And we’ve at last reached that inevitable point in W&L where my episode-by-episode commentary on a show starts more-or-less riffing on the same notions for each installment. In PSYCHO-PASS’ case, it’s some mild disappointment over how such an intriguing, provocative premise has lead into what’s essentially a by-the-numbers cop show. Indeed, only a few salient details really seem to separate this from an episode of CSI. The cliffhanger with our psycho artiste preparing her new canvass felt more like it was leading into another commercial break and, if this does prove to be the middle portion of a three-parter, then even the minute-to-minute breakdown will roughly correspond to an hour-long’s run time.
That isn’t necessarily awful. And it’d definitely be a “pot calling the kettle black” predicament if I faulted this show for that after I’ve so often snickered over the classic foreign entertainment folly of fans regarding another country’s pop entertainment as art merely because it’s subtitled. Still, I do think this show could benefit from being a bit less dour and a bit more unconventional.
It’s still a little unconventional, of course. The other part of my “standardized critique” is that this is a cop show coupled with some genuinely thought-provoking ideas. In this episode, your noodle’s getting tickled by questions of the role of art in society and whether a lot of artists might be anti-social by definition. If we really are trying to purge society of bad thoughts, who’s to say if the nightmarishly-creative thoughts of somebody like H.R. Giger aren’t to be removed? We’ve been playing that idea out in a sci-fi context since FAHRENHEIT 451, at least, but this seems to put a more practical spin on by making it an economic matter of percentages. If potential criminals are getting busted for thinking about crimes, where's the true difference from somebody who's thinking about crimes for a piece of art?
Again, I want to believe that all these ideas might be leading up to some greater conjecture but - - getting back to the first part of my standardized critique - - I suspect it will all wind up being sprinkles to amuse you on the way to a conventional gunfight with a bad guy. Then again, many of you keep insisting that things are about to get a lot more interesting soon, so maybe PSYCHO-PASS will eventually rise above.