‘White House Plumbers’ Episode 4 Recap & Ending, Explained: What Happened To Dorothy’s Plane?

HBO’s dramatization of the infamous 1972 Watergate scandal, White House Plumbers, reached a melting point this week when the two most important plumbers came under legal fire. After Jim McCord forgot to remove a piece of tape from the door of the DNC building they snuck into in the previous week’s episode, the FBI and the cops traced their way to Howard Hunt and Gordon Liddy. Now, as the pressure mounts for both of them with financial and legal troubles reaching an all-time high, here’s what happens in this week’s episode of White House Plumbers.


The fourth episode is all about cleaning up the mess that the White House Plumbers created in the DNC Building, and now that the FBI and the police are barging into the homes of Gordon Liddy and Howard Hunt, they need to save their skin. Howard wakes up his son Saint John in the middle of the night and takes him to a bridge to dump all the incriminating evidence, like the equipment they’d used in bugging the building. At home, Howard warns his two kids not to answer the constantly ringing phone, a few of which are calls made by the concerned Dorothy from Paris, who learned about the five arrests made at the DNC. When Dorothy rushes back home, journalists are swarming around their house, and two FBI agents ask her to get her husband to talk to them. Howard reveals the entire fiasco he finds himself in, and Dorothy barks at him to get a lawyer.

Meanwhile, patriot Gordon Liddy has taken his eccentricity to new heights, shredding the cash they’d left and even the soap they’d gotten from the Watergate Hotel. He also clarifies to James Dean that he’ll be willing to take a bullet in the head for President Nixon, making the authorities realize that Gordon is a flight risk and the White House can’t associate with him. With financial constraints mounting, including Howard’s lawyer’s fees and Jim McCord’s maintenance, Dorothy comes through using her impressive negotiation techniques. She gets a deal with Mr. Rivers, whose bosses appreciate Howard’s loyalty to the USA, and they agree to pay him. However, her husband realizes they need to take care of Gordon’s family, too, because the White House has left Gordon high and dry. Soon, the Hunts are broke, to the point that they have to sell their beautiful horses. Realizing the only shot they’ve left, the Hunts visit the Liddys for dinner, where Howard proposes an idea. He can write a book about their story and use it as a bid item to extract money from the US government, amounting to almost half a million dollars.


Gordon, however, flatly refuses because he won’t sell his loyalty and because his pro-Nazi mentality, in addition to the eccentricity that makes him point a gun at kids, can’t fathom the issues normal people undergo. He instead exposes Howard for flirting with a flight attendant and mentions that the hostess sang like a canary to the authorities, disclosing the details of their little trip to the psychiatrist’s office the previous year. Dorothy once again handles the matter and clearly states that it’s them who’ve been taking care of the Liddys till now because the government Gordon can take a bullet for, wants to have nothing to do with him. The Hunts leave, and Gordon sits in silence, planning his next course of action.

At the first hearing, bail is posted at $10,000, and Howard struggles to pay 10% of the same and tries talking to Gordon. His partner, however, wants nothing to do with Howard anymore and flat-out ignores Howard’s repeated pleas to speak to him. At home, Dorothy learns from Saint John that her husband had him destroy evidence, and she reveals that she has wanted to divorce Howard for years now.


The election results are in, and Nixon wins again by crushing his opponent, McGovern, by a landslide, and both Howard and Gordon celebrate the victory. While Gordon fondly remembers how Nixon had praised a memo he’d once written, Dorothy lambasts Howard for thinking that Nixon would help them. She clearly understands that Nixon has no need to keep two “third-rate burglars” out of prison on the off-chance they incriminate him. Dorothy thunders out of the room, letting the family know exactly what she thinks of the president and having made up her mind about what to do next. In a twisted way, it seems the Liddys are a lot happier as a family because Fran never interfered with Gordon’s work and the patriarchal atmosphere in the Liddy household had Fran following his commands to a T. Their family was provided for, with Gordon’s wife Fran taking up a teaching job, while Howard’s family was kicked out of the club’s badminton court, where he’d failed to pay for six months.

When Howard drives Dorothy to the airport for her flight to Chicago, before getting off the car, she informs him that she’ll be divorcing him when she returns and taking their youngest son David with her. Howard pleads, groans, and even tries to blame Dorothy for having an affair with an Italian man while in South America, and she immediately reminds him that he was also doing the same behind her back. He tries reminding her of the sacrifices he made, but all of them fall short of the leaps and bounds that Dorothy made over the last 11 years to give Howard countless chances to fix his act.


What Happened To Dorothy’s Plane?

Dorothy gets out of the car, and heads inside the airport, leaving Howard to drive back home, suppressing tears. She gets on the plane and is met with a reporter from CBS who sits next to her.  Dorothy says she doesn’t require Howard’s permission to say what she’s about to say and proceeds to explain exactly how the White House was implicated in all of this. She has detailed data on all the money flow and can prove how the topmost authorities were involved. She adds that she’s doing all this for her kids and also to prove to the world that her husband Howard wasn’t the “third-rate burglar” the White House called him. The reporter asks, off the record, about where Howard was when JFK was assassinated, and just as Dorothy is about to reveal the truth, the plane jolts tremendously and goes down. The phone at the Hunt residence continues ringing as Howard prepares pancakes for his kids, intentionally ignoring the phone, not knowing it’s news about the plane crash his wife was in.

The ending of this week’s “White House Plumbers” has got to be one of the biggest “I-Did-Not-See-That-Coming” moments for a long time. For the most part, the show was about two bumbling former spies who kept messing up a task, which ultimately got them into massive trouble with the law, but death was a topic that didn’t cast its shadow in the show once. However, with Dorothy’s plane going down, we may have to assume that she died in the crash, leaving Howard completely alone in this fight. In their marriage, Dorothy was the one who was the brains behind every major decision, and she kept the peace while Howard had his head in the clouds with fantasy. With her death, he’ll be emotionally and legally completely vulnerable to having himself thrown in a cell. Last but not least, he has also lost any chance of saving himself from the fiasco that the White House got him into in case the reporter also died with Dorothy. Does Howard escape jail, and can he keep his family together anymore? We need to stay tuned for next week’s episode.


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Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh has a master's degree in English literature from Calcutta University and a passion for all things in cinema. He loves writing about the finer aspects of cinema, although he is also an equally big fan of webseries and anime. In his free time, Indrayudh loves playing video games and reading classic novels.

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The ending of this week's "White House Plumbers" has got to be one of the biggest "I-Did-Not-See-That-Coming" moments for a long time.'White House Plumbers' Episode 4 Recap & Ending, Explained: What Happened To Dorothy's Plane?