Love, Death and Robots: Lucky 13

lucky13Superstition raises its illogical head when junior officer Colby is given a new ship: Lucky 13.  With a serial number that has 13 in it twice, and whose digits add up to 13, it’s easy to see why this may be a ship of ill-omen.  Coupled that with the fact that 2 crews were utterly lost during missions with the ship, it’s no wonder no one wants to fly her.  But superstition can’t hold a candle to the bonds of friendship, loyalty and love.

The Good

lucky13aIt’s another episode with amazing graphics reminiscent of many a good video game.  The computer animation of today will be able to recreate any lost episode from bygone series if we can maintain, or even improve on, this level of quality.  

The plot focuses on another war, the captain of the Lucky 13, and the ship itself.  War is yet again depicted as something terrible.  The captain of the titular ship, Lt. Colby, is a woman of character.  During a battle, while her fellow pilots leave men behind, she is determined to save her whole crew and those of the other ship despite being fired upon.  As a result, it seems Lucky 13 takes care of her.  We frequently get a ships-eye view of what’s going on leading the viewer to speculate whether or not the ship’s AI is alive.  Even when she attempts to scuttle the ship, it refuses to detonate until it can take the maximum amount of enemies with it.  While the ambiguity is left for the viewer to mull over, I will point out that when Colby tries to escape the crashed ship at the end of the episode, she is tethered and the cord will not release when she hits a button.  Moments later, a hole is blasted in the room below her, where she would have landed had the cord released correctly.  Once the hole is made, the cord disconnects and she can escape.  Coincidence, or did she have a helping hand from the ship itself?

The Bad

lucky13bAs a courtesy to those offended by such things, I will flag the use of language, however, like a few other episodes, it is not gratuitous and I stand behind the use of that language.  There’s nothing excessive and it makes sense contextually.  Even the deaths that are shown onscreen are faceless; the soldiers are all covered in armor and we don’t have to see the full horror of war, like we did in some of the other episodes.  Contrast this with Sonnie’s Edge and you’ll understand how to differentiate between reasonable gore and unreasonable.  To be honest, I can’t fault anything with this episode.

The Ugly

lucky13cI have many of my toys from my childhood still intact.  You know why?  Because I treat them well.  I always did.  Maybe there’s something to that.  There are countless movies about AI gone wrong but what about AI gone right?  Lucky 13 seems to observe Colby and rewards her with victory after victory.  She brings others onboard and people start to believe the name: Lucky 13 is in fact lucky.  Or is the ship actually alive?  Perhaps, alive and able to determine that Colby was worthy of taking care of?  Maybe AI won’t try to destroy us if we treat it, and each other, with kindness, acceptance and understanding.  Maybe treating things like they matter will benefit us one day; the AI that is coming might just be willing to help those people thrive.  

Or we can speculate that what happened was just by chance; superstition should have a place in our lives, but I can’t see it.  I believe in science after all and AI, while still in its infancy, is a product of science.  Knock on wood, you’ll agree with me.

The Game

This is the first episode that I noticed the first icon was animated; it was shown beating.  Is that a representation of the heart of Colby, who clearly cared for both her crew and the ship?  Or the heart of the ship itself, representing a living entity?  The X is the symbol the series uses for death, and there is a lot of it here.  The U is obviously a horseshoe representing luck.  Lucky for us, they were all fairly easy to decipher!

The Verdict:

A solidly entertaining episode about an AI and a war that has, ironically, quite a bit of heart.  Was Lucky 13 alive?  I don’t know, but for 15 minutes, I was right there with her and her crew.   ML

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