Paramount+’s ‘Rabbit Hole’ is a crime thriller series that follows John Weir (Kiefer Sutherland), a deceptive man skilled in corporate espionage who finds himself framed for a murder. The third episode, titled ‘The Algorithms of Control,’ continues to build the air of suspense and intrigue around its main characters as we get shades of John’s backstory through a series of flashbacks. Meanwhile, John tries to find answers for his best friend’s betrayal. Naturally, viewers must have many questions after watching the episode’s puzzling series of events. If you are baffled by the episode’s events, here is a detailed breakdown of ‘Rabbit Hole’ episode 3! SPOILERS AHEAD!
Rabbit Hole Episode 3 Recap
The third episode, titled ‘The Algorithms of Control,’ opens with a flashback to 2018, wherein we see John’s father, Dr. Ben Wilson, alive and well despite his perceived death during John’s childhood. Ben meets John and his best friend, Miles Valence, and warns them about an omnipresent enemy they must take down. However, their enemy cannot be seen nor found. Hence, Ben encourages John and Ben to trust his plan and doubt everything else. John and Valence agree to Ben’s condition, but we cut to another flashback set in 1986. During John’s childhood, we see him get into a fistfight following his father’s demise.
In the flashback, a young John returns to his childhood home and goes through his father’s belongings. However, John only finds a bunch of papers with marked numbers and letters, along with a safe secretly hidden in a wall. However, because of his erratic behavior, John is removed from his school and sent to a boarding school. In his new school, John meets a young Miles Valence, who shares an affinity for number crunching. John and Valence quickly bond, and John shows Valence the numbers and letters left behind by his father. He takes Valence’s help in cracking the password to his father’s safe.
Another flashback scene, set in 2016, shows John and Valence using the psychological knowledge they gained from the safe to run their corporate espionage business. However, Valence believes that data crunching will be the key to predicting human behavior in the future. Hence, he develops Arda Analytics, a company specializing in data analytics to predict human behavior. However, one day John is shocked to learn that his father is alive when Ben shows up at his apartment. Initially, John is devastated to learn that Ben faked his death, but the father-son quickly teams up for the greater good.
After Ben recruits John and Valence to his mission, he reveals the existence of the sinister Crowley, whom Ben met while working for the CIA. Since Ben got too close to exposing Crowley, his family was in danger, and he had to fake his death. Crowley is secretly manipulating events from the shadows to topple the United States democracy and wants to establish his own regime of power in the country by installing a puppet leader. Ben is determined to take down Crowley and suggests Valence and John split in the public eye as the first stage of their plan.
Ben then wants Valence to take shady clients and commit morally grey actions in the corporate world to gain attention of Crowley. In the present, the police search for John concerning Edward Homm’s death. Meanwhile, John Ben, Homm, and Hailey hideout at John’s childhood home, where Ben continues to doll out his conspiracy theories. Ben tries to convince John that they must interrogate Homm and believes investigating Valence’s death will lead to nothing. Ben suspects that Valence turned on John and died by suicide.
Meanwhile, Ben distrusts Hailey and wants to kill her. However, John convinces him otherwise, and Hailey learns about John and Ben’s messed-up dynamic. John tries to use Valence’s authenticator to access his comms data. However, Valence’s associate, Xander Arnaz, is trying to find John’s location using the authenticator. On the other hand, Ben interrogates Homm, who refuses to speak. However, Ben is convinced that Homm learned about Crowley, leading to the latter ordering Homm’s death. Ben’s suspicions about Hailey increase when he finds her in the backyard.
Rabbit Hole Episode 3 Ending: Does John Crack the Password?
In the episode’s final act, John dials up his efforts to crack the password for accessing Valence’s comms data. However, his two previous failed attempts at guessing the password have allowed Arnaz to locate John within New York. However, Arnaz needs John to make a third attempt to get an exact location. Meanwhile, if John fails to enter the correct password on the third attempt, all the data will be instantly wiped out. While John ponders over the password, we see a flashback to the moment when John and Valence cracked Ben’s safe. After opening the safe, John was disappointed to find nothing related to him among his father’s valued items.
Nontheless, Valence explains that John’s father considered his son extremely precious and used John’s name as the key for the cipher. In simple words, John’s name, encrypted into numbers, is the password for the safe. The moment from the past inspires John to crack the password, and he enters the system. At that exact moment, FBI Agent Josephine “Jo” Madi shows up at Arnaz’s office after receiving a text from him. Jo’s arrival distracts Arnaz, who did not send her the message. Thus, Arnaz realizes that John created a distraction. However, it is too late, as John has already collected the data and is on the move with Ben, Hailey, and Homm.
In the final moments, we see that the password to Valence’s account was “Safety,” written as numbers. John figured out the password since Valence loved saying, “Safety in numbers.” Thus, John is convinced that Valence did not betray him. Moreover, after failing to get a location on John, Arnaz jumps from his office, dying similarly to Valence. Hence, it is evident that Valence did not die from suicide and was killed. The episode ends as Jo is left to piece together Arnaz’s death while John’s group disappears from the grid.