Love, Death and Robots season 2 is here and it’s back with the top-tier animation delights. Season 1 was arguably one of the most intriguing shows on Netflix. When the announcement for a second season came, the fans of the show were beyond hyped. Love, Death and Robots has some of the best adult animated content out there. It is an adult animated anthology streaming TV series on Netflix. Season 1 dropped on Netflix on March 15, 2019. Season 2 arrived on May 14, 2021. This season is considerably shorter than the first one. Whereas the first season had 18 episodes in total, season 2 features eight episodes. The show has already been given a green light for season 3. Season 3 of the show is slated to drop in 2022.
The episodes are very short, starting under 17 minutes. Season 2 doesn’t only have a lesser amount of episodes, the duration of episodes is also notably shorter. This season is also much more consumable than the first one. There’s not as much gratuitous violence and nudity as season 1. But like the first season, there’s so much to chew on here, stylistically and substantially as well. Without further ado, let’s just jump straight into each short in this season and explore their endings and meanings. Tread carefully, however, for SPOILERS lie ahead!
AUTOMATED CUSTOMER SERVICE
Love Death and Robots Season 2 starts with a hilarious episode titled ‘Automated Customer Service”. In a technological Wall-E type of world, we are in a town populated with old people. The place is infested with robots, who do literally everything for the people. We meet the terminator in the form of a vacuum robot called “Vacuubot”. The episode is a hilarious start for the second season and also feels tense at times. There’s the common theme of impending machine takeover that’s prevalent here as well. However, this short takes a more tongue-in-cheek approach, and it’s intentional. The short is filled with goofs and gags that land well. The story follows an old woman living in a senior neighborhood that’s replete with robots tending to everyone’s needs.
At the center is the vacuubot, who goes rogue against its owner, an old lady who lives with her adorable puppy. What starts as an extreme cleaning vacuubot, soon transforms into a bloodthirsty laser shooting killing machine. To make matters worse for the lady, the customer care service offers an automated bot who’s not helping at all. There’s a message about the inevitable overreliance on machines coming back to bite us, but it’s not that deep. Automated Customer Service is a heck of a ride, with tension, laughs, and cinematic action aplenty. This one’s probably the funniest short in Love, Death and Robots season 2.
The ending of the short sees the old woman, Jeanette, utilizing her yoga skills and neighbor’s shotgun to finesse Vaccubot. However, as the customer care bot tells her, the Vaccubot had forwarded the information about her to all the robots in the vicinity. And so Jeanette, with her neighbor and her pup, drives off, running away from all the bots. Not only that, she would now have to be on a perpetual run from the murderous robots. The short makes fun of the terrible and usually unhelpful customer services we all encounter. But when the robots and machines overtake us, the automated service and our overreliance could turn deadly. The overreliance part is also emphasized by how the customer care bot asks for a subscription to live. This hammers in the point about how we’re so reliant and, in the future, slaves to the tech corporate giants.
The short Ice takes place in the future and a distant isolated ice planet. We meet a family of four; father, mother, and two sibling brothers. In this story, humans have genetically enhanced bodies. Those who possess these enhancements are referred to as “Modded”. These enhancements provide one with superhuman strength, speed, and endurance, not to mention, heightened senses. We follow two brothers — Sedgewick and Fletcher. Their family has recently migrated from Earth to a distant icy planet. While the younger brother Fletcher is modded, Sedge is not, and he bears insecurities for it, and rightfully so. Sedge wants to prove himself, so when Fletcher participates in a dangerous race with his modded friends, Sedgewick joins in. Despite his lack of enhanced abilities, Sedge partakes in the race to watch the Frostwhale in action.
The animation in this short oozes with style. And that’s saying much for a series with all shorts having some of the most breathtaking animation and special effects. Ice ends with Sedge proving himself to his brother and Logan’s crew. He keeps up with them, although with a great deal of struggle, and also save his injured brother. On their way home, one of the guys playfully steals Sedge’s hat. Fletcher takes off in the air, retrieves the hat, and lands gracefully back on his “injured” leg. Sedge realizes it was all a front, Fletcher faked being injured. At first, he looks angry at the realization but soon gets over it. His brother did it so Sedge could experience inclusion and fit in. Fletcher’s risky and fatal efforts to make his brother lool cool paid off. Logan’s crew respects Sedge’s bravado and success in the race, despite his unmodded physique.
THE TALL GRASS
The Tall Grass follows a traveler on a train that makes an abrupt stop in the middle of nowhere. The traveler Laird gets out for a quick smoke. While the tall grass all around the track piques his interest, the conductor warns him to not stray away. He also tells him that he will only call him twice before the train starts running again. Meanwhile, Laird can’t stop himself and ventures into the tall grass. He hears strange growling sounds while traversing the grass. There are also some weird lights shining between the grass. Although scared, he ventures further into the grass meanwhile the train is about to depart. That’s when the weird lights, the rustling, and the growls turn out to be scary monsters. Laird tries and escapes from the monsters but now he can’t tell his way back to the train.
The tall grass has disoriented Laird and the monsters are out to eat him. While escaping from the monsters, he falls into a ditch, where another creature comes out of the ground. Adding to the troubles, Laird loses his glasses. He recovers them eventually but the creatures have all surrounded him. When two creatures start fighting each other over who feasts upon him, Lairs tries to flee. But they soon catch him and when all hope is lost, the conductor arrives. The conductor scares away the monsters with a torch and gets Laird to safety. They both eventually board the train. When Laird asks the conductor who those monsters were. The conductor says that his theory is that the monsters were humans before. He also theorizes that this point of the track is a gateway to another world.
The ending of this short sees Laird being successfully rescued by the conductor. When they get back on the train, the conductor tells Laird that the monsters are afraid of fire. This reveals that this isn’t the first time this has happened to a traveler. The conductor definitely knows about the monsters which is why he knew to use fire to scare them away. As to what those monsters are, I think there are two explanations. One being the simple explanation — those are just monsters who likely come through a gateway to another world. Another explanation could be that it’s an allegory for the contrast between the passage to modernity and the people who have been left behind. Either way, it’s a thoroughly entertaining short. The Tall Grass is one of the shortest ones in Love, Death and Robots season 2.
Pop Squad has a very Bladerunner vibe to it, both in terms of aesthetics and world-building. This short is set in the future where humans have achieved immortality. But to ensure that the population doesn’t increase uncontrollably, there’s a prohibition on reproducing. And therefore, all who reproduce are called “Breeders”. Any children found by the authorities are terminated. We follow the lead character, the cop named Briggs, whose job leads him to the culling of children. There’s a stark and brutal contrast between those who live immortal lives and those who ditch it to have kids. The immortals live in ultra-lavish houses, leading uber-luxurious lives. While the “Breeders” live like refugees, confined to margins and hunted by the police for possible offsprings. This short is one of the darkest in season 2, featuring the deaths of several children.
The lead cop Briggs has been carrying out these heartless jobs, killing children. But it has started to take a toll on him. The insane inhumanity of the nature of his job has finally dawned on him. He’s haunted by the voices and faces of the children he put to death. In the end, he tracks down a suspicious woman to her isolated and dilapidated house. As he enters her house, he sees a cute little toddler walking by. The woman sees him and immediately grabs her kid. Briggs tells her he’s not there to kill her and just wants to ask some questions. During the little interaction, the woman sees the little glimpses of humanity inside Briggs. And sure enough, he doesn’t kill the child. But as he walks out of the house, his partner cop arrives.
Pop Squad is a poignant short film about immortality and society with dark contrast between classes. The privileged live immortal lives, affluent and in high strata of society and residences. Briggs finally makes a transition from the privileged but discriminative and cruel highlands to the lower but human world. The immortal humans have all with time, lost their humanity. Those who have seen enough of life and have grown tired of it, try to bring new life into the world. Briggs has finally broken out of the shell of the cruel indifference to life by not killing Eve and her child. While dying, he looks up at the sky, this time there’s sunshine peeking through all the grim rain and skyscrapers. This is the opposite of the very first frame the short opens up with. It most probably symbolizes hope and the beginning of new life, perhaps the life that Briggs saved from extinguishing.
ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE
All Through the House is the shortest one in this season. The short follows two cute siblings on the night of Christmas. But the story itself is not cute, well, it kinda is, but not entirely. The cuteness of the siblings thinking what they’re gonna get for Christmas is soon disrupted by a funny twist on the Santa. As the siblings come downstairs to take a peek at Santa, they’re instead greeted by a grotesque demonic alien. The alien is straight out of a Guillermo del Toro film. It can sense if the children are good or bad. Giving the children their presents by puking them out, covered with gross slime, he goes back through the chimney. After telling them to stay good, the children are both scared and probably scarred. Both we and the children are left wondering what if the children hadn’t been “good”?
Well, I don’t think there’s any particularly deep meaning to this short but it’s pretty entertaining and definitely not for children. Unless you want to prank your child and scar them for some time. We don’t condone it, just to be clear. This short is one of the shortest out of the bunch. It has some beautiful stop-motion animation and the child actors do a great job voicing the cute siblings. The short ends with Santa, who turns out to be a monstrous slimy creature, leaving through the fireplace. He gives the kids their desired presents and also a very memorable Christmas. However, I’m not sure if they will remember it entirely for the right reasons though. Another thing he leaves the kids with is the terrifying question — what if the kids were not good?
Life Hutch, along with Snow, contains some of the most striking photorealistic animations in the season and recent memory. Michael B. Jordan stars in this short as a soldier named Terrence. After engaging in a firefight with an alien entity, he crash lands on an unknown planet. There he finds refuge in a life-support unit named Life Hutch. But the life-support ironically turns into a lethal enclosed space putting his life in fatal danger. Inside the unit, he finds a malfunctioning service droid. However, what looks like a funny malfunctioning droid soon becomes a raptor-esque killing machine, unable to recognize Terrence. The short becomes a tense story of Terrence trying to survive the malfunctioning robot. This short is pretty darkly lit and features some strobing effects.
In the end, Terrence is able to save himself from the killing machine that the service droid had become. Event after a gash in his stomach and a couple of crushed fingers, he manages to break it down. Life Hutch resembles the Automated Customer Service short, in that they both involve a service appliance going rogue. Whereas Automated Customer Service delivers the danger of the bot with goofs, Life Hutch is grim and dark. Here, the danger feels much more pertinent and real. But the themes of the two shirts are similar. Like Automated Service Care, Life Hutch also shows the downside of the overreliance on technology. This short is one of the most visually impressive ones in the entire Love, Death and Robots season 2.
SNOW IN THE DESERT
Snow in the desert is by far the most visually striking and impressive short of Love, Death, and Robots season 2. It features such a great blend of photorealistic animation and effects, plus some great world-building. The short follows a lot of bounty hunters on a distant desert planet who are chasing a man named Snow. They are chasing him because he has some rare genetic mutation that has made him immortal. And now everyone wants a piece of him. We see Snow being hunted and engaging in various brutal firefights with bounty hunters. Then there’s also Hirald who he meets after the shootout in the bar. They both spend time together and share intimate moments before merchant Barris arrives to collect the bounty, Snow’s balls! The short ends with a gruesome and graphic firefight with Snow and Hirald surviving.
Snow in the Desert is a beautiful short, and a personal favorite. It gives major Mad Max and Dune vibes. The animation, as mentioned earlier, is top-notch and then some. It is a truly stylistic while still heartfelt and profound story contending with immortality and existentialism. In the end, just as Barris is about to kill snow, a supposedly dead Hirald shoots him dead from behind. It turns out that Hirald is a “synth”. She later reveals that she’s not entirely a synth and that her core — brain, and spine, are still human. The short ends with both Snow and Hirald embracing each other and sharing a moment of tenderness. They both empathize with each other and truly understand each other because they know what it’s like to live alone.
THE DROWNED GIANT
The Drowned Giant is one of the most philosophical of the bunch. A dead body of a giant young man washes ashore and becomes an attraction for the townsfolk. People take fascination and then start using his body for slides and make graffiti on. Throughout the episode, we hear the narrator mulling over life, death, and decay. The narrator is the only one who’s hesitant to go over and look at the corpse up close. He does so, eventually, while mulling over the concepts of life and death.
The Drowned Giant is an allegory for death and what happens after we die. As the interest in the dead giant’s corpse begins to fade, so does his memory. As his body parts are amputated, the only one to remember the giant is the narrator. His body parts are now still in the town, spread all over, but people have forgotten him. The giant started as a myth and ultimately ended in a myth. And that’s the case with every one of us. We’ll die one day and eventually, people will forget about us. However, the legacy might still linger. It’s a seemingly bleak short but it actually ends with a hopeful end. The narration and the animation make this one of the most poignant shorts in Love, Death and Robots season 2.
Watch the trailer here;
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