A Hard Problem (2021) Movie Script

[somber music playing]
[Ian] She's gone.
It was peaceful.
In her sleep.
Call me as soon as you can.
I have my phone and-- and Mom's.
I'd really like to see you
or at least hear from you.
And this is already hard enough.
We don't have to
go through this alone.
I'll see you the hospital,
Okay, I...
I love you.
[hoover whirring]
[PA system]
Welcome to Secret [indistinct].
[Ian] Excuse me.
Uh, my mother was brought here
and, uh,
I'm trying to find out
where she is.
-I'll be right with you.
-Wait, uh, no, I'm not--
Uh, I-- I don't need care.
Uh, my mother passed
and she's here somewhere,
but I don't know where to go
or who to check in with,
so if you can--
What's your name?
Ian. Ian Thomas.
-Andromi ID?
[scoffs] I don't have time
for this.
Wait, what about helping me?
What are you even doing here?
You know what?
It doesn't matter.
Leave or I'll have you removed.
[child crying]
[child crying]
[sirens wailing]
[woman] What are you doing here?
You can't be here.
You can't be.
[cutlery cranking]
[crickets chirping]
[owl hooting]
[cigarette turns off]
[pensive music playing]
[young Ian] Why do you
have to leave?
[Mary] Sometimes
I have to travel for work.
[doorbell rings]
[door knocking]
[birds chirping]
[rousing music playing]
[Lisa] Hi, you've reached Lisa.
Leave a message.

[Kuey barking]
Hey, bud.
[Ian] Hello?
Uh, I have to pick up a dress
for Mary to be--
I have most of her clothes
packed up in the bedroom.
I've had everything
forwarded to us.
[Meg] She sure had
a lot of shit.
[Ian] Yeah.
It's kinda nice though.
This shit had history.
Could you come
look at something?
It was tucked away in the attic.
Any idea what it is?
I have no clue.
Why would you?
It was after you--
before you arrived home
to take care of her.
So what is it?
I think
Lisa would like to have this.
I think she should come get it.
Let's go, Kuey.
Where's his leash?
Wait, uh, you're taking Kuey?
Well, he can't stay with you.
Come on, Kuey.
You, um,
you'll need his medication.
Come on, Kuey. Let's go.
[Kuey whining]
I-- I think
he wants to stay, Meg.
He's a dog.
He doesn't know what he wants.
Fine. Fuck it, I'm leaving.
Meg, wait. Hold on a sec.
[Ian sighs]
Why does my own sister
refuse to talk to me?
[Meg scoffs]
Your job
is to pack up the house.
That's it.
Anything else
doesn't involve you.
[door slams shut]
[owl hooting]
[pensive music playing]
[birds chirping]
[Ian grunts]
[dramatic music intensifies]
[young Ian grunts]
[dramatic music peaks]
[glass shutters]
[crickets chirping]
[owl hooting]
[Ian grunts]
[sprinkler whirring]
[birds chirping]
[hoover whirring]
[hoover turning off]
[phone chimes]
[phone beeps]
[phone beeps]
[Kuey barking]
[Kuey whining]
[Kuey barking]
[Kuey barking]
[Kuey barking]
[Ian grunts]
You gotta stop going upstairs.
All right?
Hey, she's not up there.
You keep getting stuck, okay?
[water boiling]
[Ian sighs]
[church bell ringing]
[indistinct chatter]
[clergyman] Now she's at peace.
It's so nice of you
to be here to support her.
Could you excuse me
for a moment?
Uh, hello?
Hi, um,
look, I'm--
I'm sorry to have to ask you,
but could you
step outside with me?
Uh, why?
Uh, if we could just
step outside, then I-- then I--
-I should go inside.
-Uh, I'm sorry.
there seems to be
a misunderstanding
and I'm trying
to make sure that--
That's my sister in there,
I need to go.
people are mourning in there.
I'm mourning too.
This is--
this is totally inhumane.
You can't be here.
[Ian] She didn't even believe.
She didn't believe
in any of this.
Okay, you need to leave.
[Ian] Fuck this.
This is sick.
You're all fucking sick!
[thunder rumbling]
[somber music playing]
[objects clatter]
[birds chirping]
[doctor] We've caught it early
so there is reason
to be optimistic.
[Mary] Oh,
that's a good thing you fell.
you might not have found out.
-Yeah, way to use your head.
-[Mary] Lisa.
As we formulate
a course of treatment,
it's important that Ian
not only take care of his body
but his mind as well.
We have trauma
counselors available
or can recommend
some people if you'd like.
[Mary] Yes, that would be
wonderful, thank you.
So what-- what are the odds?
Our chances?
What-- what are we--
what are we up against?
I'm never comfortable giving
percentages, Mrs. Thomas,
but remission
is certainly possible.
Is that doctor speak for cure?
[water dripping]
That's not a word.
We don't really speak
in terms of cured or uncured.
[rain spluttering]
Ian, do you have any questions?
Can I take this off now?
[thunder rumbling]
[phone ringing]
I hate kids.
[John] Everyone hates kids.
I'm not talking about everyone,
I'm talking about me.
[John] You know, it's easier
if you just read the overview
and not the entire data set.
Most techs find it helpful
not knowing all the details.
Maybe that's why
my numbers are better.
[John] Or it could be that
you ignore the guideline
and spend days on a single case.
I got close yesterday...
I think.
I don't know.
[John] You can't win 'em all,
I'm here. Talk soon.
[car door slams]
How many more days
is this going to take?
We're trying our best,
Mrs. Unger.
Well, we should be
compensated for damages.
That's an issue
for contract services.
I'm from support.
Well, I've already heard
from an attorney
recommending we join
a class action lawsuit.
Good morning, Mr. Unger.
Emotional damages.
That's what
the lawyer on the phone said.
I can't give you legal advice,
Mrs. Unger.
But I can tell you that
there are a lot of law firms
looking for class
actions suits against us.
Well, it doesn't seem like
they need to look very hard.
Look, I just wanna know,
can you fix it or not?
I'm trying my best,
but I can't promise anything.
No, you can't.
We've learned not to rely
on Qualia's promises.
[shredder whirring]
[shredder turning off]
[Ian sighs]
["Wasn't Made For Love"
by LORENNA playing]
Prophetic fuck up
I'm not magic
My future's just set
in stone
Trust me I've tried
and tried enough
I'm desperate for a refresh.
Love, love
[device beeps]
I wasn't made for love
I thought we agreed
you're a little young
-for nail polish.
-We're never too young.
Are you sure
you don't want any?
Looks like you could use it.
I have other colors.
Verify consignment.
[device dinging]
Are you talking to me?
[device dinging]
Oh, my God.
Don't you just love the smell?
You should stop with the makeup
and get back to your paintings.
Your dad loves them.
But now I'm the painting.
I saw Mr. Unger.
He seemed sad.
That's because Daddy sent me
to my room before I was done.
You're in your room
because you're sick...
and your dad wants you
to get better.
I'm not sick.
I'm much better.
A better artist.
[Olivia] Better how?
[Eliza] I found a better way
to make him happy.
What better way?
Last night. Didn't he tell you?
What happened last night?
I reshaped into a form
that could bring him more joy.
And what form is that?
One in which I could offer
beauty and pleasure
That's new.
Well, what's the matter?
Did I do something wrong?
That's the problem.
[Olivia sighs]
Your brother seemed nice...
till it got weird.
You don't know my brother.
-This should all be packed away.
Where's the urn?
Maybe we should go.
I'm not leaving
without my brother.
[dog barks]
What are you doing outside?
What's that for?
That's not how it works.
[sink whirring]
[Lisa] Hey!
[Ian] Lisa,
I'm glad you came by.
[Meg] Where is it?
[Ian] I was just
cleaning up the house.
Would you like to sit down?
What did you do with them?
[Ian] It's safe.
Give them to me now.
But I--
You're supposed to do
what I tell you.
-Lisa, don't.
-[Ian] Something feels wrong.
I'm just trying to figure out
what I'm supposed to do
without Mom and--
-She's not your mother.
-[Meg] Stop.
You're a trinket.
Where did you put the ashes?
Lisa, we need to call
tech support.
[Lisa] I'm gonna ask this
one more time.
Where are my brothers ashes?
Answer me!
-I'm sorry. I didn't mean to.
-[Meg grunts]
[quiet ominous music plays]
[whispering indistinctly]
Give him back.
-[Meg] Lisa, let's go. Now.

[video game console beeps]
How well do you know
the neighbors?
Well, enough. Why?
A drop team will be here
in a few hours.
Faraday cages
will be dropped off
for all of you.
A drop team?
Anything with a hard drive
or containing
digital information
needs to be removed, okay?
That means we lose our deposit.
You need to start gathering up
phones, laptops,
tablets, TVs,
anything with data on it.
When will they take it away?
Uh, maintenance crew
will be here shortly
to pick her up.
It's one thing
to take a person's money,
but you're stealing souls.
-Mrs. Unger--
My name is Ruby Jackson,
not Mrs. Unger.
Bob couldn't imagine
getting married again.
He was at peace
with losing his little girl
until Qualia told him
he could have his daughter back.
-I'm sorry.
-[Ruby] She was kidnapped.
Did you know that?
Eliza was a sweet
and gentle spirit.
Now look
what you turned her into.
[rhythmic electronic pulsing]
[electronic rumbling]
Thank you for your cooperation.
[device dings]
It's against God
to bring back the dead.
They're machines,
Ms. Jackson, not zombies.
I'm sorry for the inconvenience.
[tablet chimes]
[tablet chimes]
[gentle music plays]
[Billie] At Qualia
our foster AGI ensures
that our loved ones
can be with us always.
Through our popular
Cherish series,
Qualia has been
tirelessly perfecting
our proprietary
neuromorphic wet wear
for over a decade
to recreate
and restore husbands,
wives, sons, and daughters.
In combination
with our industry-best
synthetic hardware,
world-class encryption,
and real, live tech support,
Qualia is the world leader
in imprint cognition.
With customized nursing skills
and life management,
you can be assured
that your artificial parallel
fits your specific needs.
And tied together
with our digital
and biological
imprint technology,
the Cherish series from Qualia
is unrivaled
in its ability to construct
an authentic
and lifelike
artificial parallel.
Memories from the past
help create a future
filled with new possibilities.
Moments to have, to hold,
to cherish.
[breathing heavily]
[rapid suspenseful music plays]
[tablet chimes]
[Ian gasps]
["Bitter Pill" by Madras]
[indistinct lyrics]
Somehow [indistinct lyrics]
[indistinct lyrics]
[indistinct lyrics]
[light music plays]
[man over the phone]
Room service.
[birds chirping]
[clattering in the distance]
[Ian grunting in the distance]
[clattering in the distance]
[diner din]
[Lisa] I called to have
the power and the gas shut off,
and I can change the locks
if that helps.
No, you can leave the locks.
I'm sorry,
why did you cut off the power?
[Lisa] To starve it.
No power means no heat.
No gas means no cooking.
No food, no energy.
Artificial parallels
can consume raw protein
and digest things
human biology cannot.
There's no need to cook
or refrigerate
their fuel source.
And they can run on as little
as 30 calories a day.
Another reason to hate them.
Why can't we just turn it off?
[Olivia] As next of kin
you should have been able to,
but that's why I have a job.
And there's no backdoor?
People don't want back doors
for the phones in their pockets.
Imagine putting one in
for something
that's designed to look,
listen, and monitor you 24/7.
[Meg] So, you're our only hope.
If I'm unable
to get the parallel
to manually shut down,
a drop team is the other option.
So, no offense,
but why can't we just do that?
Qualia can recycle more
of a parallel
with a manual shutdown.
A drop team's magnetic pulse
contaminates everything.
That's why we recommend
removing all electronics
or data storage
from the immediate
and surrounding properties.
Any digital possession
in the house.
Pictures, songs, recipes,
notes, that all gets corrupted.
I don't care if you stick it
in the microwave.
All I want is to make sure
that we get it to tell us
where it hid my brother's ashes.
-It hid your brother's ashes?
-[Meg] Yes.
They can't be deceptive.
[Meg] Why?
It's not programmed to.
You know,
we've been sitting here
answering questions,
and I still don't know
what it is you're going to do
-to help us.
-I talk to it.
Have a conversation.
So, you're a shrink for robots?
If you wanna
see it that way, sure.
Look, parallels
are just living out a narrative.
Like a "choose
your own adventure."
Except sometimes it veers off
into unanticipated plot lines.
My job is to come in,
attempt to get it back on track
towards a happy ending.
What if it doesn't want
an ending?
Parallels can't want, they're--
-Not programmed to.
-I'm saying at the Stanley.
-[phone beeps]
My contact info is in there.
[Lisa] So, what happens
if we don't find out
where the ashes are?
Search the house.
Where else could it be?
Parallels can't leave
their homes
without their owners.
It's against their protocol.
But it showed up
at the hospital on its own.
And the memorial service.
Uh, wait,
you didn't tell me that earlier.
Um, is there anything else
I should know?
It grabbed my arm.
It caught your arm.
For the same reason,
it's hiding my brother.
To stay alive.
-[Kuey pants]
You must be Kuey.
[Kuey panting]
Anyone home?
What's your name?
[Olivia] Olivia.
Did you hear me come in?
I figured you might wanna
get a look around the house.
[Olivia] Do you know
why I'm here?
I thought to ask you
the same question.
[Olivia] Are you packing
or unpacking?
I'm taking my time.
And how much time
will that take?
[Ian] Too much for Lisa,
I suspect.
Could you have the power
turned back on?
It would be easier for Kuey.
His eyes
aren't what they used to be.
How old is he?
[Ian] 13.
Kuey is sick.
Cancer seems to be a theme
in this family.
It's not too late
to save yourself.
Looks like someone's done
a lot of traveling.
Mary, well, my mother.
She spent a lot of time in China
for work.
What's the story with this?
I don't know. I can't read it.
[Olivia] You sound disappointed.
Well, if I could get online,
I could tell you what it says,
I'm in the dark, so to speak.
And what does that have to do
with the story?
I just see...
ink and paper, I...
I can't read it either,
but it's beautiful.
Now what if it's beautiful,
but it says something ugly?
It could say "stupid horse"
in really nice handwriting.
Now that seems plausible.
Well, now it has a story.
Verify consignment.
[device beeps]
[device beeps]
-Can you tell me how I was made?
-Excuse me?
I think it's important
that I understand the...
mechanics of my invention.
You have me convinced
I was human.
Who do you think you are?
I'm Qualia-designed series six,
artificial parallel,
assigned to foster care.
My serial number is 230282.
I was consigned 12 years ago
on June 6th
from Qualia HQ
in Irvine, California.
And I have been given
the appearance and personality
of Ian Ivan Thomas, the...
deceased son...
of Mary Elizabeth Thomas.
Are you all right?
[clears throat]
...can you give me
your serial number again?
[device chimes]
Do you know who I am?
Why I am here?
You're Olivia.
I assume you're here
to help me finish packing.
That's right.
Will you hurt me?
No, I won't hurt you.
Will someone else?
Does it hurt?
[Olivia] Does what hurt?
Are you dying?
I'm trying not to.
Machines don't die.
-Are you afraid of dy--
[Olivia chuckles]
I am not a machine.
[phone vibrates]
D-- do you think we could...
continue this tomorrow?
I'm tired.
[scoffs] Tired, you...
get tired.
Imagine finding out
you're adopted while...
at the same time being given
a terminal diagnosis.
I wanna think.
Think and rest.
I could use some time
to process too.
Thank you, Olivia.
I'll be here tomorrow.
Me too.
[jazz music playing over stereo]
[Olivia] Is everything
all right?
[Lisa] Yes.
I-- I wanted to apologize.
I felt like I came off as a--
Earlier this morning...
I was kind of a dick.
Can I buy you a drink?
[indistinct lyrics]
How long do these usually take?
Shutting down parallels.
[Olivia] The cases I see
by definition are all unique.
Sometimes they're easy,
while others are more complex.
[Lisa] Well,
almost nothing about my family
was ever easy.
I'm so sorry about your mother.
Thank you.
It's been hard.
Not just with her death, but...
now with this whole situation.
I hated that
she could love a machine
as much as her own daughter.
Does that make me a monster?
No. Not at all.
It's a normal reaction.
Ian, real Ian, I mean...
he wasn't religious.
But faith and redemption...
that means something to me.
As he was in and out
of the hospital,
Ian had this stupid line
where he'd say...
"Ghosts don't have to be real
for the dead
to visit the living."
Little shit mostly meant it
as a threat.
[Lisa laughs]
He was right, though.
I'll see a gesture or...
hear a song or taste something
he loved, and...
suddenly there he is.
Alive in my memory...
back from the dead.
I don't have
much of my brother left.
I need you to promise me
that you'll get
Ian's ashes back.
Lisa, thank you for the drink
and for all your help.
But I wanna be clear.
My cases
don't always resolve neatly.
I just want you to have
realistic expectations.
And what should that be?
If I can't save him, that is...
if I can't get it
to shut itself down...
I can't guarantee
that we will find the ashes.
It's a parallel, Olivia...
not a person.
You can't save something
that doesn't have soul.
[man] Hey.
Excuse me?
[man] You wanna hear a joke?
So, the devil thinks
that he's a better programmer
than Jesus, right?
Jesus politely disagrees.
So, God, in his infinite wisdom,
he decides, uh,
a competition, right?
A coding competition.
So, uh, Jesus and the devil,
they-- they start programming,
and they're typing really fast,
and there's lines
and lines of code
whizzing by on the screen.
And they're-- they're going
for hours, days, weeks
until suddenly power goes out.
Their-- their computers
boot back up.
The devil looks at his screen,
and it's all gone.
All of his work lost, erased.
While on Jesus' screen,
it's all there
like nothing happened.
The devil is cursing up a storm.
He demands,
"Why does Jesus still have
all of his programming?
God shrugged and said...
"Jesus saves."
So, it thinks it's the machine.
Shouldn't that make it easier?
No. Why would that be easier?
Every case I've had
was built on the foundation
that each parallel thought
it was human.
[John] So, you'll have to think
a bit outside the box.
John, this one
isn't just outside of the box.
It's picking up the box
and looking at the label.
Well, looking at
the manual diagnostics you send,
its levels seem totally normal.
If anything,
these numbers are extraordinary,
right down the center.
That was not my impression.
[John] Don't overthink this.
Find out what this AP wants
and connect it
with shutting itself down.
It wants to not be shut down.
Look, I have an idea,
and I don't want
this getting out.
So, this stays
between you and me.
-Got it?
We can petition
for a case study.
It will keep a parallel
operational for a year or two
while they really delve
into its programming.
How does that sound?
Wow, that-- that sounds great.
[John] Happy?
I didn't even know
something like that
could be done.
It can. I lied.
And a part of you knew that,
but you believed it anyways
because you wanted it
to be true.
-So, all you need to do is to--
-[static plays]
[Olivia] John?
[calling tone beeps]
[receptionist] Front desk.
How may I help you?
[Olivia] Uh, yes, my Wi-Fi.
I'm sorry, you're--
you're having trouble
with your Wi-Fi?
[birds chirping]
[rustling, clattering]
[Lisa] Please,
don't do this, Mom.
I'll hire anyone you want.
Anything but this.
Ian, do you know who that is?
This is sick.
I can't be here and see this.
I don't need you here, Lisa.
This isn't about you.
-Why don't you say hello?
-[door slams shut]
[Ian] Hi, Mom.
[gasps, sniffs]
[Ian] We're back here.
-Do you play?
-[Olivia] Play what?
[Ian] Backgammon.
I used to play this on my phone
all the time.
I hated
when I lost to the computer.
Go figure.
So, how did you lose?
I mean, that's what I like
about backgammon.
You know, everything starts
structured and balanced until...
you're confronted with chaos
and armed with only creativity
and intelligence.
You attempt to maintain order.
And the goal is to remove
all your pieces from the board,
[Ian] Yes.
That is the objective.
[Olivia] Did she read all this?
Probably not.
But she liked the idea
of people thinking she had.
Yeah, I have a new opinion
on how much stuff
a person really needs.
But these aren't just things.
They're markers.
These are books.
The reason you were created
was to help Mary's well-being,
to keep her alive.
The way I see it...
these books,
her clothes, her jewelry...
they're all stories,
evidence of Mary.
The objects
we surround ourselves with
are destined to outlive us.
Hidden between the pages
is Mary.
She's imprinted on all of it.
am I the crease in the page,
or do I get to make the fold?
I don't know, Ian.
It seems like
you're leaving a mark.
That's a nice thought.
I wonder
if you actually believe it.
How long will you be here?
[Olivia] Me?
Uh, I don't know.
A day. Maybe two.
Will you stay...
until I have to go?
I found this
with other camping supplies
in the garage.
-[Olivia] Did you go camping?
-[thunder rumbles]
-I don't know.
-[kettle whistling]
It's hard to separate
what is the past experience
or simply a memory.
Memories are past experiences.
Well, sure.
They just might not be mine.
And the manual states...
parallels incorporate media
and other forms of narrative
to help shape a personality
link to a common history.
The developers are really gonna
wanna get their hands on you.
Great tea, by the way.
I had time to perfect it.
Oh, yeah?
You find an old family recipe?
Oh, no.
It's because Mary had arthritis
in her hands.
I don't follow.
[rousing music plays]
[Ian] Osteoarthritis
had decreased Mary's
range of motion,
especially in the dexterity
of her fingers.
I had anticipated
that the angle of her trajectory
was too shallow.
So, I immediately began
investigating tea stains.
I started by learning
about the chemistry
of stain removal.
The difference between enzymatic
and oxidizable stains
and when to use bleaches
versus surfactants.
After that, it didn't take long
to aggregate a formula
that would have the highest
likelihood of success.
And then I realized
I'd been given
the rarest of gifts.
One second of spare time.
So, I decided
to let my mind wander.
I read up
on the history of tea.
How it originated in Asia
as early as the third century,
and tracing it to Portugal
in the 16th century.
Then through to Britain
and onto the commercial trading
in India,
the British East India Company.
That led me
to learn about navigation
and the uses of [indistinct]
and compasses.
Uh, I then became interested
in the earth's magnetic field,
solar wind,
the Sun, the Milky Way.
And by the time I started
in on the Big Bang,
dark matter, and the multiverse,
I discovered
I'd gotten a bit off-topic.
So, I quickly collected
tea-making formulas
and averaged out
their steeping method,
water temperature,
milk to sugar ratios,
and determined the best recipe
to a perfect cup
for the varietal
that Mary and I preferred.
-Oh, shoot!
-[Ian] Don't worry.
-I'll clean it up.
-Would you like another cup?
-[Mary] Yes.
Thank you, sweetheart.
Did it ever occur to you
how incredible it is
to process so much, so quickly?
But I know the difference.
And there's something
it's like to be me.
It felt like me.
It seemed normal.
Does it seem normal now?
It stopped raining.
I want some air.
I'll join you in a minute.
I've gotta check in with work.
-[birds chirping]
-[wind chime chimes]
[John over the phone]
If it can get from tea
to astrophysics in one second,
shouldn't it see
that consenting to a shutdown
is better than being obliterated
by a drop team?
[Olivia over phone]
Not if it wants to survive.
Not if it sees both
a certain death.
[John] Machines don't die.
Look, its data
might be valuable, might,
but ultimately not as valuable
as getting you
onto your next case.
[Olivia] This one is different.
He thinks different.
[John] They're all different
in some ways, which--
which makes them all the same.
[Olivia sighs]
[Olivia] Okay, anything else?
[John] Yeah.
I don't remember reading
that Ian was a smoker.
How could he?
He died with barely enough time
to pick up any bad habits.
But Mary was.
She got you to smoke.
I think it was a way to bond.
And I suppose
since she already had cancer,
and I can't get it...
it was a fairly benign activity.
Can I have a try?
[birds chirping]
Ian, I have some bad news.
Oh, good.
Qualia and Lisa have approved
a drop team.
W-- why?
Lisa would never let
that happen.
What about her brother's ashes?
I can't tell you why.
I just know it's happening.
I'm sorry.
We should probably
get some packing done.
Was this your room?
I had to start somewhere.
[somber eerie music plays]
[fire crackling]
You do remember how to play?
Let's see
if you still feel that way
further into the game.
Well, taking the lover's leap
as an opening move
is a good sign.
Lover's leap.
I didn't know it had a name.
[Ian] May I ask
what happened to your leg?
[Olivia] Uh, why?
Do you think
something's wrong with my legs?
Leg. The left one.
You favor it when you walk.
I'm sorry I--
I've made you uncomfortable.
No, no, it's all right.
I had a...
cancerous mass removed
from my femur.
As a child?
My late teens.
That's still young
to be dealing with cancer.
Were you a dancer?
Did you look me up?
A lucky guess...
based on your posture
and muscle mass.
Cancer makes
for great small talk,
doesn't it?
The surgery, was it successful?
It cured my cancer
and ended my career.
So, how'd you end up doing this?
While the surgeon
saved my life,
it was the hospital's counselors
who really helped me heal.
I wanted to be
able to do the same.
It's your roll.
What are you doing?
Make your move.
[Lisa] Can't figure out
what they're saying.
Maybe I should go out to Mom.
[Ian] No,
you should come out to mom.
Doing my best.

Your turn.
[Olivia] How do you think
this is going to end?
It's only ever obvious
once you've reached it.
I think this one is over.
You're right.
Maybe we'll get
another one in tomorrow.
[fire crackling]
What about the fire?
It'll burn itself out.
[insects chirping]
You are still not looking.
[young Lisa] Yes, I am.
Okay. And what
are you looking at?
That's not an insult.
Uranus is the Greek god
of the heavens,
son of Gaia, Mother Earth.
[scoffs] You--
you're gonna die a virgin.
[Mary] Don't tease
your brother.
[young Ian]
Your face is a virgin.
Why do you even know
anything about Greek gods?
I don't know.
It's fun.
It's a way
to learn about astronomy.
Aren't you the one
that's always saying
that the universe
doesn't care about you?
Sure, but I don't need
the universe to care
to care about the universe.
Well, you know
what I think?
I think
you're talking out Uranus.
[both laughing]
[young Ian] Yeah.
That's pretty good.
Everything okay?
What is it?
Is there someone...
um, we can call?
I have the vet's number.
That'll be open
in a few hours.
Uh, do you--
You should probably
let Lisa know.
Okay. Sure.
I think I'll finish
packing up the office...
[rousing music]
[birds chirping]
[car beeping]
She loved that dog.
We all did.
Would you like to
come inside?
[clock ticking]
I keep having to
tell myself you're not him.
I'm not.
At least
you didn't try to hide Kuey.
I guess
Olivia's making progress.
This is hurting me.
-You do know that?
-That's not--
that was never my intention.
What are your intentions?
What do you want?
I wanna stay.
And I want her back.
Now that she's gone
you serve no purpose.
You never even
tried with me.
If I did...
I feared I'd lose
the thread of who Ian was
and what you--
who you are.
My memories...
would be...
corrupted or fade or blur.
To know you...
would threaten to erase
all I have left of him.
I'm not trying
to replace Ian.
Not anymore.
I'm different.
I'm me.
You are a magic trick.
A very convincing one.
But still just a trick.
We're more alike
than you think.
If you're at all like me...
you'll give Ian back.
[pensive music]
[phone chiming]
[Ian] She left.
How did it go?
I need to
get out of this house.
[Mary] Ivan,
let me you ask you something.
Why do you insist
on calling you that?
It's your name.
It's in my name.
What's the difference?
Should I call you Elizabeth?
If you'd like.
Let me ask you...
what are you doing here?
I'm taking care of you.
And you do that so well.
But what else?
Well, that's enough
for me, Mom.
I can't be your world.
I'm dying.
I'm terminal.
Soon I'll be gone.
That's true today but treatments
and science are advancing so f--
That's a future
that won't come.
At least
not fast enough for me.
Why are you doing this?
Are you trying to make me cry?
No, of course not.
You're very special to me.
I worry about you.
I'm part of your past
and your present,
but I can't be your future.
There's beauty
and purpose in this world
because neither lasts.
Do you want me
to forget you?
I'm trying to
tell you that...
a memory is precious
because it can be forgotten.
I want you to know
what's important...
I'm real.
When are you going to
ask me?
Ask you what?
Where his ashes are.
Are you ready to tell me?
They're in a pot
with a fake plant
next to the kitchen sink.
Why there?
It has a nice view.
I would always stare
out that window
when I washed dishes.
What's it like to be you?
I'm always the first
and last to know.
Do you think you're human?
Well, I suppose the first step
to being human is acting human.
Are you afraid
of what happens next?
The drop team, is it quick?
It's quick.
It's fractions of a second.
But totally destructive.
You'll be completely erased.
Well, which is it?
Quick or fractions
of a second?
[water splashes]
[rousing music]
We should try to finish
before we lose the light.
[insects chirping]
[suspenseful music]
I need to tell you something.
I know.
What really happened
to your leg?
-I-- I already told you.
-That was a lie.
You said it was cancer,
a tumor...
but you used
the word "cure."
And anyone who has had or knows
someone who has had cancer
understands that cure
is not a term people use.
What happened?
Black ice.
slipped walking home
from rehearsal
and ended up
injuring my quadriceps.
It was diagnosed
as a small tear.
Nothing serious.
Nothing serious
ended your dancing career?
Kind of.
The treatment
was robotic surgery.
A simple
outpatient procedure.
I was expected
to make a full recovery.
So I show up...
get prepped,
and go under the knife.
I come to
a few hours later and...
the first thing I notice
is the pain.
it's not overwhelming.
It's more like a...
Like the beginning
of a cramp.
I pull back
the bedsheet and...
rip off my bandage.
What I find isn't a small,
precise incision,
but a nine-inch...
gash that's been
stapled shut.
What happened?
Uh, at first, words like...
"preconditioning error"
and "logarithmic malfunction"
were used.
But eventually,
it was explained to me
that a software update
had been pushed over the air
to the surgical arm
that morning.
And when it opened me up,
it saw other imperfections
that it deemed
medically relevant.
So it went ahead
and fixed those.
To the machine I was full of
invisible glitches.
Countless tears literally
in the fibers of my muscle.
But what
it did not understand
is our bodies...
get stronger through damage.
That in human biology
to develop strength,
a certain level of destruction
must be tolerated.
[Olivia sighs]
Because the minds
building the machine
and designing the software
were so narrowly
focused on...
...they forgot to define
what constituted a flaw.
So, no,
I didn't have a tumor but...
me and 179
other unlucky people that
morning all across the country
were forever marked
by ones and zeros.
Machines don't make mistakes.
They perfectly execute
the mistakes put into them.
The mistakes
will always be ours.
And so will the regrets.
I said cancer because...
you told me
it ran in the family.
I'm sorry.
You don't have to apologize.
And it's what makes you good
at all this.
[kettle whistling]
So is this...
what you do...
really about helping people?
It's about...
The same thing
you've been chasing.
Helping people, maybe...
maybe that was a part of it.
But maybe it was power.
Honestly, at this point,
I don't know.
I'd like to watch the sunrise.
Would you care to join me?
[Ian] Are you cold?
[Olivia] No, I'm okay. Thanks.
[Ian] Do you believe
in an afterlife?
[Olivia] It's clear your chances
are just as good as anyone's.
[Ian] They are?
At the very least,
parts of you will go on.
Built into other parallels.
data will be saved
and studied for generations.
You get to live on.
If the drop team gets here...
that all goes away.
It's impossible
to spend time with you
and not rethink
what's possible.
What do you think?
What's possible?
It's the best I've got.
You'd be terrible
at greeting cards.
Yeah, well...
we've got machines
who do that now.
I wanna believe there's more.
Plenty of people too.
Does it work for them?
It has.
For billions of people
for thousands of years.
There's no certainty here.
something you have to feel,
like being in love.
It's a leap
you have to make for yourself.
I think you should run.
That's not an option.
Of course, it is.
I could help you.
I can't pass out there.
Everyone sees through me.
In the best-case scenario...
well, this world treats me
like an escaped house pet.
Worst case...
I'm hunted like rare game...
I don't want that.
We'll figure it out.
You are serious.
I'm choosing control.
To shut down.
With you.
So that's it.
We just give up.
We play the moves
we have left.
You have to try.
You have to let me try.
This doesn't have to be
how it ends.
But it doesn't.
And that's what
gives it meaning.
[bird squawking]
[thunder rumbling]
[rain splattering]
Close your eyes.
He's a real boy.
He was always real.
And what's the difference
between wanting and existing...
if you can have
emotions and feelings?
How can you say
that it's less than real?
Less than alive?
Are you alive?
I must be.
Because I--
because I'm dying.
I want you to try
and quiet your mind.
How do I quiet my mind?
Start by focusing
on your respirations.
Just try and relax.
And follow my prompts.
[somber music]
Source admin.
Run four.rmh.ded.
Root density, open.
Discard index.
Force quit.
Encrypt imprint.
Disengage drive.
Halt stem.
Decline protocol.
Complete shutdown.
[somber music]
Sequence OS resolve.
[tablet buzzing]
[hydraulics whirring]
[thrilling music]
Sequence OS. [gasps]
[Ian] Declined.
[Ian] Declined.
[Ian] Declined.
[music intensifies]
[robotic arms whirring]
[suspenseful music]
[Meg] Hi.
We didn't realize
you were still here.
Hi. [laughs]
I was just...
How was your trip?
Is it still here?
He's gone.
[little girl]
Did you bring me anything?
[Olivia] A friend
gave me something
I wanna share with you.
[little girl] What is it?
[Olivia] It's a game.
[somber music]
[machine whirring]

[music fades]