Yep, I’m delivering the rare “riff” twofer. New posts in back to back days! Why the sudden prolificacy you might ask? Well my 2019 synopsis of Season 1 of Netflix’s sci-fi/horror animated series Love, Death & Robots is the most read post on my blog. Naturally I’m going to follow up on Season 2 as soon as possible. Released yesterday, I binged the season last night and enjoyed it almost as much as its predecessor. The bad news is that the latest season is only 8 episodes long verses the 18 episodes of Season 1. The good news is that all 8 are entertaining. Like Season 1, there’s plenty of graphic violence, vulgarity, and sexual content so it’s not exactly kid friendly, but if you’re an adult who enjoys animation, add this season to your watch list. Season 2 includes several episodes based on short stories by well-known authors including Paolo Bacigalupi, Harlan Ellison, John Scalzi, and Joe Lansdale.
Here are my brief descriptions of each episode, from my favorite to least favorite.
Snow in the Desert
At 18 minutes in length this is one of the two longest episodes of the season and it’s also the best of the bunch. It feels like a spin-off from The Mandalorian and that’s high praise from as a big fan as I am of that show.
This might be the darkest episode of the season despite the cute-sounding name. Imagine Blade Runner retiring unauthorized children instead of replicants and you’ve got a pretty good idea how this one goes.
All Through the House
At 7 minutes in length, this is the shortest episode of the season, but it’s a good one. Animated in traditional holiday style, the creature delivering gifts this Christmas Eve is not what you expect. Extra points go to this one for its visual references to Alien 3 and Pan’s Labyrinth.
The Tall Grass
No matter how much man strives to control his environment, some strange and ancient things will always be beyond his power or understanding. A bored passenger confronts this truth when his train makes an unscheduled stop in the middle of the night.
The Drowned Giant
Quiet, somber, and philosophical, think of this episode as Season 2’s version of “Zima Blue”. It’s a fairy tale about just how shallow man can be when faced with the miraculous.
After a near fatal crash of his starship, a fighter pilot find his self in an even deadlier situation when the remote habitat he seeks refuge in turns out to be guarded by a deadly, malfunctioning robot.
I love the animation and world-building in this story of modified humans and ice-breaking whales, but the characters and story feel half-baked. Chalk this one up to having tons of potential but wanting for better execution.
Automated Customer Service
Even my least favorite episode is fun. This tale is similar to some of the more comedic stories in Season 1. A resident of a futuristic retirement community must fight for her and her dog’s survival when her house cleaning robot goes haywire.