I think if you cornered me and Phil and asked us to delineate what exactly is going on with HR here, we’d probably give you two different answers. Maybe the last of his humanity disappeared just before he engaged with the Cultists and this is a post-human trying to mimic his old self. Maybe there’s a split personality in there. Maybe his recent actions have made him briefly capable of being normal-ish again, much like some depressives feel their depression lift as soon as they fully commit to suicide. Maybe he’s unconsciously messing with Carol a bit, doing whatever she doesn’t expect so that she can only respond to him, not anticipate him, which increases the power differential in their dynamic.

Or maybe he’s just plain unstable, and trying to ascribe deeper patterns to his mood swings is a mug’s game right now. It doesn’t matter much: he’ll have a consistent direction eventually.

The one thing I know we were of one mind about was that “sane HR” was the best incitement we could think of for this Carol-focused plot. Nothing would throw Carol more for a loop and also leave her more unprepared for what’s going to happen next.