Love, Death + Robots’ third season has been a glorious return to form for the high-octane ultraviolent anthology series rediscovering that edgy flair that was sorely missing from season two. Developed by showrunners Time Miller and David Fincher as a showcase of stunning adult animation that can dip into various genres such as horror, science fiction, and dark comedy. Season three is a compact nine episodes with some outshining others as tends to happen in anthology series. We’ve ranked all nine segments in terms of preference from 9 being our least favourite to 1 being our favourite.
Swarm, unfortunately, tops the list as our least favourite episode and frankly, the only episode I was outright disappointed in. The episode follows two scientists studying an insectile alien race based on a hive mind and hierarchal structure. When they decide to exploit the swarm for their own purposes the hive mind displays they are not as benign a species as appearances might suggest and have dealt with hostiles before. While the animation is crisp and vibrant this short feels like a lot of groundwork which ultimately fizzles out just as it begins to get exciting, leading to a disappointing episode that feels all set up for little payoff.
8. The Very Pulse of the Machine
Other than Swarm it becomes increasingly difficult to rank a lot of these episodes as I found something enjoyable and intriguing from each and every one. The Very Pulse of the Machine is perhaps a little too much style over substance but it is also one of the most visually impressive shorts of the entire series to date. After a deadly crash on the moon IO, surviving astronaut, Martha Kivelsen races against time to meet a rendevous point before her oxygen runs out, all the while dragging the dead body of her fellow astronaut. With virtually no time to spare, and with her vital signs dwindling Kivelsen ingest a cocktail of various hallucinogenic narcotics to stay awake and moving. The Very Pulse of the Machine is a beautiful survival story about an astronaut tripping balls while the very Moon may or may not be conversing with her.
7. In Vaulted Halls Entombed
A showcase for the progress of motion capture animation, In Vaulted Halls Entombed, uses the likeness and voices of actors John Manganiello, Jai Courtney, and Christian Serratos to stunning effect. The story sees a US military team tracking insurgents through an uncharted tomb. The further they delve they find themselves attacked by insectoid creatures. Fleeing their attackers they come upon a vast opening of gargantuan size leading to an ancient edifice at its center. To the team’s horror, they discover a humongous eldritch god chained within the edifice that demands to be freed. Looking upon the creature causes the team to see horrifying visions and one member to lose their mind.
In Vaulted Halls Entombed has all the hallmarks of Lovecraftian horror with a story that looks ripped straight from the Cthulhu Mythos. While the story is a little lacking, the scale of the short is fantastic and captures much of what makes Lovecraftian horror so revered.
6. Mason’s Rats
Mason’s Rats is a tale of the conflict between a farmer and the rats infesting his barn. After Mason gets first blood he discovers the rats are not only organized but motivated to return the favour. Finding himself outnumbered Mason employees the services of a seedy-looking businessman/exterminator and his state-of-the-art rat-killing machine.
A humorous and gloriously gory short, Mason’s Rats has a surprisingly upbeat ending with Mason coming to the rat’s rescue and finding solidarity with his new neighbours. A fun commentary on war and conflict and how the escalation of violence can quickly get out of hand.
5. Night of the Mini Dead
Night of the Mini Dead plays out like a short intermission for the series as we get a birds-eye view of a zombie apocalypse. Clocking in at just seven minutes, this adorable take on the zombie apocalypse follows the outbreak from its inception, an 80s B movie of horny teenagers bumping uglies in a graveyard, to a worldwide pandemic with some hilarious insights to how different nations are making their last stand. Fun fast-paced, and often hilarious.
4. Three Robots: Exit Strategies
The first sequel of the series, Exit Strategies picks up from the previous episode as our favourite foul-mouthed robot tourists continue their holiday across post-apocalyptic earth. Continuing the black humour and sharp social commentary of the original episode, Exit strategies delves into what should be bleak topics such as cannibalism, rogue AI, and hierarchal abandonment in hilarious moments showcasing the worst of human tendencies. Luckily our feline friends have fared much better.
Jibaro is a stunning episode that encapsulates the artistic creativity found at the heart of Love, Death + Robots. Director Alberto Mielgo uses the backdrop of the Conquistador’s invasion of South America to tell a stunning tale of greed and a toxic relationship. The animation, music, and sound design are enrapturing bringing the quality of this show to new heights.
2. Bad Travelling
While part of the driving force behind the series, Bad Travelling is the first episode that renowned director David Fincher sits in the director’s chair. A tale with no heroes, this unnerving and thrilling episode tells the story of a ship invaded by a monstrous crab who gives the crew captain an impossible task of sating its hunger with his own crew while they must transport it to a locally inhabited island. While the captain devises a plan to deceive the monster below deck his moral compass is less than heroic as he manipulates his crew into acts of mutiny and cowardice so he can pick them off one by one to keep the monster’s hunger at bay. Bad Travelling is Fincher’s first animated feature but his artistic touch can be seen all over this bleak episode as he once again shows the worst of humanity.
1. Kill Team Kill
Certainly lacking the artistry of Jibaro and the commentary of Bad Travelling; Kill Team Kill is unashamed in casting off metaphor and creative flair for just balls-to-the-wall action and juvenile humour as this hilarious episode pays homage to uber-masculine 80s action films. Following a team of foul-mouthed and immature Green Berets tasked with tracking and eliminating a government asset gone rogue, the team finds themselves prey to a robotic grizzly bear that appears nigh unstoppable. Kill Team Kill for me encapsulates perfectly that punk rock edge the series was known for in its initial season, boasting slick 2D animation, crude humour, and heaps of blood and guts for an insanely entertaining 14-minute runtime.
Let us know below your favourite episodes or least favourite.
Thanks for reminding me to watch the last two seasons of this gourmet show!
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