'COBRA' Recap: Episode 4
October 25, 2020
Northumberland still doesn’t have electrical power—and government power is also eroding there. It doesn’t help that supplies keep getting hijacked, as when a fuel tanker is stopped at a fake police checkpoint and the driver is beaten and thrown out of the truck. Such incidents are leading to calls in the truck drivers’ union for a work stoppage.
Vigilantes in increasingly lawless Northumberland have coalesced under the name “People’s Justice” and the leadership of an ex-military man named Scott Minett, who espouses white nationalism.
Robert rightfully sees Archie as an enabler of People’s Justice, and ignores and sidelines him in a COBRA meeting. Afterwards, Archie angrily confronts Robert, noting that he is currently much more popular than Robert. Robert dares Archie to force him out—the Tories won’t let Archie be Prime Minister.
Fortunately, the replacement transformer that will restore electricity to Northumberland has arrived in England, allowing Robert to fulfill his promise to turn the lights back on. It will require time to be transported, however.
Peter is worried about Ellie’s emotional state, even though a potentially negative newspaper article about Georgia’s death is not damaging. The whole situation unnerves Anna, but Robert refuses to discuss it with her.
He has other things to deal with, like a meeting with Harry Rowntree, the leader of the truck drivers’ union. Francine Bridge is a useful partner in the meeting, as a sometime ally of Rowntree’s, but the meeting is derailed when Robert has to abruptly leave to address a fresh emergency: People’s Justice has seized the crisis center at Northumberland’s hospital.
Despite Stuart’s stand against Minett—he calls Minett racist—the vigilantes are heavily armed, and force Stuart and his colleagues to cede the command center and its valuable fuel reserves. Robert sends in the army.
Once they arrive, the troops are uneasy. As a veteran, Minett still has links to the military, and People’s Justice are armed, so any military intervention could quickly spiral out of control. Archie argues against storming the center. Anna realizes Archie is trying to goad Robert into doing the opposite and warns the PM. Robert decides to have the troops simply hold the line outside the hospital.
Many members of the truckers’ union are sympathetic to People’s Justice, and there’s a fear that Rowntree, already mad that Robert left a meeting with him, can’t (or won’t) hold his members in line. In addition to dealing with the stress of trying to get supplies to Northumberland in the face of a possible work stoppage, Fraser has his father’s upcoming funeral to fret over, as he tells Francine. His ex-wife’s presence there will not be easy for him. Francine offers to accompany him for moral support.
Ellie turns to her father for support. Georgia’s dad has approached her and asked her to tell the truth: that she supplied the drugs that killed Georgia. Ellie’s under additional pressure because she’s a privileged white girl escaping blame by pushing it onto a dead Black girl, who was also her best friend. Robert reassures Ellie that lots of people do drugs in college, and most don’t die. No amount of punishment will bring Georgia back.
Anna also has a difficult conversation with a family member. Her husband says he must speak with her. When they meet, he shows the photo of her with Edin. Do you love him? he asks. I don’t know, she responds.
He admits that he has slept with other women, as Anna probably knew, and doesn’t want to be hypocritical. He asks Anna if she’s unhappy in the marriage, and she says she’s always happy to see him when they are together, which isn’t often. She says she will stay at a flat in the city while she sorts things out. He holds her hand before leaving her. They’re not sure what will happen with the marriage, but they seem to be okay for now.
Anna calls Eleanor, the intelligence chief, and reports her relationship with Edin, as well as the photo. She also mentions that she saw a text on Edin’s phone from a Bosnian gangster, and that she left her bag in his hotel room during the fire, but it was returned to her and there wasn’t anything sensitive in it. She won’t see Edin again until Eleanor investigates.
When Eleanor tells Archie about Anna, he wants to use the information to get rid of her. But Eleanor defends Anna, saying she did the right thing by warning Eleanor. However, the gangster Edin is in contact with is dangerous: he’s involved with heroin from Turkey and may have connections to Syrian jihadis. Eleanor will wait to see if more information emerges.
There are calls for Robert to resign over the crisis in Northumberland and the scrutiny over Georgia’s death. Robert promises that neither he nor his staff has encouraged Ellie to lie in the investigation. But Ellie has decided to tell the truth, as she warns Robert in a text. She posts a video admitting she lied because she was afraid of going to prison.
Robert receives the text from Ellie while in a COBRA meeting: truckers have blockaded London, with the support of People’s Justice. He televises an address criticizing the blockade: it’s not a legitimate form of protest, and people will die without supplies. Worse, the transformer is stuck behind the blockade. Robert calls for a national convention to work out a deal.
The truckers’ union won’t attend without People’s Justice, however. Francine suggests that Robert treat Rowntree as the most important and invite Minett the following day, thus minimizing People’s Justice’s presence. Robert agrees, despite his fear of legitimizing People’s Justice.
In Northumberland, People’s Justice takes over the civic council building while Minett riles up a crowd and appeals to the troops standing by. We’re in total control of Northumberland now, he yells.