Pop Squad changes the direction of Love, Death & Robots to showcase more of the photo-real animation from last season. And wow, what an episode this is.
We begin by following a group of cops arriving at a run-down house, fronted by cigarette smoking Briggs. While he takes a more gentle approach, the soldiers manhandle a woman named Ruth who pleads with him to feed the kids as they haven’t had breakfast. With a gun in hand, a shot ricochets through the air as the sudden realization hits home. Briggs has just murdered these children.
These people are known as “breeders” by the upper-class echelons of society, who literally live above the clouds. Briggs shows up and speaks to a singer called Alice, who also happens to be his girlfriend. It turns out they’ve given up the opportunity to have kids as a way to try and resolve overpopulation brought forth by living forever.
The next day he shows up at the doctor’s with Alice but Briggs is still haunted by the events at the house. The dinosaur toy she collected the night before has had a profound effect on him. This translates across to the following day at work too, as a “breeder” calls Briggs a child killer and almost shoots a hole through him.
Briggs heads off on his own, following a woman buying a toy train for her child. The world here is hugged by lush green; a long forgotten remnant of what once was ours. Now, this concrete jungle belongs back to Mother nature. Unlike the lavish skyscrapers, the world down here is barren, destroyed and in pieces.
He follows this woman into her house, where he finds a young girl called Melanie. Her Mother is 218 years old and she admits that Melanie brings new meaning and joy to her life.
Things go horribly wrong though, eventually leading to Briggs forced to make an impossible choice. This time though, he walks away from the house and chooses not to kill the child. Unfortunately Melanie begins crying, bringing Briggs’ partner there. Her shoots her first though but takes a fatal bullet for his troubles. Collapsing to the ground, rain pouring, Briggs takes his last breath and dies.
The Episode Review
Wow, what a stunning episode. Love, Death & Robots delivers one of its best this season, asking profound questions about life and whether one really should live forever.
In this society it seems like man has perfected a way of staying alive but only the elite really enjoy the effects of this, tucked away in the dizzying heights of the skyscrapers. They’re literally living above the clouds and are blissfully ignorant to the horrors going on below ground.
The rest of society are forced to evade this squad of officers who are tasked with killing innocent children and arresting parents. Given the horrific consequences of these actions, it’s a wonder that more officers haven’t ended up like Briggs.
His PTSD eventually sees him change but unfortunately the cycle in this world is unlikely to be broken any time soon.
The photorealistic animation is nothing short of gorgeous and the entire episode is perfectly illustrated. There’s a lot of worldbuilding going on here and the visual representation of this world speaks volumes about what’s happening and how long a time has passed on our planet.
The reveal that Melanie’s Mother has lived for over 200 years seems to hint that those below the fold also live forever and perhaps decide to have children as a way of bringing joy into their miserable lives.
This is an extremely thought provoking episode and easily one of the best this year.