Psycho-Pass Episode 14: Sweet Poison
“What is crime in this world in the first place?”
The CID tackle a case involving an anonymous criminal wearing a helmet, who commits multiple straightforward crimes yet still displays a clear Psycho-Pass before and after the incident. Identifying the culprit behind the scenes as Makishima, the CID realize that exposing this flaw in the Sibyl System to the public could cause a much larger social instability.
What an episode, what an episode. Seriously, I was anticipating what kind of twist they’d pull in regards to the increasing flaws the Sibyl System’s developed, and I was very satisfied to how the show handled it. The new opening and ending is starting to grow on me a bit too, so it’s all good.
The show’s already gone down the route of exploring the issues Sibyl has, so I wasn’t surprised to see a random masked guy enter a medicinal pharmacy with a light pink Psycho-Pass, and proceed to killing two pharmacists preparing medicines with a pair of scissors (through the face) and a ballpoint pen (through the leg), though with the latter other gruesome actions were probably carried out. Anyway, he was clearly trying to get substances that needed authorization and were otherwise illegal, or he wouldn’t have had to go to all the trouble of killing people in the first place. My initial reaction was that he was criminally asymptomatic like Makishima (and perhaps Akane, as some of you have commented last week – with her Crime Coefficient back at 32, it’s looking very likely). Of course, people like that aren’t exactly common on the streets, and so like Shinya, my thoughts strayed towards the gas-mask helmet he had on. But more on that later.
Here we see a primary example of the mess the Sibyl System has created – it’s actually a wonder that something like this hasn’t occurred earlier. The entire security of their society is based on the sole assumption that the cymatic scan they have is reliable – and so everyone walking around on the streets are good, happy and mentally stable citizens. So when a murderous psychopath like that guy wearing the helmet turns up, it was the biggest shock of that lady’s life to have him start clubbing her brutally in a completely spontaneous matter, until her body was literally mutilated and most likely raped. She most likely didn’t deserve as much punishment as the hikikomori thought she did – but hey, all mentally unstable people have thoughts somewhere along those lines. Look at that guy’s room – full of mutilated dolls with her face attached to it, as well as messed up pictures all over the place…talk about an obsession.
“I have detected that you are experiencing a great deal of stress. I recommend you receive mental care from a specialized medical facility immediately.”
The real shock value came from the reaction to this deranged crime though – there was no reaction at all. Someone’s getting viciously beaten in the street, and all the witnesses are just standing around, not helping her? I understand that there is a chance of your own Psycho-Pass getting clouded if you get involved in incidents like this, and that your life is pretty much gone if you’re of latent criminal status – but everyone just stood there? Really? Perhaps what was even worse was the reaction the drones had. The drones did manage to realize that this guy wasn’t safe to society and had mental issues despite his Crime Coefficient being really low, but here’s the thing – at the end of the day, drones are drones. They aren’t people, and therefore they don’t have enough intelligence and rationality to determine suspicion, or the fact that a crime is occurring. Take the pharmacy case as an example – any human would recognize in an instant that just maybe, there is something suspicious about the guy in the helmet. But that’s not the case with an AI, who will ultimately base their final judgement on a target’s Psycho-Pass and/or Crime Coefficient. Order used to be maintained with people locking their doors and doubting other humans – but now they’ve lost that capability, and they’ve decided to use technology instead, taking its word for granted. And THAT is the problem with the Sibyl System, which society saw first-hand – a crime was committed right in front of a Psycho-Pass scanner, and nothing happened.
Makishima’s method of using the helmet as a method of promoting awareness in society regarding this flaw is certainly more widespread than what he’s done before, which was to focus his attention on a few individuals whom he thinks holds potential or aptitude. Now he’s just taking random people off the streets with high crime tendencies, and using them for his own ends. It was pretty clever how the helmet worked actually – acting like a cymatic scanner itself, and sourcing out people with clear Psycho-Passes, and projecting it as the user’s own. So that’s why the witnesses’ Psycho-Pass had an identical mental state as the criminal, and why the Area Stress level ended up changing in tandem with the guy’s Psycho-Pass. It’s very like Makishima – but was discovered way too early when the helmet targeted Akane’s instead, meaning that when the Dominator pointed at the criminal, it identified him as a CID Inspector which gave the game away. That makes suppressing these helmet people easy – if you isolate them and send in Enforcers (Shinya’s CC is 282, by the way), all the people in the area would be targets for enforcement action. Of course…that means innocent people can be set up the same way and killed in that manner, too.
Makishima clearly isn’t going to let anything end with this – in fact, this entire helmet issue seems to be just a small part of a much grander plan that he has, something to do with the strange objects in the boot of his van as well as a certain accomplice whom he’s divulged his entire plan to. I’m not going to take a stab at guessing what’s in there amidst the really dark lighting, so while we contemplate until next Thursday rolls around here’s a shot from the ED of Akane, who had much screen time but conversely, not much significance to today’s plot.