What are the different pills supposed to represent?
Neberdine's trial consists of three pills: A, B, and C. The A pill is the most straightforward. It's the one Annie is addicted to before the experimental trial, so we experience its effects through her eyes. When she goes under, Annie relives her most terrible memory: The death of her sister, Ellie (Julia Garner). The two share some joyous and silly moments on a road trip to Salt Lake City, where Ellie is moving. But they also get into a devastating argument. And then, they are hit by a truck. "I really, really loved the idea of a character who is revisiting their worst trauma intentionally," Somerville says. "What that is, and why would you do that and the paradox of that, I thought was just a really cool way to think about Annie early in the show."
The B pill is where things start to get more complicated. Annie and Owen's experiences cross. In their first dream -- if that's what we are going to call them -- they are a devoted Long Island couple, Bruce and Linda, with thick accents. She cajoles him into tracking down a lemur named Wendy owned by a deceased patient of hers. Next, they are con artists at a glamorous '40s seánce competing for a lost chapter of Don Quixote. According to Somerville: "I think that the B pill is meant to expose to people the ways in which they lie to themselves. I think to get honest looks at those kinds of things, people have to face ugly versions of themselves or face behaviors that they are capable of."
Finally, when they take the C pills, they are thrust into different universes again -- at least at first. Annie is a drunken elf shepherding a weakened princess, an embodiment of her sister, to a healing water in a Middle Earth-type environment; Owen is a gangster wrestling with loyalty to his family, and is forced to confront a version of Olivia (Grace Van Patten), the girl who once provoked a psychotic episode for him in the real world. They are then thrust into a spy thriller that ultimately jolts them back into their own consciousness. "The C pill is about confrontation, and really even more than confrontation, it's about getting to versions of acceptance and radical acceptance in some cases," Somerville explains. "Acceptance that you are not the same as other people but that's OK." The C pill allows Annie to ultimately confront her sister, apologize, and move on from that pain.