The situation in Northumberland continues to deteriorate. Escapees from the immigration removal center there have attacked students at a nearby university. Two girls were raped, and one escapee was stabbed when he tried to stop the others from harming the students. The violent escapees were led by a hardened Lithuanian criminal known as Freckles, who has burns on his face from attacking a former girlfriend with acid.
The region has other problems, too, since it is still without a transformer, or even one on the way. The Prime Minister has issued travel restrictions in an effort to conserve fuel, but it has led to hundreds of people walking miles to reach a relief center, such as the hospital where the victims of the French plane crash are being treated while the building is powered by a generator.
All those people are getting restless, and “protection squads” have formed, leaving looters beaten and marked with a sign warning other would-be criminals.
In light of all this, Robert decides to visit Northumberland. Archie and the intelligence chief Eleanor James are worried for Robert’s safety there, but he feels it is his duty to show his face. He warns Archie not to fan the flames of xenophobia by using the violence at the university; the attackers were legally arrested criminals, not detained migrants.
Robert also snaps at Fraser when the civil servant tells him that they’re running low on bottled water in Northumberland. Fix it, Robert demands.
He’s also counting on his press secretary Peter Mott to prevent any fallout from the death of one of his daughter’s friends after they took drugs together. As Peter briefs the press who will accompany the PM to Northumberland, a reporter asks him to comment on a story she’s running that features testimony from someone else present at the girl’s death. Peter dodges the question. He also feints when Anna asks him about the situation after Robert declines to speak with her about it.
Archie is working behind the scenes of this potential scandal. He tells the reporter with the upcoming story that Peter and Robert’s wife Rachel are coaching Ellie as she prepares to be interviewed again by the police. Ellie, meanwhile, hates the situation, especially now that nasty comments about her are pouring in online.
But Robert has other things to worry about as his caravan travels through Northumberland. The leader of the truck drivers’ union is threatening to stop deliveries of fuel because of the government’s supposed failure in the crisis. And when water runs out at the hospital before Robert arrives, violence breaks out.
A South Asian man with a skin condition on his face is mistaken for Freckles by some aggressive members of a protection squad when he tries to get water for his daughter—even though Freckles is white. The crowd begins to lynch him, beating him and tying a belt around his throat. As they move to attach the belt to a motorcycle, chief constable Stuart intervenes, shouting. He manages to convince the mob to stand down, and unhooks the victim from the motorcycle, rushing him into the hospital.
Due to the violence, it is decided that Robert should wait on the road until more water arrives at the hospital and things calm down. While the caravan anxiously sits, Fraser nearly collapses. He admits to Francine Bridge, whom Anna has brought along, that he’s barely slept since the beginning of the crisis, and is taking pills to keep himself awake. They commiserate about having no political home, since they’re both liberal apostates working for the Tories. Robert appears and apologizes to Fraser for snapping at him earlier, and offers condolences for the death of Fraser’s father—he only just learned of it.
Meanwhile, Archie is condoning “people’s justice” in the face of the “diversity lobby” as he discusses the attacks at the university on a radio interview. Robert hears it and demands that the caravan move on to the hospital, immediately.
Archie is laying the groundwork to oust Robert. He and Eleanor believe that Ellie supplied the drugs that killed Georgia. Archie thinks Robert will try to blame things on Peter if it comes out that Ellie lied, but Archie thinks Peter will change sides to save himself.
At the hospital, Robert meets with victims of the plane crash but is told he cannot go outside to the relief camp—it’s too dangerous. He visits the lynching victim, who cannot speak. His daughter tells him “they hurt my daddy,” and Robert furiously turns to go address the mob outside, against all his advisers’ counsel.
As he and his team make their way to a low platform, Anna is hit in the head by a hurled bottle. Robert faces down the unruly crowd and gives a direct speech warning that the “lawless thugs” who lynched the man will not go unpunished, and promising that he is trying his best to restore power. Let the crisis “bring out the best in us rather than the worst,” he implores, disdaining those who take advantage of it for their own benefit.
As he leaves, a woman grasps his hand and thanks him for at the very least showing his face. The press ask if Robert was condemning Archie; he demurs, and does so again when they try to ask about Ellie.
Robert orders Anna back to London on a helicopter, even though her head wound is not serious. Having let a message from Edin requesting a meeting languish most of the day, she finally responds.
At a flat in the city, she greets Edin in a robe with a glass of wine. He asks her to come live with him in the country; she laughs. As she gets a glass of water, she notices an unread message from a Toni Lulin. Meanwhile, her husband receives an email with the photo of Anna and Edin sitting in an ambulance after the fire. The heading reads “Burning Passions?”