Love, Death and Robots S3: Very Pulse of the Machine Director Emily Dean Reveals Meaning Behind ‘Io’ the Machine

The third season of Netflix’s edgy adult animation series Love, Death & Robots adds nine new episodes to the wild genre mashup anthology show, including a new short tale directed by Emily Dean called “The Very Pulse of the Machine.” The majority of the episodes are adaptations of existing short tales, but “The Very Pulse of the Machine” proudly wears its literary inspiration, author Michael Swanwick’s short story of the same name, on its sleeve.

The Very Pulse of the Machine Plot

The Very Pulse of the Machine

“The Very Pulse of the Machine” delves into 2001: A Space Odyssey’s “ultimate trip” appeal. During a trip to Jupiter’s moon Io, an astronaut must drag the body of a colleague to safety, tapping into the planet’s mind along the way, and leaving one to return to base while under the influence of a heavy dose of pain medication to relieve her injuries. She begins to hear messages from the planet itself, instructing her if her mind can be believed, as she recalls a number of famous poetry and begins to hallucinate (or not).

This is by far the most psychedelic short in the collection, depicting a lone survivor in a beautiful combination of colours, forms, and music. Despite the fact that an acid trip in outer space sounds as silly as any other substance-infused experience, this short film highlights the beauty and rebirth that may be found in something as absolute as near-death.

What The Director Had To Say About Io Jupiter’s Moon

The Very Pulse of the Machine

“The Very Pulse of the Machine,” a very esoteric episode with a lot of questions about the origin of existence and mystery about what really happens to Martha Kivelson, leans into themes of exploration and loneliness. Emily Dean, the director, explains what Io the machine means.

In an interview with ScreenRant, Director Emily Dean had this to say when asked

The Very Pulse of the Machine

One part about you paring it down that I really liked was at the climax, when she asks Io, “If you’re a machine, what is your purpose?” Since I had seen the short first, when I read the story, I found it interesting that the Io actually says, “To know you, to love you and to serve you,” The poetry and the motion at that moment, simplifying that to “to know you,” is really fascinating. It’s almost all-encompassing of the three without being too expository in the telling. 

Emily Dean: Yeah. There’s a theme of loneliness in the story, and the antithesis of being lonely is to have someone know you. And I thought that was pretty beautiful.

Love, Death & Robots volume 3 is now available to stream on Netflix.


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