Beatless Episode 2: Needs more sci-fi

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I still can’t tell what this series is trying to accomplish. I had hoped that it would continue introducing the technological setting of the future as it did in the first episode, but this week’s episode definitely felt lacking in that regard. The focus of the episode seemed to be Lacia’s modeling prospects, and I just wasn’t interested.

I had a lot of trouble with this scene where Arato’s friends start to research Lacia, but I can understand what it was doing. It made sense that they’d want to learn more about her given her mysterious origins. However, I didn’t really like that they kept throwing out different names of serial codes that could be checked. It seemed pretty clear to me that I’d never see those names again, so they felt like unnecessary jargon.

I know this is nitpicking, but the way this scene played out bothered me a lot. As Arato is leaving, Lacia calls out to him. Then, the scene immediately shifts to show the two of them together on the train, followed by a quick flashback to show that Lacia asked if she could go with him. Why not display that in chronological order?

The whole segment about the Lacia’s modeling job felt like a squandered opportunity. I saw it as a way to show off how the modeling industry evolves when androids become involved. Instead, I felt like the insight into the industry was really shallow. For example, the agent says that Lacia has that “special something” which would make her successful as a model, which is something you’d expect to hear in today’s world. I want to know what is gained from having access to androids.

All we really get is this concept of an “analog hack”. I might have been interested in it if it had been explained at all. We’re just told that the human subconscious can be influenced, and the only explanation we’re given is that the androids look human. How does that explain anything? Why is the android idol who looks human any different from a human idol (who would also look human)?

Based on later parts of the episode, I got the sense that the analog hack was meant to describe the phenomenon of a human treating an android as a human because of its appearance. I feel like that would have been more interesting if it had been presented that way. The modeling thing seemed like an odd example.

To give this episode credit where it’s due, this particular scene was a demonstration of what I’d like to see. Without specifically calling attention to what she’s doing, Lacia explains the accident situation that they happened to pass. She’s clearly looking at details about the situation online, but she passes the information on without saying something like “the news says X” or “I’ll look it up now”. It’s an illustration of the utility she can provide that doesn’t feel unnatural.

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