Karen's in Nick's office dropping off the financial records, and she playfully-but-with-an-undercurrent asks what he and Tripp are up to. Viewed in retrospect, I wonder if she's testing Nick here, because obviously, she knows exactly what they're doing. She tries to coax it out of him, and he admits there's something he's not telling her, but he won't go any further than that. Good on you, Nick. Nick then pointedly asks about Elder, and Karen is surprised that he knows about their involvement. Nick tells her it's just a matter of time before Tripp finds out, not that Nick's going to tell him. Karen says that all she and Simon do is talk, which takes me right back to "creative conversation partners." At least back then, I hadn't met Dutch, so I didn't have to visualize that. Karen suggests that Nick join them on one of their "talks," which is of course her greatest fantasy that doesn't involve Nick and her third husband. She then asks him to promise he won't tell Tripp, which he basically already did, but he repeats the vow to her satisfaction. She inquires if he's going to the Nutcracker, and he is, with Kiki (groan) in tow. Karen, for her part, says she's over it, but tells him to have fun as she heads for the door.
Patrick is holding Carmelita and telling her everything will be okay, but she pulls away and tells him she knows someone was in her apartment the night before -- drawers were open when she left them closed, a light was on that she had left off, and so on. Patrick starts combing the place for surveillance devices as she asks if he believes her, and he says he does, of course, and he's going to put someone outside her door 24/7. Unfortunately, he can't involve the police, as that would get back to Ellen, but he promises he won't let anything happen to her. This whole plotline stinks, frankly -- I don't believe anyone searching her place would be so clumsy as to leave the apartment in a state that would tip her off. Plus, if someone's following her with the intent to kidnap her, why do it in her apartment when it would be so much easier to pick a secluded spot and waylay her? I think she cooked the whole thing up, but the how, why, and who else is involved should hopefully be interesting.
In Tripp's study, he's asking Brian if he's sure he needs to vacate his post, as there are lots of "beneficial values" transmitted by religion. Brian counters that he thought it would be a good time for him to become "authentic," and The Bittersweet Piano Of Brian's Life plays as he confesses that he doesn't know if he ever believed, although the concept of Christianity always interested him -- "the idea that there's something that gives its life up to make room for more life." Tripp says he finds that fascinating, and at Brian's skeptical look, tells him he's always envied his life of the mind. He goes on that he's always been left to fumble with "the nuts and bolts of big business," and that while his grandfather was an empire builder, he's merely an "empire maintainer." You might want to let Nick know that so he can adjust the spiel he gives at the beginning of every episode. Tripp asks if Brian really wants to leave the world of ideas. "What could be better?" I love that Tripp is lowering himself to Brian here, but Brian, with a touch of desperation, says he really doesn't know what to do. Tripp says he can't tell him. "That's for you to decide."