Blade Runner: Black Lotus
by Grant Jones,
How would you rate episode 10 of
Blade Runner: Black Lotus (U.S. TV) ?
Community score: 3.0
It's a tragedy this episode did not happen earlier. Finally, Blade Runner: Black Lotus puts its characters into an emotional context that resonates. A bit of pathos, a bit of regret, and actual background for Joseph and Marlowe. It's a genuinely affecting and human story to hang our hats on.
As I have mentioned in prior reviews, Black Lotus has been sorely lacking in any sort of tension up until this point. Elle is technically on the run, but comes out the other side of most episodes with a bloody katana and a high body count. There are other characters in the setting, but most have been either two-dimensional (tough detective, corrupt senator, evil CEO, etc.) or complete unknowns to us.
Joseph is one such unknown, someone who has basically just been present and not much else for the entire season. Now, finally, we get to find out why he's so melancholy and it's really compelling stuff. I loved it! In fact, it contextualizes a lot of his prior interactions with Elle up until this point. This is where the tension was this entire time! I wish this flashback was placed maybe the second or third episode of the series, early enough to make the audience aware of just how difficult this situation was between Elle and Joseph. It would have added a lot of dramatic irony to some of the prior scenes, given new texture to the cat and mouse game between Marlowe and Elle, and set up a really engaging character dynamic that would have greatly benefited those fights too.
To my mind, this is the best episode of Black Lotus thus far. The sad thing is, I'm not sure if waiting this long for the reveal was worth withholding that emotional context from the audience for this long. Here's the human story that the rather by-the-numbers cyberpunk tale has been sorely lacking, something that should have been delivered much much earlier, but now its impact is lessened by all the meandering Black Lotus has done up until this point. There are other mysteries at play that could have sustained the series past this revelation, so the decision to hold this back for most of the season is baffling to me.
I can't help but feel like it's too little, too late. Not unlike our soulful lounge singer – the words and the music are lovely, but by this time of night, most of the seats are empty and the applause is sparse.
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