Created by Tim Miller and helmed by the prolific David Fincher in the role of the producer, ‘Love Death and Robots’ is an unprecedented stylistic science fiction animated anthology, the stories of which often comprise a combination of the three themes. I don’t know about robots, but the third episode from the second season, titled ‘Pop Squad,’ packs a lot of love, death, and life within its 18-minute runtime.
Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson, the noted director of ‘Kung Fu Panda 2,’ from an original story by Paolo Bacigalupi, the narrative unveils a morally bankrupt dystopia where children and their “breeder” parents are hunted down by the oppressive authority of an immortal society. Cinematic in its scope and width of vision and visually captivating in its animation, the episode is arguably one of the best from the series. What makes the story worthwhile is the kernel of doubt that lies in the heart of the protagonist, and the finality unveils a major twist that turns the narrative upside down. If you cannot fathom the ending of the episode, let us try and decode it for you. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Love Death and Robots Season 2 Episode 3 Recap
The episode begins with a family of three being prosecuted. Ruth, the mother, pleads the authority not to harm the children, but of no avail. While police officer Pentle takes the mother along with her, Briggs, the other police officer, shoots the children in cold blood. However, the banality of evil becomes more prominent as we get a glimpse into the futuristic society. It is a technologically advanced society where humans have attained immortality, but playing the gods comes at a hefty price. As per the regulations drawn up by the rigid authority of the state, procreation is forbidden, and children are hunted down and killed by the state-sponsored police force.
Briggs goes to meet his love interest Alice, who is a famous opera singer. Alice teases Briggs about having children, and the expression on his face turns grim. Briggs also sees a toy dinosaur resembling the one owned by the child whom he killed shortly before, and beginning with the recollection, a moral dilemma spreads its roots within him. Briggs takes Alice to her “rejoo” treatment, and on the way back, Alice tries to make love to Briggs but is refused. Briggs is haunted by the countless killings and sees drops of blood in his hand. On another such mission, Briggs is almost shot by an enraged illegal parent but is saved in the nick of time.
He discovers a tag on the toy dinosaur, which leads him to Ipswitch Collectibles, an antique toy store in the middle of the old city. There he spends time reluctantly moving about while the store owner tries to engage him in conversations. In the meantime, a suspicious woman enters the store, and Briggs decides to follow her to her home. Briggs discovers a toddler in the home and the conflict in his mind comes to a boiling point. He has to make a decision – whether to kill the offspring and perform his duty or to refrain from committing an act that he knows is wrong.
Love Death and Robots Season 2 Episode 3 Ending: Does Briggs Kill Melanie?
The mother pleads with Briggs not to kill her child Melanie. Briggs does not understand why people risk their lives to have children. The mother retaliates by saying that she is not enough in love with herself own self to live for an eternity. She admits that while her 218 years’ worth of life does not amount to much, the child makes everything new and instills her life with joy. As she shares her experience of rearing the child with Briggs, he seems to smile for the first time in the narrative. We get the feeling that deep inside the ruthless cop lies a compassionate human being.
But the protective mother senses otherwise and tries to divert him and get her hands on his gun. Briggs holds both of them captive and points the gun at the child. But a sudden moment of epiphany makes him storm out of the room without pulling the trigger. In the finality of the events, then, Briggs decides to let the child live, and the change of mind decidedly endows his character with tragic importance. In the final scene, however, he must meet his fate.
Is Briggs Dead? Is Pentle Dead?
After the encounter with the mother and the daughter, Briggs comes out on the porch and reflects upon his decision for a moment. In the meantime, heavy rainfall seizes the moment (another symbol of fertility). Briggs’ colleague Pentle sneaks up on him, and at this juncture, Melanie’s cry is heard from the house. Now that he has found his moral ground, Briggs does not hesitate to shoot his partner to save the life of the child, while Pentle is also ready with her gun pointed towards Briggs.
In the final duel, Pentle dies instantly, and Briggs drenches himself in falling rain before collapsing on the ground. While the death of Briggs is not as obvious as that of Pentle, the finality suggests that he sacrifices his immortal life to welcome a newcomer into the world. As the final credits roll, the audiences get the impression that both of them are dead. While the whole episode is characterized by a dystopian vision, poetic justice is delivered with the final death of the two central figures from the authority.