What is B-6?
Despite all the teasing glimpses we get of the various experimental drugs Abnesti has in his repertoire, the one of greatest importance is B-6, the drug for which all the others are just laboratory fodder.
Apparently a miracle drug Steve’s been dreaming of for most of his life (or since his father abandoned him), the “medicine” is designed to make people docile and compliant, so that they always obey authority—or at least whomever is administering the drug. Jeff first mentions B-6 out loud when he asks what the red vial attached to his bloodstream is for. After all, he has Darkenfloxx attached to his body via the MobiPak (the device on his lower back), even though Steve keeps swearing they’ll never use the bad dreams drug again. Jeff also appears to have the “love drug,” N-40, ready to be pumped into his veins at any time. But what is this red one that’s always in rotation in everyone’s MobiPak?
Mark (Mark Paguio) unconvincingly suggests it is just a placebo, but Jeff and the audience knows that is not true. In fact, it’s the only drug Steve cares about. Once perfected, Steve intended to sell it to businesses (and governments?) under the name O-B-D-X (Obediex). What sort of authority wouldn’t want something that “could get you to follow an order antithetical to your deepest values and emotions?” So Steve would try to pump Jeff up with “love” for Heather (Tess Haubrich) via N-40, but the experiment wasn’t to prove that it would make folks become infatuated with one another—even to the point of ripping their clothes off right in front of voyeurs! A few tests proved that drug’s efficacy pretty conclusively, right? But what Steve wanted was to make Jeff so invested in Heather as a person that when he obeyed the order to administer her Darkenfluxx, it meant B-6 overcame Jeff’s sense of devotion to a woman he’d just made love to.
As Lizzy noted, why do they always so willingly agree to “acknowledge” whatever Steve asks of them, no matter how heinous? Yes, the implicit threat is that if they don’t consent to these tests, Steve’s company will send them back to maximum security prisons. No more copper pots in the kitchen or tropical island excursions. However, Jeff still was consenting to things he might not have otherwise—like eventually giving Heather the Darkenfluxx. Was he broken down by Steve’s pressure? Possibly. But he also was under the clear influence of B-6 which he unwittingly consented to when he first “acknowledged” his participation in these tests upon arriving at Spiderhead.
It is Jeff’s self-loathing guilt, his new pampered lifestyle, and the B-6 that all influence his decisions. But Steve wanted to get B-6 to the point where anyone would obey anything, even putting Darkenfluxx into a woman he truly loves. Remember Jeff’s greatest regret is that he got the last woman he loved in a drunk driving crash earlier in life.
Thus the final test where Steve pumps Jeff with more B-6 and tries to cajole, threaten, and harass the prisoner into sending a drug that is essentially torture into Lizzy’s brain. Luckily for Lizzy, she wasn’t the only one in peril that day…