The Big O II: Act 18- The Greatest Villain

(Act 17: Leviathan)

The setting is Paradigm’s top-security prison on an undisclosed island near the city’s shore. Beck and his goons have been imprisoned within this place for some time, but their 723 year sentence for Megadeus-instigated terrorism seems just as endless as ever. Beck has managed to dig under the floor of the prison where the wires for the security system of the entire island are housed. He has also managed to find some conductive wire and attached it to a few pieces of metal silverware, which he has one of his lackeys dangle outside of the window during a particularly egregious storm in the hopes of attracting lightning, feeding it into the system, and thereby straining its capacity to function.

The plot works and the three depart their island prison, but they are all electrocuted in the process, rendering Beck’s blonde coiffure totally frizzy and unmanageable, albeit pretty fashionable. When the three make it back to Paradigm, they somehow manage to get a job working as techies for the Yoshifura Yakimoto Corp. family who construct the domes above the city. From this Japanese enclave of cherry trees, incomprehensible language (within the context of the series), and short businessman, Beck begins construction of a new Megadeus and a plot to destroy Roger Smith once and for all.

Back at Roger’s home, he awakens late into the day at the urging of Dorothy who is playing the piano loudly and obnoxiously in the parlor above his room. He takes a call for a Negotiation job and finds himself driving toward the Yoshifura Yakimoto Industries complex only to immediately be abducted by Beck and his two peons. After not arriving home for dinner that night, Dorothy, Norman, and Dastun’s suspicions are aroused that something might be up. The following morning, Dastun receives a package at his office with Roger’s tie within. He visits Dorothy and Norman and waits there with a group of police officers in the hopes that the kidnappers will call and Dastun can render a much-needed Negotiation job, in this case ironically negotiating to retrieve Roger THE Negotiator of Paradigm City. Instead, Dorothy answers the phone and takes on this position herself, and then rides off quickly on her bicycle toward the meet-up location with a briefcase full of Big O communicator watches: the key to Big O’s operation being the ransom ‘money’.

Meanwhile, in a warehouse in Paradigm’s Japanese enclave, Beck has strapped Roger to a large cross (again symbolizing his potential role as savior figure in the series, albeit a bit more on the nose than in any previous instance). On the cross is a mechanism that scans Roger’s facial muscles and constructs a digital map of his entire facial anatomy. Later, Beck reveals a the torso and head of a Roger clone he has constructed, which mimics Roger’s every word and move. The goal will eventually be disclosed and we will learn that the purpose of this clone is as a proxy by which Beck can later control Big O by using a perfect copy of Roger Smith’s voice and facade. If such a thing were to work it would have the doubly troubling consequence of proving once and for all that Big O may be a sentient machine, but that it does not connect with its Dominus in a real emotional or metaphysical manner, otherwise it would not follow the orders of a mere bust of Roger smith.

Roger eventually breaks free from his bonds and calls Big O, but his communicator watch is quickly taken from him by Beck as he encloses Roger within a glass case too dense for him to break out of. the Roger Bust is sent out with the communicator activated and attached to its neck. It is attached to a cart that drives it off and toward the sea, all the while the Roger clone mimes the real Roger and calls out ‘Big O! Big O! Big O!’ on an annoying, though hilarious loop. When Dorothy finally arrives, she beats Beck’s subordinates into a pulp, delivers the payload of now-useless communicator watches to Beck, and then begins to speak with Roger. Some sort of amorous feelings between Roger and Dorothy are obvious, and Beck makes light of the situation, asking Roger whether Dorothy is his robot lover. Roger responds that it is preposterous, but is quickly reprimanded by Dorothy who calls him cruel and asks for elaboration on why such a thing would be preposterous. Roger tells her to knock it off and to focus on the situation at hand, and then, in one of the series most hot and heavy moments thus far Dorothy speaks: ‘I understand. A villain has kidnapped the man that I work for. The man that I love.’

The whole scene is bordering on melodrama at this point and Roger is obviously flustered, his cheeks flushed, he yells out: ‘R. Dorothy Wayneright!’ And then Dorothy reveals that she was merely playing a joke and trying to lighten the mood. Androids, and specifically those of Dorothy’s ilk, are notoriously bad at emoting. Here, it lead to a situation that reveals to us, the viewers, how Roger truly feels about Dorothy. It also makes Dorothy seem more wooden than almost ever before, as if she really is just an android without human emotions, that she is merely a calculating being whose perceived emotion at times is merely something Roger, and us viewers and voyeurs by extension, are projecting onto her. Moreover, the scene is played on a second, comical level that is atypical of The Big O as a whole, albeit fitting with this, and the other two episodes that feature the show’s comic relief: Beck. The question becomes this: Do we take the show’s common tonality as the rule in this case? If so, Dorothy becomes doubly calculating, her message to Roger Smith being absolutely genuine, and a real representation of her emotional valences, of her basic humanity, which she then modulates and pulls back from as a joke in order to prevent Roger from becoming more flustered, losing face in front of an enemy, and ultimately, being forced to once again question what it means to be human. All three of which are not states that help in the current situation.

Next, Dorothy forcefully breaks Roger out of his glass prison, which prompts Roger to tell her about his tenth rule: ‘A Negotiator only uses force as a last resort.’ She merely responds that she doesn’t plan to join in his occupation full-time. Then, in another hilarious turn, Beck once again uses a magnet to pull Dorothy to the ceiling above. From this vantage point, he tries to load a program disc into her head’s CD-rom interface, but finds that she has placed taped on the inside of this interface to prevent anything from being loaded. Furthermore, she uses her hair band as a boomerang to attach Beck to his own magnet. Roger frees Dorothy, and as Beck accosts the two in the background, the two totally ignore him and have another seemingly real tender moment as Dorothy returns Roger’s tie to him and asks that he do her a favor. Roger promises to do whatever it is to make it up to her for saving his skin in this situation, but the two are interrupted as Beck’s sidekicks drive into the room with a trio of vehicles created by Yoshifura Yakimoto Industries.

Outside, Big O is dangerously close to propelling over the side of the city and into the bay nearby. But just as the fake Roger plummets below, Big O stops, as if he knows that thew being using Roger’s voice and falling into the bay is not really his Dominus after all. Another possibility, a more sinister one, is that Schwarzwald was right so long ago when he wondered whether it was not the Dominus who controlled the Megadeus, but the other way around. In this case, Big O may have thought that his Dominus fell to his death, but instead of stooping to protect him in what would prove fatal to both parties, he wrote off his Dominus, knowing all the while that the Dominus is no more than a tool, and one that can be replaced at that.

Nevertheless, when the real Roger calls Big O back to him to combat the currently forming, Megazord-like Megadeus, Beck the Great RX3, Big O comes running. Despite the RX3’s appearance as a flashy, new Megadeus, and despite its construction by tech-kings like the Japanese, it turns out to be a mere pile of junk compared to the ‘ancient’ technology within Big O who destroys his opponent with a very brief volley of machine gun fire. Beck and his friends return to jail, and finally Dorothy tells Roger about her favor. Rather than it being something quaint or cute, indicating Dorothy’s deep inner emotional life, she merely asks that Roger awaken at the proper time of day and give her no more grief about awakening him with the piano when he sleeps in too late. Oh well…

 

Cast in the Name of God,

Cody Ward

[Act 19: Eyewitness]

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