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Blade Runner: Black Lotus S1E7 “Reality”

The following contains spoilers through Blade Runner: Black Lotus S1E7, “Reality,” on Adult Swim, and also references the Blade Runner movies.


Welcome back, dear reader, as we continue to review the Adult Swim series Blade Runner: Black Lotus with Episode 7, “Reality.” We get an interesting take on what is “real” in this episode from an unlikely source, Doctor M’s lackey Goodman. To him, reality is what we choose to make of it. He tells Elle that even her artificial memories are not “fake.” They’re as real as she makes them.

Of course, Goodman has a somewhat biased view. He was giving the replicants an excess of happy memories in hopes of cushioning their lives as “cheap, disposable labor,” subservient and obedient to their human masters. If he truly is a “good man,” then he understands the moral depravity of what they are doing here, and he seems to be a key player. How does his gift of a “small bit of joy” compare with the gift of the mystery boyfriend that actually allowed Elle to fight back?

Joseph and Officer Davis stand facing each other at his doorway
Officer Davis comes calling for advice

Legend

Thanks to blabber mouth Officer Davis, we find out that not only was Joseph a blade runner, he is a legend among blade runners. He holds the record for most replicants retired, somewhere in the 100 to 200 range. In fact, it sounds like he might be single-handedly responsible for Officer Davis not making it in the blade runner program. As she told the Chief, “There just aren’t any replicants left.”

Of course, she doesn’t know that the Wallace Corporation has restarted the production of replicants. If Wallace Sr. has his way though, she’ll never find out. He’s shutting down the replicant program before the murders get traced back to his company. Junior insists that move is a mistake, because his replicants are flawless. He implies that he’ll somehow show his father that the murderer could not be one of his. Maybe we’re about to have some more replicants introduced into the story?

Doctor M in the foreground looking up, Goodman sits in the background behind a bank of monitors
Doctor M and Goodman review Elle’s memories

Memories

In his former line of work, Joseph was apparently familiar with Doll Hunt perpetrator number five, Doctor M-for-Murphy. Elle catches the tip before she splits, and cleverly gets the address directly from the Doctor’s office. Once there though, she not-so-cleverly trips an alarm and gets captured. Dr. Murphy puts her in a memory extraction machine, and he and Goodman review her memories to try to find out why she is a “deviant.”

We find out that there is a difference between real memories (like of the desert) and implanted memories (like of her mother). Artificial memories have a haze purposely added to them, because replicant memories do not have a natural fading effect. Elle’s memories of old Los Angeles are crystal clear, and more importantly, they are not part of the excess of happy memories that Goodman gave her. They have no specific emotional context, there’s seemingly no point to them. Those memories, along with the ones by the poolside, appear to be real memories.

Niander Wallace Jr. continues to be the obvious candidate for the person who overlaid these additional memories on top of the ones Goodman implanted. However, he also disowned the assassin replicant, telling his father that his replicants are flawless. It’s highly unlikely Dr. Murphy is responsible for Elle, especially now that he is dead. Though it is interesting that he refers to her as “the prototype” and he tells her that he specifically remembers her (apart from the other dolls). If he was aware of her differences though, why didn’t he warn his fellow hunters?

Showing the English and Japanese scenes and subtitles side-by-side
Same scene with English (left) and Japanese (right) dialogue

Quick Takes

A couple of quick takes on the rest of the episode and other tangentially related things:

  • I haven’t mentioned this previously, but occasionally I’ve been watching both the Japanese (with English subtitles) and the English versions. Sometimes, the dialogue does not match up. One of the more glaring differences came in this episode after Elle runs out on Joseph. In the English version, he says, “This is the only way it ends.” In the subtitles to the Japanese version, he says, “Is there no other way?”
  • They still have phone booths in this alternate reality Los Angeles.
  • Adult Swim posted a behind the scenes video on their YouTube channel featuring the “English Voice Cast.” It’s only about 8 minutes long and definitely interesting to see the voices behind the characters.
  • Blade Runner: Black Lotus is now available in the UK on Channel 4. However, as of this moment, only Episodes 1 – 5 are available.
  • Reddit user u/HandWashing2020 had a nice catch. As we pan past the monitors in Doctor M’s lab, there is one in particular that has a digitized face and some stats on it. It turns out that the stats are for one “BATTY (Roy)”, Nexus 6, Incept Date: 8 Jan 2016. Most likely, this was intended as an Easter egg by people who apparently do not quite understand the concept of Easter eggs.
Blade Runner Black Lotus S1E7 - Niander Wallace Sr stands at his desk extremely angered
Wallace Sr. needs to calm down

Conclusion

This episode marks the official halfway point for the series, and everyone Elle initially wanted revenge upon is dead. As expected, she’s now on course to track down Wallace Sr. as the true power behind the Doll Hunt. Likely that both Joseph and Marlowe will be anticipating her move and show up as well. Should be interesting.

That’s all for this week. Please let us know your thoughts and feelings about this week’s episode, and any theories you have on what’s to come, in the comments below.


All images courtesy of Adult Swim

Written by Brien Allen

Brien Allen is the last of the original crazy people who responded to this nutjob on Facebook wanting to start an online blog prior to Twin Peaks S3. Some of his other favorite shows have been Vr.5, Buffy, Lost, Stargate: Universe, The OA, and Counterpart. He's an OG BBSer, Trekkie, Blue Blaze Irregular, and former semi-professional improviser. He is also a staunch defender of putting two spaces after a period, but has been told to shut up and color.

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