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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Max Headroom Episode Eight: Deities

Episode Name: Deities

Premise: Edison Carter is tasked to investigate the View Age Church, which promises technology to resurrect loved ones, that happens to be overseen by Carter's old flame.

Theme explored: On the surface, it's televangelism -- the View Age Church is like many televangelists when considering the promise of salvation if you'll just give money. A deeper theme explored, though, is the question "what is truth?" That's the challenge that Vanna Smith, the head of the View Age Church and a former love interest of Carter's, poses to Carter itself when she points out that she promises her church members something and they have found peace, while what Carter seeks out doesn't always bring peace, even if the evidence shows he's right.

There's also the question about how relationships can present conflict of interest when it comes to our jobs. Carter had a past relationship with Smith -- at first, he's reluctant to pursue the story, but once he learns more details, he becomes almost vindicative in his pursuit of the story. Carter tries to make peace with Smith, but in doing so, violates one of his rules that he will not allow a source to see his story before it airs. And then comes a confrontation with Ashwell, a member of Network 23's board of directors, who happens to be a member of the View Age Church and points out that Carter's past stories have often cost Network 23 sponsors and shows, thus hurting the network's bottom line.

Though the themes don't necessarily tie into what one would find in a dystopian environment, they are themes that hold relevance in society, especially when it comes to the question of what seeking the truth is all about.

Max Headroom quotes:
"God may have taken only seven days to create the universe, but the running repairs go on forever."
"One of my commandments is thou shalt not squeal."
"And God created the fish that swims in the sea, the birds of the air and the creatures that walk among the earth and then... he created Vanna Smith."
"What do I need a new body for? I never had an old one."

Personal observations: Again, this episode focused less on the consequences of a dystopian environment and more on asking the question about what truth really is. It does a good job building to the moment in which Max Headroom himself proves to be the mediator in the conflict between Carter and Smith, all while staying true to his personality.

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