Serial Experiments Lain – Episode 4

All thriller no filler this time. Let’s get right to it.

Episode 4

2:22 – “I don’t need parents. Humans are all alone. They’re not connected to anyone at all.” I guess we’re starting to drag the elements of the real world towards their thematic point here

2:36 – Oh how I missed you, wires and hum

3:33 – What does her father know? Was he always aware she’d begin to enter this world? He seems to treat her almost like an experiment to be kept at arm’s length – and her mother wants nothing to do with her at all. They know something

Also, is the clear/opaque thing with his glasses meaningful as well? Goddamnit, I’m pretty sure everything is meaningful, but that means everything could basically mean anything – there’s too much goddamn room for interpretation right now

4:47 – Okay, so we get a moment of concern from all three other family members here. Perhaps everyone in this family is just super weird and pensive and reticent, but aside from Lain they all actually are ordinary people

6:02 – Goddamnit, how… do… KEYS WORK?!?!

Having a lot of trouble there. So is this guy being haunted by another ghost of the Wired?

7:13 – Lots more info. So it seems people are giving up their bodies both willingly and unwillingly at this point. Also, Lain’s personality has definitely shifted

7:54 – “You’ve changed… but I can’t put my finger on it.” Gee, could it be her entirely new personality?

9:29 – Aaand now ghost girl appears as a “real” person. And Lain is using her newly acquired personality to successfully interact in the “real” world as well. And I have no idea what anything means anymore

I have suspicions, though – my current one being that the Wired world is beginning to overlap with the real world in more ways now – through personas appearing in person (the little girl) and through Lain adopting her (I assume) online persona as her current real one

But who knows

9:45 – Where did she get all this hardware?

10:41 – I like how the invention of terms like “Wired” and “Navi” keep this show from being dated – they’re just meant to be catch-alls for terminals and connections, things that are relevant regardless of the platform

11:15 – Lain asking the DJ a question without being there – more evidence for the overlap theory. It also sounded like she was using a third persona here – I assume the one that the Cyberia patrons know her by

16:07 – Dem corridors. I’m getting Goldeneye flashbacks

This whole sequence also seemed to explain a lot about the sci-fi stuff going on – though it’s interesting that he seemed to actually kill that girl with the weapon from his game. I figured everyone else had just run down a corridor that happened to correlate to running off a building in the real world – but it seems like you can actually kill people by killing their persona using the tools of the Wired. And then her body actually appeared in the sheet? Or her persona’s body did?

Either way, just seems like there are a few loose ends to clear up there. The real mystery we have remaining is Lain herself

Also, that sequence employed some nice visual tricks, and I really liked the effect of the invisible gun – but we’ve covered how visually interesting this show is

18:19 – “Don’t worry. I’m still me.” What does that even mean, Lain?

So her and her father are basically outlining everything we’ve figured out so far (“It’s not real” “The lines aren’t actually that clear – and I’ll enter it soon”). Meaning the show wants everyone to be up to the same page… meaning the show probably has a lot more to say, since we’re only a third of the way in. Exciting stuff

19:33 – “The Knights are a religion that is spreading through the wired.” And they’re the ones responsible for bridging the games – more shades of singularity here, or at least full interconnectedness, and the distinction between the two is pretty precarious 

And Done

Shit! Lain #2 doesn’t give a fuck about the G-Men – she’ll get so pissed off she’ll hack their tracers with a stern voice alone.

So, whatever she used to be (well, that’s my current guess), she’s becoming it again. My current theory – Lain at some point suffered some kind of persona lobotomy, resulting in the character we see for the first three episodes. However, upon reconnecting to the Wired, her personas are returning to her – because they never really died, they were just living separately from her as data in the Wired (which can itself take material form now – thus the alternate Lain at Cyberia). Why she has these powers, and why she’s so prone to having her actual body jump between personas, I don’t think we have the evidence to guess at yet

Structurally, the show’s plan seems to be to shift from psychological horror/mystery to sci-fi thriller, which it handled quite well this episode. Good stuff