“Cycles” includes some horrifying moments, detestable villains, and the added bonus of some integral emotional stakes. It’s the strongest installment yet, opening up a fascinating narrative you can’t help but invest in.
This recap of the AMC+ series Pantheon season 1, episode 2, “Cycles,” contains spoilers.
Like some twisted Black Mirror episode, part two of Pantheon, titled “Cycles”, delivers on the horror and provides the emotional stakes with its strongest instalment yet. The malicious corporation Logorhythms come into focus and Maddie’s journey to uncover the company’s dark secrets kick into gear.
Pantheon season 1, episode 2
The episode starts with Maddie narrating over a flashback sequence. Precious memories from her childhood are played over this narration. Maddie’s father compares each stage of a baby’s growth to that of a computer. Family friend Peter Waxman, who works for Logorhythms, tries to get David to join, raving about the potentials of Uploaded Intelligence. The idea of a person living within a machine, becoming electronic instead of organic.
The flashbacks continue as Ellen explains her husband’s history to Maddie in the present. David joined the company and was to be the first person to undertake this experiment, due to his illness. David had been given four weeks to live by the doctors and wanted to sacrifice himself for this new technology. The procedure would be irreversible, peeling away his brain via a laser, transferring his mind to a computer. Ellen refused though, saying it would be suicide. But David wanted to live forever and saw this as his journey towards immortality.
Ellen was told that the procedure hadn’t fully worked, yet this was just a lie. Clearly they had enough data to make it work. Ellen understands that they have uploaded David’s mind, but she believes it’s all a simulation. She wants Logorhythms to delete this data or else she will be taking the scandal public. Maddie thinks otherwise, desperately hoping that her father is still alive, in some form or another. She is warned about Caspian by an online contact called Angry Angel. They tell her that Caspian is been watched and agree to meet in person the next day.
Meanwhile, at Logorhythms’ hidden base, Julius Pope receives an update on Caspian. The parents appear to be working for the company and explain that Caspian has started to research UI’s. Pope is warned that because the two projects are overlapping they must terminate Caspian’s project altogether. The other plan must be referring to David. Pope is infuriated by this suggestion and refuses, telling the parents to stick to the plan.
Chanda, who was kidnapped in the premiere, awakens in a medical facility. His boss Prasad is there, calling Chanda a traitor for signing with a competitor. In retaliation for this deceit, Prasad has Chanda experimented upon. We finally get to see the horrifying surgery as lasers take apart Chanda’s brain, while the test subject is still conscious. It’s a brutal and terrifying sight that will stick in your memory. His brain has now been transferred online. This is clearly not the first time Prasad has orchestrated this procedure.
Waxman tries to talk Ellen out of going public with her findings and confesses to the partial truth of David’s predicament. They were close to perfecting the UI and had partitioned David’s brain, but progress stalled. Once they brought in the emotional aspects of David’s mind, his productivity increased. This opened up the floodgates and he evolved exponentially. Memories returned to David and he eventually reached out to Maddie. Waxman says he can fix this, but Ellen just wants this experiment deleting.
Maddie meets with Angry Angel, who happens to be a suspicious man named Cody (Scoot McNairy). He explains that Angry Angel is his wife Laurie Lowell. She was experimented upon whilst in a coma and was uploaded into Logorhythms’ servers almost like a prisoner. Lowell escaped and then tried to break David out too. That heist was seen as the hacking at the end of episode one, but it didn’t work and the evil corporation has now improved their security. Lowell needs to infiltrate the company again, with Maddie’s help. Cody passes Maddie a special bracelet that will come in handy later in the episode.
Ellen heads to Logorhythms to meet with Pope in person and Maddie manages to convince her mother to let her tag along. During the meeting, Pope shows his true colors and refuses to hand over David’s data. He argues that his company owns David’s mind, it is their intellectual property. Ellen threatens them with a power of attorney and going public, but they battle back. Maddie presses a button on the bracelet and Lowell begins to hack into the company.
Pope is informed that all their sites are down, they are literally losing millions of dollars every second. Maddie says how they have lost control of their company, but they can have it back when they release her father. It’s a great twist, the villains of the piece being played by a school kid. Pope realizes that Lowell is involved and accepts the deal. He hands over David’s files and lets the mother and daughter walk out. Back at home, Maddie transfers the data to her computer and her father calls her up on the phone. He says hello to Maddie in a stirring final moment.
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