The vicinity of the barn is swarming with cops and search dogs, and Will's on the phone placating the mayor about the efforts they're making out there. Will notices Mr. Reinemann walking slowly toward him in a bit of a stupor. Will concludes the call and asks the father what's wrong. Mr. Reinemann: "I don't know how to say this..." I figured he was about to confess to abducting the child himself. Instead, he says that that stuffed animal isn't Toby; he just found Eric's toy in the trunk of his car. He's never seen that toy they found. Will barely reacts to this news. The father turns and walks slowly away.
Joan enters the chess room in the basement. The room is empty except for one man, who reminds me slightly of Richard Pryor, arranging chess pieces on a board at a table in the middle. ["I love John Marshall Jones. Fans of John Doe might remember him from that; he played Frank." -- Sars] Joan wonders where the chess club members are. Chess Guy says, "They all went home. I'll be working with you today." Joan sits down opposite him, telling him she doesn't know how to play chess. Chess Guy: "Well, that's fairly obvious." Joan sighs, "God." Frink immediately dubs him "Smoove G." She admits to being very glad to see him for once, because her life is completely unravelling: "I'm up to my eyeballs in the drama of the high school mating ritual, and now, thanks to you, I've been mistaken as the school chess champion. How did this happen to me?" Smoove G: "Which part?" Joan wants to know how she beat that kid at chess. Smoove G: "He was using logic; you weren't. It's impossible to guard against chaos." Tell me about it. "It's rare, but it happens." Frink comments, "There's no public school that can afford a chess set like that." It's a set with rather elaborately carved, tall, humanoid figurines. Smoove G moves a piece and says, "Black's move." Joan doesn't want to. Smoove G gives her a look, and she reluctantly moves a pawn. She says weakly, "I don't know how to play this game." Smoove G points out that she's playing it anyway. Joan: "Because I'm forced to!" Smoove G: "'Forced to'? Your friends make a suggestion, which you follow up on, and then you're surprised at the outcome. It's a causal universe."
Smoove G moves a piece, and tells her to move. Joan asks, "I'm being punished because I made a tiny little effort to fit in?" Smoove G explains: "It's not about punishment. It's that actions have consequences. And to be in denial of that is to be disengaged from the laws of the universe, which renders you powerless and vulnerable to an inordinate amount of pain." So that must be what I'm doing wrong. He adds, "Other than that, it's not big deal. Move." Joan picks up one pawn, starts to move it, and then changes her mind. She starts to move a different piece, and Smoove G says, "No." He explains the rule called "touch move": "Once you touch a piece, you have to play that piece." Joan: "I'm not allowed to change my mind? What kind of universe is that?" Smoove G: "Oh, you can change your mind, but you still have to play that piece, so you should think before you move." So much for chaos. Joan thinks aloud, saying that this is a metaphor. She looked it up and this is definitely an example. She moves the pawn she originally selected, and says, "I took the bait. So now I'm in the game. How do I get out?" Smoove G: "There are many ways to get out: surrender is one, losing is another. Winning, cheating -- which I don't recommend -- but you have to do something. You have to have a strategy. See, the number one rule of chess is this: whatever you do, don't play the other person's game. Play your own." Smoove G moves: "Your move." Joan looks slightly troubled. The scene ends with an overhead shot of the two of them and the board. If I knew enough about chess, I could probably make some incisive commentary about the game in progress, but I don't, so you're on your own.