Philip K Dick’s ‘Electric Dreams’ Anthology Episode 2 Review — “The Impossible Planet”
Week Two of Philip K. Dick’s ten-part anthology ‘Electric Dreams’ provided a heartwarming glimpse into the long-distant future of the planet Earth, and the hunt to find the planet once again. Space tourism agent Brian Norton (Jack Raynor) and his unsavory technical companion, Ed Andrews (Benedict Wong) are self-professed con artists looking to make the most of an unexpected financial opportunity that befalls them. Irma Louise Gordon (Geraldine Chaplin) is nearly four hundred years old (342 to be exact), living with a terminal heart condition, nearly completely deaf, and hell-bent on visiting her ancestral planet of origin, Earth.
When she arrives aboard the tour ship with a briefcase full of cash and her robant (robot servant) named RB29, she develops a burgeoning relationship with Norton, revealing to him a photograph of her grandparents, of which the resemblance between Irma’s grandfather and Norton is incredibly striking.
The pair elect to visit the surface of Earth together, despite the rampant radiation and opaque clouds of toxic gas that permeate the once living surface of Earth. The solar system has undergone a radioactive event — Saturn lost its’ iconic rings. Mars turned a pale shade of green, influenced by phosphorous. Venus gained a ring, and turned yellow. And while the ending to this adaptation is different (perhaps even slightly embellished) than the original short story, the message remains the same: “It was Earth, after all”.
The timeless Shakespearean quote, “Life is but a dream, within a dream” is an excellent adage to ponder after reading and viewing the collected works of Philip K. Dick. His style is suspenseful and leaves the reader to come to their own moral conclusions about society, technology, race, religion and love, and everything that lies in between the lines.
As technology grows and evolves, it stands to become an overbearing, ever-present, ubiquitous force that has unlimited potential for both good and evil. As one pulls away from technology, its’ grasp is loosened, and the user becomes free. In a continuation of themes seen present within this anthology, the healing element of water makes a return appearance at the end of this episode, along with the blissful release gained from disconnecting from technology.
Despite the heavy overtones of star-crossed love and the balance between love and tragedy, the brief flashes of memories shared between the two main protagonists is not subtle enough to leave the ending a mystery. The plot was predictable and leaves much to be desired for the remaining episodes of the anthology.