What/If Recap: Cruel Actions

By Daniel Hart
Published: May 24, 2019 (Last updated: May 28, 2019)
what/if episode 4 - what drama - recap


What/If Season 1, Episode 4, “What Drama”, is almost a pit stop chapter, allowing the characters to reassess where they are heading in the plot.

This recap for Netflix’s What/If Season 1, Episode 4, “What Drama”, contains significant spoilers. We have provided extensive coverage on Mike Kelley’s neo-noir social thriller, and you can read the recap of the previous episode by clicking these words.

Despite Anne’s (Renée Zellweger) closest adviser failing to understand her damaging ways, she continues to put her plans in motion in What/If episode 4, “What Drama”. We learn that the businesswoman suffered some bad moments in her childhood, with a flashback of a potential abusive father and a mother unable to protect her from the horrors. Episode 4 also gives us a useful flashback eight months before these events, where she first meets Maddie to persuade her with her plans. As we approach halfway through the season, it signals that the characters want to understand who they are now, and not who they were in the past.

But much of episode 4, “What Drama”, is about the $50k cheque, which Anne has conveniently opened a fraud investigation over, encouraging Lisa (Jane Levy) to take charge of the situation. Avery was the signature on the cheque, but its clear Lisa understands that this is some setup, especially when the receiver of the money was Cassidy’s aunt. It also seems that the situation is effecting Lisa’s view on her marriage with Sean (Blake Jenner).

Meanwhile, Angela is struggling with the complicated situation of not knowing who the father is. Ian is very persuasive about building a new life as a family, and Angela seems to desire the same thing. She asks Lisa to do a secret DNA test to determine the father, and at a “staged” party organized by Lionel, Lisa confirms that there is a 99.9% chance that the DNA she brought to the lab is the father’s. What/If did not confirm the DNA, but the fact that Lisa turns down Ian later in the episode tells me that the father is Todd.

Episode 4, “What Drama” shows that Lisa is becoming stronger against the manipulations of Anne. She decides to fire Cassidy over the cheque fraud, to make Anne feel like she is getting her way. Her best friend understands that this is a ploy, but is understandably upset. While Lisa visits Anne, Sean is recording a confession, his secret on his smartphone; he wants to save his marriage. And here comes the reveal; years ago, Maddie was given drugs and was raped by a man, and Sean ends up seeing this happen and smashes him with a baseball bat, presumably killing him. What/If confirms that he is not an actual monster, but a victim of saving someone he loved at the time. He didn’t go to the police because he met Lisa.

“What Drama” ends more open-ended than in previous chapters. Lisa returns home from visiting Anne, and invites Sean into their new home, with lacy attire on to preempt sex. Sean wants to play Lisa the recording, but Lisa stops him, deletes it and tells him that she knows he loves her and that they should be the people they are now, and not allow others to get in the way. As they christen their new home, Maddie is seen dead from an overdose — she took the drugs given to her by Anne, who asked her to encourage the cheque fraud in the first place. What/If season 1, episode 4, “What Drama”, confirms how far Anne is willing to go.

Our coverage of What/If season 1 does not end here. You can read the recap of episode 5 by clicking these words.

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2 thoughts on “What/If Recap: Cruel Actions

  • May 28, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    “Episode 4, “What Drama” shows that Lisa is becoming stronger against the manipulations of Lisa.” I think you mean Anne at the end there.

    • May 28, 2019 at 9:36 pm

      Good spot! Thank you.

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