The Diplomat takes a worrying turn with new revelations and an unexpected death, suggesting things are only going to get more complicated in the back half of the season.
This recap of the 2023 Netflix series The Diplomat Season 1 Episode 4, “He Bought a Hat”, contains spoilers.
It’s called a positive feedback loop. It occurs in nature when the product of a reaction leads to an increase in said reaction. The effect is exacerbated. The perturbation is magnified, and the system moves further and further away from its intended state of equilibrium.
This is Prime Minister Nicol Trowbridge in “He Bought a Hat”, publicly intimating going to war with Iran.
The Diplomat Season 1 Episode 4 Recap
When he first said he’d rain hellfire on Tehran, people loved it so much they started killing families outside mosques. So, he said it again. In Episode 3 of The Diplomat, he tried to manipulate U.S. President Rayburn into sending a naval fleet into the Persian Gulf under the guise of a rescue mission, and at the start of this outing, Tel Aviv has picked up reliable chatter that the British Embassy in Iran is being quietly evacuated and British nationals are being instructed to leave the country.
At a gala, which he ensures Kate Wyler is in attendance for, he publicly announces that the U.S. has backed out of the efforts to rescue the sailors still trapped aboard HMS Courageous, and says, “With fire for fire, we shall defend our island home.”
The implication is clear.
How does Kate contact the Iranians?
Because Trowbridge isn’t listening, Kate must try other channels to communicate with the Iranians. She can’t go to Shahin directly, because that would reveal his involvement and sentence him to death, so she has Eidra plant a hidden message in the press, asking for some low-key conversation.
The response comes from the Iranian Defence Minister ranting on Twitter about Foreign Secretary Dennison summoning the Iranian ambassador for a meeting. It’s only midway through Kate attacking Dennison for not looping her into this that she realizes he hasn’t called a meeting in the first place. It’s a coded response to an equally coded missive. The Iranians want to talk.
What this means is that Kate must convince Dennison to actually call the Iranian ambassador for a meeting, and she needs to be there, though not in any official capacity, so the CIA needs to sneak her in the back stairs so she can lurk in the corner until the ambassador arrives.
The ambassador, Hajjar, isn’t thrilled to see Kate, but he settles a little once Dennison reveals she’s the only reason his country hasn’t seen a retaliatory strike. He has been instructed to give Dennison a name – Roman Lenkov, a Russian mercenary who seems to have planned and provided funding for the attack on the HMS Courageous.
The problem for Iran is that Russia is their ally, and more so than that, given sanctions imposed by the West, a trade lifeline. They can’t publicly or officially accuse Russia of anything, despite it seeming very much like Russia framed Iran for an attack on a British naval carrier.
Who dies in “He Bought a Hat”?
As ever, nothing gets past the Russians, and Hajjar promptly runs into some difficulties. He struggles to breathe, collapses, and quickly expires on the floor of the Foreign Secretary’s office. The implication is that the Russians assassinated him, but the optics suggest Britain might have done it, which is why Kate, who leaves through the back door and quickly loops around through the front, makes sure that the paramedics continue working on him until long after he’s dead. The official pronouncement needs to be in the hospital, not the British Foreign Office.
After, Kate and Dennison share a drink, an insensitive giggle – mostly at the absurdity and severity of the situation they both suddenly find themselves in – and what is unmistakably A Moment™.
The Diplomat Season 1 Episode 4 Ending Explained
Given that bubbling in the background of “He Bought a Hat” is the continued breakdown of Kate and Hal’s marriage and repeated assurances – mostly from Kate – that she cannot be appointed as Vice President without him, this new wrinkle only complicates matters further.
And it prompts an interesting reaction in Kate, who immediately heads back to Winfield House and has wordless sex with Hal – who bought a hat, by the way.
Oh, and Eidra passes on the information about Russia’s involvement to a source, though with a cautionary word that, if anyone asks, it didn’t come from Britain or America. I’m sure that will stick!
You can stream 2023 series The Diplomat Season 1 Episode 4, “He Bought a Hat” exclusively on Netflix.