The fifth episode of The Irrational plays much more in goofy territory as compared to the previous ones. There is no murder or kidnapping to solve for Alec Mercer, but a simple poker cheating scandal. By bringing the stakes down, the show, quite surprisingly, hits the right tone, which accommodates all the psychological jargon quite nicely. The previous episodes had something very serious going on at times, where Mercer explaining the ‘zero-sum’ bias or some other phenomenon felt a little out of place. Here, there is a threat of something nasty happening, but the tone is nicely balanced to reassure us that it never will, and we can sit back and enjoy Mercer cracking the case through his knowledge and acute observational skills.
Why Did Mercer Get The Call?
If Mercer found himself fatigued or he had just solved a case, he expected a few minutes of calm. He wasn’t even replying to Rose Dinshaw’s messages, the ‘fixer’ from the previous episode, as he truly didn’t think he was ready to enter the dating game. But then again, Mercer had to cut his leisure time short as he received a call from his ex-student, Camille Lawson. Camille used to be one of Mercer’s top students and had her career ready for her in academia under Mercer, but she didn’t think it was the right fit for her. What she had learned from Mercer, she went on to apply to winning poker. The behavioral giveaways and her ways of bluffing others helped her become a big name in poker; her natural talent also helped. But this time, a man named Ethan beat her in a tournament game in Vegas, and she got concerned. She had to call Mercer as she suspected Ethan of cheating at the games, but there was something more to this thing, which Mercer eventually caught on to. But first, Mercer had to take a flight to Vegas with Kylie, Rizwan, and Phoebe to help his brainy ex-student.
What Did Marisa Find Out?
While Mercer was away, Marisa was working hard on the church bombing case and making breakthroughs. She was facing heat from her superiors for working too hard on a case that was 19 years old, but to that she had only one reply: 13 people had died that night in the bombings, and this was her chance to close the case that had remained stagnant for so many years. The last information she had gotten from Banning was that there was definitely another man involved who Banning wasn’t revealing. Through her investigations, she found the man who had designed the logo for the dry cleaner’s van that was present at the bombing site. The graphic designer of the logo was called in for questioning, and after a grueling arm-twisting session, he confessed having been approached by a suspicious-looking fellow who had an ‘8’ tattooed on his hand. After a brainstorming session with her superiors, she figured out that the symbol was actually the one for infinity, which was also the symbol used by the fundamentalist group known as the ‘New Apostles’. This linked itself nicely with the Methodist Church bombings, as there could have been a motive.
How Did Mercer Save Himself From The Loan Sharks?
Mercer was a little apprehensive about helping Camille, as she was definitely hiding something from him. If it had just been the case of catching someone cheating in the game, she could have reported it to anybody, but she called Mercer, who she knew would help instead of judging her. The hidden detail was revealed when Mercer pressed her to tell him about the pickle she was in. Camille told him that she had taken money from a dangerous man, a loan shark, to submit the entry fee for the Vegas Poker Tournament, and she thought she would repay it from the winning amount. But as she started losing, the loan sharks ganged up on her, fearing that they wouldn’t get their money back. Ethan was playing really well, but he suddenly withdrew his name from the tournament, and Camille advanced. This helped save her from the loan shark’s wrath, but she wasn’t out of trouble. They needed collateral to ensure that she returned them the money, and hence, they kidnapped Mercer. Mercer explained to the loan shark that the only guarantee they had of getting their money back was letting him speak to Ethan, who must know something about the cheating scandal going on. That way, he could help Camille win, in turn guaranteeing the loan shark’s money back.
Who Was The Mastermind Behind The Cheating Scandal?
Ethan couldn’t reveal who the real mastermind behind the cheating scandal was, but he did reveal that he had been sent a device that he had to put in his shoes and would get the vibrations as a signal of what to play. An awesome team of Kylie, Rizwan, and Phoebe Mercer used the ‘noise to signal ratio’ to distract Camille’s new opponent, who was also suspected of cheating. Hank, the man against Camille in the final, also had the same device in his shoes, but because Kylie had connected it with her device on the same frequency, she could give out random signals, thus creating a ‘noise,’ making it impossible for Hank to detect the signal. The event manager was Linda Fields, who was the most surprised by Hank’s poor performance, and hence, it became clear to Mercer that she was the one organizing the cheating scheme as a way to extract 80 percent of the money from average poker players who had agreed on the anonymously received devices. They made a deal to just take 20 percent of the winning amount, which was a lot for them, but Camille wanted to beat others as she was truly an exceptional player. Mercer prevented her from cheating herself, and she won fairly. The loan sharks went their merry way, and the case was finally solved.
The Irrational Episode 5 was light and fun to watch, with Phoebe and Camille sharing their moments to reveal their past. They had been friends, but Camille chose poker over academia, which had shocked Phoebe a little. These small revelations about the characters’ associations speak a lot about who they are, which is sometimes never revealed in high-stakes cases where the focus remains mostly on Mercer and Marisa. The church bombing case was almost on the verge of being solved, as Marisa had found the man from the New Apostles who had the infinity tattoo on his hand. He could have revealed what had happened on the night of the bombing, but before Marisa reached his house, he had committed suicide. Mercer felt dejected at this new development and probably would have to wait for another piece of evidence to pop up to know the whole truth. And perhaps the romance angle is out of the picture, as he didn’t message Rose at all. Mercer is a character who hides his troubles well, but something indicates that after a low-stakes episode, something big is coming his way.