Netflix’s Love, Death & Robots Volume 3 Ranked Best To Worst

Photo-Illustration: VulturePhotos Courtesy of Netflix

Almost exactly three years after the series premiered, the third volume of Netflix’s animated anthology series Love, death and robots is back to deliver… well, the three things it promises in the title. As with last year’s much-improved Volume 2, this new run of nine episodes – some as short as 7 minutes, others as long as 21 – largely does an admirable job of serving as the show’s signature , an eclectic mix of sci-fi, horror, and comedy (and, more often than not, throws at least a few buckets of gore).

The pleasure of an anthology series like Love, death and robots queues up an episode with no idea what it’s going to be about, or even what it’s going to look like – and while some volume 3 segments dominate the others, each is worth checking out, wouldn’t it? what for the novelty of it.

I’ve ranked the nine segments below, starting with the worst and ending with the best. And as with my reviews of Volumes 1 and 2, I’ve also noted whether each segment actually features love, death, and/or robots – so you can focus on the episodes that actually deliver your favorite part of the three. of the show. jagged title.

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Love: Yes
The death: Yes
Bot: Yes

Shout out to “Swarm” to be the one Love, death and robots The Volume 3 segment will feature love, death, and robots. Unfortunately, this little morality game gives the impression Love, death and robots on autopilot, as two humans decide to exploit a seemingly benign alien race and face entirely predictable consequences. It’s also the only story in this collection that seems to really suffer due to its shortened length – the speed at which Rosario Dawson’s character goes from “I can’t let you do that” to “Okay, I’ll help you do this” is completely unconvincing.

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Love: Nope
The death: Yes
Bot: Yes

And they say you can’t build a better mousetrap. Craig Ferguson and Dan Stevens lend some vocal power to this joyous and utterly forgettable story, which follows a Scottish farmer who enlists a small army of robots to wage war against an army of rats that have infested his barn. There are some clever world-building details sprinkled throughout – like the reveal that World War III apparently happened at some point in this universe, which sets the stage nicely for the ‘give peace a chance’ ending. – but the set of “consumer technology causes more problems than it solves” has already been explored in Volume 2’s “Automated Customer Service”, and with more verve.

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Love: Nope
The death: Yes
Bot: Yes

In the first direct sequel to a previous Love, death and robots segment, we revisit the robo-tourists from Volume 1’s “Three Robots” as they continue their journey through a post-apocalyptic Earth. As before, the fun here is watching the robots mock the ridiculously myopic ways humans have tried, and failed, to stave off an apocalypse of their own making. The satire still holds – “At least they died without government coercion,” says a robot as they walk through a prepper’s air-raid shelter, overloaded with bullets at the expense of food – but that’s not It’s basically just a rehash of the first “Three Robots,” until a riff on the same surreal twist at the end.

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Love: Yes
The death: Yes
Bot: Nope

Book 3’s shortest segment is also one of the silliest, as a couple makes the ill-advised decision to occupy themselves in a graveyard – sweetheart, right? – and end up unleashing a zombie apocalypse that quickly consumes the entire planet. The high-spirited “Night of the Mini Dead” brazenly refuses to take the end of the world even a little seriously. Every squeaky-voiced human we encounter is a complete jerk, so you won’t feel too bad when the zombies devour them. When world leaders finally shrug their shoulders and launch their full nuclear arsenals, killing zombies and humans, Earth literally ends in a fart. The story is light, but the real draw here is the animation – with the camera pulled back, looking like nothing more than a homemade diorama, the end of the world is treated as petty drama and instantly forgotten in the larger scope of the universe.

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Love: Nope
The death: Yes
Bot: Yes

The lesser of Volume 3’s two “tough military squads take on a monster of unfathomable power,” at least “Kill Team Kill” delivers on the hype its title promises. Director Jennifer Yuh Nelson, best known for directing the kung fu panda suites, really let him rip here – and this time the bear is the bad guy. A group of commandos face off against a genetically modified grizzly described, quite accurately, as “a tank with fur.” Some of the talk from military tough guys lands on the wrong side of exaggeration, but on the positive side, you won’t get too attached to someone until they’re shredded, blown up, or otherwise obliterated.

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Love: Nope
The death: Yes
Bot: Nope

the other “A tough-as-nails military squad faces off against a monster of unfathomable power” trumps “Kill Team Kill” by delivering Volume 3’s most unsettling ending. In the most photorealistic entry in this series of episodes, Joe Manganiello lead a team of soldiers into a cave and discover a massive creature straight out of the HP Lovecraft playbook. As to why the only surviving soldier stabs his eyes… well, to borrow a quote from another satisfying slice of sci-fi cosmic horrorwhere she is going, she does not need eyes to see.

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Love: Nope
The death: Yes
Bot: Yes

Probably the prettiest of the Volume 3 episodes, “The Very Pulse of the Machine” also boasts one of the cleverest setups: an astronaut, voiced by Mackenzie Davis, is stranded on one of Jupiter’s moons and doesn’t has no choice but to ingest a series of increasingly destabilizing drugs in a desperate effort to survive. As the astronaut begins to hear her dead companion speak to her and the environment around her becomes increasingly surreal, it’s unclear whether she’s hallucinating or has genuinely encountered intelligent extraterrestrial life – until ‘ at the end, which puts a satisfying button on the whole.

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Love: Nope
The death: Yes
Bot: Nope

At last, Love, death and robots producer David Fincher takes the director’s chair in turn, reconnecting with Se7fr screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker for this dark and gripping slice of nautical fantasy. While hunting sharks on an alien ocean, a crew of sailors discover a sentient giant crab has boarded their ship. When the crab, ventriloquist through a human corpse, insists on crossing over to a populated island where he can hunt and kill countless innocents, the quick-witted captain is caught between his desire to save lives and one more crew. more mischievous. Tense, twisty and gripping, it’s not just the best of the more traditionally narrative shorts in Volume 3 – it’s one of the best Love, death and robots all-time segments. The only real disappointment is the ho-hum ending; after so many clever narrative pivots, this one really could have benefited from one final nasty twist.

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Love: Yes
The death: Yes
Bot: Nope

Like volume 2, this batch of Love, death and robots the episodes saved the best for last. Alberto Mielgo, who won an Oscar this year for his animated short ‘The Windshield Wiper’, delivers the most frantic and nightmarish episode in book 3. This twisted, wordless near-love story follows a deaf knight whose entire battalion is slaughtered by a siren-like creature covered in gold and jewels. When the mermaid becomes obsessed with the man, on whom her screams have no effect, he sees an opportunity to steal his body’s riches, even as his seductions lure him further away. honeygo has since described all as a metaphor for a toxic relationship in which both parties end up hurting – but whatever you get out of it is both disturbing and fascinating.

A purist could probably say that this medieval short doesn’t really belong in Love, death and robots – maybe Netflix will give the green light Love, death and horses one day? — but such weird, singular, and dazzling animation is also the best-case scenario for what you can get out of an animated anthology.

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