Season 1 Episode 8

Ghosts in the Machine

Aired Friday 10:00 PM Mar 19, 2010 on Syfy

Episode Fan Reviews (7)

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out of 10
173 votes
  • How evil do we want dad to be?

    I liked this episode because we see six story lines moving forward: Amanda is trying to understand why she keeps seeing images of her dead brother, Clarice keeps trying to pump Amanda for information about Zoe, Daniel finally acts like a real scientist n focuses on reacting with the Zoe Avatar inside his military robot, Joseph continues his search for his daughter, Daniel's competitor continues probing for ways to punish him and Zoe Avatar keeps Lacy up-to-date while pressuring for a way out. This is a great wind up episode because nothing is left hanging except the remaining factions of STO.

    However, I thought we were writing Amanda out of the story soon. Certainly she could be bumped off as a revenge against Daniel. Where this new thread is going has me wondering? Will she talk to Daniel about her visions? Will he propose creation of an avatar dead brother for her to talk to?

    The main focus of the story this week was on Daniel trying to get Zoe Avatar to work with him. However, the approach was more than a little unbelievable. He hasn't really had feelings for his dead daughter. Except for photos or films of her early childhood, we really don't know what their relationship was like because the writers chose to introduce her then kill her first episode. But his mourning efforts have been pathetic. He also knows all about software and hardware so copying Zoe Avatar was no challenge except that apparently he didn't really copy her. He stole her from the AI game that Lacy was playing. OK, he stole her and she's on a memory device that he later copies to the U87 robot and then she apparently vanishes? A virus can do that trick except that it will still be in the AI game and still on the memory device. So why not execute a diagnostic on U87 to find the virus? Why not check it's activity log to detect that it has regularly dialed out to the internet to play the AI game and learn about the real world? The writers are acting like they neglected to talk to a robotics specialist or at least a programmer. Instead we get this episode of Daniel who apparently never really cared much for his daughter and is very quick to treat Zoe Avatar as just another piece of software, apparently not even special software since he is now spending more time with it then he even did in the past, that should be put through a good round of testing to 'prove that it exists in the robot'. Said testing consists of pretending it is human, something he totally doesn't believe, and therefore conducting a series of psycho tests to break it down not unlike what one might see in Gitmo except that those prisoners would have the option to refuse to comply with the commands or at least execute them slower n slower. Was it suspenseful? Yes. Torturous? Yes. Daniel came off like a real evil person. Did we need that?

    The other main sequence was Joseph playing the AI game in search of Tamara Avatar. If she's as powerful as they claim, then giving how fast computer time is compared to real time, she should have mastered the skills to go anywhere in the game and imposed enough fear to demand respect and notification of any change in the game like 'Daddy is looking for me.' Especially since her last words so far were something like 'Find my dad and ask him to help me.' Instead we get all of this stumbling around in a game as if the Tauron has never heard of video games (hello? he has a son) and acts of naive behavior (hello? his brother kills people for a living). It was all pretty silly.

    My only other comment is with regard to the title. There is a great book and anime with a similar title that later wanders into the weeds with another book and 3 tv series all animated. For the original story, the point is this: if you are a living being and your body gets damaged due to an accident, old age, war, etc. but you replace parts one by one with machinery until there is more hardware than you and the hardware costs more than you can ever afford but it makes you tireless, at what point do you become a slave to the true owners of the hardware? After all, they paid for it, operated on you and keep it maintained. And if a slave, are you not a slave forever? After all, you don't need to retire, you're not really in any condition to change occupations, you're so deep in debt for this hardware that you can't ever take a vacation. You might develop a desire to try a new hobby if they don't work you too hard. Oh wait... they do. Bummer. So yeah, I totally identify with Zoe Avatar in resisting the whole psycho treatment from her dad, hiding from him n refusing to work with him. I would too. His approach to capturing n taming a new AI is completely unrealistic but that's another story. I thought the whole shoot-the-dog thing was really over the top especially when the dog didn't even react to the sound of 3-4 blanks being shot at it at close range. But the title fit the episode.

    So aside from characters in the story acting totally bizarre, it was not a bad episode.