Serial Experiments Lain – Episode 5

Episode 5

2:19 – “If you can hear it, it is speaking to you. And if you can see it, it is your…” Implying the Wired is willfully choosing specific people to bridge the gap with?

2:37 – “Mankind is a creature that no longer evolves, is it not?” Boom, we’re into the singularity-speak.

3:50 – “We can escape that existence… I am God.” Yep, singularity. On the one hand, hey, go me, all my assumptions were more or less correct. On the other hand, well, where does the show go from here?

4:19 – Not sure of the significance of the pedestrian walk sign yet. I mean, I could invent some, if you’d like… like how it’s a symbol of the way electronic systems already control and direct the flow of humanity, or maybe how it’s a metaphor for all of humanity waiting for the signal from a monitor screen to rush forth in a new tide, or yada yada bullshit bullshit Deep Thinking.

5:32 – Oh man, is this a flashback to pre-lobotomy Lain? It seems like she was aware of these ghosts at a pretty young age…

6:25 – Ooh, I like this. Robotics;Notes dealt with this a bit, too, though it wasn’t all that graceful – the ways our interactions with the modern world are already mediated by technology, and our powerlessness when we’ve lost control of that technology, both physically and intellectually. I really like this “events come into existence as soon as they are prophesied” bit contrasted against it – in an age where information is king, and all information is mediated by the internet, the internet essentially has the power to define truth however it wishes

8:04 – “The other side is crowded. The dead will have no place to go.” When hell is full the dead will walk the earth? Is that the explanation for the ghosts – that the Wired is overcrowded? Seems a little odd

9:43 – “History is not merely a linear set of points that we pass through on a timeline.” Man, they are just throwingeverything at the wall here, aren’t they? So now, for all we know socialite Lain could have appeared at that club just because we live in a big ball of timey-wimey stuff where anything can happen any time

10:44 – Okay, we’re back to Lain #1. And it looks like the various personas aren’t aware of each other’s activities – or at least blank slate Lain isn’t

13:14 – “The real world is nothing but a hologram, a visual representation of elements of the Wired.” So now we’re in the Matrix, too.

Her mother appearing as one of these persona ghosts might mean something, but this episode is just throwing way too many ideas together to really propose any coherent point. The pacing is also dragged down by how esoteric all these monologues are, as well – I’m not a fan of how fully we’ve been detached from an actual narrative. It comes off like a series of philosophical lectures – and I don’t want to have a bunch of interesting ideas exposited at me, I want to follow a story that through its telling provokes interesting ideas. Granted, this show does that successfully most of the time, but this episode in particular is not very graceful

13:43 – “Are you really my mom?” Finally a question I actually want answered, and she freaking evaporates on us. Goddamnit ghost mom

14:16 – I like how every meal scene just has Lain spinning her soup in purposeful circles

14:46 – Lines of visibility and eye contact seem pretty important in this show. Characters so often look away when speaking to each other, or have their connection blocked by some outside element – her father’s monitors, the parent’s hands

16:05 – I like the idea of this episode, where you’re getting a view of Lain’s rise into Godhood or whatever through the eyes of her sister, who’s basically getting hit by constant shrapnel of this merging process. Sure makes for a weird-ass narrative structure, though, since we don’t know how real anything is

19:32 – Interesting idea. If the Wired is a world created of information, what defines one thing there as real and another as unreal? Currently, it’s our ability to verify from own world – but if our own world is being replaced, then an electronic God of pure information has every right to exist

These sermons still aren’t doing that much for me, though. The show is basically telling me all the things it’s been about the whole time – it’s already shown me these concepts in action, it doesn’t need to explain them as well

The fact that both parents are here lecturing, and that that is contrasted against the sister basically being witch-hunted by the Wired, is very interesting, though. Have they already both been replaced by personas (or just lost their agency into the Wired) the way Lain sometimes seems to be? And is the Wired now attempting to do the same to Lain’s sister – to remove another of the pillars of empathy still remaining to her in her original world?


21:50 – And her sister fades away. So those ghosts are the original personalities, now consumed by the Wired? Fuuuuuuu

And Done

HOT DAMN that ending was crazy. The plot’s definitely coming into focus here, I think. I still don’t know what makes Lain valuable, but it seems like the God of the Wired is determined to have her, and is trying (successfully) to isolate her in order to achieve that goal. The stuff with her sister was incredibly intense and very well done – I thought the lecture stuff on Lain’s side was a lot less graceful, and the episode was weirdly paced as a result (with scenes of high tension undercut by scenes of Lain being philosophized at by a series of ghosts), but honestly the sister stuff was so great that overall I’m fine with it. Maybe this show felt it was necessary to explain itself a little more – maybe it’s not wrong. Either way, it appears that Lain is now living in a house of corpses, being occasionally overtaken by the will of a handful of hostile personas. That’s a pretty sticky situation!