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The Law of Non-Contradiction
Season 3, Episode 3
Episode Information
Air Date:

May 3, 2017


1.17 million

Written by:

Matt Wolpert
Ben Nedivi

Directed by:

John Cameron

Episode Chronology
Previous Episode:

The Principle of Restricted Choice

Next Episode:

The Narrow Escape Problem


The Law of Non-Contradiction is the third episode of Season 3, and the twenty-third episode overall. It premiered May 3, 2017.


Gloria revisits her stepfather's past to try and find some answers.


In 1975 Los Angeles, writer Thaddeus Mobley is accosted by Howard Zimmerman after winning the Golden Planet award for his science fiction novel, The Planet Wyh. He convinces Mobley to adapt it into a screenplay, and introduces him to actress Vivian Lord, who Mobley becomes smitten with. Mobley soon starts a relationship with Lord and becomes addicted to cocaine, starting the screenplay while under the influence.

In present-day 2010, Gloria Burgle lands in Los Angeles and has her luggage stolen as she checks into a motel. Her room is strange, finding a pair of shoes behind a curtain arranged to look like someone is in them, and a box with a machine inside that, when activated, has a hand come out to turn itself off. She calls her son through friend and officer Donny Mashman, and Donny warns her that the new chief is displeased with her wasting time in L.A.

Gloria tracks down the diner that Lord works at, having gotten her name from a photo Ennis had of her. Lord claims that her abuse of substances in the 70's has erased most of her memory of that time, and Gloria requests that Lord call her should she remember anything. Returning to the motel, Gloria finds her bag returned, only to find that it is empty. The officer who found it is one that she met earlier, and has left her a note requesting a date.

She accepts, but finds his loud, overconfident personality unappealing. He expresses disbelief at the fact that she is not on Facebook, and the date quickly ends. Gloria ends up meeting Paul Marrane, a man she had met earlier on her flight. He notes from the imprint on her ring finger that she was previously married, and tells her a Schrödinger's Cat-like paradox about a man and a woman who are both married and divorced while the husband is away at war. Gloria visits the Writer's Guild of America and finds The Planet Wyh's screenplay, taking note of Zimmerman's named in the producer's credits. She finds Zimmerman in an assisted living facility, confined to a wheelchair and relying on a voice box to talk, which a nurse claims is the result of an accident. Zimmerman offers her little, only referring to Mobley as a "failure," and tells her about a scientific principle in which humans are likened to particles drifting through the universe, and only when they collide do they become real.

In 1975, Mobley realizes he has been scammed by Lord and Zimmerman. When he confronts them, Zimmerman chokes him into submission, and Mobley responds by beating Zimmerman into a coma with his own walking stick. He tells Lord that she is a bad person before fleeing. Lord tells Gloria this story, and Gloria realizes this has nothing to do with her investigation. Lord admits that she believes Mobley was right, but that he was also a bad person himself. As Mobley vomits in the toilet of his motel room, he notices something on the toilet. Gloria, who is revealed to be in the same motel room, notices the same thing: the toilet is labeled "DENNIS STUSSY & SONS", with the "D" scratched out.

Gloria and Nathan attend Ennis' funeral, the only two who show up. Donny approaches them, and tells Gloria that Maurice LeFay's fingerprints were identified at the scene of Ennis' murder. Gloria, intrigued by the circumstances of Maurice's death, decides to look into him. As she and Donny drive away, it is shown that she had kept the box machine.

Throughout the episode, the events of The Planet Wyh are retold through animated sequences, and are narrated by Gloria. In it, a spaceship crashes on the titular planet, the only survivor being an android named Minsky. Minsky's commander orders him to send word to their home planet about the information collected during the mission before dying. Minsky wanders the planet, watching life begin and evolve into humanoid creatures. The only thing he is able to say is "I can help!" During one of his centurial battery recharges, a group of thugs remove his right arm. He loses his sense of direction, becoming desensitized after seeing civilizations be built and destroyed repeatedly. The technology to call his home world becomes available, but the planet is also destroyed. As Minsky pulls an arm out of a pile of rubble, a UFO flies over the planet and soldiers descend, shooting at the planet's denizens and abducting Minsky. A scientist from the Federation of United Planets tells Minsky that he has been active for 2.38 million years, making him the oldest sentient being currently living, and that his collected data will help them unlock the secrets of the universe. The scientist thanks Minsky for his service and orders him to shut himself down, which he does.


Main Cast

Guest Starring


  • Keith Blaney as Photographer
  • Michael Lanahan as Zimmerman's Assistant
  • Intae Kim as Motel Clerk
  • Graham Verchere as Nathan Burgle
  • Bonnie Bailey-Reed as Waitress
  • Barbara Wallace as Old Woman
  • Lillian Lim as Nurse




  • Guest star Rob McElhenney co-starred with Season 1 alumn Glenn Howerton on the TV series It's Always Sunny in Philadephia that once aired on FX before moving to sister channel FXX at the start of the ninth season.
  • Yuri Gurka (Goran Bogdan) did not appear in this episode, however he was still not credited along with the other main cast members.
  • Francesca Eastwood played the younger version of Vivian in the flashbacks while the present Vivian was played by her real-life mother Frances Fisher.
  • This is the only episode of season 3 that begins with a recap.
Season 3 episodes

01. "The Law of Vacant Places"
02. "The Principle of Restricted Choice"
03. "The Law of Non-Contradiction"
04. "The Narrow Escape Problem"
05. "The House of Special Purpose"

06. "The Lord of No Mercy"
07. "The Law of Inevitability"
08. "Who Rules the Land of Denial?"
09. "Aporia"
10. "Somebody to Love"