Synopsis: Society and the world as we know it has collapsed. A massive, automatic factory operates according to the principles of consumerism; humans consume to be happy, and in order to consume continuously, they must be denied freedom of choice and free will. When a small band of rebels decide to shut down the factory, they discover they may actually be the perfect consumers after all.
Review: This was a spectacular episode. The shots at the beginning of Emily’s dreams were beautiful and really created a sense of unreality, in contrast to those of the stark world that the rebels inhabit. I liked how all of the people in the scenes at the rebel enclave were partially obscured by other people or objects, which really put forward the desperation and a feeling of clinging to what little they had.
There are some lovely human moments between Juno Temple and Nick Eversman, which become ironic given the revelation at the episode’s end. I felt it was a nice progressive touch that the disabled Avishai, played by Eversman, was the main character’s boyfriend and that the alpha-esque Conrad, played by David Lyons, was the romantic runner-up. Lyons portrays Conrad’s roughness and simmering anger at the state of the world very well.
A great contrast is created throughout the episode between Juno Temple‘s Emily and Janelle Monae‘s Alice which becomes subverted by the end. Every scene that Temple and Monae are in is brilliant and a testament to their acting.
The camera work is fantastic as well, from the first shot of Alice disembarking from the ship to the tension created when Emily attempts to reprogram Alice. This is turned on its head in the closing moments of Autofac, in which it is revealed that Emily and everyone she has ever known are synthetic replacements created by the company in the aftermath of the last war.
There is a brilliant exchange between Emily and Alice when Emily says she feels human and Alice replies that she has been made that way. A further subversion comes when Emily reveals she has always known that she is a robot and merely played the role of a human. This gives the earlier scenes between her and Avishai a kind of poignant irony. I loved this line: “Autofac built us like merchandise but there is something real in us.”
The music throughout this outing is beautiful, especially when Emily and Alice walk between the rows of synthetic humans in storage. Also worth mentioning is the score when the transport ship flies towards Autofac itself which reminded me of Blade Runner. The montage at the very end of the episode was a really nice touch with Emily and Avishai reunited.
Overall, a spectacular and thought-provoking episode worthy of multiple viewings.
- Incidental Music9.0