Netflix’s Love, Death & Robots returned for a second volume on May 14, and I could not have been more excited to get home from work and binge watch the entirety of it over the past weekend.https://tenor.com/embed.js
In case you missed the hype around the show in 2019 when it first released… Here is a quick recap: Love, Death & Robots is a project co-created by David Fincher (Fight Club director) and Tim Miller (Deadpool director), an anthology of short animated clips that are only linked by their common themes of — you guessed it — love, death, and robots.
If you haven’t already watched the first volume, or you’re interested in hearing my thoughts on the show’s debut volume, you can catch up on our article here. Otherwise, I’ll get right into it.
Last volume, I was impressed by the series’ wide breadth of stories. However, I was also critical of the women in these narratives, noting how many women depicted were victims of violence and/or trauma. Of course, while this trope falls within line of many “dark” and “mature” series, I felt this ultimately made the series unoriginal and, in fact, outdated — especially now that we are well in the 21st century.
The second volume, I am happy to say, relied much less on women’s disturbing backstories. And it still kept the phenomenal qualities that I have always enjoyed about the series: its unique art and animation and its succinct and tightly bound storytelling.
While I admit the stories of the second volume were overall less impactful to me than in the first volume, I still want to pick out a few gems that shined.
Our choice of episodes for Volume 2
The entirety of the second volume can probably be very easily watched in little over an hour. However, if you’re really pressed for time, we highly recommend these three episodes in particular:
Volume 2, Episode 2, “Ice”
“Ice” is a story about Sedgewick, a normal teenage boy. That’s literally it — he’s just a normal human being. Now usually that wouldn’t make for much of a story. But this story doesn’t take place in a normal place. In fact, it doesn’t even take place on Earth.
“Ice” is set in a human-inhabited planet with a geography and a climate completely apart from our warm blue-and-green planet. The planet, which goes unnamed through the story, is a tundra, with monstrous creatures living under its ice-capped seas. Most of the humans living on this planet are “modded” to have greater athletic strength and endurance to harsher environments.
But not Sedgewick, our main protagonist. As mentioned before, Sedgewick is completely normal and not modded, which has kept him from getting along with many of the other youth on the planet. In this coming-of-age story, we join Sedgewick as he goes out on an adventure with his modded friends to see frostwhales.
The most unique thing about this story is its art, which you might recognize from the first volume. Indeed, the art is in the same visual style as “Zima Blue” from volume 1 — full of sharp angles and a heavy reliance on color contrast.
Volume 2, Episode 4, “Snow in the Desert”
For me, ranking this one as one of my favorites is almost too predictable. There is a distinctly Mad Max feel to the desert dystopian world that this story is set in. And if you know anything about me, you know that Mad Max is among my adored films of all time.
“Snow in the Desert” follows the story of Snow, a bounty-hunted person, with a lot of intergalactic value on not just his head, but his balls. Yes, you read that right. His balls, his testicles, his family jewels. Everyone in the galaxy and their mother wants a piece of Snow because of his immortality — but unfortunately for everyone, Snow plays hard to get.
I admit that the actual plot of this narrative is not the most brilliant. There isn’t really much of a twist or that satisfying of a resolution to the story. However, “Snow” has such extensive visual worldbuilding that completely absorbed me for the entire 18 minutes of this episode, which at the very least earns my attention.
Volume 2, Episode 6, “All Through the House“
“All Through the House” is my absolute favorite of the entire volume, and I always save the best for last. The story transports us to Christmas night, when two curious siblings are up late trying to catch a glimpse at the ever-elusive Santa Claus. When they hear the shuffling of gifts and stockings downstairs, they sneak downstairs to greet him — and are in for a big surprise.
Now, as you can imagine in a series called Love, Death & Robots, the children find out that jolly Saint Nick is not quite exactly what the stories make him out to be. I won’t give away any more details, as I think it’s best you watch it yourself, but what I will say is this: “All Through the House” is easily the most horrifying and most comedic story of all eight offered in this volume.
Back for another round of Netflix’s Love, Death & Robots? Let us know what you think in the comments or on Twitter!
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Featured image credit: Netflix