An aspect to remember about writing a devasting ending to an episode is to consider how the protagonists are ever going to find hope or strength in the next. How can they ever possibly get back to some semblance of reality after suffering so much loss? Well, in the seventh episode of gen:LOCK, ‘It Never Rains…’, the team finds it right under their noses.
Spoilers for gen:LOCK.
‘It Never Rains…’ opens up with the gen:LOCK recruits resting, hoping to find help wherever they can while still being tracked by the Union. Chase goes to patrol in his Holon, when Nemesis starts communicating to him just in time for another wave of Union forces to arrive, leading Cammie to a discovery: since Nemesis is attached to the gen:LOCK network, he can sense whenever one of the pilots step into the Holons and track them.
It all seems hopeless, when Chase accidentally activates a secret message in Caliban from Dr Weller, leading the group to RTASA. It is here they meet old allies – in the form of Henry Wu – and new ones – Fatima Jha (voiced by Anisha Nagarajan) the head of RTASA’s science department and Dr Weller’s ex-wife, and Marc Holcroft (voiced by Matt Hullum), RTASA’s principle investor. Along with the help of the RTASA research team and Cammie’s designs which she started in episode four, the Holons are repaired, upgraded and ready for action.
Like previous episodes, gen:LOCK tells its story visually as well as through its characters. The way ‘It Never Rains…’ is colorized and set is very reflective of the tone of the episode. In the first half, the episode is shot at night in the middle of a rainstorm, with the team hunkering down in the dark interior of the airship. With predominantly dark colours, this mirrors the hopelessness the character’s feel. When the team discover RTASA, the episode instantly goes lighter, swapping out the dark airship for a desert in daylight and then the brightly lit white of the Administration’s research facility, reflecting the new hope the characters are experiencing.
RTASA is a secret group within the Polity and can be described as this universe’s version of NASA – the acronym itself stands for Rogue Technology Aeronautics and Space Administration. A little bit of interesting trivia: The RTASA logo uses the same ‘worm’ typeface as NASA did between 1975 and 1992. It’s also something of an in-joke for Rooster Teeth which perceptive fans can easily spot: the same typeface is used in the logo of RTX, an expo run by Rooster Teeth.
Though fans got a basic rundown of the characters’ back stories in the character reveal trailers, Marc Holcroft’s character catches fans up to speed if they haven’t seen these short animation pieces, running through the equivalent of their character synopses and concluding his speech by saying ‘Rufus passed on your names as you were identified, and I’m always sure to research my investments’. A character who was close to Weller and gen:LOCK’s development, it should also be noted that in a tweet Rooster Teeth shared, Hullum jokingly considers himself perfect for the ‘CEO character’, considering he is a CEO of Rooster Teeth himself. Though he is portrayed as a good guy, there is something of a sinister quality to him. Maybe it’s the suit and CEO’s reputations throughout film and TV.
Though Dr Weller’s message is a rather convenient stretch to keep the plot going, the writers did try to turn it into a joke with Dr Weller pointing it out before going into the rest of his speech. While it is a bit much in terms of advancing the story, they do get points in humour for self-awareness. However, for the rest of the episode, humour is hit and miss. When it’s good, it’s works, like when Cammie says, ‘I’ve got a bad feeling about this’, quoting Star Wars, with Chase replying to her by saying ‘don’t you start with that’. Other times, it just kind of falls flat on its face, like Henry exclaiming ‘Daaaamn’ when the gen:LOCK team discover that Dr Jha is Dr Weller’s ex-wife. Also, on a side note, if they were colleagues, he probably should’ve already known this.
Valentina and Kazu shared minds in the last episode, and Cammie describes this sequence as them having ‘meta-minded.’ In a previous review, it was noted that the pods for the gen:LOCK pilots shared a lot of similarities to an animus from the Assassin’s Creed series. It continues to share the traits of this machine. However, instead of sharing the memories of a previous ancestor like in the game series, the recruits share each other’s memories – Valentina is seen playing guitar at the start of the episode and when Kazu prompts her about it, she explains that she has the haziest memories of learning in Shinjuku, and Kazu gets visibly uncomfortable when he realizes that people can see his thoughts through this action. This could be played as a character weakness that could affect him in the future, though it could also be shown as Valentina knowing Kazu has feelings for them, considering their relationship has been developed with a romantic angle since they met.
The relationship Chase and Nemesis share is further explored in ‘It Never Rains…’, with Chase continuing to have a crisis of self, that the real him is working for the enemy while he is nothing but a copy, though his allies try to urge him that it’s an opportunity to begin again. There also is a small theory as to why Nemesis sounds so corrupted: Yasamin makes a comment in the episode that Nemesis is constantly attached to the network. ‘Up time’ was a concept Dr Weller brought up where the mind starts to deteriorate after being uploaded to the Holons over a certain amount of time, and perhaps this is what Nemesis is suffering from.
It is in ‘It Never Rains…’ that the Holons finally get the look they have in the trailer, when Cammie and the RTASA team upgrade them towards the episode’s conclusion. While each of the designs are unique in their own right, the most noteworthy one is Kazu’s, which Cammie apparently modelled after an in-universe manga called RoboShogun, something which Kazu absolutely loves – ‘Ten year old me is very happy right now.’ Cammie also modelled hers after her ether avatar, but there isn’t much explanation as to what inspired the designs of the other three mechs. Additionally, it should be noted that Grey, the show’s creator, was partly inspired by Ghost in the Shell, and there is a shot that pays homage to it: one of the pieces of armour for the Holons gets pulled out of a pool of unknown liquid, reflecting Ghost in the Shell’s ‘Birth of Cyborg’ sequence.
The music throughout the show has been outstanding, and while the original soundtrack has been pleasant to listen to, there are two pieces that stand out the most in ‘It Never Rains…’: the first one is accompanied the montage of the Holons getting their upgrades, featuring a lot of electronic instruments as a reflection of the mechs. The final one is at the end of the episodes, when the pilots get to see the finished mech designs, the swelling orchestral music going along with the awe the characters feel.
Though the doctor’s Deus Ex Machina is a bit of a stretch in terms of advancing the plot, ‘It Never Rains…’ continues to show gen:LOCK's strength with its characters and the relationships they share with each other.