Blade Runner: Black Lotus S1E5 “Pressure”

Blade Runner Black Lotus S1E5 - Chief Grant, on the phone, sits back in his chair looking up at the ceiling in exasperation

The following contains spoilers through Blade Runner: Black Lotus S1E5, “Pressure,” on Adult Swim, and also references the Blade Runner movies.

Welcome back, dear reader, as we continue to review the Adult Swim series Blade Runner: Black Lotus with Episode 5, “Pressure.” This week’s episode title would, on the surface, seem to refer to the LAPD stepping up efforts to hunt down and eliminate Black Lotus. However, Elle is completely unaware of and unaffected by these efforts, at least until the very end of the episode. She’s out on the roof blasting away at bottles without a care in the world, and meanwhile the “entire damn force” is looking for her with “jack sh*t to show for it.”

Which brings us to Chief Grant, who is the actual target of the episode’s title. We find out that he answers directly to Wallace Sr., maybe even having been put in place specifically to take care of such problems. He’s getting pressure from his wife to protect her from the killer, and of course, he’s got to be a little worried for his own neck. He’s got Officer Davis asking too many questions, and he’s getting nothing but insubordination from his own blade runner. Compared to Elle, Grant’s just not having a good day.

Blade Runner Black Lotus S1E5 - A man in a trenchcoat stands in front of a bus with the driver looking down at him
Who needs bus stops?

Blade Runners

In this episode, we are finally introduced to Marlowe, described as a “deadly” blade runner in the promotional material. It was a nice tie-in to have him confront the replicant boxer from Episode 2, who must have escaped in the chaos following Senator Bannister’s death. Though we barely know him, we can feel some of the same sympathy for this replicant that we have for Elle. His situation is just another extension of the abuse and mistreatment of these “dolls” by humans.

Of course, Marlowe isn’t the only blade runner we’ve been introduced to apparently. That gun that Elle found in J’s apartment looks to be the same LAPD 2019 Blaster that was used by Deckard in the original film. We’ll probably firm up all of our speculation in the next episode, now that Joseph has implemented the classic “catch and release” move (nod to those watching Hawkeye), getting himself purposely captured by the LAPD. I presume the phone call he received was from someone on the inside keeping him informed of their movements, giving us further evidence of his past ties. Davis even complains that Black Lotus is always one step ahead of them.

Blade Runner Black Lotus S1E5 - Close up on Doc Badger and Elle looking into and lit by a screen
Doc Badger helps Elle with the Esper prints

The Other Three

The other big nod to the original movie was the Esper device that J used to analyze the video. Yet more blade runner gear he just happens to have laying around. In classic Blade Runner fashion, the Esper allows J to not just zoom in and enhance, but also to look around and past the Chief’s wife to see his LAPD watch. Between J and Doc Badger, they produce three photos for Elle to begin her hunt.

Wait a minute. Three? Well, yes. Apparently I’ve been mistaken in thinking only the Chief and his wife were left. Prior to sitting down at the Esper, Elle asks J to help her “find the other three.” Going back to Episode 4, I see now, there was a fifth member of the hunting party. He was driving the third dune buggy, which allowed Hooper and the Senator to catch the runaway “dolls” when Elle had thrown away the keys to the second vehicle. Which means this revenge plotline is going to consume at least one additional episode as she dispatches one additional bad guy. Sigh.

A video screen shows a close up of a black and gold watch with LAPD written on the face
“Your next target is a cop.”

Quick Takes

A couple of quick takes on the rest of the episode and other tangentially related things:

  • Marlowe stops the bus by stepping in front of it, paralleling Elle stopping the self-driving truck out in the desert.
  • There were definite echoes of Deckard killing Zhora when Marlowe shoots the replicant boxer in the back as he crashes through the bus window.
  • Joseph says they “gifted” Elle with memories to help cushion her emotions. Similar to the boyfriend saying her tattoo is a “gift.” Interesting.
  • Of all the poorly animated characters on the show, Police Chief Grant’s RBF (Resting B*stard Face) has got to be the most jarring. Even on the hunt while he was supposed to be having fun, he’s got that permanent cartoonish scowl. The poor man is perpetually grouchy apparently. Or maybe it’s like Jessica Rabbit—he’s just drawn that way.
  • J recognized the LAPD watch that Chief Grant was wearing pretty quickly, as if he had some familiarity with them. Or maybe he was specifically looking for that watch to give him an excuse to point Elle in the right direction without giving away his past. He also says the blonde “might be his wife,” which is a big leap just based on what we’ve seen of the footage. Does Joseph know Chief Grant personally, from his time as a blade runner?
  • Even though just a few days ago Elle was hitting up every stranger she ran into while trying to find the gang that threatened Doc Badger, suddenly no one anywhere has seen or heard of this girl when the police are asking.
  • I did enjoy Marlowe telling the Chief “then you don’t need me” and basically hanging up on him. A much different relationship than between Deckard and Bryant.
  • Once again J goes out for food and once again he comes back to find Elle being a bad roommate. He’s not really learning from experience here.
Wallace Sr. sits at a large wooden desk with the Wallace company logo behind him
Wallace Sr. looks like he makes a killer soufflé


Upon first viewing, I was a little down on this episode. My primary complaint is the way they are trying to be clever with these end of episode reveals. Such as not showing the Chief’s face last episode, and implying that Elle, Doc and J were all together at the end of this episode. It just lands completely flat with me and takes me out of the story. I really wish they would just stop, but there seems to be an unfortunate pattern forming here.

Looking past that though, I am finding myself a little more invested in the story with this episode. The revenge plotline might be a little cliché, but at least now it’s getting interesting. There’s some mystery to it, with this unidentified fifth hunting party member. There’s the mystery of Joseph’s blade runner past, and the possibility there for future conflict with Marlowe. We also still have the lingering mysteries of who gave Elle the “gift” of being able to fight back and why she has a layer of deeper memories from a long forgotten time.

That’s all for this week. Please let us know your thoughts and feelings about this week’s episode, and any theories you have on what’s to come, in the comments below.

All images courtesy of Adult Swim

Written by Brien Allen

Brien Allen is the last of the original crazy people who responded to this nutjob on Facebook wanting to start an online blog prior to Twin Peaks S3. Some of his other favorite shows have been Vr.5, Buffy, Lost, Stargate: Universe, The OA, and Counterpart. He's an OG BBSer, Trekkie, Blue Blaze Irregular, and former semi-professional improviser. He is also a staunch defender of putting two spaces after a period, but has been told to shut up and color.

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