No Task For The Timid
S1 episode 9 Aired on December 15, 2016

Falling Water Episode 109, “No Task for the Timid,” opens on the boy sitting alone in an apartment folding together a paper airplane and throwing it free from his high-rise window. We don’t know it yet, but that paper airplane will ultimately help him connect with his mother Tess and Taka. Get the breakdown on that and more below.

 [Warning: Contains major spoilers for Falling Water 109]

Our heroes learn of Bill’s true intentions.

This hour opens on Tess and Woody where we left them: Having lunch and discussing why, exactly, Tess shouldn’t trust Bill, the man she’s taken on as her part-time confidant in all things dreams. Turns out, the spinning instrument Tess saw in her dream in 108 that had her walled off from her son is an instrument built by Bill. When used properly, it builds boundaries around a person’s dream, limiting it and, in Woody’s words, taking “the most free and human experience there is and [owning] it outright.” Bill’s goal is to capitalize off of a tiered dream system. Tess then pieces together that her son must be an essential tool in accomplishing this; he, too, was closed off from her in 108’s dream. She concludes that Bill must be holding him hostage. 

Meanwhile, Burton also learns a bit more about Bill’s involvement in his dream drama. After meeting with his ex-boss, Helena, for a drink in an attempt to learn more about Mr. Song, who purchased the boy, he dreams that he’s in a wood. There, he comes upon. Isla, drugged up and dressed in all white once again. Offering her more drugs, he bribes her to tell him the truth of where the boy is, admitting that the Woman in Red told him he could save her. “To feel love that deeply, now that’s a dream I’d like to share,” Isla purrs. “Are you willing to share, or are you going to be greedy with your love?”

Next thing, he’s in Marcello’s sitting across from Isla, who’s “sharing” the dream by pretending to be the Woman in Red. After taking a hit of her pipe (she forced him to), Burton begins hallucinating the Isla is, in fact, the Woman in Red, and she acts out their scene for him. They end up back in the Woman in Red’s apartment, where Isla continues acting out their lovers’ dialogue. “I swear I wasn’t going to kiss you,” she says, inching closer. Burton insists that he needs to see the boy and to take him to Mr. Song. Isla tells him that Mr. Song was a front for another buyer and that the boy is not with him. “I swear I wasn’t going to kiss you,” she repeats. Burton caves: “Then you did,” he says, and they kiss deeply. Burton wakes up to his phone ringing from an unknown caller. He picks up, and it’s Isla telling him, “The name of the buyer is Bill Boerg.”

Tess dreams with Dr. Duria.

Now knowing she can’t trust Bill, Tess goes to his office for more answers. Waiting until she sees him leaving the office, she goes up to speak with his assistant, Dr. Duria, under the guise that she has news for him: She knows where her son is. She drops that bomb and leaves the room. Assuming Tess has left the building, Duria looks around nervously, puts a mask over her face, and lies down to sleep (presumably to tell someone in the dream realm that Tess knows everything). In actuality, Tess has snuck into the other room and lies down to sleep and to hack Duria’s dream. She awakes in Topeka within the warehouse. Plastered to the walls around her are posters reading #DontTellBill under a sketch of his face. Tess finds Dr. Duria sitting at a tool table constructing one of Bill’s spinning instruments. She then puts it in a glass carrier and leaves; Tess follows stealthily, hoping to be led to her son. 

Taka learns how to connect with Tess in Topeka.

Taka’s arc this episode opens with him speaking with Kumiko on a park bench in Topeka. She explains that The Green wants them together, and the only way for that to happen in the real world is for him to find the boy from the fliers, Tess’s son. When he expresses guilt for separating Tess from her son, Kumiko assures him that The Green wants Tess to come with him this time. “I need you to promise me you’ll find the boy,” she urges. “You’ve been so patient, and I’ve missed you so much.” She kisses his forehead and leaves.

Once awake, Taka comes home to find Ann-Marie waiting for him in his living room. “How was your picnic?” she asks. She tells him that Kumiko says he’s ready to help The Green get the boy, but he’s worried that they will hurt him. “I’d die before hurting that boy,” Ann-Marie says. Taka’s convinced. He lies down to go to Topeka with Ann-Marie; they find themselves in an empty parking garage, and in the center of it is a giant iron room designed by Kumiko. Inside are hundreds of tiny peepholes lining the room’s walls, which can be used to see into different parts of Topeka and, in this case, to find Tess. She has a strong enough connection to her son that Ann-Marie believes she’ll lead Taka to his whereabouts. It’s Taka’s job to find him because when the Green tried, they were overly confrontational. (Remember Andy and the other faceless men?) Ann-Marie hands him a grenade-like instrument. “When you find the boy, push the button,” she instructs. “We’ll hear it. We’ll come. We’re all very grateful.”

Taka follows Tess. They join forces.

Taka spots Tess from the iron room as she’s following Dr. Duria and decides to follow them, tying down a string to chart his path. As they cross under a bridge in a park, Tess hears her son crying for her, and it gets louder as they come to an apartment complex courtyard. Here, Tess loses sight of Dr. Duria, then hears the sound of the spinning instrument click on, and the courtyard becomes a vacuum, void of sound. Dr. Duria must have used the instrument to encase her son in an apartment. “No! Where are you?” Tess shouts, scanning the buildings’ many windows. But it’s hopeless. Then she turns around and sees Taka looking on from around the corner and quickly awakes. When she arises, Dr. Duria has left her sleeping cot, and the screen cuts to black.

Now in the waking world, Taka goes to Sabine -- still wary and hurt from their breakup after he went to Alice behind her back -- in hopes of reuniting with Tess. After some convincing, Sabine brings them together. Because she recognizes him from her dream the night prior, Tess is on edge with Taka. Plus, she knows Taka was investigating Bill for something earlier on in the season (when Andy ended up dead with a suitcase full of flyers of the boy). Taka insists that he’s not working with Bill and just wants to help reunite her with her son to help his mother. He thinks they were very close to getting to her son the night before, and if they meet in Topeka again, he thinks he can take her back to that courtyard. Tess agrees, quipping, “Sabine, your boyfriend and I need to sleep together.”

Back in Topeka, Taka and Tess meet up at Kumiko’s iron room and follow Taka’s thread back to the courtyard—which happens to be where Woody and Burton are currently headed in the waking world to see the boy.

Burton and Woody find the boy.

To rewind a bit, after Burton learns that Bill Boerg is actually Mr. Song, he and Isla go to the White Sand offices, where they’ve called a meeting with Woody. Burton knows that Woody’s the one who scuttled the deal with Bill Boerg when both he and H. Robert wanted the boy. When confronted, Woody insists that he was only the deliveryman and it’s now out of his hands, but Burton threatens to tell H. Robert that Woody double-crossed him unless he brings him to the boy. That brings them to the same apartment complex that Taka and Tess are at, only in the real world rather than Topeka. When they get into the apartment that Woody last saw the boy, it’s empty, but Burton figures out that, like an ant on the rim of a glass, he and Woody have to enter Topeka for the boy. They do so by climbing through the icebox.

Now in Topeka and still in the apartment, Burton comes upon the boy in his room. The spinning instrument sits in the corner, creating a sound vacuum around him. That means he doesn’t hear Bill coming up behind him to attack. 

Tess and Burton almost cross paths.

Now in the courtyard, Tess can’t hear her son, but they find the paper airplane he threw out in the beginning of the episode with instructions for them to go to the eighth floor. He knew they were coming for him. When they get into the apartment building’s lobby, Dr. Duria is there and attacks them with a strength only possible within Topeka. She vibrates with power, somehow blurring herself to the naked eye. Taka tries shooting her, but the bullets fly right through her. Tess runs upstairs for her son while Taka distracts Dr. Duria. She breaks his arm, and he awakens.

Simultaneously, Burton is getting beat up by Bill, who’s also vibrating with a power similar to Dr. Duria’s. Throwing Burton across the room, he accidentally knocks over the spinning instrument, erasing the sound vacuum and allowing the boy to cry out again. Tess is right outside the door and can finally hear that her son is inside. She takes a fire extinguisher to bust the door open. While she’s knocking, the boy steps between Bill and Burton, climbing into Burton’s arms to protect him. Refusing to put the boy down, Burton turns to him. “Ready to fly? Let’s fly,” he says. They jump from the apartment’s window just as Tess gets into the apartment. Bill has vanished. Tess then wakes up, defeated. 

Burton gets the boy.

After jumping out the window in Topeka, Burton awakes in the real world facedown in the grass alongside a highway. The boy is sitting next to him in a flowerbed, smiling.