“Mason’s Rats” is a smart little warning about the dangers of burgeoning technology and impersonal, behind-closed-doors warfare.
This recap of Love, Death + Robots season 3, episode 7, “Mason’s Rats”, contains spoilers. You can check out all of our coverage of this show by clicking these words.
A brief, smart little episode about the effects of burgeoning technology and impersonal warfare on our cultural consciousness, “Mason’s Rats” finds a humble Scottish farmer named Mason, who looks like a trapper from a Disney cartoon, inadvertently triggering what he calls a “ratpocalypse” and finding himself firmly on the side of the little man. Eventually, anyway.
Love, Death + Robots season 3, episode 7 recap
The problem with Mason’s rats, which infest his barn, is that they’re organizing and evolving. These things can’t be caught in traditional traps or hunted by an old cat. So, desperate, Mason turns to a pest control company called Traptech, who present him with a catalog and a sales pitch, to which he responds, simply, “How much?” And so it goes. With each visit, the smug Traptech salesman proposes a more advanced, deadly, and expensive option, and Mason tries to go about his business.
But there’s only so long you can pretend to not know what’s happening behind closed doors. The rats, which continue to fight back all of the newfangled killing machines that Mason sics on them, are deliberately styled as humble resistance fighters, with berets and makeshift weaponry. The robots quickly seem more terrifying, hostile, and barbaric than the rodents do. They kill efficiently but thoughtlessly. Mason is expected to turn a blind eye.
But he can’t. Eventually, Mason turns on the machine, and in saving the surviving rats he befriends them. In dialogue, he mentions “this is like World War Four”, implying a near-future setting in which humanity has already attempted to destroy itself on a global scale one more time. It’s as succinct an anti-war message as any. When the machines rise up, we’re all the rats, after all.