Eden should have been a movie. Or just not existed at all.
The Netflix miniseries focuses on a young girl named Sara who was raised by a pair of robots, some 1,000 years after humans disappeared. The two robots run away from their home Eden-3 in order to raise Sara in safety. When Sara finds clues that there might be other humans still alive, she sets out to find them – and figure out where she came from.
There is a lot of potential and a lot of directions this series could have gone in – but it was cliched, boring, and honestly way too short. It wasn’t even bad – just kind of bland and forgettable.
I really don’t have a lot to say about it.
What Even is Eden?
Okay, spoilers, there aren’t any humans left alive…technically speaking.) The remaining humans are in cryostasis (as was Sara until her pod…malfunctioned? I’m not sure. It’s kind of unclear). What Sara had been communicating with was actually an A.I. program, Zurich.
While we see glimpses of another human, Dr. Fields, it turns out he existed some few hundred years ago. But he’s not dead. Not exactly. He wiped his mind and now his consciousness exists as a human-hating robot leader, Zero.
Yeah. Things happen because they need to happen. They’re not explained – or if they are they aren’t explained well. Nothing quite makes sense and all the events feel more coincidental than anything else.
Because Sara is the only human, she is the only one capable of opening the pods and saving humanity. The reason why only a human could do it is never really explained – and doesn’t make much sense considering that going into cryosleep was the only way of surviving.
But in order to wake them up, she needs a password. Which only Dr. Fields knows…How the hell were people supposed to be woken up? Who was supposed to do it? It’s just an obstacle placed in the story with no thought given to the logic of the world.
And I really don’t get how Sara figured out the password was this universe’s Three Laws of Robotics from what Zero told her. Also – your password is like a 3-minute long speech?
You couldn’t have chosen a shorter password? Something more simple? Like, because it was a theme throughout the series, I thought laughter was going to be the password.Trite and silly as it may be, I think it would have made more sense.
There’s just nothing about this plot that’s new or brings a new insight into the genre. Robots think humans are bad – but they’re not. Emotions are good. Love is important. Yada, yada, yada.
This series is so short – only 2 hours long – that it doesn’t leave any time to really explore this world – or the characters beyond the superficial. Everything is just solely focused on getting from Point A to Point B.
I really think had this been a movie, the fact that there’s no sense of scale or sense of “lived-inness” to the world of Eden would have been less noticeable. Or at least less bothersome.
The world just doesn’t seem well-thought-out or planned.
I never get a sense of how far away things are: Eden-3 seems to be just barely a day’s walk away from the rebel robots’ hiding place – so how have they never been discovered? And Eden-Zero, Dr. Field’s home seems to be also strangely close to both places as well. I feel like these places should be further apart.
And it doesn’t quite tell us whether there are any other Edens. (Like what happened to Eden-2?) or if there are other humans who might be in cryostasis somewhere in the world. We only see a very small part of it.
If the show was longer, it would have the room to explore those ideas.
This world, to me, is genuinely interesting. I want to know more about the past and how these robots developed a society, how humans became little but a rumor, and how Zero managed to rule with an iron fist.
How did these underground resistances come to fruition? If robots are just there to follow orders, how did they develop independent thought?
The show introduces some genuinely interesting concepts like how Zero’s robots still listen to Sara because of their programming, the painted green smiles as a symbol of resistance, robots that develop parental connections despite their programming and just the general idea that there are robots interested in human culture… But all of that gets ignored for the overly-simplistic idea that “Humans are good, actually,”
We don’t even get to really see the damage the humans did in the past –We know Fields’ daughter died because they couldn’t get a cryostasis chamber for her, despite Fields inventing it. His wife was sick too…But we don’t SEE it. We just get told it’s happening.
We never get to see the actual world Fields is living in – just his little patch of it, so we never get to understand how bad it is for most people.
The series spends so much of its first half, focused on a number that represents how long the humans have left before they need to be woken up. We’re supposed to wonder what this mysterious number is – but honestly, it just becomes a bit of a pain.
Once we figure it out -BAM! Sara only has 24 hours to find the password, Which again is the most ridiculous password imaginable. It makes no sense. It feels like the creative team focused on creating a world around the number counting down and their own laws of robotics and then just threw the rest of the world together willy-nilly-
4 episodes of 30 minutes, is a ridiculously short time for a series like this. It just doesn’t work.
A bit too on the nose
At least they didn’t name Sara, “Eve.” Of course, this is an anime – it’s made and produced in Japan so expecting actual Christian themes and ideas is unrealistic. Very few people in Japan are actually Christian. They just use Christian imagery because it looks cool.
And you know what? Good for them. Cultural appropriation needs to go the other way sometimes. But like most cultural appropriation – it only understands the culture and ideas on a surface level.
The series uses apples as a motif – and it just gets tiring after a while.
The robots grow apples and turn them into fuel, they may as well be Sara’s favorite food and Dr. Field’s daughter Liz had her robot collect apple blossoms. We get it.
In Eden, the use of apples was trying to have some kind of meaning. But honestly, you could have replaced apples with anything else and it still would have made sense. Death Note also did a whole thing with apples which also had no inherent meaning – but at least it wasn’t hiding the fact that the apples were just supposed to be apples.
With the combination of Eden, like the Garden of Eden, the apples, and Sara being the only human – you would think something would come of it. But nothing does.
If we’re going, to be honest – I don’t mind the general premise of “only human is raised by robots and teaches them how to love.” But honestly, I think this show would have worked better if it WASN’T an action/adventure thing and rather focused more on Sara and the robots learning from each other.
Just extend the whole part of the first episode which focuses on Sara growing up and turn that into something. Ask the questions: What does it mean to be a human? Are humans inherently good? What is love? If robots were meant to serve humans, what is the point of their existence now? Is there any true difference between humans and robots?
That sort of thing.
There you have a much more compelling story.
Wait a second.
I just realized.
I’m talking about Wall-E.
Might as well watch that instead.
And that’s the scoop.
Grade: C –
Year of release: 2021
Length: 4 episodes, 25 minutes each
Director: Yasuhiro Irie
Writer: Kimiko Ueno
Voice Actors (English): Ruby Rose Turner, Rosario Dawson, David Tennant, Neil Patrick Harris, J.P. Karliak, Cassandra Lee Morris, Julie Nathanson