OK, a bit late to be posting an update, but this was a confusing chapter, for more reasons than one.
First of all, I realize this is a slow chapter that is likely to be unpopular, but it raises several issues that will continue to play out in the story for a while, so it's important to establish the positions, and since both Cate and Alex are such intellectuals, they tend to talk a LOT about theories.
This is also an interesting chapter, because I had to make a LOT of last minute changes, on a while variety of issues. One was an issue brought up by an editor about an issue in a future chapter, that required changes in three different chapters, retroactively applied. The other changes reflected Alex's (and others) responses. Various people didn't like the way it played out initially. Unfortunately, this tends to introduce a lot of bloat in an already slow chapter. So I apologize for that.
But, as usual, I think you'll like where these threads go in the future.
But, as I'm sure you've guessed, with Alex suddenly finding himself isolated from everyone (Gail, Cate and Patricia's band), he's likely to be facing things without much support.