Blade Runner: Black Lotus
Episode 11

by Grant Jones,

How would you rate episode 11 of
Blade Runner: Black Lotus (U.S. TV) ?
Community score: 3.1

Even though the same rough patches mentioned before are still here, it really feels like Black Lotus is finally getting started after all this time. Last episode's deep dive into Joseph and Marlowe's past gave us a much richer backdrop for the slower emotional beats in the story. Whereas conversations between Joseph and Elle previously felt kind of empty and meandering, now there's an actual undercurrent of tension and regret because we've had a more intimate look at Joseph's history.

There are still some hiccups in the execution, though. First of all, the series continues to run through its supporting cast with a chainsaw. The Memory Maker character from a few episodes back makes a reappearance—if you don't remember him, he's the assistant of same Dr. M who we met and watched die in less than 20 minutes of screen time. But don't get too attached, because he also dies before this episode is out. While there's nothing inherently wrong about killing off side characters immediately after they are introduced, it also makes the world of Black Lotus feel much, much smaller and places a heavier reliance on the core cast (Elle and Joseph, basically) to carry the show, and until now they've not had enough depth to be up to the task.

We do finally have a bit more tension in the action department. Elle remains the “desperate runaway" this entire time, but as I've said before, she hasn't felt all that desperate when it comes to fisticuffs. While I think Niander only producing one (1) killer sword replicant was probably poor planning on his part, having this new replicant come after Elle actually does lend a feeling of suspense to the memory chamber scene. When she was standing over Elle's fog-filled tube with her sword, I had that classic pulp action feeling of “Gee, how is she gonna get out of this one?” which is a welcome change. The fight between this new replicant and the security guards in the lobby was brief but well done, though to my mind it still feels jarring within the setting of Blade Runner.

Still, it's enough to make me hopeful that the series has given itself space for a strong finish as we head towards the finale.


Grant is the cohost on the Blade Licking Thieves podcast and Super Senpai Podcast.

Blade Runner: Black Lotus is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and Adult Swim.

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