News Ticker

Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams – S1E3/S1E4 – Human Is/Crazy Diamond

Previously, on Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams

Project Fandom coverage follows the episode Amazon (US) running order as opposed to the original Channel 4 running order, with two reviews each week.

Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams – S1E3 – “Human Is” | Starring: Bryan Cranston, Essie Davis, Liam Cunningham, Ruth Bradley, William Gaminara

Images: Amazon

Setting: 2520 Planet Terra [Earth]

Marriage from Hell

The story begins with a commendation ceremony for Silas Herrick (Cranston), a high-ranking military official who is being awarded for his bravery in a recent battle on Rexor IV. After the ceremony, Silas’ commanding officer, General Olin (Cunningham) compliments Silas’ wife Vera (Davis), a high-ranking strategic officer, on her role in the operation. When the couple returns home, Silas unleashes his anger upon Vera by grabbing her wrist and belittling her. He tells her that she didn’t play an important role compared to officers like him who were on the ground. Husband and wife go to their separate rooms and Vera cries into a breathing mask. This is not a happy marriage.

The next morning at work, Vera and Silas’ team is told that their planet only has five months of air supply left so Silas and his crew must return to Rexor IV for Hydran (an atmospheric decontaminate). Vera regards the inhabitants of Rexor IV as sentient beings who should be negotiated with. However, Silas doesn’t hide his disdain for his wife or the Rexorians, who he considers inferior beings whose resources can be taken at will. General Olin agrees with Silas and the mission is set for the next day.

Silas refuses to show any level of interest in his wife. When she tries to speak to him at home he brushes her off. Since Silas won’t give her attention, Vera seeks it elsewhere in the form of an underground sex club. The next morning while Vera is exercising, Silas tells Vera that he’s leaving in the most perfunctory manner. He leaves no room for a tender goodbye and acts like he’s just telling her out of the most basic level of decency. With Silas away, Vera thrives and enjoys their home in peace.

Change for the Better?

Not too long into the mission Vera and her colleagues receive live footage of the away crew under attack on Rexor IV. In order to save the Hydran, Vera and her team are forced to detonate a warhead and return the Hydran back to Earth/Terra aboard an autopiloted shuttlecraft. The entire away mission is presumed dead, and naturally, despite Silas’ cruelness, Vera begins to mourn for her husband. Then out of the blue, Silas along with one other crew member return on the shuttlecraft. Everyone is shocked and when the doctor, General Olin, and Yara, a friend/colleague of Vera’s, visits Silas at home, Silas doesn’t have many answers about what happened on Rexor IV.

Vera begins to notice a definite change in Silas as he heals from his injuries. He’s complimentary about her looks and starts to dote on his wife and even cook for her. As time passes Yara asks Vera when Silas is coming back to work and if she has noticed anything different with him. Vera admits that she’s noticed that he’s different and it has her worried. Yara cautions her to be careful because Rexorians are dangerous and something could have happened to Silas on the mission. Vera returns home to find Silas waiting with dinner made. Honestly if this is what is considered dangerous, then Vera might want to consider living recklessly. Silas has become a much better husband than he ever was before the mission.

Vera and Silas make love and Vera states that Silas has never touched her the way he did that evening. That same evening, soldiers ambush their bedroom and strip Silas of all his rights. Apparently, the last remaining footage of the battle on Rexor IV does not match up with Silas’s statements. The footage shows two Rexorians (they appear as flying dots of light) boarding the shuttle craft. Matching this footage with the interrogation and confession of the other officer that escaped Rexor IV, General Olin believes that both men are now metamorphs who have inhabited the bodies of humans. Silas is interrogated and he is adamant that he is Silas and he also tells the story of how he and Vera were introduced via a government sponsored arranged marriage program to help promote procreation. Despite Silas’ answers, General Olin orders a trial for Silas instead of an immediate execution due to Silas’ rank.

Shades of Humanity

In court, to the dismay of everyone present, Vera testifies on Silas’ behalf and states that the being they see before them is her husband Silas. Conversely, the doctor, General Olin, and Yara testify against Silas. The doctor explains that metamorphs take over a human’s body by blending with their DNA and taking on the host’s memories and mind. General Olin emphasizes that Rexorians are deceitful and lack a moral code. The general basically makes Rexorians sound like everything bad in the universe and all galaxies combined.  Yara even discloses that Vera confided in her that Silas had changed since his return. Yara takes things one step further and testifies that Vera immediately knew Silas was a metamorph when he returned and was in league with him against the state. Yara is clearly a garbage individual and an even worse friend. In an attempt to save Vera’s life, Silas tells the court that he is Silas Herrick, and he is not the enemy, but he will confess only if Vera is exonerated. Talk about love.

Just as Silas is being taken away, Vera asks to address the court once more. This time she utilizes General Olin’s testimony about Rexorians to demonstrate that Silas’ act of selflessness was in direct conflict with the accepted testimony from the general. Silas’ behavior was in fact proof of his humanity. Vera’s testimony is instrumental in saving Silas. Back at home, Vera asks Silas his real name and he explains to her that it is hard to pronounce so she should just call him Silas.

Moral of the story: ‘Humanity’ comes in various forms; Watch out for backstabbing friends; Get yourself a partner who takes care of you.

Thoughts and Observations

  • How did Silas become such an ass? Was it because he was forced to marry Vera?
  • The costumes and scenery really set the tone. The sets for Vera and Silas’ home, including the bathtub, were beautiful.
  • Old Silas would have never sacrificed himself for Vera. Additionally, Old Silas was intimidated by Vera’s intelligence, and that was the very thing which was needed to save Silas’ life.
  • This is the best episode of the series so far. The plot was excellent and the acting was perfect.

Plot: 10 | Dialogue: 8 | Performances: 10 = 9.3


Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams – S1E4 – “Crazy Diamond|” Starring: Steve Buscemi, Sidse Babett Knusden, Julia Davis, Lucian Msamati, Joanna Scanlan

Setting: Unstated year in the future that harkens back/forward to The Jetsons/1960s dreams of the future.

Jacks and Jills

When a man meets a mysterious femme fatale does she lead him astray or does he stay faithful to his wife? This is one of the main questions embedded in this story. When we meet Ed, he’s on his boat in the middle of a nightmare where a beautiful woman’s face turns from young to old and she’s telling him that’s she’s running out of time. When Ed returns home, he finds his wife Sally and a woman named Jill. Ed looks taken aback to see Jill; she’s the woman who was in his dreams. The story then goes back 7 days.

Ed and Sally live a fairly content, if not slightly monotonous, life. They live in a nice home near the water, but probably won’t live there soon due to coastal erosion. Ed dreams of sailing off into the sunset, but Sally thinks Ed is living in a fantasy. Sally has dreams of her own; she’s hiding sprouting plants from her husband. Ed works at a scientific organization that helps create new life through quantum consciousness (QCs are a combination of human and porcine [pig] genetics). The company gives tours to the public and this is where Ed and Jill first meet. He shows her one of the QCs up close and personal. Ed’s boss, The Director, hosts a presentation for the visitors where workers inject QCs into Jacks and Jills, beings who look like men and women. The Director refers to Jacks and Jills in a derogatory manner by calling them shells that have a variety of traits including skills and emotions, but lack self-awareness.

Future Noir

That evening Ed sees Jill on the side of the road and she tells him that she is in fact a Jill, as in the type of Jill that requires a QC. She’s out of town and needs Ed’s help, because her health is poor. They go to a bar which has a perfect film noir atmosphere and they discuss Jill’s situation. Ed rudely tells her that she’s “failing” (losing her spark that comes from the QC). In turn, Jill calls Ed a “Normal” and proceeds to call him out on Normals’ condescending way of speaking to Jacks and Jills. Ed tries to smooth things over by saying that he supports “neural network equality.” This is tantamount to someone saying “I have a ___ friend [fill in the blank with the name of a marginalized group], right after they’ve insulted the same group of people. Jill moves the conversation along and starts to get Ed to open up about his life. He tells her about the coastal erosion and that his house will crumble into the sea in a year. Ed also shares his desire to voyage the high seas with Sally before the erosion occurs.

In the morning, Sally asks Sue, the subdivision guard, what she would do if she had a friend whose husband was doing something illegal. Sue asks Sally if the friend trusted the husband in her heart. The guard goes on to explain that beings like her aren’t allowed to have husbands. However, if Sue had a husband, she would consider the law as important, but exceptions can be made. In Sue’s view, the world is changing. Sue asks Sally an important question, “what makes us normal?” Sally is surprised that Sue is including herself as a part of being normal because visually Sue has the face of a pig and the body of a human being. Sue goes on to explain that she is 40% normal.

Sally shows the sprouting plants to Ed along with expired vegetables that are supposed to be put in the food crusher. It seems Sally is the one doing something illegal, not Ed – well at least not yet. Ed is supportive and tries to help Sally flout the law and plant the rotten food and sprouting plants, but everywhere they attempt to dig has metal plates beneath the grass.

Mission, Set, Go

Ed meets up with Jill in the bar again. She tells him that his sea voyage doesn’t have to be a fantasy and she has a way to get money. Jill proposes a deal to Ed: he will help her steal lucrative QCs to sell on the black market. It doesn’t take long for Ed to agree. They make a special glove from Ed’s hand in order for Jill to access the QCs at Ed’s workplace. Ed also teaches Jill a song that is needed to unlock one of the doors. Ed watches Jill and her compatriots break into the lab from his home computer and when Sally finds him, he triggers an intruder alert at his workplace and tells Sally that he almost made a mistake.

Jill and her crew are able to escape and meet up with the buyers. The buyers, who look like a bunch of 1950s rockabilly rejects whose leader talks down to Jill. Beyond being rude, the buyers are also untrustworthy. They steal the QCs, including the one Jill wants to take for herself, and Jill barely escapes with her life while her compatriots are killed. At work, Ed is considered a hero for raising the alarm, but The Director notes that some people think it’s an inside job. Sally confides in Sue that she thinks Ed was tempted to break the law, but he didn’t. Sally also tells Sue to call her by her first name.

Jill is now on the run and has only one person to turn to: Ed. Although Sally is initially hesitant to let her in when Sally arrives at the house, Jill collapses and Sally feels bad and lets her inside. Jill connects with Sally by telling her that her fainting is a side effect of IVF medication. Ed told Jill about he and Sally’s IVF challenges, so Jill knows this story will make Sally empathize with her. Ed arrives, and this is where the story began. Jill claims to be an insurance agent and she gives a serious insurance spiel. On her way out, Jill collapses again and Sally lets Jill rest on the couch. Ed tells Sally that Jill is lying and that she is in fact a Jill. Sally isn’t stupid, she figured out that Jill is a Jill and still wants to help her. In the early morning, Jill finds a spring from Sally’s sprouting plant. This gives her some insight into Sally’s personality. In the early morning, Jill tries to convince Ed to help her and she plays on his sense of adventure. That evening, Sally tells Ed that she had coffee with Jill and Sally states that she wants her husband to purchase the insurance policy.

Set Sail

Jill and Ed meet to find the gang who stole the QCs, and Ed is the one encouraging Jill to go on the expedition. He promises her a new start and kisses her. When they arrive at the gang’s hideaway, Ed represents himself as a trader of Jacks and Jills so he’ll buy one QC for Jill. Once Ed injects Jill with the QC she shoots the gang members. On their way out, The Director suddenly appears in the forest and holds a gun to the head of a little girl (the child of one of the gang members). Ed doesn’t look too surprised to see The Director. When The Director finds out that Jill has taken one of the QCs, he lets the little girl go and fully directs his disgust at Jill. He taunts Jill and tells Edward to remove the QC from her. Jill tries to appeal to Ed by telling him she loves him and reminding Ed of their plans together, but he moves close to Jill with the instrument to remove the QC. Ed’s too slow for The Director who grabs the instrument from him. Just as The Director is about to remove the QC from Jill, the little girl hands Jill the gun and Jill shoots The Director.

Jill tells Ed how disappointed she is in him and leaves him in the woods. She goes to Ed and Sally’s house to speak with Sally, and by the time Ed arrives, he finds a ‘Dear Ed’ letter from Sally. The house and the houses around it begin to crumble into the sea and Ed hightails it to his boat. After he starts his voyage, he looks up to find Sally and Jill on the boat. Despite making his best ‘baby, baby please’ begging act, the ladies drop Ed into the sea and continue on without him. Ed drifts back to the seashore and finds his record of Robyn Hitchcock’s Octopus, the song that he played on the boat for inspiration.

Femme Fatal and Wife Score: 10,000,000 Foolish Husband Score: -10,000,000

Moral of the story: Stay loyal. Don’t underestimate others; Believe in your dreams; Don’t cross the women in your life.

Thoughts and Observations

  • This was a fun story, but it left a few questions unanswered. Some questions are best left unanswered while others are not.
  • Where will Sally and Jill travel to? [Best left unanswered]
  • Why were people not allowed to grow their own food? [Best left answered]
  • Why did Jill choose Ed to help her? How did she know he wouldn’t immediately report her to The Director? [Best left answered]
  • The settings and costumes were perfect. Sally and Ed’s house, along with the bar, really helped to set the futuristic tone a la 1960’s visions of the future.
  • I would have liked to know more about Sue’s life and how society started putting porcines/pigs and ‘normals’ together. Also, how are Jacks and Jills created?
  • That little girl is the real MVP; she saved Jill’s life.
"Crazy Diamond" Review Score
  • 8/10
    Plot - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Dialogue - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Performances - 9/10
8.3/10

Summary

Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams – S1E3 – “Human Is” | Starring: Bryan Cranston, Essie Davis, Liam Cunningham, Ruth Bradley, William Gaminara

Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams – S1E4 – “Crazy Diamond|” Starring: Steve Buscemi, Sidse Babett Knusden, Julia Davis, Lucian Msamati, Joanna Scanlan

Sending
User Review
5 (1 vote)
About Ejiro Onomake (18 Articles)
Ejiro is an ardent fan of British mysteries, sci-fi, Psych, and well produced HBO dramas. She believes there is way too much good television, books, and podcasts to waste time on the mediocre.

Leave a comment