Herbert and Elena’s relationship reaches its bitter conclusion in The Regime Episode 6

By Lori Meek
Published: April 8, 2024 (Last updated: last month)
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The Regime Ending Explained - An Unexpected Conclusion
The Regime | Image via HBO

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS

4.5

Summary

Poor Herbert pays the ultimate price for his unconditional support of his Chancellor. While the ending is somewhat surprising, it also makes sense in the context of the story.

The Regime’s grand finale takes viewers on a rollercoaster of emotions and strange twists. Unlike the rest of the series, “Don’t Yet Rejoice” opens straight after the events of Episode 5. At the start of Episode 6, Elena’s time as Chancellor seems to be finished and she’s unlikely to survive long on the run. All she has is Herbert, who remains as loyal as a fierce dog by her side. By the bitter end of The Regime, Herbert learns a very important lesson – Elena can only be loyal to Elena.

Elena and Herbert Are On the Run

Herbert led Elena through the tunnels in a field a few kilometers away from the Palace. Distraught, she tries to go back, but Herbert makes it clear that’s not an option. Her government has fallen and she’s in Herbert’s world now. 

As Herbert leads her through the woods, Elena keeps spouting nonsense about getting to an airfield or escaping into China. However, Herbert shuts all those ideas down. They’re on foot, they have no money, and the Westgate Army is hunting them. Adding insult to injury the country’s new rulers are distributing pamphlets announcing the defeat of Elena’s regime. She eventually settles on trying to make it to Switzerland where Nicky is staying. 

Herbert leads Elena to an abandoned building where they plan on hiding for the night. He interrupts Elena’s waffling on about Nicky to call her out for hesitating to name him Chancellor the previous night. To appease her volatile companion, Elena vows to never betray him. 

Tomas the “Loyalist”

The pair then heads to the road, in hopes of hitching a ride with a passerby. While the first car they stop vehemently refuses to assist the Chancellor in distress, the second guy is more than happy to help. Sure, the kind Thomas may be a bit drunk and his driving may be slightly erratic, but begging autocrats can’t exactly be choosers. 

Tomas takes Elena and Herbert to his apartment block and leaves them in his car while he goes upstairs to fetch them disguises. Despite the Westgate Army offering a massive reward for Elena’s capture, Tomas seems a true loyalist who even chases a few soldiers away before leading the fugitives to the safety of his unit. He then proceeds to lock Elena and Herbert in the bedroom before revealing his true feelings for the former Chancellors. 

As their captor is calling in security to arrest Elena, Herbert is having an anger-filled outburst while Elena tries to kill herself with a wooden stick. But Herbert stops her from hurting herself any further. 

Laskin’s Gambit

To Elena’s horror, her former head of security Mr. Laskin is leading the arrest. Instead of taking her to the Palace for processing, Laskin separates Elena from Herbert and interrogates her in Tomas’s messy apartment. We find out that the Parliament has been dissolved and the National Freedom Front is now ruling the country. When a soldier reads Elena’s long list of offenses, she refuses to listen. Despite the seriousness of her situation, Elena is still defiant, denies doing anything wrong, and even threatens Laskin. 

When Laskin approaches Herbert, he claims Elena betrayed him. He then points out how Elena used and manipulated Herbert the same way she used and manipulated the country. At this point, Herbert’s only chance of survival is to publicly renounce Elena. 

Laskin tries a similar approach with Elena. He claims Herbert already turned against her and demands she admits to her crimes in a televised broadcast. 

American Intervention

But Elena seems to see right through Laskin’s tactics. She concludes that the new regime can’t keep hold of power without her “confession,” which is why they haven’t shot her on the spot. They may have the palace, but they lack in numbers, Elena still has far too many loyalists scattered across the country, and the U.S. hasn’t exactly jumped to support the newly-formed National Freedom Front. 

Hilariously, Laskin has one last trick up his sleeve. He lets Elena stew in her defiance overnight, before returning with an oxygen tank labeled, “Danger! Black Mould.” She may not be afraid of bullets, but the threat of inhaling furry fungi is enough to terrify Elena into submission. 

During the lift ride down, Laskin promises to treat Elena and Hebert fairly according to the law. He doesn’t get to finish his sentence before an armed soldier shoots him and his accompanying officers in the head. The mysterious military men force a frightened Elena into an armed vehicle before whisking her away. 

They take her to an airport hotel, where she’s briefly reunited with Herbert. Neither of them knows who these armed men are but Elena suspects it’s the Americans. 

Elena soon finds herself in a room with none other than Emil Bartos. Confused and terrified, Elena starts making strange demands but mostly wants to know what’s happening. 

According to Emil, the civil war is still raging with no clear end in sight. Elena’s position is precarious, at best, but Emil does offer an alternative. He’s on the phone with Judith, as in the American diplomat Elena chased out her palace mere months prior. The U.S. would like Elena to stay in power and is offering a slow but steady path towards winning the civil war, easing sanctions, and eventually resuming friendly relationships publicly. Of course, that also means reinstating that cobalt deal Elena wasn’t fond of. 

The Ending of The Regime Sees Elena Betray Herbert

While Elena doesn’t immediately accept Emil’s offer, she seems to know there’s no other real option for her. However, Emil does put one caveat to this deal. Herbert must go. The problems leading to the ongoing civil war started when Herbert appeared into her life and the two of them together are far too volatile to be trusted puppet rulers. 

After Emil leaves, Elena takes off her wig, gets cleaned up, and goes to Herbert. By the pool, she tells Herbert what Bartos and the U.S. want, but he doesn’t believe she rejected the offer. She starts making promises about “fighting them to the death” and redistributing Emil’s fortune among the people. It’s an emotional scene culminating with Elena and Herbert saying they love each other for the first time. 

Herbert falls asleep next to Elena. She tells him how happy she is he was a part of her life among other sweet nothings. As far as Herbert is concerned, he and Elena will fight this new threat together. Within moments of waking up, Herbert is shot in the head. RIP Herbert, you may have been a sociopathic brute, but your love for Elena was pure. 

A Little Wobble”

We then cut to Elena waking up safely in her bed at the Palace. It’s Victory Day again, Nicky is back at his wife’s side, and the status quo seems restored. Nicky does mention that horrible year they’ve just had and asks Elena for an explanation. She simply replies, “I guess I had a little wobble.”

While speaking in front of an adoring crowd, Elena talks of her love, she denounces the Chinese and blames the civil war on the poor deceased Ed and the radical left. She also implies that Schiff and Singer got their comeuppance. 

The series ends with Elena paying her respects to the corpse inside the mausoleum. But the body inside the glass coffin is no longer her father (he was destroyed by the Westgate Army), it’s Herbert. 


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