What is Psyke in Code 8, Explained

Code 8,’ Jeff Chan’s sci-fi film series starring Robbie Amell and Stephen Amell, employs a dystopian narrative to present a tale about systemic oppression through an intriguing world of powered individuals. Lincoln City, with its 4% superhuman population, remains a hotspot for the growing tension between powered individuals and the government. Therefore, as the story follows the narratives of Connor Reed, a young man with electric powers, and a similarly gifted Garrett, who’s on the wrong side of the law, the films get to explore the socio-political dynamic within the city.

Within this carefully crafted world, Psyke, an infamous drug, continues to be a primary plot point, as it dictates Garrett and Connor’s relationship with the law. For the same reason, the drug is bound to capture the audience’s attention, compelling them to seek further information.

Psyke: A Superhuman-Farmed Drug

In the fictional world crafted within ‘Code 8,’ superhuman individuals exist beside the majority population of regular humans. The superhuman sector already faces some prejudice and oppression due to being in the minority. However, things worsened after the Industrial Revolution, putting a bulk of the superhumans out of work with claims that machines could do their ability-specific jobs better and more efficiently.

Eventually, the government also begins regulating and surveilling these powered individuals under more scrutiny. Since these powers aren’t always genetic, the authorities expect people to enroll their status in the system. While people may attempt to hide their abilities, delayed discovery hardly offers desirable reactions. Simultaneously, one’s identification as a superhuman instantly enlists them into the oppressive wheels of society as a threatening, untrustworthy individual.

Thus, employment remains a crisis for the superhumans. Nevertheless, powered people still have one commodifying asset up their sleeves: their spinal fluid. Psyke is a drug created out of the spinal fluids of powered individuals that work as any euphoric drug and provides a high for the users. Inversely, a heavy dosage of the same can lead to adverse effects, such as death. Virtually, Psyke works as any other drug, spreading addiction across society. Yet, its origins lead to its significant impact within Lincoln City, setting it apart from other drugs.

Since Psyke is found in superhumans, the drug remains a socio-political disaster for the minority group. Given the employment crisis within the superhumans, many powered individuals end up running drug cartels around Lincoln City, focusing on Psyke distribution. As a result, the general public’s weariness around superhumans increases regardless of their individual involvement in the underground Psyke industry.

Furthermore, even within the Psyke industry, superhumans remain the most exploited group. People on the higher levels of Lincoln City’s drug scene— headed by the elusive Trust crime organization— operate as any other drug cartel, unperturbed to exploit others for their benefit. As such, they equip unethical means to farm spinal fluids from superhuman individuals. Likewise, they target the dire circumstances of the unemployed superhumans for gang recruitment.

Thus, the Psyke industry suspends the superhuman community in a cycle of exploitation and harm. Still, over the course of the ‘Code 8’ films, Garrett attempts to fix the harmful industry and turn it into an actual beneficial asset. Garrett enters the Trust’s drug cartel through Marcus Sutcliffe, a gang leader who recruited Garrett in his youth.

Afterward, Garrett continues to climb the ladder until he starts operating directly under Sutcliffe. Although he attempts to negotiate a deal beside Sutcliffe as an equal, the latter betrays him. Therefore, their rivalry results in Sutcliffe’s defeat. Garrett utilizes Sutcliffe’s absence within the already-weakened Trust organization to overtake the ring and establish himself as the Psyke kingpin within the city.

Moreover, unlike his predecessors, Garrett seeks to abuse the system and use its corruption to his advantage by striking up a deal with the local police, Sergeant Kingston, that helps him grow his empire. Consequently, under Garrett’s rule, Psyke becomes an actual resource for the superhuman population. The man harvests the base material for the drug— superhuman spinal fluid— through paid donations, essentially establishing a market for ethically sourced Psyke.

Psyke continues to be a harmful substance within society— in line with other similar drugs— and still harms the superhumans— as proven by Kingston’s illegal executions. Still, by the second film, the drug’s social currency changes hands under Garrett’s control and becomes more beneficial to the superhumans than ever before. Ultimately, the unique origin of the superhuman supplied Psyke holds the potential for significant in-universe impact depending on how it evolves within the franchise.

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