Julien Neaves, Sci Fi Head Writer
One of the best Sci Fi series out now has to be Netflix’s Love, Death + Robots which delivers the wild, mature animated anthology antics of a Heavy Metal with a modern polish.
With the highly anticipated Volume III releasing last week I just had to check it out. And it gives me much pleasure to report that it is an improvement over Volume II, though not as good as the excellent Volume I. With that said, and a bloody, sexy SPOILER ALERT, let’s do a ranking of all nine episodes of Volume III:
#9 Three Robots: Exit Strategies
This was kind of disappointing. I loved when these three wisecracking robots showed up in the first season with their biting satire. And it was cool seeing them return. But this episode was the least enjoyable for me of this season.
While the animation was still top notch, the scenarios were a little too topical and as a result not as incisive. And this resulted in a segment that was not as funny as the clever original. The typical diminishing returns of a sequel strikes again.
#8 Night of the Mini Dead
When I saw this title I thought it was going to be about mini-zombies attacking people. But no, it is a zombie apocalypse in a mini-world.
This was a cute segment. I loved the ridiculous mini-sex in the cemetery and all the escalating craziness of the mini-zombie attacks and human defense. The technical work on it was outstanding, but as a story itself I was not blown away. I did like the ending though.
#7 The Swarm
This season continued the toned down nudity and sexual content of Volume II compared to all the flesh on parade in Volume I. The closest we come to that is The Swarm with its super sexy, barely clothed protagonists and sex scene which, mind you, was still relatively tame by the series’ earlier standards.
I loved the inventive creature designs and this living, breathing alien world. I would not have minded just watching the duo swimming around in this ecosystem for some time. Even the quadrupedal aliens in the opening scene looked great. In terms of plot, it fell a bit flat for me at the end and it was less than satisfying. Still a solid episode though.
#6 The Very Pulse of the Machine
Continuing the trend of visually mesmerising episodes like Fish Night and Zima Blue, The Very Pulse of the Machine is quite the trip. Featuring a strong vocal performance from Mackenzie Davis as driven astronaut Martha Kivelson and the mind bending, comic-style animation from Polygon Pictures, this was a fascinating episode.
And is the moon sentient or is Kivelson tripping on drugs? You never really know, and I dug that.
#5 Kill Team Kill
If you want pure bloody enjoyment then look no further than Kill Team Kill. With a tongue in cheek action horror tone similar to the Season 1 episode Sucker of Souls, Kill Team Kill takes its simple premise of soldiers battling a genetically engineered bear monster and pours on the crass humour, carnage candy and glorious over the top violence. And I’m a bit of gore hound so this one put a smile on my face and a shed a tear for their cute robot protector. Pour some oil out for our little buddy. Freakin’ honey badger!
#4 In Vaulted Halls Entombed
We have another story featuring a military team, but there is no humour to be found here, only pure horror. Those spider-crab looking creatures are some pure nightmare fuel and the way they rip their prey to shreds? Yikes! And that Lovecraftian demon god thing in the final act was also quite striking.
The ending, which leaves you wondering whether the sole survivor is possessed or escaped? Brilliant. This is one cave you should definitely avoid but one episode you don’t want to miss.
#3 Mason’s Rats
I was not expecting a story about a farmer trying to get rid of some evolved rats to be the most hilarious episode of the season, but here we are. With even more gratuitous gore than Kill Team Kill, I probably should not have been laughing at events of this machine on mouse murder party, but I couldn’t help it. I loved the resigned farmer Mason and the scorpion-like murder bot. I also loved the twist ending, which I thought was very well done. Very good stuff.
And now for the episode everyone seems to be talking about, Jibaro. With no dialogue (grunts and screams don’t count) and a simply structured story, the episode relies heavily on its visuals. And that is not exactly a bad thing, with some of the most vivid, resonant and hypnotic images in the series so far. The siren with her glittering, jewel-encrusted golden body, frenetic dancing, piercing eyes and bone-chilling scream will remain etched in your brain for awhile, both in her original form and her desecrated body. Word of advice—if you manage to escape a killer siren just keep running and don’t stop.
#1 Bad Travelling
This episode just had everything. Excellent animation. A strong-willed protagonist. A creepy crustacean monster and it’s even creepier hatchlings. Violence. Body horror. Gore. Betrayals. Exploration of the human condition. And a smart final act twist. What else can I say? Of all the episodes in Volume III, Bad Travelling was the highlight for me. It’s no surprise the best story of the season was directed by series co-producer and filmmaker extraordinaire David Fincher.
So that’s my ranking. How would you rank the nine episodes of Volume III? And you can check out my review of the previous Volumes bbelow:
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”. Read more.