The following contains spoilers through Blade Runner: Black Lotus S1E10, “Clair de Lune,” 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 10, “Clair de Lune.” The title translates to “Moonlight” and is most likely a reference to a poem written by French poet Paul Verlaine in 1869. The poem talks of a soul “singing in a minor key of victorious love,” yet seeming “not to believe in their own happiness.” The song “blends with…the sad and beautiful light of the moon.”
So, it’s another downtime episode. Just hanging out at J’s place for some more girl talk, as if they’re not the two most wanted fugitives in all of Los Angeles. I’m not going to lie, when they started out this episode with a handful of flashbacks, I had a flashback of my own. Oh dear, more filler to stretch us out to the 13 episode mark. Turns out there was no need for alarm. It is a flashback episode of sorts, but in a good way.
“Sometimes memories linger, even if you’re human.” With this line, we finally get a little back story on Officer Joseph. The legendary blade runner who Officer Davis fan-girled over back in Episode 7. A “smug bastard” who has apparently made some sort of bet back at the police station that he can take out ten replicants on his own, without back up. It’s all but a done deal, because he always saves the easiest for last.
That last target is Selene. Presumably, she is one of the last Nexus-8 replicants to be rounded up after the events of Blade Runner: Black Out 2022. Joseph has been staking her out at the lounge where she sings nightly. She intrigues him. She’s a mystery, the one who didn’t run. So he confronts her back in her dressing room. With all pretense stripped away, he finds that she’s been waiting for him to make his move. She knows a replicant’s life is destined to be short, and she’s actually impatient to “see what happens next.”
In the meantime though, she’s been using her short life to “explore the essential mysteries” of emotions that Joseph believes she is incapable of experiencing. He finds out otherwise though, as he falls for her and she falls for him. Eventually, having sat on the case for an entire week, Marlowe shows up and threatens to do Joseph’s job for him. It’s show time. As Joseph and Selene finally embrace and kiss, he breaks her heart figuratively and literally.
Following Joseph’s trip down memory lane, Elle delves into her own memories. It seems like we’re going to get yet another flashback of the poolside tattoo scene, but then it takes a left turn. She begins having a new conversation with her boyfriend about current events. Things that Dr. M’s assistant just told her about how her memories have been manipulated. Is this some kind of real-time connection, or did he leave a little simulation of himself in there?
The reveal that Elle’s mystery boyfriend is Niander Wallace Jr. comes as no surprise to us, of course. He’s also Joseph’s mystery caller, as predicted. The dots are all connecting. Wallace programmed Elle with the skills and the drive to survive the Doll Hunt. Exacting revenge on those who perpetrated it, a path leading directly to his father. He hired Joseph to help him in this endeavor, by helping her. Taking advantage of Joseph’s need to redeem himself of his past sins.
Now he’s planted one last directive into her memories: find me. Unbeknownst to Elle though, her boyfriend has a new girlfriend. Let’s call her White Lotus? I’d hazard a guess that she’s his new 24/7 bodyguard, and we’re in for another epic fight scene in the upcoming episodes.
A couple of quick takes on the rest of the episode and other tangentially related things:
- The poem Clair de Lune was also an inspiration to a Claude Debussy piano suite of the same name. If you heard it, you’d probably recognize it.
- The name Selene means “moon” in Greek and was the name of the ancient Greek goddess of the moon.
- Now we understand that knowing look Marlowe gave out into the distance when Elle’s unknown assistant took him out of the fight last episode. He thinks Joseph has fallen for another replicant femme fatale.
- For the English version of the show, Selene is voiced by Alessia Cara, who also performs the main title theme song “Feel You Now.” In case you were wondering why that voice seemed familiar.
- It looks that all three of the songs that Selene sings are originals created for the show. Or at least, if they exist outside of the Blade Runner universe, they are so obscure that a Google search cannot find the lyrics.
- Only her final number, “Last Goodbye,” appears on the soundtrack. Too bad, because arguably, those were the best songs of the entire series. Certainly better than this episode’s end credits song. Oof.
- In the Japanese version for Crunchyroll, the songs are all still sung in English. They are not translated.
- Did Selene believe she had a soul and would move on to an afterlife when she died? Sadly, the show did not explore this much more interesting “essential mystery.”
- What in the world was that crazy cyberpunk Etch-a-Sketch meets high school overhead projector contraption? That thing made no sense at all. I can’t even imagine how it’s supposed to work.
We might also be impatient to see what happens next, but this was a worthy story to slow down and take a moment to digest. It still seems like we do not have three more episodes worth of content left. The confrontation with Wallace. Some sort of resolution to Marlowe and Davis. And then what? Maybe an outro monologue from Doc Badger on destiny versus free will that will take up the entirety of the last episode? You never know.
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