15th Mar2018

‘Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams 1×09: Safe & Sound’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

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Terrorism, whether it be a threat or whether it be real is a tool to create both fear and paranoia. Put into a show like Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams and you end up with an episode like Safe and Sound where the insidious nature of technology is shown as a very real and relatable threat.

When a small-town girl Foster Lee (Annalise Basso) moves to the big city with her mother (Maura Tierney) she soon finds herself lost in a whole new world of technology. Already gripped by social anxiety this is made even worse by societies emphasis on security and terror prevention, but a surprising helping hand helps her make sense of the chaos.

Safe and Sound is relatable, because we already live in a society that lives in constant threat. Governments have the duty to protect us, but they also know how to use these threats to apply control not only on our lives but also the information that we have access to. What this episode of Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams does is take it to a much more technologically advanced level.

Foster is a character caught in an ideological battle, with a mother all too eager to bang the drum of freedom, while ignoring what her daughter is trying to tell her. Then there is society which looks to control the people within it through the use of technology. Not only do they offer ways to access ever day life and make it easy, but they also offer the government a way to track the thoughts and whereabouts of the civilians.

With Safe and Sound, we are given hints about what the twist of the story will be, and honestly it is easy to see where it is going. We are given hints that Foster’s father “heard voices”, so when Foster does the same, we as the audience question whether it is the tech she is wearing talking to her, or is she suffering from a hereditary mental disorder. We even get a slight nudge to this in various scenes to keep that possibility going.

In the end though, this is an episode that follows a common story that fits the criteria of a grooming process. Forster’s mother is a threat to the government and the technology companies who are offering the tech to control society, and Foster is the weakness that can be used against her. If anything, to connect to the audience, this episode of Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams has to use this fairly basic approach to the story to increase the impact it has.

Safe and Sound hits home because Foster is a victim of modern society. She is groomed for a purpose and becomes just another cog in the machine of the government and the technology company that keeps an eye on society. This is a believable future that doesn’t seem too far-fetched. It may take place in an impressively futuristic world, but the technology doesn’t feel that far off.

A strong episode of Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, Safe and Sound is one of those classic warning stories of how far governments will go to keep an eye on society and to make people conform to the accepted way of living. It may keep us safe, but in the end just how much control should government have over our lives? Safe and Sound does a very good job of asking the question, giving us a bleak answer that is very fitting of this season of the show.

***** 5/5

Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams airs in the UK on Channel 4, 10pm on Mondays.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek
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