‘Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams’ Recap: Safe And Sound? There’s No Such Thing
Sunday’s episode of Electric Dreams was a warning to neo-luddites, hippies, and anti-technology conspiracy theorists everywhere: accept and adapt to Big Brother’s latest gadget… or else.
Teenage Foster and her politician mom (Maura Tierney) have a year-long Eastern pass out of the anti-tech “Bubbles” and into the device-dependent, high-security modern world on the East Coast of what used to be the United States. Mom is there to fight the fake news that claims that Bubbles have been sending terrorists across the divide to kill Easterners. Is it true or just a handy excuse to get Easterners to submit the corporate controlled monitoring technology they call Dex? It seems like no one’s ever seen a terrorist attack—except on TV.
Foster, however, wants a Dex. Badly—because, duh, all the teenagers have them. It gets her into school without being frisked, it helps her do her homework, and it keeps her “safe” (or so says the company). Also, Ethan, the tech support guy from Dex, is her only friend in a school where she’s called a terrorist and set up for humiliation by the other kids.
But then Ethan starts popping up in her ear when she hasn’t asked for him—half-flirting and half-asking her to spy on other students. He makes her feel like she has a purpose, and she does, only Foster doesn’t find out what it is until much later. Soon, even though her mother has found out she secretly got her hands on a Dex and has confiscated it, Foster begins to hear Ethan’s voice all the time. He comes to her through (he says) sunbeams and insect antennae.
Most teenagers would be annoyed but Foster’s dad heard voices too, the kind that made everyone think he was crazy. Is Foster crazy or do ants really have antennae compatible with futuristic technology? We don’t know and Foster doesn’t know either, which leaves her in a very vulnerable state. Ethan has made her question everything and everyone and has left just one path open if she wants the answers she needs to feel safe again.
Manipulating her into building a bomb and taking it to school, Ethan promises he’ll stop her attack before anyone gets hurt. He’s true to his word (this once). She’s caught, but she doesn’t get in trouble. The company Ethan works for has been planning to blame the attack on Foster’s troublemaking politician mother all along, saying she emotionally abused her daughter and forced her to carry out the attack—a new Bubble tactic in this probably imaginary war. The attack allows the company behind Dex to implement even more invasive “security” measures—all in the name of safety.