Season 2 of Love, Death, & Robots may be 10 episodes shorter than Season 1, but the eight new episodes are all excellent in quality.
Created by David Fincher and Tim Miller, Love, Death, & Robots was envisioned as an anthology series of animated shorts that are either about love, death, robots, or a combination of the three. Season 1 premiered on Netflix in March 2019 and was a critical and commercial success. The 18 episodes were praised for their ingenuity and maturity (maybe a bit too mature). The show even won five Emmys at the 2019 Emmy awards. Fast forward two years later and Season 2 is here. Even though the season is 10 episodes shorter, it more than makes up for it with the quality of the episodes.
Season 2’s opener, Automated Customer Service, is quintessential Love, Death, & Robots. The episode is set in a world where robots run nearly everything and follows a female senior citizen and her dog as she defends herself against her killer vacuum. Animated in a 3D cartoonish style with exaggerated heads, this episode’s highlight is the sassy customer service representative that the protagonist talks to. This episode is funny, irreverent, and mature.
Ice is the only episode of the season that is 2D animated, which is a bummer, but at least it gives a strong impression. Two brothers who live on an ice planet join locals in a “race” to watch frostwhales. The younger brother has been modded with bodily enhancements, the older has not. The animation style is visually striking, giving noir comic book vibes and when the frostwhales show themselves, it’s a feast for the eyes.
One of the season’s best episodes, Pop Squad feels like it is Blade Runner’s cousin. The main character is a detective who is in charge of dealing with overpopulation through certain means and he soon deals with the outcome of his actions. The opening of the episode is a perfect build-up to show what exactly he does. This is one of the heavier episodes of the season in terms of subject matter and it does touch open a lot of subjects like morality and inequality, it manages to end things on a satisfactory note.
Short, but so Effective
By the halfway point of season 2 of Love, Death, & Robots, the show doesn’t lose steam. Snow in the Dessert is arguably the best-looking episode of the series. The 3D CGI animation at times can look like it’s been filmed in real life. Thematically, Snow in the Dessert is somewhat similar to Pop Squad since both deals with immortality. In this episode, bounty hunters are after a man named Snow who has special powers as he is helped by a mysterious woman. The episode delivers on the action, violence, and story.
Out of all the episodes of Season 2 of Love, Death, & Robots, The Tall Grass could be considered the weakest of the season, but that by no means is it a bad episode. Stylistically, it’s one of the most unique with its 3D animation style making it look like a watercolor painting in motion. In the episode, a man takes a smoke break when his train stops to refuel but is attracted to strange lights in the tall grass. The plot isn’t going to blow you away, but it gets the job done.
At just under five minutes long, All Through The House is the shortest episode of Season 2 and one of the shortest of the entire series, and it’s also one of the best. This Christmas-themed episode sees two kids sneak out of their room to catch Santa Claus leave gifts under their Christmas tree. But what they find is anything but jolly. The episode makes the most out of its runtime and just sticks straight to the plot. The way the episode also subverts expectations is so good and unique. This one is a standout.
Surprisingly Emotional Ending
The last two episodes are an exercise in contrast. Life Hutch follows a pilot, played by Michael B. Jordan, who crash lands on a moon-like planet. He manages to find shelter but soon discovers that the danger is from the inside. This episode is one of the more generic ones of the season and it feels similar to Season 1’s Luck 13. What it doesn’t have in uniqueness though it makes up for it with claustrophobia and intense violence that will make you squeal.
The Drowned Giant, meanwhile, is a surprising closer because of how different it is. There is no action in this episode and instead deals with emotion and being forgotten. In the episode, a scientist is in charge of examining a dead giant human being that washed up on a beach. Think of it as Gulliver’s Travels, but more introspective and philosophical. The episode is driven by the scientist’s monologue and narration about what he thinks of the giant, what he thinks in how other people treat the giant and the other things he notices. It’s a bit slow, but more emotional and serves as a great talking point with friends. The Drowned Giant is a perfect example of how Love, Death, & Robots love to subvert genres which makes it a fantastic closer.
A Worthy Watch
Overall, Love, Death, & Robots Season 2 continues the show’s hot streak of being one of Netflix’s best adult shows. Season 2 cuts back on the filler episodes as well as the unnecessarily over-the-top violence and sex. Instead, the season gives eight episodes that are good in their own right, with Pop Squad and All Through The Night standing out as the season’s best. The lack of more 2D animated episodes aside, Season 2 still delivers on the action, violence, visuals, and dark humor. With a Season 3 coming next year, now is your time to watch this amazing show.
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