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Three Robots is the second episode of the first volume of LOVE DEATH + ROBOTS.

3 Symbols:

  • One-Eyed Skull
  • Cycloptic Pyramid
  • Dripping Hamburger

Episode Synopsis

Long after the fall of humanity, three robots embark on a sightseeing tour of a post-apocalyptic city.

Plot

In a post apocalyptic city taking place long after the fall of humanity, three robots emerge; a tall skeleton-shaped robot, XBOT 4000, K-VRC, a diminutive doll-like robot, and an unnamed triangular bot with a flat electronic assistant's voice. They arrive in the city to embark on a sightseeing trip and XBOT complains that they are totally lost until VRC pulls out a map and finds the perfect place to visit next. The purpose of their vacation is trying to understand how humans lived based on their limited knowledge of them and the things they left behind.

Their first stop is to learn the concept of human sports when they come across an abandoned gymnasium and happen upon a real-life basket ball, which VRC bombastically refers to as "the entertainment sphere" and dares XBOT to play with. He complies, but their lack of knowledge for what a basketball was used for leads to ultimately anticlimactic results.

At their next stop, an old vintage diner, the triangular bot reactivates a juke box and checks out the rest of the building while XBOT and VRC try to understand the concept of human consumption when they find an old, never-been-touched hamburger. The boys come to understand how humans generated energy, which XBOT still didn't fully understand since they all have fusion batteries for power. While Tri pretends to be a waitress, she explains the physical nature of consumption involving teeth and the stomach which still doesn't totally make sense to robots. Their conversation leads to the question of how humans were actually "made". With no discernable creator signature, Tri says that they were created by "an unfathomable deity who created them for no apparent reason out of dust". Or just from "a very warm soup". She scores a souvenir trucker hat from a deceased human skeleton and the bots head off for their next stop.

They come to an apartment where they are admiring a creature that humans apparently had for no reason. The creature they are beholding is a real live cat, which, according to Tri, are most important since human internet presence was virtually dedicated to cat photos and other galore. The cat awakens and walks over to XBOT, purring and rubbing itself on his legs and ultimately leaping onto his lap, much to his object terror on account of not knowing anything about it's behavioral habits (including whether or not it's just being friendly). The bots try to figure out how to safely get the cat off him and VRC suggests irritating it by petting it, which only makes it purr. They take the purring as a sign of imminent danger due to the belief from a historical card game that it's been "activated", and if the purring ever stops, it'll explode. The only logic they can think of for why humans had cats was for a matter of "kindred spirits" and Tri takes a photo of XBOT with the cat still on him.

The cat follows them to their next stop to an old computer store where they learn about their origins. XBOT comes across an XBOT-3, an early game console for humans to which VRC suggests that it's his ancestor from a few thousand generations back, numerically speaking. However, XBOT dismisses it as mere coincidence. When the conversation leads to teasing, the only thing keeping him from disintegrating VRC with his shoulder rifle is the cat that followed them there. Tri especially agrees with XBOT's desire to not turn the system on since joking about genealogy is one thing and another is watching an ancestor "heaving it's hard drives in front of you". The bots inevitably leave the store when the phrase "teabag" comes up in the conversation and XBOT's curiosity makes him commit the irreversible mistake of looking it up on the internet. On their way out, VRC shares the fact that he traces his ancestral origin back to a line of baby monitors.

The bot's final stop is a nuclear missile base, where the point of warheads was to annihilate as many humans as possible as quick as possible. Tri explains that instead of warheads wiping them out, humans died out from environmental disasters caused by their own actions, such as poisoning the water supply, killing the landscape, and contaminating the air. Bottom line: "They just screwed themselves for being a bunch of morons". On the way out, VRC states that at one point, humans genetically engineered their cats with opposable thumbs. The cat that's been following them all afternoon then proves this by showing it can speak and indirectly confessing that they assisted with the extinction of humans. The cat demands to continue being petted, while many other cats in the base corner the three robots and they all agree to "extend their vacation".

Characters

Trivia

  • This episode is based on the eponymous short story of John Scalzi.
  • The car showed at the beginning of the episode appears to be a FIAT Panda
  • All three robots were programmed for various purposes: XBOT 4000 was built for military (yet somehow evolved from a game console), K-VRC was built as a baby monitor, and the Triangular Bot was built for information and services.
  • The triangular robot is voiced by virtual assistant Alexa.
  • For unknown reasons, there is a cargo ship that somehow crashed into a building that is built far from any coastline and is several stories from the ground.
  • The internet is still functional for XBOT looked up the meaning of "teabag".
  • It's odd how a basketball remains in perfect condition after years, if not decades, of use. Not to mention still having plenty of air within it.
    • The only logical explanation would be that it's a brand-new ball maintained by cats, as they are clearly intelligent enough to assist in the extinction of the human race. The only thing that remains a mystery is for what purpose.

On May 17, 2021, series creator Tim Miller and supervising director Jennifer Yuh Nelson announced the "Three Robots" sequel during a live Reddit AMA where multiple users asked whether Love, Death + Robots would revisit any stories from previous seasons in Volume 3. This was the only "Easter egg" for Volume 3 they were allowed to give out during the AMA.[1]

Gallery

Below are screenshots of the episodes.

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