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Love, Death + Robots: Human greed ties the 9 episodes in Season 3 of the Netflix series

Swarm and Jibaro show a blatant display of greed, while Three Robots: Exit Strategies and Mason’s Rats show its devastating effects on the environment

Agrima Tikader Published 01.06.22, 04:11 PM
 The theme is perfectly embodied by the Knights in Jibaro.

The theme is perfectly embodied by the Knights in Jibaro. Source: Netflix YouTube

Extreme violence, trippy visuals and deep inner meaning have made Netflix’s animated short series Love Death + Robots a fan favourite. All three seasons have showcased a variety of animation styles and storylines. Season 3 has continued to cut down on nudity, amplify the gore and churn out episodes with deeply political undertones.

The show creators have even managed to take a seven-minute episode, starring swarms of faceless mini-figurines, to put out thought-provoking messages that make us question society in Night of the Mini Dead.

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However, all nine episodes of the third season appear to, in big or small ways, have human greed intricately tied to the storyline. This element of a common theme or message was not present in the 18-episode first season or the eight-episode second season.

Greed for more

Vaulting human greed for ‘more’ guides the narrative for most of the episodes. The very first episode, Three Robots: Exit Strategies, does immense fan service by continuing the doomed planet tour of the three sentient robots. On their return, the robots continue to pass their commentary on how humans, acting out of selfishness, led to the end of humanity. Through tiny, hilarious details and observations, the episode points out how every human, irrespective of their ‘class’, showed next to no care for the planet or each other.

The blatant display of human greed is seen in other episodes like Kill Team Kill, Swarm and Jibaro. The desire to create the ultimate weapon in Kill Team Kill is similar to the desire to create a mindless workforce and military in Swarm. Both the military research team in the fifth episode and the two scientists in the sixth episode look to exploit others to benefit their country or the human race. In both the stories, the greed for power fuels the life-threatening scenarios that the characters face.

Jibaro, along with its commentary on colonialism, uses the mythological tale of the siren to comment on greed. While the group of knights lusting after the siren is lured to their watery death, Jibaro is spared the siren’s song and even given a chance to court her. Instead, Jibaro acts out of greed for the gold and gems adorning the siren. In a moment when the two seem to be getting intimate, Jibaro knocks the siren unconscious and strips the embellishments off of her body.

Even the tiniest episode, with the tiniest characters, was big on displaying base human desire. Two drunken fornicators’ selfish lust to get into each other’s pants causes a planet ending zombie apocalypse in Night of the Mini Dead.

Greed for survival

Love Death + Robots explores how humans display selfishness even in self-preservation. In Three Robots: Exit Strategies, humans focus their resources to ensure that others don’t have a chance at survival. The survivalists built traps, the tech billionaires built exclusive islands and the ultra-rich built fences and flame-throwers to kill other human beings in the name of self-preservation.

Given the choice to survive at the cost of the lives of the Phaiden islanders or chance survival by fooling the crustacean, the crew in Bad Travelling choose the greedy way out. All the crew members, except for Torrin, opt for their lives over that of countless others. They vote to deliver the gigantic man-eating crab to the populated island instead of trying to hoodwink it. Aside from the Thanapod’s ‘promise’ of mercy, there was no real guarantee that the crew would not be its landing meal once they reached Phaiden island.

We fans may struggle to think of the brave astronaut Martha Kivelson as a greedy person. Yet, even the planet -- or rather moon – explorer, in The Very Pulse of the Machine, acts out of greed when trying to ensure her survival. After the crash, Kivelson has no intention of taking her partner’s body back to the base. It is only out of her necessity for oxygen that she lugs Juliet Burton’s corpse around. Even this open-ended, visual buffet of a short has a fleeting commentary on human greed.

The robots in Three Robots: Exit Strategies tour a post-apocalypse Earth which warns of the consequences of greed.

The robots in Three Robots: Exit Strategies tour a post-apocalypse Earth which warns of the consequences of greed. Source: Netflix YouTube

Result of greed

In most of the shorts, even the minor characters fall victim to their greed. Jibaro and the siren don’t have a happy ending due to the deaf knight’s greedy actions in Jibaro. The Special Task Force in Kill Team Kill meets a gory ending as does Afriel and Galina Mirny in Swarm.

The series raises a red flag on the effects of human greed on the environment. The first Three Robots’ outing in Season 1, Episode 2 established that humans faced apocalypse due to environmental disasters caused by the exploitation of the planet. In continuation of the tour in Season 3, Episode 1, the robots reflect on how the gun-toting survivalists killed off what remained of the forest animals, tech-billionaires overfished what remained of the marine life and the government elites feasted on each other till none of them remained.

The Scottish farmer in Mason’s Rats faces an endless infestation of rats due to human greed. As the extermination company explains, “Humanity is warping the environment, forcing the animals to adapt.” Thus, with human greed depleting the planet, the simple farmer faced an armed rat rebellion.

Overcoming greed

Warning us of a doomed future, Love Death + Robots also highlights how humanity can survive if greed is relinquished.

Torrin apparently survives and saves the lives of the Phaiden islanders by risking his life to annihilate the Thanapod family in Bad Travelling. The farmer ends the war with the rats not by annihilating them but by befriending them in Mason’s Rats.

In Vaulted Halls Entombed, Harper saves humanity by sacrificing her eyes and ears instead of freeing the apocalypse-harkening being.

In the first episode, the Three Robots discuss how the ultra-rich left 99.9% of the people to die while escaping to Mars (which they fail at as well). XBOT 4000 observes, “They could’ve taken the money they spent on the spaceships and used it to save the planet they were already on.”

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