Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams – Season 1, Episode 4: “Crazy Diamond”

Channel 4’s Electric Dreams
Season 1, Episode 4: “Crazy Diamond”
Directed by Marc Munden
Written by Tony Grisoni

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Commuter” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Real Life” – click here
Screen Shot 2017-10-20 at 5.07.44 PMEverything decays, everything dies.”
Ed Morris (Steve Buscemi) dreams of a woman literally falling apart before his eyes, wrinkling into a prune-shaped person. He wakes on his boat off the dock. He heads back home to Sally (Julia Davis), his wife.
But they have a visitor: the woman from his dreams, an insurance agent (Sidse Babett Knudsen).
Screen Shot 2017-10-20 at 5.08.16 PMGo back seven days. The world is falling to pieces, climate change sliding homes into the ocean. Nature is not the same anymore, you can’t even keep eggs around for more than a couple days. And you can’t waste anything, not in this world. Ed talks about going on a voyage, just he and his wife, to the “Elysian Fields” and “El Dorado“; mythical places, as if they can simply sail there by boat.
There’s talk of “quantum consciousness” and implants, synthetic humans – Jacks and Jills. Around the facility, the spirit mill where Ed works, the woman from his dreams is touring with a group. The two of them get talking, he explains the process of creating QC, et cetera. These synthetics, they are “latent possibility,” but they have no experience – without the QC; this is what makes them, essentially.
A little later, we see the process of the dormant, fleshy shells being implanted with their own QCs. They come alive, from a pile of skin and bones. They have genuine thoughts about thought: “metacognition.” An amazing yet totally eerie experience.
On his way out of the facility, he sees the woman from his dreams – Jill. She’s one of the synthetics. Although he’d already assumed so. She seems a bit disoriented, so he offers to help take her home. They stop at a bar. Jill is “failing” and doesn’t have much long left. As a human, Ed is a bit callous at first how he talks to her, not taking into account her own humanity despite she’s a fabricated person.
In fact, Im a big believer in neural network equality.”
Screen Shot 2017-10-20 at 5.14.51 PMEd’s becoming increasingly disillusioned with reality, the natural world keeps on slipping away from them. Sally’s trying to keep him grounded, so that he doesn’t do something illegal by taking his sailing fantasies any further than that. Meanwhile, he and Sally spend time together at the bar, she tries convincing him they could make his fantasies reality. Maybe they could steal a QC, sell it on the black market at an enormous price, begin a new life. This is when they get closer, spending time together on his boat. She makes a synthetic copy of his hand, so she and a couple thieves can get into the spirit mill, to steal themselves a QC or two. When Sally finds Ed watching the heist, wondering what’s happening, he sends out an alert for the facility.
The “living doll” Jill gets away with a few souls to pawn off on a fella. When they do the exchange, things go wrong, and the buyers start a gunfight, attempting to steal the QCs.
The next day, Ed’s championed at work for being a hero. He plays dumb, trying to get what info he can on the robbery. They already know it was a Jill. Hopefully they can’t trace it back to him. Sally’s worried that her husband has done something wrong, she suspects he’s having a crisis.
One day, Jill arrives at the Morris home in her insurance agent role. They talk about having children, trying to get pregnant, so on. Now we’re back to the beginning, when Ed arrives at home to find Jill there. It worries him a little. But they get talking about life insurance, like it’s all normal. When Jill has a bit of trouble, fainting slightly, Sally wants to help her. She doesn’t realise what’s going on right under her nose.
Screen Shot 2017-10-20 at 5.26.04 PMScreen Shot 2017-10-20 at 5.28.37 PMWhen they get time alone, Jill asks Ed to help her go after the men who took the QCs. He doesn’t want to do this anymore. Only problem is she’s used his hand print, his DNA, it was used to get inside, so he’s a part of it no matter how he feels. He’s realised that his fantasy is just a fantasy; in real life, he’s a simple man with simple desires. However, she has a way of convincing a man.
Ed discovers Sally met with Jill, about the “double indemnity” policy. She wants to go ahead and purchase it, so that they’ll be taken care of in case one of them dies. A bit of assurance, instead of remaining perpetually unsure of their lives, what might happen; in a world falling apart, it’s a brief comfort. He’s also being chastised for trying to grow his own vegetables. It’s a no no. Funny, a self-sustaining lifestyle is “illegal” in this future economy. Strange how times could change.
Jill is failing faster by the minute, even with Ed agreeing to another heist. They head out to meet the black market dealers in the woods, posing as buyers. He tests one of the QCs by implanting it into Jill’s head. She doesn’t have much to say immediately. Until she hops up and fires shots into a couple of the men, initiating the rest of their heist plan, getting away with their box of QCs.
But soon we discover the spirit mill’s big boss isn’t such a wonderful guy like he seemed. He stops Ed and Jill in their tracks, wanting the QCs back. Ed has to make a choice, whether to go for his fantasy, or continue living in this grim reality. Jill makes the choice for him and manages to kill his boss. Then she has her human buddy at her will, leaving with the QCs on her own.

Jill goes to see Sally. When Ed gets home, they’re gone, a note left for them. Right then more of their little provincial town crumbles, the ground falling into the ocean. He goes for his boat, sailing onto the waters by himself. From nowhere, he sees Sally and Jill at the bow of the boat, both unimpressed. He tries apologising. It isn’t enough. And he goes into the dark, deep waters. He makes it back to shore, seeing the house over a cliff, wreckage of this new world. On the beach, he sees one of his vinyl records, so he slips back into the music, running his hand over it, and falling back into that synthetic world. Because it’ll all fall apart, soon enough. One of the lessons here being, hold on to what you’ve got rather than seeking something that may not even exist at all.
Screen Shot 2017-10-20 at 5.52.09 PMLoved this episode. Buscemi’s a fantastic actor, and Knudsen is so talented! Great pairing. The whole thing had a wonderful atmosphere, very dystopian and eerie in its own ways. Can’t get enough of this series.
“Real Life” is the next episode.


Mr. Robot – Season 2, Episode 7: “eps2.5_h4ndshake.sme”

USA’s Mr. Robot
Season 2, Episode 7: “eps2.5_h4ndshake.sme”
Directed & Written by Sam Esmail

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “eps2.4_m4ster-s1ave.aes” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “eps2.6_succ3ss0r.p12” – click here
Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 11.59.39 PMJoanna (Stephanie Corneliussen) keeps finding gifts left for her, the baby. Of course they’re from estranged, lost husband Tyrell (Martin Wallström). We see that these little gifts were always a thing. We’re briefly flashing back to a time when Sharon (Michele Hicks) was still alive. Then quickly we’re back to the present, where a woman tosses a bucket of red paint all over her: “Capitalist pig!”
What about Elliot (Rami Malek)? He’s still down in the basement, dad (Christian Slater) trying to keep his spirits up, holding him close. It’s become a rough life for our hacker. His altruistic, if not foolishly heroic intentions have landed him in a bad way. Now they’re trying to retrace memories, to figure out what actually happened on the night of the big hack with Tyrell.
And back over at E.Corp, Angela (Portia Doubleday) is surprised to find Dominique (Grace Gummer) at her desk, inquiring as to what she’s been up to, floor to floor, looking busy. The FBI agent knows who she is, sweating her subtly. But off she goes, leaving Angela to finish off her coding. Darlene (Carly Chaikin) lets her know all is finished; they’re in deep.
Screen Shot 2017-09-24 at 12.04.30 AMDad’s telling Elliot they killed Tyrell. Of course it’s all under the guise of protecting his son, protecting them all. Supposedly, they used the gun from the popcorn machine. But is that true? Hard to tell. Just as control is an illusion, as is the truth most often.
FBI’s discovering the hack, though Dom doesn’t take it too hard. She expected it, almost. And she knows Angela, whoever else is behind it, has wiped every trace of their tracks. Might as well try finding another, better way inside fsociety. Meanwhile, Angela’s only just now putting together all the pieces of the puzzle about her childhood friends.
Back out of the basement, Elliot is brought to see Ray. He’s bending to the master’s will now, or so he pretends. He’s back at the computer, working on migrating the black marketplace site. At least he’s needed, which keeps him alive, safe. For the time being.
We see Joanna dealing with Derek dissatisfied over their relationship. He wanted her to come publicly be his girlfriend. She was busy, though now shows up to present him with the divorce she’s filing, separating herself from Tyrell. But I wonder, how does a divorce work when the other party is nowhere to be found?
Later, the literal chess Ray and Elliot play mirrors the mental, figurative chess they’re playing. The black market kingpin talks about his wife, that she was involved with him creating the site. He talks about morality, how Elliot is his “answer.” He realises the hacker turned him in, that the cops are coming. In a way, Ray recognises he’s been, effectively, saved from himself.
Screen Shot 2017-09-24 at 12.12.08 AMThe missing Wall Street Bull’s balls come crashing down on the senate floor.
Perfect. Everyone can see.
Elliot gets a visit from a few tough guys. Lots of people aren’t happy with the Ray situation, Bitcoin money fucked up in limbo. One guy wants to get paid back. He’s watching Elliot. Ah, more trouble. No good deed goes unpunished, huh? Love Leon (Joey Bada$$) referencing “the Sword of Damocles.”
Angela is still trying to change things from the inside. She keeps trying to get what she can from Phillip Price (Michael Cristofer), angling to whatever’s in her best interest. Even if her own father doesn’t trust her anymore. In a way, Price has become a kind of father figure. At times, a threatening one.
Now, Elliot is going back to his father, to find inspiration as what to do next, to finish what he started concerning Evil Corp. But dad reminds his boy that it’s all him, he’s the one who’s done all of this to begin a revolution: “Because you are a leader.” Except our hacker doesn’t want to be one. A big transformation is ahead if he is to become one.
At the office, in her new department, Angela gets an overview of what she’ll be doing. An internal investigations department. She has to work discreetly, fast, smart. Help the company. She’s starting off with the Flint water contamination case that’s on the horizon. Oh, that’s great.
Screen Shot 2017-09-24 at 12.32.02 AMElliot keeps running into the tough guys, they beat him more. They’re about to do something awful when he’s saved by none other than Leon, always watching out for his friend. A vicious, bloody scene that was totally unexpected. Leon only asks that Whiterose (B.D. Wong) hears about how he did right by our hacker.
You cant destroy a part of yourself
At the psychiatrist’s office, Krista (Gloria) helps us see that Elliot hasn’t been staying with his mother. He’s in jail, meeting with her. He keeps on seeing the outside world, an illusory experience. Illusion has now given him control, rather than the other way around. That’s why we had the bloody scene, Leon’s knife-wielding ninja act. All the while, since Ray’s arrest, he’s also been kicking around in jail. Using his mind to project another place, somewhere he could hang on to sanity, even if delusion and illusion are his current best friends.
So it’s pretend, pretend, pretend, to make it through the day.
Screen Shot 2017-09-24 at 12.45.34 AMJesus, this show constantly reinvents itself, and flips the script on the viewer so well, in interesting, inventive ways. So much to look forward to going forward, particularly where things go with the FBI.
“eps2.6_succ3ss0r.p12” comes next, many things are about to go down.