'Artificial: Remote Intelligence' Week 6 Review: Battle lines are drawn between Elle and Matt's methods
Spoilers for 'Artificial: Remote Intelligence' Week 6 'Love and Lies'
The new season of 'Artificial' is very different from what we're used to — not just because of the remote aspect that's been brought about by the pandemic. Though she may look the same, Lilith (Tiffany Chu) is an all-new artificial intelligence, and this time around, her development is being overseen by very different people — Elle (Christy St John) and Justin (Justin Lee).
However, with Dr Matt Lin (Tohoru Masamune) back on board the project, it's more obvious than ever how different his outlook on raising an AI is from Elle's and Justin's. As far as Sebastian (Stephen Chang) is concerned, only one of them is worth pursuing. This episode started slow. The choice to make a largely neutral-toned character also be sarcastic continues to be one of the cringe-worthy parts of the series, and the light ribbing that goes back and forth between Elle, Justin and Lilith is yet to be entirely engaging.
Elle and Justin are obviously geared towards a younger audience, and as they make fun of each other, indulge in gossip, and spend a surprising amount of time talking about who to ship Justin with, it is tempting to feel like the show isn't taking itself seriously. Speaking of Justin's ships, however, this episode introduces the chat-created Kira (Alejandra Reynoso) to the show, as Justin's ex, and a private investigator who has been watching the show and is worried about how Justin is doing. Kira is instantly endearing, and does a good job of naturalizing her very strange character quirks — such as drinking exclusively strawberry milk and using the catchphrase "Milk doesn't lie."
Kira's return also sees the return of the other focus in Justin's life — Carmen (La Trice Harper) — and Lilith is determined to pursue the idea of "shipping." After an audience vote, Lilith ships Justin and Carmen together which has led to a worryingly quick dislike of Kira on Lilith's part. Matt is having none of this. He believes that the key to Lilith's development lies in deeper issues, such as the development of empathy, and challenging Lilith on an emotional level, and it's here that the show really picked up.
Not only is Masamune's performance a breath of fresh air, but Matt's beliefs also pull the show right back towards a deeper, more philosophical tone. His appearance calls back to earlier seasons of the show, and despite a few emotional outbursts, Matt's bringing the focus right back to where it belongs: Lilith.
It's become easy to track where the show feels like it's dragging versus where it picks up, and that is directly proportional to how much Lilith's development is the central focus. With so many characters now involved in her story, it's felt at times that Lilith herself was becoming a side character in her own series. This episode brings the focus back on her, and it is that much stronger for it.
Even the tension that is brought up towards the end of the episode is one that's very much centered on raising Lilith — the question of whose methodology is better, Elle's or Matt's? The confrontation between Matt and Elle is one of the strongest parts of the series. As good as it is to see Matt challenging Lilith more, he still carries condescension for anyone whose opinions don't line up with his own.
Defending herself, Elle manages to make a good case for why the seemingly more shallow aspects being introduced to Lilith are so important — they're still an important part of the human experience. Christy St John and Tohoru Masamune are two of the series' best performers, and seeing them go head-to-head was one of the new season's most powerful moment's so far.
The audience felt it too, as the music quickly rose to "Intense Level 3" during the scene and by all the pings in the lower right corner, would have gone straight to Level 4 if that was an option.
While some parts of the episode felt meandering, and with a few technical difficulties throwing off the actors' strides, Week 6 rallied well and showed just why this show is one of the most compelling series on the internet right now. Sebastian has drawn a very clear line in the sand between Elle and Matt and it may just be up to the audience to decide who will come out on top.
The next episode of 'Artificial: Remote Intelligence' airs on June 9 at 5 pm PT on Twitch.com/ArtificialNext.