‘The Irrational’ Episode 8 Recap And Ending Explained: Does Mercer Get Traumatized Again?

Alec Mercer, the suave behavioral scientist of the show The Irrational, is back, and he has yet another case to solve. Last time we met him, he was dating Rose while solving a case, of course. But in episode 8, we learn that Rose has gone to Paris. So our behavioral scientist is alone, and when a case pops up, he falls back on Marisa, his ex-wife, for help. The case makes him deal with his past traumas, and only Mercer can tell if he has truly dealt with them. The old church bombing case is also brought up, but it seems that it will take much more than Mercer’s efforts to solve it.

Spoilers Ahead


How Does Mercer Find Out Chris’ Death Was A Homicide?

Alec had his own phobia when it came to fire. After all, he had faced the horror of it in the bombing. He was severely burned, and even 20 years after the incident, he wasn’t sure if he had totally recovered from the burn marks. But now he needed to convince a victim that she would make it. Izzy was lying in a hospital, and her boyfriend Chris had died in the fire she thought she started. It was a bad decision, it turns out, to break into Mr. Rixton’s house. He had passed away recently, and the house was empty, so they didn’t think twice before breaking in. Izzy had lit some candles and had booze lying around. Her memory was hazy as she remembered that there was fire coming through the floor, and she thought she must have kicked a candle onto the alcohol while they both were sleeping and the house caught on fire. Mercer had been called in by his doctor because he thought it would be best if Izzy met an actual burn victim who understood her pain. Mercer, however, discovered that the fire that had killed Chris and almost got Izzy as well couldn’t have been ignited the way she was describing it. He thought it would be best to meet the man who filed the fire report, because, as per his initial instinct, the fire started in the basement, which is why Izzy remembered it coming up through the floor. If Mercer was right, then this case of arson was also a homicide.


How Did Mercer Get To Pinter?

Mercer and Marisa approached Tyler, the man in the fire department, who accepted his mistake and agreed that the case was one of arson. The next step was obvious: to check in with the Rixton sisters, Anna, Caroline, and Molly, to figure out if they burned down the house for insurance money. Mercer got to know that they couldn’t get the insurance even if they tried because their house wasn’t updated with sprinklers, and the insurance wouldn’t cover the house in such a case. So, the sisters had no motive, as they did not benefit from the fire. He did get to know about Kat, who had threatened to kill Chris for breaking up with her. Marisa, Mercer, and Tyler got to Kat and found there was something she was hiding, which totally changed the narrative Mercer had been hanging on. Kat was dating a girl named Dara, and she told Mercer that it was Chris’ idea that she threaten him online because that would hide the fact that she was with Dara. The town was a conservative one, and Kat didn’t want to reveal that she and Dara were lesbians. None of Mercer’s leads were pointing him towards the arsonists. Caroline told Mercer that they were going to sell the land for a lot less because of the fire, and that got Mercer to think about whether someone knew about the insurance lapse and wanted to get the land for a cheaper price. They could have a motive in that case. Caroline told Mercer about some people from the Presbyterian Church who had always been interested in the land. Mercer didn’t find a motive there, as they had bought the land elsewhere, but learned that a few fires had been started by the unhoused people. Pinter was one such person living in an RV,  which was burned to a crisp with Pinter in it before Mercer got there.


How Did Mercer Solve The Case?

Mercer had been looking at the case with the bottom line of ‘cui bono’ meaning who benefited. It seemed no one benefited from the arson. But a case with Phoebe and Rizwan, his assistants, taught him to look at the case with the bottom line of ‘cui malo’ : who was harmed. Mercer met the sisters and asked them if they had any idea if someone wanted to harm them. The three sisters had their own grievances related to one another and what they had planned to do with the house, and it could have been any of them. Tyler told Mercer that Molly knew Pinter, and this led Mercer to believe that perhaps she burned the house down and killed Pinter after framing him for all the fires that had been happening in the area. The theory was that Molly was resenting the fact that her sisters would get a fair share of the house money if it was sold or converted to a B&B, when she was the one who took care of their dying father in his last years. She would rather burn the house down than let them have the profits. But Mercer had no evidence for his theory. The sisters had refused to cooperate and had asked for their lawyers. Later, Mercer almost died in a fire set by Molly, who must have panicked after his interrogation and wanted Mercer dead. The cops got to Molly, and Mercer survived, but his stress went through the roof, which came under control only when he met Izzy and told her that he was there for her and she would recover soon.


Final Words

The eighth episode managed to get a solid case for Mercer to crack, and we got to see him deal with his own traumas. We got to see how Kylie, his sister, was the one who cared for him when he was recuperating, and Marisa still cared for her even though they were not together. As far as the church bombing case went, that investigation took an unexpected turn. Jace, Marisa’s partner, was of the opinion that the case was a political one and Sanford, a local politician, had to be investigated because his name was mentioned in Matthias’ online chats. Matthias was absconding and was the last piece of the puzzle. Jace had the theory that Sanford benefitted from the bombing as he won the election after it. What exactly could be the repercussions of recalibrating the motive are to be seen.


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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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