For anyone confused about the ending to the third episode of Volume 2 of Love, Death and Robots allow us to help! We’ve been covering the remaining episodes too of Love, Death, and Robots, but here is the ending explained to Pop Squad.
In the future humanity has sacrificed the need to have children and has discovered the secret to immortality. Detective Briggs, a police officer in charge of enforcing population control faces a crisis of conscience when he is called out to destroy “unregistered offspring.”
The dinosaur plushie continued to haunt Detective Briggs as he struggled with his PTSD of putting down two children for illegally existing. Briggs traced the plushie to a store that sold children’s toys as collectibles and witnessed a woman buying a 200-year-old train, but due to how uncomfortable she was in front of him, lead him to become suspicious of her purchase.
Following the woman to her home, Briggs discovers that she lives in a rundown house somewhat hidden amongst the ruins of the abandoned parts of the city. It’s here Briggs instinct was correct and that the woman, Eve, has a small child named Melanie.
Eve explains to Briggs that living over 200 years had left her feeling like she had seen too much, but her daughter who experiences everything as something new has given her a new lease on life. She accuses Briggs of having dead eyes, as opposed to Melanie’s full of life, and wonder. When Melanie tries to play with Briggs, he instinctively reacts by pulling out his gun, almost executing the pair right there, ut Eve’s pleas to Briggs works as he walks away.
Upon walking out of Eve’s home, Briggs notices Officer Pentle walking up to the house. But with Melanie’s cries heard in the background, by walking away Briggs has broken the law. The pair standoff for a brief moment before they fatally shooting each other.
Briggs, shot in the chest, walks out into the rain, walking past the dying body of Officer Pentle, and in his last moments feels the rain on his skin, feeling truly alive one last time before succumbing to his wounds.
Why is it illegal to have children?
In this world, humans have overcome death and now have a procedure in place that grants the user unnatural long life. Individuals can still die from wounds, but not from aging, effectively making them immortal.
If you live in a world where very few people are dying, and the majority are living for hundreds of years, any newborns who grow to become adults will become immortal themselves, which means the population will never decrease. If the population never decreases then it will eventually lead to an overrun world where everyone will live impoverished due to the lack of resources. Briggs even describes it as;
We can’t keep inviting people to the party if no one ever leaves.
By choosing to make it illegal for anyone to have children leaves humanS decades, if not centuries to pursue their worldly desires, such as Alice, who spent 20 years perfecting the solo of an Opera.
Why does Briggs let Melanie live?
It’s unclear how old Briggs is but it can be assumed he’s centuries-old like Eve. In that time Briggs is likely to have killed an unspeakable number of children, and while he may have grown numb to the job for some time, it has clearly had an impact on the detective to the point where it has given him PTSD.
While not everyone chooses to have children or even want them, as a species humans are biologically programmed with the need to mate, and to produce offspring to ensure the survival of our race. In this world, the introduction of immortality has torn away a lot of what it means to be human, especially tearing away the opportunity for anyone to become a parent.
While Alice jokingly states she would allow Briggs to get her pregnant were immortality not a thing, the throwaway joke evidently has an impact on Briggs.
In the small amount of time Briggs spent with Melanie and Eve, he is shown to have some level of humanity left as he watches Melanie play, even smiling while she does so.
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