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The Tall Grass is the fifth episode of the second volume, and the overall twenty-third episode of LOVE DEATH + ROBOTS.

3 Symbols:

  1. Tall grass
  2. Tall grass
  3. Tall grass

Episode Synopsis

During a journey across the prairie, a man becomes transfixed by distant, ghostly lights.

Plot

A train chugs through a vast prairie at night. Our main character, Laird, reads a newspaper in his train car, looking up as the rail man peeks into his window from the hallway. He thinks nothing of it, looking out the window at the scene passing before him. Suddenly, the train grinds to a stop. Laird gets up to investigate, stepping through the empty train and out onto the gravel tracks to have a smoke. The rail man joins him outside to inform him that they're taking a brief stop to build up steam. Before walking off towards the rear car, he issues a vague warning: "...don't wander. Once we're ready to go, I'll call for you to get on board, but only twice. Then we go no matter what". Laird gives him a strange look before lighting his cigarette.

Out in the prairie overrun by tall grass, Laird has noticed strange blue lights that glow and then fade. Overtaken by his curiosity like a complete f-ing idiot, he wanders out to investigate. Continuing to smoke, he grows more suspicious by the second, the rustling noises in the grass unnerving him. He begins to panic when he hears the rail man call "all aboard!". Once, twice. Laird shouts to him, but he's unable to see the right direction back to the train over the grasses. Running towards what he thinks are the tracks, he stumbles upon one of the lights getting brighter by the second just a few feet in front of him. Pulling aside the grass, he is horrified by what he sees: a creature worse than death. It is clear that it was once human, but almost all facial features had vanished, pale grey skin stretched over every inch of its body. The only human-like thing about it was its form and its gaping, needle tooth-filled mouth that lets out a horrible cry when it spots him.

The creature lunges at him, and as Laird turns to flee, he tumbles down a hill into a pit in the field. He fumbles for his glasses that have flown from his face, and when they are placed once more on his nose, he is face to face with half a dozen creatures that tear after him. He kicks and crawls out of the pit, spotting the lights of the train through the grass. He dashes to the tracks, yelling for someone, anyone, to hear him. Before Laird can make it, he is thrown to the ground. The creatures have caught up to him. Looking death right in the face, he closes his eyes, accepting his fate. Suddenly, red is all he can see. Fire blazes in front of him, startling the monsters and forcing them away. Laird turns to see the rail man, and doesn't hesitate before sprinting away with him to climb aboard the back of the train. They are out of breath, terrified, but safe. The rail man remarks on how badly the things in the grass hate fire, and how he's sure that they used to be people at some point. He theorizes that they were souls that got lost crossing the plain, and every once in a while, the train stops in the grass and a passenger is taken by them. He turns to enter the train, and we look out to the fading plain from Laird's view. The last we see are the blue lights in the field following the train, but unable to catch it as it speeds off into the night.


Characters

Trivia

  • Not all the icons in Love, Death and Robots are static. Many of the images shift or change during the few seconds that they're shown on screen, reflecting the importance of animation in the series. In season 2, three episodes have unchanging symbols — "Snow in the Desert," "Pop Squad" and "The Drowned Giant." The "Snow in the Desert" icons are a strawberry, a symbol of the fertile Earth that Snow remembers (and the strawberry he eats); a large "X" identical to the "death" symbol in the series logo, foreshadowing the multiple deaths in the episode; and an upside-down heart with two dots, perhaps indicating the unexpected romantic connection between Snow and Hirald.[1]
  • The "Pop Squad" icons are more specific. The dilated eye is an image that appears in the episode, a visual representation of the immortality most characters attain through advanced medicine. The hat is a reference to Detective Briggs and more specifically, his role as a rogue detective. The style is reminiscent of film noir, a genre where tough, dysfunctional detectives often rebel against a corrupt law enforcement system to do the right thing, as Briggs does in "Pop Squad." His death wish and his ultimate end also fit the genre.[1]
  • The last icon shows a stuffed dinosaur which, in the short, is a reoccurring symbol of childhood innocence that haunts Briggs. The icons that appear before "The Drowned Giant" are a little more straightforward. The skull with x's for eyes represents the death of the giant, while bones literally appear in the episode after the giant decomposes. The short ends with the image of a gigantic phallus in a tent — not subtle, but lighthearted.[1]
  • The remaining five episodes of Love, Death and Robots season 2 include animated icons. Before "Automated Customer Service," a robot icon vacuums the sunglasses off the iconographic head next to it, foreshadowing Vacuubot's quest to purge a house of all living things. A cactus represents the Western retirement community in which the short is set. The three icons for "All Through the House" include a Christmas tree with ornaments that rearrange into a face, hinting at the surprising and horrifying creature awaiting two children after they sneak downstairs to catch Santa. An image of a wrapped present represents the reward for good girls and boys the short centers on, while a droplet of sweat or possibly blood adds an element of horror.[1]
  • The "Life Hutch" icons provide the most hints to the events of the short, with a hand that starts whole and ends with two broken fingers, warning of the bloody fight awaiting a grounded pilot. An asteroid represents the intergalactic space war that acts as a backdrop for the short, and a flashlight depicts the basic tool that ultimately becomes critical for the pilot's survival.[1]
  • In an unusual title card, the three icons for "The Tall Grass" are all the same (similar to the icons used for the season 1 short, "Zima Blue") — patches of tall grass animated to sway. The identical icons are an appropriate representation of the Love, Death and Robots short, where the tall grass is prominently featured as a setting, symbol of rurality and home for hidden horrors.[1]
  • "Ice" has the icons most loosely connected to the story — a hand flipping the bird that is one of the final images of the short, an ice cube and a pipe with smoke coming out, the drug of choice for modded teenagers.[1]

Gallery

Below are screenshots of the episode.

References

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