Someone’s been killing androids in Paradigm City, and who better to send to solve the crime than an android himself? As Dastun investigates a recent rash of attacks on androids, he is irritated to find an inspector from higher up assigned to help him work the case – and we’re treated to a few moments of apparent bigotry toward androids.
I find Big O’s (both I and II) treatment of bias against androids a bit less than satisfying, primarily since its an issue that is seemingly forgotten for much of the time. Roger starts out as condescending toward R. Dorothy for her attempted human behaviors, but this matter drops away fairly quickly, and I struggle to think of him doing so past episode for or so of the first season. There are a few sporadic moments throughout the first season which seem to point toward androids being treated differently than humans, but its never enough to call discriminzation against androids a theme of the show… which, actually, is sort of like how there are some brief allusions to the fact that Paradigm City is a two-tiered society (those who live in the Domes versus those who live outside of them), but not in any cohesive fashion. It just feels like window dressing in both cases. Its generally tolerable, but giving a whole episode over to an issue which it doesn’t feel like the show cares a whole lot about feels awkward.
This is another slower episode, even if it doesn’t present itself as such. We could ponder why an android went on an android slaying spree, but it doesn’t feel like it really matters why. Did it go rogue? Was it programmed to do this? Is it a plot from higher up in the Paradigm hierarchy? Honestly, I don’t care. It doesn’t feel like there are any greater ramifications here, ultimately.
Ditto, really, for the whole storyline that R. Frederick O’Reilly was sent to work the case primarily so he could act as bait. He’s the first android inspector in at least forty years! I’m sorry, why does this matter to me? If it felt like android discrimination was actually integral to the story, that it was something the production staff was truly interested in exploring, maybe I would care. But it doesn’t; it just all feels perfunctorily tacked on.
If you think I’m being pretty negative, I’ll be honest: this is easily the worst Big O episode there is. Yes, Big O, because in two seasons of it, this is easily the worst. While there are some useful bits amongst the tedium, and the scenes involving Roger and Angel are entertaining enough, overall its a chore of an episode.
So, what is noteworthy from the wreck?
- We are told that while Memories may surface in people, in androids they have proven entirely inaccessible. Wait, what? Then how on earth was Alex Rosewater able to glean from the memories of that android in episode two that Memory about the satellite? (And this also comes from a man who, just a moment earlier, had said that Pardigm City was a safe place for people. Yep, periodic giant robot attacks! Totally safe, folks!)
- R. Dorothy is a badass again. This time, she’s surfing on the tops of cars in order to use trucks to rip explosive darts off of her body. How can you not love her?
- Roger attempts to James Bondian again, telling Angel that his policy is to treat all women the same, even if he’s largely failed where she’s concerned. It only serves to highlight how completely not James Bond he really is, especially when its followed by…
- …later in the episode, Roger has a revelatory-type moment wherein he realizes he has no idea who his enemy actually is; the panicky feeling is clear in his eyes, even if he does collect himself quickly enough that in the next scene he’s calm again.
- according to Angel, someone’s trying to collect the Memories of androids
Thank goodness that’s over.