Let’s get this out the way early, I was a fan of the first season of Love, Death + Robots (2019). Although the way this animated anthology series treated women in some of its episodes was problematic.
With Season 2 they course correct, in some ways, and largely just avoid episodes with sexual content and/or nudity. Which you could argue is a little lazy – there are ways to have that content and tell stories that avoid misogyny and empower women. Anyway, it’s a moot point I guess. Let’s focus on what season two does give us.
Here’s my rated breakdown, episode by episode.
Automated Customer Service
In a world where old people have grown lazy, forever assisted by robots, a vacuum cleaner unit goes homicidal and tries to kill its owner. What follows is a hilarious Pixar-esque tale of an old woman attempting to evade death, all the while getting frustrated on the phone to customer service.
In a world where humans are modified (so they can do parkour, apparently), one brother feels a little left behind by another and ends up in a situation where his life’s in danger. Whilst the animation was cool and something I’d not seen before, the story itself was thin. As such, I found it hard to care about the characters.
In a future where resources are controlled by the rich and ‘unregistered offspring’ are forbidden, a population control police officer faces a crisis of conscience. For me, this was a standout episode. It quickly set up the world and the stakes, and had a character arc that felt engaging, believable and human.
Snow In The Desert
On a scorched planet on the edge of civilisation and albino named Snow is hunted by hired killers. A stranger named Hirald saves him, then reveals that she has her own plans for his fate. This was another story that felt whole and complete, and cinematic in its telling. The animation was fantastic, too, often feeling like a hair’s breadth away from live action. It also reminded me of Star Wars movies.
The Tall Grass
A train makes an unscheduled stop in the middle of nowhere in fields of long grass. A traveller gets off the train, entranced by lights in the dark. Upon investigation he finds something hellish. Now this setup is nice but there wasn’t a huge amount of story. It needed more plot. As it stands, it was a good scene or two.
All Through The House
It’s Christmas Eve. A brother and sister sneak downstairs hoping to see Santa. What they find is not what they expected, at all. Much like The Tall Grass this is just a scene rather than a complete tale. For what it is, it’s well done – it’s just slight.
A combat pilot (Michael B. Jordan) crashes on a desolate planet. He takes refuge in an outpost, only to be greeted by hostile technology. I quite liked this one – it had tension, suspense, elements of horror and sci-fi going on. It was engaging and dramatic.
The Drowned Giant
When a two-hundred-foot dead man washes up on the shore of a fishing village, locals swarm to the site. A scientist documents the discovery and the slow decay of the body. Along with perhaps Pop Squad this story tackles big themes: life, death, the nature of our mortal existence, all that stuff. It was good, but perhaps a touch introspective and melancholy for my taste.
And that’s it for the second season. It’s short, particularly compared to the first. The difference, perhaps, is that it feels more mature and grown up in terms of the storytelling and themes it takes on. One area in which this series still falls behind is the lack of diversity, with every story from a male writer (something WIRED picked up on).
As they say, hopefully with a third season this could change, and should change. It remains a show that has potential, particularly with the exciting ways in which animation is developing these days. I’ll definitely watch another season, should they do one.