Love, Death and Robots: Blindspot

The moment Blindspot began, I was reminded of the video game Borderlands. It might as well take place there with the animation, language, and plot.  A bunch of cyborgs plan a heist of a nearby train.  The best laid plans of robots and men go askew when a rodent is almost run over and things go very wrong.

The Good

blindspot1Heists are almost always fun to watch.  It’s probably a bit like watching dominoes fall; you want to see how all the pieces fall into place and the big score is made.  I think it’s also why I love Sherlock Holmes stories: hearing how all the pieces fell into place is very rewarding.  Also, if you enjoyed the video game Borderlands, this episode will appeal.  If not, I’m not sure this episode offers much at all.

The Bad

blindspot2Usually I spend the least amount of time on the bad stuff, but this episode just felt like it offered more to be unhappy about than the alternative. For one, there’s the ever-present language.  Again, this is the sort of thing that can work for or against an episode and a high-stress heist might warrant it, but it fails within the first few minutes asking the new guy if his “balls dropped” yet.  It’s unnecessary.  Also, the first of the train cars is filled with people who are quickly, and bloodily, dispatched.  Are we supposed to like these cyborgs?

To compound matters, we’re never really sure what the stakes are; they are never really explained and the nearly invincible nature of the criminals makes it a bit silly too.   Suli stands with his face blocked as bullets ricochet off him, making me wonder how vulnerable they really are.  It’s a group of Mad Max-like characters attacking a train, seemingly unprovoked.  Why are these the heroes?  They spend the first train car in bloody execution!  Surely it’s not because one looks young and generally nice?  They seem to be the antagonists, so why root for them?  What do they need that stealing is the best option?  It ends with what should be a happy moment: even though the protagonists are almost all killed, their personalities are backed up and can be downloaded into new cyborg bodies.  But how does that make them good?  Why are we being asked to be happy about the criminals having a loophole to survive for another crime?

Lastly, while I’ve enjoyed exploring the many varied forms of animation this series has presented us, this one feels just too traditional.  It’s not the first to do that, of course, but coupled with a relatively weak script, I can’t say it worked well. 

The Ugly

blindspot3I sometimes wonder if we are programmed by the writers of shows.  I find that there is a big difference when watching a show for entertainment and watching a show with a critical eye and I think I would have been quite happy with rooting for these rogues, but when I thought about it, I wondered how they got that over on me.  What was my “blindspot”?  In my job, we sometimes discuss unconscious biases.  Was I unconsciously biased in favor of the bad guys because the people they are attacking are faceless?  Or is it just that a heist is a fun thing to watch and we want to see how all the pieces fall into place?  Of course, it could just be that if The Fast and the Furious movies keep going, they’ll have to take place in the future and eventually, Vin Diesel will have to be a cyborg… 

The Game

I question the first one, but presume it’s meant to look like the head of one of the characters.  I find it a bit weak.  I also don’t love the symbol of the skull and crossbones, since the series seems to use the X to represent death.  Are they interchangeable?   Why use the skull and crossbones?  In fairness, all but the new guy are wiped out, so symbol for death is appropriate.  The thumbs up makes sense as it’s the last thing we see of Suli, but it does end on a “positive” note when we find out that all of the deceased cyborgs can be brought back.  I’m just not so sure that’s a good thing!

The Verdict:

Among the weakest of the series.  We’ve had very few weak ones, but when they show up, you know it.  Of course, I will credit it if you’re a fan of video games, because I do think this could easily take place in the Borderland universe, and that is a fun (and often funny) game.  Mercifully, this is only 9 minutes long so even at worst, you don’t have to suffer for long if, like me, you prefer a bit more intellect in the stories.  ML

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