The Big O II: Act 19- Eyewitness

(Act 18: The Greatest Villain)

An old black sedan, at first resembling Roger Smith’s Griffon, is smashed within a press as a scrap yard. An old man and his worker android, and best friend, are just finishing up the day’s work and discussing when next to go out for supplies like food and high quality oil for the android, when out of the blue, a dart latches onto the back of the android. The dart pulsates a red glowing light that begins slow and then speeds up rapidly before unleashing a powerful explosion, which utterly destroys the android. The assassin slinks off undetected.

Dan Dastun and his Military Police regiment are on the case, which is one out of a number of developing cases in which androids have been assassinated in the same manner. A Paradigm investigator appears on the scene to help handle the case, much to Dastun’s chagrin. He is only further incensed when he finds out that the investigator, R. Frederick O’Reilly, is actually and android himself who has been sent to work alongside Dastun specifically for this case. Elsewhere, Roger’s existential questioning begins anew as he explains that forty years, not only the memories of human beings, but the memories of androids as well, were all lost. Could these androids being targeted, like the humans previously who began to recover memories, have become targets because their own memories began to surface?

At Roger’s mansion, recent repairs on Big O have been completed for the most part, and all that remains to put on the finishing touches is to retrieve some oil to grease the Megadeus’ joints. Norman sends out Dorothy on this errand, which works out as she too needs to retrieve premium oil for herself and the oil drums weigh a ton. However, on her way back from the market, the assassin makes an appearance and shoots Dorothy with a homing bomb. The message is clear: the assassin is targeting androids through their connection with this particular oil vendor. The purpose of these assassinations, however, remains completely unclear. Norman, who decided to leave the mansion on second thought, watches as Dorothy is hit with the bomb and tries his best to pull off the incendiary device to no avail. Luckily, Dorothy is no lightweight. She catapults into traffic, takes control a man’s car by manipulating the wheel through the windshield after breaking it with a swift kick, and then she manages to get close enough to a large semi-truck, which knocks the bomb off of her side with the force of its grazing impact.

The whole affair is one of the most dynamic action sequences thus far in The Big O. And the encounter results in Dorothy’s being detained by Dastun and ‘Freddie’ the Android Investigator for further questioning, as she is the titular eyewitness. In fact, she is the only eyewitness as all other androids that came into contact with the assassin have been killed.

Dastun, meanwhile, has remained openly hostile to Freddie’s presence and dislikes the fact that he must have a partner in this investigation. When the two go out to a rich district of the domes to interview an old man whose android friend and companion was previously killed by the assassin. Freddie takes this opportunity to make his disdain for Dastun known as well as he chides Dastun for interviewing a man who could give them no useful information regarding the identification of the assassin.

Elsewhere, Roger has been interviewing the old man at the scrapyard who lost his friend as well. The man seems to have some knowledge of mechanics and hopes to be able to remember enough memories to one day rebuild his friend anew. Later, Roger visits the Big Ear, the Informer at the town’s Speakeasy Club. He alludes to the fact that in Paradigm City, people are generally safe and murder and crime rates are extraordinarily low. He explains that the only time this truism proves false is when someone foolishly claims to have recovered memories from forty years ago, and thereby hints toward the fact that some of these androids who have been targeted may have been doing likewise. He gives us, the viewers, a bit of background explication by explaining that all of Paradigm’s previous efforts to extract memories from forty years ago out of the memory banks of androids have proven totally futile, despite the androids memory’s not functioning like human beings. There is one theory that in the universe of The Big O, something in fact did occur. However, if even android memory banks contain no information prior to the mythical Event, maybe this assumption is false.

At the end of the conversation, Big Ear alludes to the possibility that the androids could be experiencing false memories, like deja vu. However, Dorothy was a target and we know for a fact that she was not experiencing deja vu or recurrence of once-forgotten memories. No, it seems that the assassin is merely targeting high-functioning androids in Paradigm City through their connection with a particular machine oil market that sells high-quality oil for androids who might merely hold the possibility of having such memories, like the Senator Roscoe Fitzgerald previously. This reasoning will later lead Roger to suspect Alan Gabriel, Alex Rosewater’s henchman and the assassin responsible for the death of Roscoe Fitzgerald whose memories never left him. Alan Gabriel is an obvious suspect as he killed the ageing Senator merely to claim the disc on which his memories had been burned: Something Alan Gabriel may now be doing to other androids in the hopes of unlocking some secret technological memories for Alex Rosewater and Paradigm Corp.’s benefit.

As such, Roger visits Paradigm Corp. to track down Alan Gabriel. He finds that Alex Rosewater is out of town, presumably in a foreign city or region far away, on business. Roger meets Angel outside, sitting within his car as he leaves the building. She reveals that Alan Gabriel likewise left the city with Rosewater, and as such, he cannot be responsible for the murders. As the two drive off toward the ocean, the sun begins to set and the mood takes romantic turn as the two muse over questions of why people retain certain memories, of why Roger can pilot the Megadeus. He tells Angel that he feels guarded around her, as if he can’t trust her, and yet he confides in her that both of them seem to share a quest, a search for the truth and a willingness to follow their questions down the rabbit hole wherever it leads.

The episode ends with Freddie and Dastun tracking down the assailant, and Freddie completing his mission: to serve as a target for the assassin who can simultaneously get close enough to kill the assassin. Freddie sacrifices an arm in the process of killing what turns out to be a mad android assassin. Outside of the city’s prison, a large Construction Megadeus, piloted by a member of the Union, appears and tries to track down and destroy Dorothy. Norman fends off the beast with his motorcycle’s heavy artillery until Big O arrives and puts the machine out of commission. Angel watches as the machine is destroyed, and she mouths a foreign word, indiscernible in nature, but quite clearly the name of one of her compatriots in the Union. After the mecha is disposed of, a red balloon floats into the air, seemingly signalling the death of the pilot inside the Megadeus.

Is Roger truly the ordained protector of Paradigm? Some sort of programmed being meant to pilot Big O as a defense against foreigners? And if so, why does Angel stay so close to him? Is it just an attempt to keep her friends close, and her enemies closer? Why did the Union target Dorothy in the Construction Megadeus? Is this somehow connected to the android assassin’s mission? And if so, how does this make any sense when the purpose of the Union is make the existence of foreigners known throughout Paradigm City? If Alex Rosewater was out of town, who sent Freddie out on this assignment? He is the first of his kind, the first android police investigator in Paradigm’s remembered history. Who could have authorized his being sent on this mission? And how much about the mission was he told before he left to complete it?

There are, in Act 19 of The Big O, way more questions than answers. Each more confounding than the next.

 

Cast in the Name of God,

Cody Ward

[Act 20: Stripes]

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