Full Circle Episode 3 & 4 Recap: It’s All Connected

“Jared’s Body” & “Safe in the Circle”

Sam and Manny sit on a bench in the park in Full Circle Episode 4

The following recap contains spoilers for Full Circle Episode 3, “Jared’s Body” and Episode 4, “Safe in the Circle” (wriitten by Ed Solomon & Laura Shapiro and directed by Steven Soderbergh)

Editor’s Note: This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the series being covered here wouldn’t exist.

While the first two episodes of Full Circle presented us with a number of characters that seemed disparate before events started to bring them together, Episode 3 and Episode 4 show us that these people are interconnected in ways that stretch back in time a couple of decades, even if they weren’t aware of some of these connections themselves.

Nicky (Lucian Zanes) may have been kidnapped in place of Jared (Ethan Stoddard) through a misunderstanding, but it turns out he is, like Jared, Derek’s (Timothy Olyphant) son. And Derek knew this because Nicky managed to convey his mother’s name—Charisse—when given the opportunity to say something over the phone while he was being held hostage.

Nicky sits on a bed in a motel room in Full Circle Episode 3

Nicky has known all along that Derek is his father, even though they have never met, which is an interesting wrinkle. I have to say I am a little disappointed to learn that Derek also had grounds to infer that it was his illegitimate son being held captive when he insisted on proceeding with the ransom, as he had the names Nicky and Charisse to go on. I had been thinking that he was going to great lengths to try to save the life of a child who was a stranger to him, which struck me as really laudable. I guess it’s still laudable with the knowledge we have in retrospect, but—at least in my eyes—a little bit less so.

Sam (Claire Danes) learns about all of this because of how Melody Harmony (Zazie Beetz) is poking around. Episodes 3 & 4 demonstrate that Mel is indeed a good detective, as she sniffs out the connection between Sam and her boss Manny (Jim Gaffigan) and the ties between the McCuskers and a development project in Guyana 20 years ago. Unfortunately, she also lets Manny know that she’s figuring these things out, which leads him to submit the psych eval he’s been holding over Mel’s head since the beginning of Full Circle, even if it’s over a year old.

Manny stands in a doorway talking to Mel at her desk

And there are numerous indications that Mel is a bit of a loose cannon who doesn’t have enough respect for protocol. I’m by no means a psychiatrist, but a report suggesting she may have Borderline Personality Disorder does not feel wildly implausible or made up. It will be interesting to see where this leads, as all signs point to her cracking the case and learning details we don’t know yet, but she may be ensnared by bureaucracy at the same time.

Full Circle remains realistic in the exposition it provides, even if we might wish it made things a bit more plain to understand. In Episode 4, Derek mentions a series of off the books withdrawals and deposits Jeff (Dennis Quaid) made 20 years ago, and Manny mentions to Sam that they got Chef Jeff going through a series of bribes. But we don’t get one character telling another character things that they already know for the sake of informing the audience.

Derek makes a face while sitting at a table with a wine glass of water on it

One thing that stands out is that Manny also makes a remark to Sam about there being no statute of limitations for the crimes they’d be on the hook for if she spilled the beans. Fun fact: there is a statute of limitations for bribery. These people probably did a murder.

That would track with the revenge that Mrs. Mahabir (CCH Pounder) aims to take in the killing Jeff’s grandson, but it would seem that is at the behest of Clarence (Ted Sod), who spends the entirety of Episodes 3 & 4 unresponsive in the hospital. We still don’t know how this connects to the Essequibo real estate deal the McCuskers were involved with, or how exactly Jeff betrayed Gene (William Sadler) all those years ago.

Gene suggests to Mel that Jeff works really hard to convince everyone, including himself, that he’s a good guy, because he knows he isn’t. And I’m afraid I can’t help but think that’s probably true. Somehow, however unintentionally, I’m guessing he was responsible for the death of Clarence’s grandson. And somehow this also relates to why Mrs. M thinks her family has been cursed.

Mrs. Mahabir looks downward with her eyes closed

Meanwhile, Aked (Jharrel Jerome) figures out by the end of Episode 3 that Jared had been replaced by a mannequin. This makes Mrs. M very unhappy, of course, though we should note that she tells her nephew they intend to remedy the mistake to make the circle full again—that means killing Jared. But the focus in Episode 4 is on tracking down Natalia (Adia) and Louis (Gerald Jones), who have betrayed the family.

The pair is very confused at how “Jared” does not want to contact his parents, until they finally figure out that he isn’t Jared and Nicky tells them what’s really going on. In the meantime, they’ve tried to get help from Edward Chung, which was a bad idea because he proceeded to call Garmen (Phaldut Sharma) to offer to hand them over, along with $65,000 he took from Quincy, which he describes as an olive branch.

That doesn’t happen because Natalia runs away, but Chung repeats the offer of the money to Aked in Episode 4, so there is something to keep an eye on here. He’s claiming that Quincy was stealing from both groups and perhaps this accounts for why he said there was too much money in the bag he rifled through in Episode 1.

As for Louis and Natalia, the last we see them they are in a motel room trying to figure out what to do next in order to escape the wrath of the Mahabirs. Louis seems to have gotten it into his head to try to ransom Nicky to Derek again, which I don’t think will go well, but I guess we’ll find out.

Mel tries to talk to her girlfriend through their apartment door

Xavier (Sheyi Cole) manages to stay in the good graces of the Mahabirs until Mel arrests him outside of a meeting at Garmen’s house. She holes him up in a hotel room with an ankle bracelet, but as Episode 4 comes to a close he’s been discovered and is demanding to be taken to Garmen to explain himself. He’s right that if Paul (Kareem Savinon) was supposed to kill him he would have done so already, but I do think the ankle bracelet complicates things. We’ll have to see how this plays out next week.

Through four episodes, Full Circle has weaved an intricate web of plotlines, but more importantly it’s made me care about all of these people. I look forward to learning what will happen with them all next week.

See you then for the final two episodes of the series.

Written by Caemeron Crain

Caemeron Crain is Executive Editor of TV Obsessive. He struggles with authority, including his own.

Caesar non est supra grammaticos

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *