Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A+ | Grade It Now!
The Bane & The Pox Of The Pain In The Box

"They like watching your pain," says Tamara stubbornly: It's about them, it's about the cruel world we're born into, and the roles they're willing to let us have. Which is the way, Zoë finally sees, to get her there completely: "They don't care which one of us bleeds," she says, looking up at them cheering. "Look at them. Is that what you want to be? Entertainment?"

Well, when you put it that way, no. Subjectivity sounds far more reasonable. And so when I call bullshit on NCC you hear that as being a critique of yourself: You see yourself contiguous with it, isomorphic to the shape they thrust upon you. But you're the girl who killed your father. You're the girl who can't be killed. You thought being their idol, their Deadwalker, meant that you could opt out of your own personhood: At least they weren't shooting you anymore. At least it meant no active cruelty. But the secret is that "no active cruelty" doesn't mean you're any more of a person. It's still a choice they're making for you. The game is fixed.

"NCC is disgusting. It's a place for the people to come and act out their own worst impulses. To kill, rape, destroy. It's wrong." And why does Zoë care? Because she has a purpose, her own purpose, and it is good. And she knows what her purpose is: To free the Matrix itself: "I think this is it. Or a step on the way, I don't know, but I think you're supposed to help me." And here comes tomorrow.

It doesn't really matter what she says now: It's the angel's fire in her eyes that does it. It's the love behind the fire. It's in the way she reaches down to Tamara, and helps her up. How the new humanity in Zoë meets the old humanity in Tamara, and they clasp hands. And it's in the way the crowd shakes the fence at them when they stand there in the center of the arena, refusing to fight at all. The angel smiles down at her; the rest of the crowd calls it bullshit but the angel knows better and now they know better too: Starting today, you're a person.

Daniel's happy to see Tomas, when he arrives. The Board is putting together his severance package, and though Tomas assumes he'll be expected to "slink back to the Tauron dirt," Daniel assures him it's not about that. The contract is crazy good, he'll actually make a personal profit -- Just for bringing the entire company out of bankruptcy? Thanks, dude! -- and Daniel swears, against the oncoming slurry of Tauron bullshit, that it's not charity: "It is a begrudging gesture of respect. You played me well. You caught me napping and took advantage, I turned the tables. That's all part of the game. Let's shake hands and live to fight another day." Sounds good, right? If the game weren't fixed.

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