REVIEW: ‘Blade Runner: Black Lotus,’ Episode 9 – “Free Will”

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Blade Runner Black Lotus Episode 9 - But Why Tho

Blade Runner: Black Lotus is a sci-fi/action joint Crunchyroll-Adult Swim exclusive from Sola Digital Arts. After getting a closer look at the events of the series from Davis’s perspective in the last episode, Blade Runner: Black Lotus Episode 9 returns to Elle as she prepares to go after the man behind the doll hunt. But as he’s the head of Wallace Corporation, this isn’t going to be an easy kill. Especially since her target is intelligent enough to see the writing on the wall and has beefed up his security measures in anticipation of her arrival.

Before Elle continues her quest for vengeance she makes one last stop at J’s. With her recent discovery that J used to be a Blade Runner, J’s place in Elle’s world is a bit more complicated than it was before. The interaction between Elle and J here fails to land in any meaningful way. They touch on J’s past for only a moment, before J is once again telling Elle to give up her quest and leave Los Angelos, lest her newest target end her life. With neither J’s past really explored, as seemed to be the point of Elle’s return, and J’s pleas for her to leave town coming across as fairly half-hearted and futile, this opening doesn’t get Blade Runner: Black Lotus Episode 9 off to a great start.

While the series’ attempts at character building have often been hit or miss, what it has never struggled to deliver on is its action. This continues to hold here as the story moves to the Wallace Corporation’s headquarters. With the building security on high alert, this target promises to be the toughest one yet for Elle. The numerous fights that litter the rest of Blade Runner: Black Lotus Episode 9 deliver some great moments as Elle once more shows off her array of combat talents. Along with the series signature, slick action comes a sprinkling of interesting reveals that add new layers to Elle’s mystery, even as she seems about to tie up the last loose end.

The most notable visual element of this episode, aside from the always highly polished action sequences, is Elle’s new tactical outfit. Unlike previous missions, Elle dons some sleek-looking new threads for her latest infiltration mission, setting aside her pink spandex and winter coat look. While I loved the design of this new outfit for our protagonist it hurts the moment it’s revealed in a significant way. There is never any clarification as to where Elle came across this impressive new outfit. Normally, I wouldn’t be so concerned about a character spontaneously donning a new look, but as this is not something she picked up at a local clothing store, its cool design is momentarily overshadowed by a lack of explanation as to where it came from.

Despite a bit of a rocky start, Blade Runner: Black Lotus Episode 9 delivers an overall entertaining entry into its narrative. With lots of sleek action and a couple of unexpected new details concerning Elle coming to light, the episode closes out strong as the show enters the final stretch of its season.

Blade Runner: Black Lotus Episode 9 is streaming on Crunchyroll and Adult Swim.


Blade Runner: Black Lotus Episode 9
  • 7.5/10
    Rating - 7.5/10
7.5/10

TL;DR

Despite a bit of a rocky start, Blade Runner: Black Lotus Episode 9 delivers an overall entertaining entry into its narrative. With lots of sleek action and a couple of unexpected new details concerning Elle coming to light, the episode closes out strong as the show enters the final stretch of its season.