The intensity of last week’s explosive (literally) episode de-escalates as Elle deals with the aftermath of confronting the Grants, Marlowe, and Officer Davis. Elle wants to continue to get revenge on her next target, Dr. M. But it would appear that there’s a level of distrust and disagreement among our replicant and Joseph, thanks in large part to Officer Davis’ investigation. And Elle and Joseph’s relationship isn’t the only one wavering, as Wallace and his son seem to have different ideas about replicants. So while there wasn’t as much action for this week, there are several revelations in this episode so let’s get to it!

After the explosion, Elle collapses in Joseph’s apartment, leading to Joseph and Elle on opposite sides with this revenge plot. As he begins to treat her wounds (lecturing her on being reckless), Elle asks what a Blade Runner is? A pretty important question considering that more than just the police are after Black Lotus. We learn that a Blade Runner is a person who “retires” replicants, which I’m taking to mean “kill,” which made me happy that the series took the time to explain this to viewers who aren’t familiar with Blade Runner. Sadly the conversation about  Blade Runners and Dr. M couldn’t go further due to Officer Davis paying a surprise visit to inquire about Black Lotus with Joseph, who quickly hides Elle.

Officer Davis has a “pleasant chat” and confirms what I (and probably many others) have been wondering since Joseph’s encounter with Marlowe: he was a Blade Runner! It turns out Joseph was exceptional at his job as he “retired” several hundred replicants, becoming a legend among his peers. This information explains why he was conflicted in helping and discouraging Elle from getting revenge. This revelation leads to more questions I have about Joseph no longer being a Blade Runner and why he ultimately helped Elle in the first place! And after Officer Davis leaves, Joseph rushes over toward Elle, who, unsurprisingly to anyone, left the area. He didn’t get a chance to explain anything, and we are left wondering how the two will be able to fix their fractured relationship. I can’t imagine how Elle is feeling after finding out the person who’s been helping her is someone who would “retire” her in his previous occupation.

But it isn’t just Elle and Joseph who are in the middle of a rough patch. At The Wallace Corporation, Niander Wallace Sr. and Jr. discuss the replicant program, which solves the mystery of who’s responsible for the doll hunt for viewers (although it seemed a bit obvious). It would appear that the replicants that were with Elle during that doll hunt were intended to be a source of cheap labor and submissive to humans. But Wallace Sr. begins to accuse his son of wanting to make them more human, deviating from the company’s original goal. Wallace Sr. plans to shut down the production of his son’s replicants because he doesn’t want to take the heat of creating anything involved with the murder of two influential people (Bannister and Chief Grant). And I’m left feeling disappointed since this revelation fell flat. It was missing the urgency of putting a stop to Elle, and I would think Wallace Sr. would have Marlowe on speed dial in the fashion of Chief Grant. The scene felt too controlled compared to how frantic the police force has been to find Elle. The animation and voice acting did not match with too much hesitation between lines, which I’ve noticed while watching this series, and it takes the wind off the sails of what could have been a fantastic scene.

But the show goes on, and we catch up with Elle as she enters a building that could be the potential location for Dr. M. This attempt is more challenging as Dr. M detains Elle when she triggers a silent alarm and is eventually placed in a machine. The device is used to view her memories to determine what makes her different from other replicants. I never realized until now, but it would appear which memories are real or not seemed to be more of a motivation for Elle than revenge on those who wronged her. And seeing this fleshed out more does add another element that makes Elle’s journey more impactful to see. Goodman, Dr. M’s assistant, sifts through what he created for Elle but determines the possibility that another person also implanted memories for Elle and that some of the memories in question weren’t made but actually happened to her. It’s a huge mystery, and I hope to see Blade Runner: Black Lotus hone in on this part of the plot.

However, this is when things heat up with Elle escaping the machine. She took Goodman briefly as a hostage, but Dr. M mistakenly shoots Goodman (aiming for Elle) in the shoulder with a bullet. Elle took this opportunity to make her way to Dr. M, threatened his life with her sword, and asked questions about the doll hunt. Dr. M sings like a canary informing our hero that the Wallace Corporation was responsible for everything and brings up the importance of memories with replicants. Elle moves swiftly to land a slicing blow into Mr. M as security enters the room, killing him. She makes her way to Goodman, who corroborates Dr. M’s confession, adding The Wallace Corporation wants to build replicants who obey human masters for whatever purpose humans deem necessary.

The information hit a little close to home due to the apparent symbolism of slavery. And what sours me at this part was how much of a low-hanging fruit this plot point is used. It doesn’t offer more than anything fans have already seen. Sure, a corporation would be building slaves modeled after humans, which is something to consider as different. But with how civil rights for replicants have been played up from time to time, this aspect didn’t surprise me as much as the blatant talk of subservient replicants. It speaks volumes to the morality of The Wallace Corporation, and I cannot wait to see it crumble to ashes. 

Elle still seems unfulfilled with what she learned from Dr. M and questions Goodman about her memories. She wanted clarification on whether her memories were real or not. Goodman reassures her that some of the memories she experienced did happen and allows Elle to leave the area with a little more closure than before. I wonder if the hooded individual at the pool that Elle remembers is Wallace Jr. and if the black lotus tattoo has something to do with identifying her as the replicant with whom he added additional memories. Or maybe the tattoo is what allows Elle to defy humans.

This was not as exciting as the previous episode but still was more robust than some of the earlier points as we found out who was responsible for the doll hunt and confirmed the suspicion of Joseph being a Blade Runner. I wish the animation and voice acting were more in sync at times because it takes away from the experience of a good scene, and seeing that play out hurts Blade Runner: Black Lotus a bit. As far as the voice acting, Henry Czerny was excellent as Dr. M, which made his brief performance a pleasure to watch and overall has been the biggest strength for the series. It will be interesting to see what’s next for Elle as she deals with her fake and real memories, Joseph being a Blade Runner, and Wallace Sr.’s role in our story. I hope to see if my theory of Wallace Jr. being the hooded individual who Elle remembers as her boyfriend is true!

Umeko Long is a staff writer for Feel free to follow her on Twitter @blu_temptation

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