Back in the apartment, during the not-robbery, Roger says he doesn’t have any money. Anna-Lena thinks that nobody ever understands Roger, so she stands behind him and mimes what he just said. The bank robber asks for quiet and says they don’t want money, but Zara disapprovingly says the robber needs to be specific. Roger isn’t taking this entirely seriously, so he asks if this is a robbery or a hostage situation. Anna-Lena mimes a gun over Roger’s shoulder, and the robber sighs like parents do when the kids are fighting in the backseat. The robber asks everyone to lie down so they can think, but everyone refuses. Finally noticing that Julia is pregnant, the robber says she can go. Roger suggests the robber let everyone go, except for him and the real estate agent.
The robber is ostensibly the person in control here, like a parent—they have a gun, after all. But being in charge of this group of potential buyers, the novel shows, is about as simple as corralling children, especially since all the buyers are fighting among one another. The fact that Anna-Lena doesn’t think anyone understands Roger may be part of their marriage problems: she underestimates him and so ends up undermining him, doing much the same thing that Jim does to Jack.
Julia shouts that she’s not letting Roger put in an offer on the apartment while the rest of them leave. Ro anxiously argues that the robber has a pistol, and they can’t take chances. But Julia’s personality while pregnant is extremely belligerent, and she refuses to leave. Roger asks the robber what they want—do they want the apartment? He realizes how ridiculous he sounds as the bank robber starts to sob. Anna-Lena says loudly that the apartment smells like mold.
When the robber begins sobbing, it reinforces the observation that they made earlier. The robber is the true hostage here, especially since nobody else is taking this very seriously. Indeed, Julia and Roger are far too interested in fighting with each other to take much interest in the high emotional tenor of the room.
Estelle, an old lady whom nobody has noticed yet, shuffles to the robber and offers them a glass of water. She explains that she’s looking for an apartment for her daughter; her husband, Knut, is parking the car. Estelle asks if the robber planned to rob the cashless bank across the street. When Zara sarcastically says, “Smart,” the robber shouts that they didn’t know, and they just need time to think. Roger shouts that he wants information.
Estelle begins to change the tenor in the room by expressing care for and interest in the robber. The fact that nobody has noticed her yet highlights that up until now, this has in no way been the point of the viewing. People are here to fight each other for the apartment, not learn about one another and possibly express concern.
In the silence that follows, Estelle suggests they all introduce themselves. The robber refuses to give their name, but everyone else does. Estelle claps her hands—and afraid the pistol went off, everyone else falls to the ground. The robber thanks Estelle. It takes Anna-Lena a minute to realize that she can’t breathe because Roger threw himself on top of her to protect her.
Estelle continues to change how the prospective buyers interact. Now that they know one another’s names, they can continue to learn more about one another and not just fight over the apartment. In this passage, Anna-Lena also gets another overt clue that Roger loves her when he protects her.