Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams Recap: Steve Buscemi Makes A Bad Bet In Crazy Diamond
The second episode of Electric Dreams begins with Steve Buscemi asleep on a boat and ends with him awake and being thrown off of one. But there’s a lot that happens—both on and offshore—in between those two events.
Buscemi is the latest well-known actor to appear in the Bryan Cranston-produced anthology series based on the short stories of Philip K. Dick (we aired the Canadian premiere back in mid-November and the third instalment will hit screens on January 7). Buscemi plays Ed, a sad sack scientist-type who works for Spirit Mill, a corporation that creates a soul-esque substance that can animate lifeless humanoid beings called Jacks and Jills. The purpose behind the project? We don’t really know, but it’s definitely evolved from a place where the test subjects were coming out with human bodies and porcine faces and hooves, and a world where growing your own potatoes is basically treason.
Everyone is kind of scared of the procedure, but they also applaud it as the weird (and probably necessary?) miracle of science that it is. Except maybe those Jacks and Jills for whom the procedure doesn’t quite work. When Ed meets one of them, he’s easily pulled into her scheme to steal ten of the little egg-like souls so that she can fix herself with one (and sell the other nine for profit).
Ed agrees to help her, but then gets cold feet and begins to play both sides, trying to hold on to his wife AND the possibility of an adventurous new life sailing the seas with this mysterious Jill. Did we mention that coastal erosion is a huge problem in this near-future (and in our own)? Wrapped up in contemplating his own destiny, Ed barely notices his wife’s tone when she asks him to sign a new life insurance policy that would be very lucrative should he come to an untimely end.
Which he almost does after his cowardice reveals itself in a do or die moment with Jill and the corrupt CEO of Spirit Mill. It seems that Jill knew all along that she couldn’t count on Ed. Her Plan B falls neatly into place when the aforementioned erosion problem sucks Ed’s house into the sea. It’s the perfect cover for what Jill and Sally, Ed’s wife, are about to do next: stow away on his boat and toss him overboard once he’s sailed far enough from shore. It’s a flawlessly executed crime, except Ed washes up on shore, alive. Still, he has to live in a world where people have pig faces and sheep have human faces. We’re not sure who really won this one.