Since the third season of ‘Love, Death and Robots’ released the other week on Netflix, I wanted to take a look at my top three episodes from each season so far – and to round everything up to a nice number, Season 1 gets four entries, being the longest and all. I know this is very subjective, and I am fully aware that some people reading this will say ‘How could you not include Zima Blue, or Sonnie’s Edge?’ I am fully aware of that, and yet I didn’t include them.
1. Beyond the Aquila Rift (Season 1)
Difficult to know where to start with this one – the breathtaking animation, the space travel whilst in suspended animation topic, or the absolutely brutal plot twist? It’s an impossible situation for Thom and his crew, who wake up on their spaceship after an indefinite period of time spent in suspended animation, only to find out that they are hundreds of thousands of light years away from Earth, and centuries had passed since their departure. It’s a premise that rivals the very best sci-fi projects.
2. The Witness (Season 1)
A tale of murder and circularity in Hong Kong. This one is quite a mind bender – a man murders a woman in a hotel, and realises that in the identical hotel across the street, another woman has witnessed his act. He thus starts chasing her, only to reach an even stranger realisation in the end. It’s a crazy good project.
3. When the Yogurt Took Over (Season 1)
Ah, I can hear the groans of discontent – this episode was not quite universally loved. Still, I loved it for its sheer ridiculousness – some scientists try to mutate yoghurt, which leads to it becoming sentient. The yoghurt starts a dialogue with US leaders, claiming to have solutions for the country’s problems, but actually plays the same game with China. I don’t think I need to continue, this 6-minute episode is as ridiculous as it is good!
4. Good Hunting (Season 1)
This one is probably one of the most complex and layered episodes from the first season. In early 20th century China, a father and his son track a shape-shifting fox, who is ultimately killed, but her daughter survives. Years later, in the context of the British colonial rule blended with a magical angle, the daughter develops robotic parts, and plans a revenge.
5. Pop Squad (Season 2)
Kurt Vonnegut would have definitely liked this one. Set in a dystopian future where biological immortality is achieved, thus leading to overpopulation, breeding becomes forbidden, and any children that are found by authorities are quickly killed. Detective Briggs, one of the people responsible for finding and getting rid of children, is placed in front of a significant moral dilemma.
6. The Tall Grass (Season 2)
While it is certainly not the best episode in terms of narrative, I really loved the Lovecraftian vibes of this one, which coupled marvelously well with the 19th century train setting. In terms of idea, it seems somewhat similar to Stephen King’s project (adapted into a horrendous Netflix film), but it retains its distinct charm and allure.
7. The Downed Giant (Season 2)
Another one that didn’t receive the very best of responses, but I personally find extremely complex and evocative of human nature. In short, the gigantic corpse of an unknown man washes up on the shore of a coastal town. It attracts the attention of many different people, who are initially mesmerised with the strange appearance, but gradually the interest wanes, while the body decomposes. It’s a strange, but very philosophical project.
8. Bad Travelling (Season 3)
I’m not sure it’s wise to start a season with the very best episode (of course, if we discount the three robots one), but that’s exactly what Season 3 does. This pirate-y tale directed by David Fincher, sees a ship navigator forced to negotiate with a giant crustacean occupying its hold. What ensues are several plot twists that are not quite what they initially seem, and basically a visual representation of an utilitarian philosophy.
9. Night of the Mini Dead (Season 3)
What an episode this 7-minute project was! It’s somewhat similar in ridiculousness and approach to the yoghurt and the fridge episodes from the first season, only that it goes out with an even bigger bang… literally. It doesn’t explore human nature per se, but rather the place of humanity in the universe… in a very audio-visual way, accompanied by a zombie apocalypse and nuclear annihilation. Also, the animation style is super unique.
10. Mason’s Rats (Season 3)
Another really crazy episode, one that is set in a sort of post-apocalyptic rural Scotland. When doing his farm chores one day, Mason is surprised to notice that the rats in his barn have evolved and are now using tools, attaching him with crossbows and other weapons. He is forced to enlist the help of a big company selling defense technology in order to fight the rats, but this plan is soon deterred by the rats’ intelligence. And tanks.