Julien Neaves, Sci Fi Head Writer
Yesterday Netflix released the second season (or “volume” as they call it) of its award-winning, groundbreaking sci fi anthology series Love, Death and Robots. I was blown away by the first season so I (and I would wager many other folks) were eagerly anticipating the new season. So…how was it?
Well I will say after being spoiled with 18 episodes it was tough only having eight episodes. But the overall quality remains very high and I am thankful for that. I also noticed that the stories have much less graphic violence, profanity, and nudity compared to the first season. I’m not sure if this was a deliberate decision to have stories with lower levels of mature content or this is just the way it happened. So yeah, if you’re looking for an orgy of blood, f-bombs, and boobies like the last time prepare to be disappointed.
I feel like I have yammered on enough. Time to get to the ranking. And because the new season is fresh I will be doing MILD SPOILERS. With that out of the way, here are all eight episodes of Love, Death & Robots ranked:
It was easy picking my lowest episode of the new season. I enjoyed the dark, cell-shaded look of the animation (I think that’s what it is, don’t quote me on that) and the creature design was pretty good. But the story really didn’t do much for me and was just kind of there.
#7 The Tall Grass
The first season had a few great horror episodes (Shape Shifters, Sucker of Souls, The Secret War) and The Tall Grass (not to be confused with the 2019 Stephen King adaptation In the Tall Grass) continues in that tradition. I thought the throwback, hand-drawn-style animation was a cool choice and (like Ice) there was some sweet creature design. But the plot was predictable so it loses some points there. I did enjoy the creepy final scene though.
#6 Life Hutch
The biggest news of Season 2 was the addition of star Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther, Creed, Without Remorse) and I was looking forward to seeing him. His episode Life Hutch sees him as starfighter pilot trapped on a desolate planet with a deadly adversary. The story doesn’t actually give Jordan that much to do acting-wise but it is decent enough.
#5 All Through the House
Redmangoreviews Horror Head Writer Sommer can tell you a thing or two about horrific alternate version of Santa (you can check out her Top 5 Scariest Santas list for evidence of this claim) but I think even she would be impressed by this twisted version of Saint Nick. This thing is pure distilled nightmare fuel right here. You really have to see it for yourself. This darkly humorous episode was as much of a treat as a plate of cookies and milk.
#4 Automated Customer Service
This new season started off with a bang, and I mean that literally. Automated Customer Service is set in a future when most daily tasks have been automated, including crossing guard and dog walker/pooper scooper. When an elderly woman’s automated vacuum accidentally turns into a killer mode she has to save herself and her cute little dog. It is a hilarious romp especially with an increasingly unhelpful automated customer care service. I loved the odd giant-headed character design and wacky tone, and this is easily one of the funniest episodes of the series.
#3 Snow in the Desert
Love, Death & Robots features a variety of animation styles but I have always been partial to photorealistic CGI animation. And the animation here looks even better than the already impressive work from two years ago. With the episode Snow in the Desert the level of detail of simply astonishing. The classic, bloody, action-packed story was also quite entertaining, and definitely feels worthy of the full feature-length treatment (which I have said about some episodes in Season 1 as well).
I won’t give much details, but the story focuses on the titular Snow, a mysterious albino man on an alien planet being hunted by vicious bounty hunters and the government. If I say any more I will get into spoilers, so I will just saw watch it for yourself and enjoy.
#2 The Drowned Giant
The Powers That Be at Love, Death & Robots (or whoever it is that determines the episode order) seem to favour ending the seasons/volumes with an episode that is deep, thought-provoking, and philosophical. The first season ended with the existential Zima Blue and the second ends with the beautifully-animated and thoughtful The Drowned Giant. It tells the story of an academic fascinated by a naked drowned giant that washed up on a beach. Through his lens we consider this fantastical creature, the public’s reaction to it, and all the implications on human nature. A really powerful piece.
#1 Pop Squad
Since becoming a father I have found myself more affected by stories concerning young children. And the Pop Squad definitely affected me. Despite the name, the episode is not about a cool music group in the future. It is actually about a dystopian world where humans have achieved the technology for biological immortality and to prevent overpopulation unauthorised procreation is a crime. The parents are punished by incarceration and the children are summarily executed. Yeah, this is some pretty dark stuff here.
Detective Briggs is a cop who has to enforce this law and he begins to have doubts about what he is doing. Again, I will say no more. Okay, I will say that Pop Squad combines poignant themes with a thrilling story and presents a disturbing world that is definitely worth revisiting (a movie or a series, I’ll take either one). And for that it gets number one on the ranking.
Well that’s my list. Which is your favourite episode of Love, Death & Robots Season 2. For my ranking of all 18 episodes of Season 1 you can click here. Or for my look at Sci Fi series Raised by Wolves you can click here.
Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. I can also be found posting about TV and movie memes, news and trailers on Facebook at Movieville. And to stay on top of all Redmangoreviews articles you can like and follow us on Facebook here.
At the moment, my ranking of this volume’s episodes matches yours. I’m on the fence in terms of this shorter season (I’m now wondering if there were 16 episodes initially, and some decision was made to split that ‘season’ into two) as I feel we could’ve gotten more of the schlock and visceral thrills which made the first season great. But for what’s it worth, this was another solid season of jaw-dropping animation and effective short-form storytelling.
That’s an intriguing theory. I guess if we get Volume 3 next year and it’s about eight episodes then that would add evidence to a planned split.
I was hoping for more action oriented stories and I still thing Volume 1 is the stronger of the two, based on diversity alone, but like Matt my list would be very close to yours as well. The Drowned Giant was most definitely thought provoking and I can already see YTubers working on their theories.
I agree with Volume 2 being stronger as well.