Love, Death & Robots: Season 1 recap and review

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Zima Blue

An enigmatic and respected artist, Zima Blue announces his final work of art and requests to speak with one particular journalist, Claire, to tell his story. Not much is known about his history, most of it having been lost to myth and legend over the years.

He supposedly got his start in portraiture but found the form too limiting. He moved on to fantastic space murals. One day he unveiled a mural with a tiny blue square sitting at the center of it – a Zima Blue square.

As time went on, the blue shapes at the center of the murals became more prominent until eventually, they were the basis of the murals themselves. During this “Blue Period” the murals got bigger and bigger, reaching farther and longer and taller, until some reached into space. And then he started painting space itself.

It was partly the spectacle of his work that made him so famous, more than the artwork. As is the nature of an artist, he was still dissatisfied with his work.

Zima Blue is said to have undergone biological procedures that allowed him to tolerate extreme environments without the protection of a suit so that he could truly explore them without being confined.

But the truth is both more simple and more spectacular. Long ago there was a woman with a keen interest in robotics who made machines to do odd jobs around the house. She had a special fondness for the one who cleaned her swimming pool and kept making improvements to it (kind of like Edward Scissorhands!) and as she did, it became more aware.

After the woman died, the machine was passed from owner to owner over the years, each making modifications that contributed to the machine’s awareness. The machine became more alive, “became more me,” concludes Zima Blue.

He started as the little pool cleaning robot and Zima Blue was the color of the ceramic pool tiles. And now he’s going to return to the pool in his final art piece.

In the presence of millions of people, he dives into the pool from which he came, shuts down his high brain functions, and dismantles himself until he is just a simple machine again.

As he begins to clean the pool, he can once again take a simple pleasure in a task well done, his search for truth finished.

Not only is the stylistic animation and coloration of this episode beautiful and striking, but it is also both a complex and simple story of the search for self and the return to simplicity. There have been studies that find that people with higher intelligence often have a harder time finding simple joy in daily things because they’re always looking for some deeper meaning to life.

It is both beautiful and sad that a machine became this brilliant man, only to lose the satisfaction he once had as a simple machine.