In the tenth episode of Serial Experiments Lain, the illusion shatters. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Serial Experiments Lain.
In hindsight, I’m not sure this is as convoluted as it felt to me while watching it, so ENJOY THE VIDEO OF ME BEING CONFUSED AND SHOCKED THE ENTIRE TIME. I’m combing over the notes and the rough draft I wrote after immediately watching “Love,” and it’s clear to me that this show has become a character study as much as it is a mystery. Eiri and Lain are now set-up to be the main conflict, something that confused me initially. Eiri is the main antagonist, at least for Lain, and I imagine that the remainder of this will deal with the struggle to stop Eiri’s quest for godhood.
Well, even that isn’t exactly true, is it? Eiri is already a god of the Wired, at least by his logic. He fed his consciousness into the Wired through his experimental protocol, and the Knights were his followers and believers. (There’s a neat but entirely coincidental thematic similarity between this and a lot of stuff in the Discworld, isn’t there?) The Knights worshipped Eiri, and that worship gave him power. But I am guessing that he wants more power than just what’s in the Wired. Sure, he’s already omniscient and omnipotent in one sense, but that’s not enough, is it?
It’s through this that the “true” nature of Lain is revealed. I think. See, I can never quite tell if I’m supposed to accept things at face value or to challenge them. The show has outright lied to us before, so it’s sensible to assume that the writers/creators might do so again. Is Lain nothing more than the creation of Eiri? Did she come to corporeal form over the years rather than being “born” in any traditional sense? Aside from my unwillingness to accept everything I’m told by Serial Experiments Lain, I don’t really have a reason to reject this. As far as I can tell from the information we’ve gotten, this is the truth. Lain’s growth was always part of an experiment, which is why her parents slowly faded out of her life.
(AND I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THAT. Did Mika know that she was part of a fake family? Is that why she acted so bizarrely towards the end? I get the mother’s distance, as well as Lain’s “father’s” interest in Lain and computers. In hindsight, their behavior now feels way more sensical. But I don’t really get what happened to Mika at all. HOW LONG HAS THIS FAMILY BEEN FORCED TO ACT LIKE THEY WERE REAL???)
There’s a very specific thing Lain’s father says, though, that helped me figure out why this conflict between Eiri and Lain is so important to the show. More than once, he mentions that Lain has free will, and it’s suggested that it is free will in the purest sense. She can choose to be literally anything or to do literally anything. Indeed, she even acts against the Knights in this episode. (I think? It made sense to me that Lain found out who was in the Knights and then leaked their names in retaliation. She has such pure free will that she can will into existence ANYTHING she wants, including the names of the people in the Knights.) That’s an intentional thing to fight back against what Eiri shows her in “Love.” There’s an entire existence without Lain in it that unfolds over the course of this episode.
Why? So that Eiri can prove to Lain that she doesn’t really exist, at least not in the way she always believed she did. Here’s my hypothesis: Eiri wants Lain to give up her body to live fully within the Wired (most likely with him) as the first step to getting everyone in the “real” world to do the same. Why else would he go to such great lengths to show her the vacancy of her life? If I accept that, then it seems clear that Lain wants to fight against an existence entirely in the Wired. She wants the real world. She wants bodies and families and friends, and she’s not willing to sacrifice all of that to become a god of the Wired herself.
Annnnndddd I could be completely wrong. About all of this. But I took what Eiri said with a grain of salt, yet I wasn’t willing to completely discount what he said. Perhaps the idea that there is a “real” Lain is a faulty premise, too, but the Lain we’ve known for most of the show is the one who’s front and center. I think she’ll ultimately make the decision that affects whether the Wired dominates or disappears.
The video for “Love” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
– I am now on Patreon! There are various levels of support, from $1 up to whatever you want! You’ll get to read a private blog, extra reviews, and other such rewards.
– I will be at numerous conventions in 2016! Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches have been announced here.
– Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!