

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Mercer wanted to help in whatever way he could, which is why he went to his office and called in Phoebe and Rizwan as well. The idea was to get to Banning’s current emotional state and see if he would try to do something out of the blue. When the trio read the case files, it seemed that Banning had been more frustrated than ever after his parole was rejected. He had admitted to bombing the church because Matthias had shown up at the hearing and spooked him. What power he had over Banning was still a mystery, but Banning was definitely a threat. His criminal history showed that he had committed serious crimes at a rapidly escalating pace, culminating in the bombing of the church. The team found that Banning had worked as a handyman at a local college, and Mercer figured that he could have hidden a bomb there for later use. He wasn’t surprised to find that the college had reported a break-in. Mercer was certain that Banning had a bomb and was coming to bomb the FBI building. Mercer was right about the bomb part, but Banning, instead of heading for the FBI building, showed up at Mercer’s office and took him hostage. 


How Did Mercer Figure Out Banning Was Not A Psychopath?

Mercer knew he had only so many options at that point. He couldn’t run away, leaving Phoebe and Rizwan, nor did he want to. His best bet was to make Banning realize that it was in his best self-interest to give up Matthias and let everyone go free. But Banning’s demeanor was that of a maniac. Something was bothering him so much that he wasn’t willing to listen to Mercer. Banning wanted Mercer to call Marisa and summon her to his office. Before Mercer did anything to talk him out of it, he needed to figure out if Banning was redeemable. Mercer’s whole shtick of asking him the famous Trolley problem (used to check whether a person is a psychopath or not) was because he wanted to figure out if Banning had a single iota of empathy left. Well, Banning’s answer made him sound like a normal human being, and it seemed he was worried about his kid. Mercer had figured it out but got to hear it from Banning himself: that Matthias had threatened to harm Banning’s daughter Dahlia. It was the reason why Banning had accepted false charges and was rotting in prison. The man who had attacked Banning in the police van was working for Matthias, which only meant that Matthias wasn’t satisfied with Banning behind bars; he wanted him dead. 

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How Did Kylie Help Save Phoebe?

Kylie was the one who had informed Marisa that Mercer’s phone was off. It was all the more alarming that both Phoebe and Rizwan were out of reach as well. Kylie got Marisa to come in with the cavalry because she figured something was not right. Mercer was trapped in the building, but Kylie knew a way to help Marisa get a shot at Banning. 

Mercer had turned off the cameras inside the building to gain Banning’s trust, as without a reading of the situation inside the building, the FBI wouldn’t dare come in, risking an explosion. Kylie knew of a device that thermally scanned people, and through it, she tried to get a sense of what was happening in Mercer’s office. She didn’t know that Phoebe was having a panic attack, which is why her thermal scan showed the stress levels going through the roof. Marisa was asked if Kylie had figured out where Banning was located in the office so that the sniper team could take him out. For a moment, Kylie identified Phoebe as Banning because her anxiety and stress level matched those of a person on the run. But later, just seconds before the snipers took the shot at Phoebe, Kylie realized that Mercer was having a confrontation with someone, and their stress level rose before falling. There was no way Phoebe would have felt more stressed while talking to Mercer, which is how Kylie figured out that the confrontation happened with Banning, and because he had been convinced by Mercer, his stress levels had come down. Marisa ordered the snipers to stand down and wait for further updates.

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Why Did Banning Blow Up The Building?

There was a reason Banning’s stress levels had dropped. It was because Mercer had convinced him to go look for Dahlia before Matthias could get to her. Matthias had called the office, threatening Banning to not stall his inevitable death; otherwise, Matthias would track Dahlia down and kill her. He had given Banning 38 minutes to blow himself up. Perhaps this time was related to the 90-minute mark that Banning had started earlier, in order to make Mercer call Marisa. Mercer had talked him out of it, as calling Marisa meant she would get spooked and come in with the full force. So perhaps the bomb had 38 minutes left on the timer, after which it would self-detonate. 

Banning had just one photo of Dahlia when she was a child, living away from him in a foster home. Essentially, he was lamenting the fact that even if he wanted to save Dahlia, he couldn’t, as he didn’t know where she lived. Phoebe and Rizwan offered their help and narrowed down the area where the photo could have been taken. It would take 17 minutes to reach that place, which gave Banning a chance to get to Dahlia before Matthias. Banning blew up the building after they all left, as he knew Matthias would be watching, and this way he would believe that he was dead, along with Mercer, who was the only survivor from the Church Bombing case. Mercer and Banning got to Dahlia, and it took some convincing for her to let them get inside her house. Before they could explain to Dahlia what they had been through and why she needed to leave the place as soon as possible, a sniper shot at Dahlia, but Banning came in the way, and he ended up dead. 


Final Words: 

Mercer was no closer to finding out who Matthias really was. Marisa had a greater chance of solving the Church Bombing case as she and Jace had not only been working on it tirelessly, trying to dig up dirt on Sanford, the politician, but also moved in together. In the end, however, Jace was found lying wounded on the floor in Marisa’s house. He had found some strong evidence, and perhaps Sanford got to know about it and sent his men to kill Jace. The case is nowhere near over, and the next episode might reveal who hurt Jace and whether or not he was still alive. 


Ayush Awasthi
Ayush Awasthi
Ayush is a perpetual dreamer, constantly dreaming of perfect cinematic shots and hoping he can create one of his own someday.

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