‘Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams’ Recap: ‘Kill All Others’ Leaves You Wondering—Who’s An Other?
Welcome to Mexuscan, the nightmarish meganation of 2054 in which elections are all about the process. Read: there’s only one candidate, The Candidate, but hey, voting is your chance to voice your support for her (Vera Farmiga, leading an eerily familiar rallying cry of “Mexuscan! Yes us can!”). Philbert Noyce (The Last Man on Earth’s Mel Rodriguez) is a factory worker frustrated with the way technology has invaded his homelife—the pop up shaving cream ads in the bathroom, the 3D coffee ad hunk his wife is always cozying up to—and he soon begins to feel like he’s the only one who suspects there’s something very wrong with society and the current political climate.
His suspicions are doubled when, during a live televised interview, The Candidate takes a break from her musings on education to tell the populace they need to “Kill all others.” At first, the violent message seems like a gaff or a glitch, especially when there’s almost no news coverage of it the following day and Philbert’s two coworkers claim not to have heard the candidate say anything inflammatory.
But it slowly comes out that yes, The Candidate did say that—Philbert sees the message flash by his eyes again on the subway ride home and it scares him so much that he pulls the emergency break on the train and causes a collision. That brings Philbert under the scrutiny of a shadowy government agency tasked with monitoring the mental health of its citizens.
He’s released but an incident the following day puts him back on their radar. Seeing a mob chase and attack a seemingly innocent woman prompts Philbert to come to her defence. She looks like everyone else, but the authorities and the mob agree: she’s an Other.
Outfitted with a health monitoring bracelet, Philbert returns to work, but he’s now raised the suspicions of everyone around him—is he an Other? A billboard outside his factory seems to have been placed there to taunt him. It reads “Kill All Others” and sports a dummy hanging by its neck. Why isn’t anyone as disturbed as Philbert and is it his anxiety alone that makes him an Other? The final step in his condemnation comes when he attempts to take an anonymous stand against The Candidate and fails in concealing his identity.
Philbert goes on the run with the authorities in pursuit and the masses demanding blood. After a physical altercation with his wife (which, as a viewer, makes you ask: “Wait a second IS Philbert an Other?”) he heads straight for the Kill All Others billboard outside of his factory and climbs to the top, attempting to dislodge the hanging dummy. A fall from that height spells the end for Philbert and The Candidate congratulates him for “purging” himself so that society doesn’t have to shoulder the burden. The future is dark, you guys.