The Let's Play Archive

Blade Runner

by Scorchy

Part 10: Act II - You Slit The Throat Of The Nearest Sow. Why Is That?

Act II - You Slit The Throat Of The Nearest Sow. Why Is That?

Before we head down to Aminoid Row to follow up on some leads, we're gonna take a tour around the police station first, as there's some amusing stuff here.

We can try dropping into Guzza's office...

... but he's not here. It's random when he decides to lug his fat ass out of here, but if he's absent we can poke around his office. On top of his desk is a weapons shipment invoice.


Upstairs is Jack, the guy in charge of the armoury.

He's also responsible for the firearms training course, where you can practice your target shooting. Kinda like Duck Hunt. Unfortunately the course is pretty much fucked on newer computers and doesn't load properly, so I can't show you.

It would have been great if McCoy was running around hunting Reps with an assault rifle, but no dice. He has to make due with the same gun Deckard uses:

Which is apparently some Steyr bolt action rifle with the stock and barrel removed, and a pistol grip added.

I guess that's cool and all, but can someone explain why there are two triggers?

Anyway, let's head back into the ESPER room. On the right, there's a mainframe computer where you can upload your clues, and also download the evidence from other cases and other detectives.

If we check our PDA again, we notice that Crystal's been working a bombing incident that happened over at the Tyrell building not long ago:

She also conducted an interview with some sort of Replicant-sympathizing hippie.

With most of the animals dead and the Earth destroyed by nuclear winter, I guess the only cause leftists have left is Replicant equality.

Problem is, Replicant-sympathizers are quite dangerous; since a lot of our detective work is based on observing people's behaviour, and Replicant-sympathizers can act a lot like Replicants sometimes. Killing a Rep nets us a paycheck; killing a Rep-sympathizer lands us in jail for murder.

Hmm. The Rastafarian guy must have been the same bomber who killed the fat guy, Dr. Eisenduller. The blonde Asian guy is someone new though, we'll have to keep an eye out for him. So many Reps to keep track of.

This Grigorian guy must still be in jail, so let's go down to the lockup and have a chat.

This guy is a whiny douchebag send-up of hippie protester. Still, a lot of the points he brings up are representative of how fucked up and authoritarian this society has become.

In many ways, Replicants have become the big bogeyman that the politicians have trotted out here. If you look at the present debate on, I don't know, illegal immigration in America, you see a lot of the same arguments. "They're different from us. They're dangerous and shouldn't be here. They're stealin' our jobs. They're different from us. And hey, they're different from us!"

Luckily, McCoy can be a huge asshole!

Welcome to our first Voigt-Kampff Empathy test, a little minigame to determine if someone's a Replicant. In the movie, the apparatus looked like this:

Don't worry, I'll explain what the fuck this does.

Basically, the idea is this: Replicants, even the advanced NEXUS models, don't have fully developed empathy synapses; they have problems feeling empathy for other humans, and especially animals. It's a tiny little thing, but humans have clung to it to differentiate themselves from their robot creations: you're indistinguishable in every other way, but you can't feel empathy, therefore I am still superior.

The apparatus is designed to measure capillary action in the face (blushing), eye dilation, the subject's respiration rate. Usually this is in response to some moral stimulus, like a really provoking question.

The point is, if a human really feels repulsion in reaction to a question, they'll have a physical response right away. If it's a Replicant, then they can't feel empathy, and they have to fake the blushing and eye dilation; in that instance, there's a slight reaction delay, and the machine can sense it like a lie detector. The faster the response, the more human they are.

What that really means is you get to ask a bunch of hilariously inappropriate questions and wait to hear the subject's outraged reactions. Not quite dead baby jokes, but they'll usually involve a dead animal or two, and there's still some funny stuff in there.

Okay, even a mild dead baby joke.

Aww, guess he's not a Rep. This is just our test subject, but we'll get to use the VK test out in the field soon.

Anyway, the fact that it's the ability to feel empathy that separates humans and Replicants isn't random; Philip K. Dick was trying to strike a contrast. The band of renegade Replicants, who stick together and look out for each other, are shown as very emotive, despite their supposed lack of empathy. Then it's juxtaposed against these Blade Runners/bounty hunters like Deckard, who are required to not feel empathy towards Replicants in order to do their jobs. They invented a whole euphemism for killing Reps - retirement - so they don't have to feel so bad about it.

This is why the whole 'Deckard is a Replicant' version of the movie is retarded. Deckard is shown to be an asshole, basically - he's stared too long into the abyss and became the thing that he hunts, a robot unable to feel empathy. He's not the hero; he's the bad guy. He shoots a couple of women in the back, then he fucks a dishwasher. The Replicants on the other hand - they end up being the good guys, desperately trying to extend their lives despite the cruelties of their creators. The empathy lies in the audience being able to connect more with the Replicant's plight than that of Deckard's. In essence, the Replicants are shown to be more human than the human. That's the contrast that makes the movie.

And then suddenly Deckard is suppose to be a Replicant? That just makes no fucking sense. I think Ridley Scott was trying too hard to do the whole 'twist' thing and missed the thread.