Posted by Lenlo on 29 June 2019 with categories: Serial Experiments Lain, Throwback Thursday

I will admit, this episode of Serial Experiments Lain was difficult to get through. This week we learn about History, both of our and Lain’s world, and get more information on the Knights. So lets just jump into it!

Starting off, this episode felt… weird. I don’t want to say it was a waste, as it introduced the series endgame with Masami. But it feels like beyond that, not much happened. Like a lot of exposition and additional information got thrown at us solely to setup the ending of said episode. That isn’t to say there wasn’t some progress, I think Lain demonstrated Lain’s deteriorating mental state well. With her difference in personality when dealing with Taro, or the Alien who came into her room. It’s making a very clear point that Lain feels isolated from society now. Just like she was, if not more so, at the start of the series. It’s just the conspiracy stuff surrounding that which I felt really broke up the episode for me.

Regarding the flashbacks and conspiracy, I understand why they are present, I just don’t like them. Lain is really hamming home ideas on communication and “fact”. The idea that if enough people believe something, it becomes the truth, with these. Giving real life examples where ideas were put forth with no basis, either way, and so both have become truth in certain circles. Regardless of what the truth really is/was. I suppose it could also be referencing the meaning behind the series as well, as lately Lain has been rather vague with some of its themes. Leaving them up to the viewer. With this episode basically saying “Whatever your interpretation, it is correct if enough people believe it”, etc etc. Sadly for Lain, this kind of thing irks. I am not a fan of it, and its something I nail Ikuhara for when he comes up as well.

There’s another aspect of this episode however, Masami. He appears to be Lain’s endgame, the man who created everything and then killed himself. Uploading himself into the Wired as a sort of sentient AI. Very similar to what Lain is doing, consciously or not, it seems. For me, this makes me wonder, is he the one causing all of this to happen to Lain? Or is he just moving now to take advantage of what has happened to her? Regardless, Masami is no doubt the central figure for these final few episodes. The real question is whether or not he is going to help Lain or not. To me, feels like a pretty clear villain just based on his design. However, this did raise another question for me. Namely, the old hobo who died a few episodes ago. I kinda hope we run into him in the Wired again to.

Finally, we have Taro, the Knights and the chip. This at least answers how Lain is constantly appearing at the Club. The people there are having their memories altered to think they saw her, when in reality its probably someone else. Take for instance Taro, who I believe planted the chip there for Lain to receive. As a sort of “Wired” assassination attempt. The question though then becomes “why”. Are they trying to do to Lain what happened to Masami? Or perhaps they are trying to empty her body of thoughts for Masami to take over? But that one doesn’t make sense when you think that Masami did this to himself. There are a lot of possible reasons for why the Knights would do this to her, but none are directly laid out. That’s fine, it still fits with Lain’s general themes, but it is there.

So all in all, how was Lain this week? Perhaps the most confusing yet for me, by virtue of the fact that half the episode was only tangentially related to Lain at all. It sort of clicked by the end, but I sort of need to admit to something here. Watching Lain is rather fatiguing. It takes a conscious effort to check in, and try to micromanage/watch this show. I feel like if I don’t if I watch it casually, I will miss something critical and ruin or diminish it. Yet even when focused on it completely, Lain still has this barrier to entry in how obfuscated it all is. Sometime’s the episode clicks early and it’s an amazing experience where the entire episode just comes together. And sometimes its weeks like this, where it doesn’t click at all and I just feel stupid, asking “why?”.

Hopefully Lain, as a series, accomplishes the first at the end. Because I can see the thread, I can see the throughline. I just have no idea what the hell it means.

3 Responses

  1. I’ve been waiting for you to get to this episode.
    Its the one episode of the show that in all of my 4 watches of the series never clicked for me, that I could never really “get”, usually I don’t mind/care if i don’t understand something/get it but this episode was one of the times where I just don’t really know.

  2. Avatar tonk82 says:

    I guess it’s a pretty dense episode, the last one that is full of “information” about the history of the net.

    Most of the theories showed here existed. They didn’t happen, of course, in our real world like that… but the idea of the schumman resonance, a wireless protocol, memex/xanadu… and combining all that together to create the wired and the mixing for real/wired worlds, is pretty clever.

    But i’m a computer programmer, so i guess i find this kind of stuff fascinating. Don’t worry, next episodes will start to resolve things, and are more “narrative”.

  3. Avatar evafan says:

    I’ve also been waiting for you to get to this episode.

    Unlike you guys (Lenlo, Kaiser-Eoghan), my reactions are the same as tonk82’s – I’ve been forever fascinated by this episode. And it is also the one that first flashes through my mind when I think of SEL.

    I’ve said few bits on infodumping in one of the previous ep’s reivew and I was largely targeting this episode with that piece. I guess not many people actually find eps like this desirable.

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