The following contains spoilers through Blade Runner: Black Lotus S1E11, “All the Best Memories,” 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 11, “All the Best Memories.” Last episode we took an unexpected turn into the past. This episode we finally take some unexpected turns in the present. The revenge storyline that consumed so much of the series played out very predictably, kill by kill. Now though, where it seemed obvious Elle and Joseph would trudge on up to Wallace Jr.’s door step, instead we end up back at the late Dr. M’s lab, of all places.
Goodman is back. Elle dumps the pursuit of her mystery boyfriend in favor of a different resolution. Joseph calls in an unexpected ally to protect Elle. Wallace sends his new angel on the offensive, rather than waiting by his side as the dutiful body guard. All of this made for a refreshingly unpredictable episode with a lot of new developments to talk about.
We pick up immediately where we left off, with Joseph still on the phone with Wallace Jr., and Elle staring up dreamily into his projected face in the other room. The answer to Joseph’s question posed in the last episode, “what happens next,” is that Wallace wants him to retire the Black Lotus. It is a necessary reset to give a new start to the world. Joseph wants nothing to do with Wallace’s vision, but he says he’ll “handle” Black Lotus.
Now that he’s been named the new CEO of Wallace Corporation, Niander has access to his lab again. He wanders through rows of what I presume are replicant incubators, monologuing like a melodramatic James Bond villain about his dreams of a world filled with his perfect replicants. All the while, White Lotus stands guard in the background.
When Elle brings up the Memory Maker, Joseph sees a way out of his predicament. She thought of him as someone who could help her find her mystery boyfriend, but Joseph suggests that she should just get her memory wiped. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. No more bad dreams of the Doll Hunt. No more unfading memories of all the killing she’s had to do. A reset, albeit not the one Wallace was pushing for.
Goodman, a.k.a. the Memory Maker, has gotten a promotion since Elle killed his boss, which I guess explains his chummy attitude when she and Joseph come calling. As opposed to, say, calling the police to arrest the mass murderer returning to one of her many crime scenes. These people involved in replicant creation, even the “good” ones, really get twisted around the axle when it comes to their creations.
The memory erasure is an all or nothing deal—no saving the good memories—but her essence will still be the same. Elle decides to go through with it. As she lays back in the machine, she asks Joseph if he’ll be there when she wakes up. He says yes, but once she is safely ensconced, Joseph makes a confession she’ll never hear and takes off. “This is the best way,” he tells a slightly dubious Goodman.
Three Phone Calls
Once free and clear, Joseph makes a series of three calls. The first call is to Wallace to report that he retired Black Lotus. We find out that payment for his services has been made in the form of a ticket to the off-world colonies. Sounds nice, but clearly neither party believes the other.
The second call is to Officer Davis. She seems to be out walking the beat, even though she’s supposed to be on medical leave. Perhaps she too has taken advantage of having the boss be killed off. Joseph engages her as a backup plan to ensure Elle’s safety. Was it his plan to turn in Elle all along, or was he just prompted to do this because of something he detected in Wallace’s manner?
Once back at his apartment, he makes the last of his calls. Marlowe had a feeling he’d be hearing from his old “buddy.” I bet. Joseph tells him he wants to talk about Black Lotus, and that’s all we’re given for now. Where is this going? Is Joseph going to turn himself in to Marlowe? Is he going to try to talk Marlowe out of retiring Black Lotus? He can’t possibly think that will be successful. A confrontation seems inevitable, but it’s hard to see what Joseph hopes to accomplish.
After Wallace hangs up with Joseph, he sends White Lotus to “remove Black Lotus from the board.” She dispatches a handful of guards with the same efficiency as Elle, but with definitely more ruthlessness. Walking into Goodman’s lab, she utters the first words we’ve heard out of her, recognizing him as the “Memory Maker.” Is it noteworthy that she uses the same term Elle has been using for him?
Humans being expendable to her, White Lotus just stabs Goodman for no particular reason and leaves him to die as she walks over to the large machine. Not quite dead though, he manages to press a button on the console that apparently frees Elle from the device. White Lotus slices clean through the entire capsule, only to find it empty of her quarry. Elle emerges behind her, and flips over and away from her to avoid the first strike. Thus the stage is set for the other inevitable confrontation to play out next episode.
A couple of quick takes on the rest of the episode and other tangentially related things:
- When asked if they can trust the Memory Maker, Elle says, “he didn’t seem like a bad person.” Of course not, he’s a “good man.” Getting a little more mileage out of that pun.
- Not only do they still have phone booths, but they also have pagers as well. The world without cell phones ain’t so bad.
- For just a moment, White Lotus gives Goodman that head-tilting look of recognition that makes you think maybe there is something human to her after all.
- The slicing through the memory machine with a sword was bit over the top. I mean, really, what is that sword supposed to be made of?
- I had to go back and check, but Elle did bring her sword with her to the memory lab. Although, it’s not actually on her person at the moment.
- An article for HITC.com discusses the next collaboration between Adult Swim and Crunchyroll, the anime series Shenmue, based on the video game series of the same name. Similar to Blade Runner: Black Lotus, this will be a 13-episode series and the premiere will be dual-released on February 5th and 6th.
Overall, another good episode. Two more episodes to go and several juicy confrontations lined up. While I do expect more bad guys to be dispatched, I’m not exactly expecting the series to have a happy ending either. We know Doc Badger and Niander Wallace survive to appear in Blade Runner 2049. Beyond that, I would say no one is safe.
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