The fourth episode of The Irrational is out now, and it features yet another interesting case for Alec Mercer to solve. In this episode, we get to see more of Wes Banning as well, who is the only suspect the FBI has in the church bombing case. Mercer was knee-deep in responsibilities, so he delegated a few of them, like teaching his class and grading his students, to Rizwan. While Mercer solved the new case, he picked up on an interesting phenomenon of human psychology known as the “zero-sum bias,” which became pivotal in understanding the case. The show becomes Sherlock-esque in nature, becoming reluctant to depart from the overused deduction skills, but overall, the performances and fast-paced writing keep the show afloat. Here is a recap of The Irrational Episode 4.
Why Did Mercer Get Contacted For The New Case?
Alec Mercer, having helped the FBI in the ‘plane crash’ case in the last episode, had become quite the name it seemed. This might have been the reason why Keith came in with an unusual request. As it turns out, his daughter Veronica had been kidnapped, and Keith wanted Mercer to solve the case. Mercer, who simply wanted to sign his books at a book launch, wasn’t too keen on taking the case. He didn’t know Veronica, and Keith seemed like he was too impressed by the cases Mercer had solved. Then, the conversation became an opportunity for Keith to persuade Mercer to take the case, as the police weren’t going to before the 48-hour mark of the disappearance. Mercer, too, thought that could be too late, and if Keith was that concerned, there must be something to it. So, Mercer asked him to stop with the persuasion techniques (such as the ‘complimentary glow effect’), as he was willing to get on board.
How Did Rizwan Handle His Classes?
Rizwan, who had a mini-traumatic episode after seeing the plane crash, wasn’t exactly in any state to give a lecture to the psychology class. But, knowing Mercer, he probably put Rizwan on this duty, as he knew that overcoming the nerves would boost his confidence—something along the lines of ‘What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger!’ But Rizwan was unable to make sense of it. He acted like he would do anything to avoid his new responsibility. Phoebe helped him, and yet the class was a disaster. He not only failed to engage the students but managed to offend them as well. It was only later that he figured out that the classes could be made fun and entertaining, and he didn’t necessarily have to follow Mercer’s teaching style.
How Did Mercer Find Out About The Affair?
Mercer was with Keith and Alex, Veronica’s mother, when the kidnapper’s call came. She was last seen getting in a stranger’s car, and she might have been kidnapped by someone she knew; otherwise, she would never have gotten in. The kidnapper asked for a ransom amount of 2.7 million dollars, which caught Mercer’s attention. He called his ex-wife Marisa as well to help with the kidnapping case, but Alex had done something unusual. In walked a wealthy businessman named Theodore with his son and a woman named Rose, who was a corporate fixer and solved cases related to kidnapping and extortion. This seemed very odd to both Marisa and Mercer. Mercer read everybody’s body language and understood that Alex had had an affair with Theodore or Ted, and because Ted cared for Veronica, he had come with Rose to solve the case. Keith stood there listening to it all, and the pent-up anger later made him attack Ted. It wasn’t because he didn’t know about the affair, but that Ted boasted about how Veronica always asked him for financial help because Keith couldn’t provide for her.
How Did Mercer Know Who The Real Kidnapper Was?
Veronica is also a suspect now. She could have tried to fake her own kidnapping, given that she knew Ted would pay the ransom. The car she had last gotten in belonged to Cory, who was the prime suspect. Once he was caught, he revealed that she had asked him for two hundred thousand dollars, but he had declined. After that, she called someone else to drive her back home. Mercer believed Cory’s body language and had to entertain the possibility that perhaps Veronica really had kidnapped herself. But if she only needed $200,000, why would she ask for $2.7 million? The math didn’t add up. Mercer had to ask Kylie for help. She had to find Ted Akehurst’s enemies, who could have wanted 2.7 million dollars from him and were aware of Ted’s affair, too. She discovered an entrepreneurial venture that belonged to Ted’s son Trey, and it seemed he had wanted 2.5 million dollars to save his business.
How Did The Zero-sum Bias Come Into Play?
There was a question as to why Trey would go through this lengthy procedure of extorting his own father when he could simply ask for it. This is when ‘zero-sum bias’ helped Mercer understand the case. Trey thought that Ted’s love was finite, and he had all of it reserved for Veronica. Trey must have found out about the affair, and thus, Veronica was her stepsister in a way. Mercer brought the sibling rivalry into the picture as well, showing how it can really impact somebody’s psyche. The money was for saving his business, but he also didn’t really want to hurt Veronica. His beef was with his father. When Ted understood this, he came to meet Trey, who was already in a state of panic. Before Ted could tell him how much he cared about him, Trey shot him. Mercer explained to him that just because Ted cared for Veronica, that didn’t mean his love was a zero-sum entity. He had come to save Trey, and he would do that when he loved him. Veronica was the one who had told Trey about the affair, and since then, Trey has been burning with rage. He wanted revenge, but the weird sibling bond had also been created, which is why he wanted the extra money for Veronica as well.
The episode’s way of neatly tying up things is becoming a charming feature of the show. Just when things seem to be getting to a point where a subplot might be left hanging, the writing solves it all. There was a hint of a budding romance between Mercer and Rose, but it wasn’t till the last moment that she asked him out. It seems that we will see more of her in the future. The church bombing case was the last thing the episode teased us with. Wes Banning was interrogated thoroughly, and Marisa ensured that she got her information. Banning was definitely not the guy who planted the bomb, as he would have remembered the van he had used to escape from the scene. Work and life can both be enjoyable as they are not zero-sum games, Mercer thought at the end of The Irrational Episode 4. He might just start a romance with Rose and think about having kids, which, according to him, was an irrational choice, and we do know how much he hates those!