What is Kerbel Heights in The Regime?

Image Credit: Miya Mizuno/HBO

In the fifth episode of HBO’s ‘The Regime,’ the country falls into utter chaos as Chancellor Elena Vernham refuses to face reality and understand that she has failed her people so much that they have taken up arms against her. At the beginning of the episode, sounds of the city being bombed are heard outside Elena’s palace. Inside, she prepares for Christmas as if it’s just another holiday and nothing of import is happening outside. While everyone around her panics, she is completely unaffected. A mention of Kerbel Heights comes in between all this. What is it, and why is important for Elena’s country? SPOILERS AHEAD

Kerbel Heights is the Rebel Force That Wages War on Elena

Things hadn’t exactly been looking good for Elena’s country at the beginning of the show, but they get worse over time, leaving the masses in such disarray that they have no option but to take arms against the government. This is where Kerbel Heights comes in. They are the rebels who have waged a civil war after years of oppression and poverty inflicted by Elena’s rule. Their rise isn’t sudden, and their presence is not at all unexpected. In fact, violence had been swirling in the background while Elena ensconced herself inside her palace, refusing to take note of the ground reality.

It is unclear when or how the rebels of Kerbel Heights came together, but considering that they were not mentioned in the show even once before the penultimate episode, it is clear that they became of note after they took up arms following the futility of peaceful protests in the country. The fifth episode picks up six months after the events of the fourth episode, the end of which marked the death of Edward Keplinger, the opposition leader who spent the past seven years of his life imprisoned by Elena, a fact that the rest of the nation was entirely unaware of.

It is possible that the news of his death spurred his supporters into action, but it is not the only cause of their rebellion. Prior to Keplinger’s death, Elena’s policies had created enough chaos for the common man. Cobalt was her country’s biggest strength, something that she could use to strengthen their economy, but the exploitation of workers at the mines led to the beginning of the peaceful protests, with the situation being made worse by Zubak and his men opening fire on them.

Image Credit: Miya Mizuno/HBO

This led to more protests, and with the falling out of Elena’s country with America, things got even worse on economic terms, throwing the country into a financial crisis. She tried to make a deal with China, but it didn’t quite work out as she had expected, and it led to a permanent halt of production in cobalt mines. Moreover, the free trade policy of China also hurt other sectors, like the sugar beet industry, where the country was doing alright previously.

One would think that during such a financially unstable time, Elena would focus on reforms and policies that would help strengthen the economy. Instead, she decides to target the Faban Corridor and throws the country into another crisis by waging a months-long war that further drains their resources. On top of that, Herbert Zubak kills Keplinger, and this confirms for the masses that they will have to do something on their own because Elena is showing no signs of rectifying her mistakes. Her move against the sugar beet producer who dared call out her flawed policies further proves the point.

To sum up, Kerbel Heights is the result of the country’s unrest and its effort to take back control from Elena and her whimsical government. When all else fails, violence remains the only answer, and so, the masses of Elena’s country decide to take the fight to the palace, considering that she’d never step out of it herself. By the beginning of the fifth episode, they have gained enough ground to have Elena hear the sounds of bombs and guns from her palace. With each day, as the rebels move forward, Elena is forced to confront them and face the consequences.

Read More: The Regime: What is the Story of the Three Brothers? Is Zubak the Foundling?