‘Love, Death and Robots‘ season 2 kicks off with one of its most intentionally hysterical episodes yet. The tone and visuals of the first episode, titled ‘Automated Customer Service,’ are superficially light. Still, the narrative is a dark satire on the predatory nature of capitalist tech companies and their useless customer care services.
With well-placed jibes and slickly animated action, the story follows an elderly woman whose robotic house cleaning unit is attempting to murder her. While the 12-minute episode neatly wraps up the narrative, it leaves a few lingering thematical questions unanswered. If you are looking for answers to these questions, we’ve got you covered. Here is everything you need to know about the episode’s ending. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Love, Death and Robots Season 2 Episode 1 Recap
The episode opens with a brief look at an elderly community dependant on machines. The scene shifts to a house where Jeanette, an aged woman, is doing yoga. Her pet dog plays around as the vacuum cleaner “Vacuubot” is cleaning the house. Jeanette finishes her yoga and waves to her neighbor. Jeanette and the Vacuubot tussle over the position of a photo frame placed on a desk. Initially, the robot gives up but as soon as Jeanette leaves, it resets the frame’s position. This irks Jeanette’s pet dog, and it shows aggression towards the robot. The robot sends the dog flying into the kitchen. Jeanette finds the dog with a bruise.
She calls the customer care service and is greeted by the automated voice representative. On the automated voice’s advice, she tries to restart the robot but inadvertently activates the robot’s purge mode. As the robot attacks the lady and her pet, she is forced to hide. The automated voice tells her she must distract the robot and shut it down. It suggests throwing something at the robot to distract it. She subdues the robot with a blanket.
The robot’s Home Guard Security mode is activated, and it puts the house under lockdown. Jeanette tries to signal her neighbor for help but is attacked by the robot and hides inside a cabinet. She notices that the robot gets distracted by the act of cleaning and throws a hamper of laundry at it. The robot promptly stops and starts folding the clothes. Jeanette and her dog try to escape. The robot is about to fire its laser at the woman when her neighbor arrives with his shotgun.
As the robot electrocutes the neighbor, his shotgun lands in Jeanette’s hands. She demonstrates her yoga prowess and dodges the robot’s attack. She shoots it straight through its core, depowering it. The customer care voice informs her that her information has been sent to other robots who will now come after her. Jeanette, her neighbor, and her dog flee in a car with other robots in their pursuit.
Love, Death and Robots Season 2 Episode 1 Ending: What Does Vacuubot Want?
In the end, as Jeanette drives off, the automated voice informs her that she will forever be on the run. The robots won’t stop hunting her down unless she subscribes to the company’s robot termination whitelist. Jeanette chooses to live on the run instead of caving to the company’s twisted capitalist scheme. The scene reveals the true nature of the Vacuubot company. It preys on people by forcing them to pay money for their lives.
The ending underlines the machine dependency of the modern age. Tech companies market their products as innovative solutions to everyday problems. However, their products themselves are problematic both on a philosophical level and on a physical level. These companies create an artificial demand for their products. As the general public grows dependant on these products, they find new methods to rake in money from their customers.
The episode also features a poignant and satirical social commentary on the plight of customers stuck endlessly on-call, circling through automated customer care responses that never seem to resolve any complaints or queries they have about the products. This further points out the issues with how these companies operate. In a true capitalist fashion, Vacuubot wants one thing and one thing alone: money.
Did the Robot Really Malfunction?
Jeanette’s entire ordeal is triggered when the robot malfunctions. After Vacuubot’s true motives are revealed, it sheds new light on the series of events that unfolded. It is, in fact, the customer care representative that directs Jeanette to restart the device. It is only after this action that the robot starts to attack. Why did the robot begin to attack in the first place? Was it fine until Jeanette tampered with it? These questions are never specifically answered.
The episode’s theme and ending indicate that it was all part of Vacuubot’s plan. In the opening scene, we see humans co-existing with the machines despite being largely dependant on technology. These people may have already subscribed to Vacuubot’s scheme and therefore aren’t under any threat from the robots. On the other hand, Jeanette follows Buddhist philosophy and has a zen attitude.
She certainly isn’t machine-dependent and only uses the Vacuubot to clean her house, unlike other patrons who use machines for all kinds of purposes. Jeanette’s tribulation at the hands of the robot hints that the company wants to force people into becoming machine dependant. Even before Jeanette tries to restart the robot, it starts acting out. Furthermore, certain dangerous modes are programmed into the robot.
The automated voice tries to coax Jeanette into sacrificing its pet, hinting that the company believes machines are supposed to be humans’ partners. The robots are designed to attack their owners, and it is all part of the company’s lecherous plan. The ruthless robot-producing tech empire is willing to threaten the lives of its customers to achieve its goal.
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