Air Date: 5th March 2018
Director: Peter Horton
Writers: Travis Beachman, Philip K. Dick
Emily Juno Temple is travelling to work and all seems good in the world as she admires an AUTOFAC billboard by the side of the road. Well, until the radio announces a rise in hostility between America and Russia and that missile above heading straight into the city skyline.
After the war, the land was decimated.
All lay in waste. Except the great factories that kept working, churning out goods for the slaughtered consumers.
Emily now finds herself as part of a group of survivors living in a savaged wasteland as they head out for a mission. The mission consists of shooting down a delivery drone from the AUTOFAC, but why? Emily’s plan is to hack into the server from the drone in order to make contact with the factory and her only way in is through Customer Support, I’m pizzled! AUTOFAC respond and will send a representative out to them in order to help them resolve their issue.
The group hold a meeting to discuss their plan about trying to persuade the factory to shut itself down. Other members of the group strongly disagree and want them to get rid of the server, so that they can simply survive. Conrad Morrison David Lyons says that “man made the AUTOFAC and man must unmake it.” besides, the factory is poisoning and polluting the environment around them, their Eden will be dead soon anyway. Emily meets up with her boyfriend Avishai Nick Eversman who has a great collection of books that will help rebuild the world, eventually. Emily has been collecting items herself from a world that once was, including a copy of Wired Magazine. Avishai tells Emily that he loves her and she fails to respond, well that went well. Anyway, the Complaints Department has arrived.
Conrad explains to help bot Alice Janelle Monáe that the factory deliveries are redundant and that it must close down. Alice responds by saying that AUTOFAC will not terminate and the factory exists to serve the humans. Emily is left with no choice but to shut down Alice, access her server and try to reprogram her. Another flashback, Emily now has a razor-blade and is cutting into her own skull.
Alice seems more human now and explains that she knows the group have been hacking drones and that AUTOFAC will come looking for her. Emily is unable to reprogram Alice because her matrix is far more complicated than she thought. Instead, she threatens her with a complete mind-wipe unless she gets her and her friends into the factory. Judging by the fear in Alice’s face, they are in. The original plan to shut down the factory isn’t going to work anymore but the group have something else in mind instead. Time to blow the place up with some Nuclear Warheads.
Alice leads the group inside the factory and each member will plant their bomb and meet topside before detonation. Sounds simple enough but Conrad and another member are followed and killed.
Emily is still with Alice as they enter a chamber filled with bots. Unfortunately, after smashing one of the capsules, one of them looks just like Emily. Emily says the AUTOFAC is trying to replace the humans, Alice replies that she is wrong, they already have. Emily finds herself lying on an examination table with cables running from her own matrix and into the factory system. Alice explains that the humans were all killed after the war and the factory had to create new consumers, which most are doing, apart from their little group.
Not to worry though as her friends will be destroyed soon. Alice has spoken too soon as something starts to go wrong with the system. Turns out Emily knew she was a bot all along, she managed to look through the filters of her skull and hid a virus in her own program.
As the factory computer begins to malfunction, Emily says she has been dreaming about someone else’s memories and asks Alice who was she modelled after? Another flashback and Emily is reading the Wired Magazine she has been saving all those years and on the front cover is Emily Zabriskie. Alice says she was modelled on a brilliant woman who created the AUTOFAC and Emily replies, “and now she has unmade it” Emily looks up as the factory turns to darkness.
Emily returns home to find it has survived, along with her boyfriend who is waiting for her.
Production and design.
The attention to detail in this episode was amazing and some scenes are pretty special. I did notice a few visual Easter eggs in there. The scene when Alice arrives at the camp is very reminiscent of The Day the Earth Stood Still and when Alice takes the group inside the factory is most definitely taken from Blade Runner.
I thought the killer robot inside the factory was superbly designed and I was left wanting to see more of him/her. It reminded me of the Predator but more terrifying.
The flashback scenes worked pretty well and showing the inside of the Wired Magazine at the end was a great idea. Basically, everything involving the AUTOFAC looked perfect. Something that didn’t really impress me though was the group camp! I fully understand that there is only some much you can do with a budget but I thought it looked way too pretty. In my imagination, it would have looked far more brutal and a lot darker. Some views in England already look like the back of a fridge and this camp would be an ideal escape from all of that. It just felt a bit Dawson’s Creek to me and pretty clean to be fair. I shouldn’t moan really but it really took me out of the story sometimes. apart from that tiny little gripe, I thought this episode looked amazing.
I have Autofac by Philip K. Dick on my Kindle funnily enough, but I have decided that I am only going to read these stories once I have finished reviewing this series. Only because I want to enjoy them on their own without comparing them. When I first started the series, I didn’t think about the changes that would be made to the original material but I’m guessing it could be quite a lot. This technology is already being tested now and could be around very soon, is it a good thing or a bad thing? I’m not sure but it’s happening anyway.
After watching these episodes, I’m often left wondering what is Philip K. Dick trying to tell me? Well, to be honest, I am a little confused by this one. Is it that some tragedies are created on purpose and some with the best intentions, by accident? Is it that life will find a way once we all perish? Or is it just a simple story about living your best life. I guess there are a lot of things to take away from it, but I guess that what attracts me to Philip K. Dick, he leaves me wondering about the story; for a very long time after it has finished.
So what are your thoughts on Autofac? What did it mean to you? I would love to hear your views about this episode. Thanks for reading and I will be back soon.