Hello, and welcome back to my review of Ghost in the Shell, Stand Alone Complex. I will say episode three had me scratching my head at first, in a good way, and I’m already finding myself humming the theme tune to this series daily. Safe to say, I’m enjoying watching this show. Let’s get started.
Early morning and androids across the city mysteriously begin to commit suicide. Aramaki and the Major visit the Genesis plant to try and find out if the creators of these androids are involved in their gruesome acts of self-destruction. While Aramaki questions the plant manager, the Major uses her thermoptic camouflage to access the company’s database. The plant manager informs Aramaki that the androids involved are all the same model, GA07-JL also known as Jeri. That model is nearly obsolete, and Genesis only sell parts to end users who like the android, because they are easy to modify to their own specifications. Inside the database, the Major discovers that a virus has been downloaded to the mainframe, more than likely by and end-user who has sent a Jeri in for a refurbishment.
Section 9 soon have a suspect, Marshall McLachlan, the son of a Canadian diplomat. Togusa and Batou visit the suspect’s apartment and after checking his home computer, realise they have their man. While Aramaki tries to revoke Marshall’s diplomatic immunity, the remaining team create a virtual roadblock that leads Marshall and his Jeri into a dead-end road. The couple head into the forest and soon find themselves surrounded by the Major, Togusa and Batou. Marshall pulls out a weapon, and before he can do anything else, the Jeri overpowers him, leaving the team to arrest him.
Now is the time to talk about the moments I enjoyed from the episode and try to understand what is happening. What a unique opening to an episode! First of all, it’s beautiful, in a strange kind of way. You have that wonderful moment at sunrise and the promise of a new day while these androids self-terminate themselves in the most brutal way. The colour tones, the sounds of the birds and the silence make it work. I have watched this episode quite a few times now, and the opening sequence is only a few seconds long, but it stayed with me for the duration of the episode. That is powerful storytelling.
I guess I will jump into my interpretation of the story. I think it comes down to the two titles of the episode. By the way, I’m not sure which one is the main title or why? If you know the reason for this, please let me know in the comments below.
Android and I.
I. I think the starts with Marshall and his problems with love, relationships and his detachment from reality. It’s not surprising that Marshall, who feels awkward around females, could form an attachment to an android he can control, to suit his insecurities. Another way to escape his fears, is to absorb himself in his movies and when you put the android and those together, he creates his perfect fantasy. Not the right path for a person to go down, but similar situations happen today and even though fictional, this demonstrates some real understanding of mental health. Does he love the android, probably not, it’s just his little version of happiness and he is in control of it, or is he?
A Modest Rebellion.
The GA07-JL androids are fascinating in this episode. I’m guessing androids are not cheap, and you could believe that a Jeri, which is becoming obsolete, would be ideal for all sorts of murky goings-on. The fact the Genesis made these androids programmable by end-users and supply aftermarket parts makes them cheap and favourable to any undesirables. Marshall’s Jeri is living a better life than most of her counterparts, but it’s still someone else’s fantasy she is living through, however! I think its his love of films that help her identify some state of consciousness. Films, along with any form of art, can help people understand their way in life. Especially the good ones. The episode itself pays homage to a French New Wave film called Breathless Someone somewhere was affected by that film and would like to share it with the viewer. I think Jeri and Marshall wrote the virus and shut the other androids down, to end their suffering. At one point, Jeri asks Marshall, “Do you believe in the existence of a soul?” And yet, he still talks about love and is lost inside his feelings. I think the main moment that led me to this conclusion is at the end, as actions speak louder than words. The section 9 team surround Marshall and Jeri, but she still acts out his fantasy, but she takes control of the situation and overpowers Marshall, so the team can arrest him.
But then again, all my thoughts could be completely wrong as the between the Section 9 team makes me believe this could be part of something bigger! When Batou asks the Major about her thoughts on the case, she says it’s pretty clear, but there is no evidence to connect it to a previous case. A case, Togusa and Batou discussed in an earlier scene. Speaking of Togusa and Batou, I’m enjoying the chemistry between these two characters and their discussions. Talking about having nostalgic feelings for old things, why Togusa looks at his gun and Batou drives his sports car, this show really looks into the human condition.