They report the merchandise (in the episode - trainers, in the story - milk) as “pizzled”, a nonsense word that’s since entered modern tech vocabulary to describe a product that’s unsatisfactory in an unspecific way.The gambit works, and the Autofac dispatches hospitality unit ‘Alice’ (Monáe).Alice arrives in retro sci-fi splendour, emerging backlit from the door of her flying ship as the assembled crowd of humans shrinks from the light.
And its original themes are still depressingly relevant to our time.Beacham has corrected the balance, even giving the ‘don’t go, it’s dangerous! ’ role traditionally assigned to girlfriends and wives in action sci-fi to Emily’s boyfriend Avishai (Nick Eversman).It’s still a stereotype, but it’s a gender-flipped stereotype. She’s the one shooting the drone out of the sky, hacking its “brain” and coercing Alice into cooperation with her plan to infiltrate and blow up the Autofac.A reference to robots in theme parks recalls Westworld.Emily coming face to face with her clone in a tank is familiar from, ooh, just about everything.Alice calls the group “not real, just units in a product line,” but Emily, whose blueprint was the tech genius who invented the Autofac in the first place, has other ideas. The episode ends on a note of quiet victory as she saves her people from destruction and ‘unmakes’ the Autofac by infecting it with code.Forget the warheads, she was the real bomb all along.The major cliché of hacker-engineer Emily appears to be her alt-90s styling, something that actually turns out to be key to the episode’s main twist.Contrasted with Alice’s sleek tech appearance, the tumbledown humans look even more organic.Alice’s presence provides a sense of threat and unpredictability.Temple and Monáe are good leads, while other characters fade quickly from memory.