A slower-paced episode digs into how an all-seeing, all-knowing security system might be justified, and continues to hint at a large conspiracy that for now remains unclear.
This recap of Class of ’09 Season 1 Episode 3, “Thank You For Not Driving”, contains spoilers.
It isn’t enough to create an omniscient crime-fighting supercomputer — you have to justify it too. This is what the bulk of “Thank You For Not Driving” is about, as we mostly languish in the show’s present, understanding the genesis of Hour’s computer system, the very human compulsion to use it, and the inevitable contortion of its well-meaning underpinnings into something dystopian and terrifying.
Class of ’09 Season 1 Episode 3 Recap
There’s only one scene in the past this week, which is of little narrative consequence but sets up a thematic payoff later.
In the cold open, Poet is being taught to aggressively J-turn by the FBI. There’s some spiel about how the Bureau grew up alongside the automobile. Based on the episode’s title you know this is going to be relevant in some way, and it is, but not until we get to the future timeline and start to understand how something as simple and fundamental as driving has been completely redefined.
What is Better Life?
As mentioned, the bulk of this week’s Class of ’09 takes place in the present, on two parallel narrative tracks. In the first, Tayo continues to hunt for Mark Tupirik and reaches a dangerous dead end, while in the second, Poet and Hour are essentially forced into a disagreement about the latter’s new comprehensive crime-fighting database.
The working title is “Better Life”, which is a deliberately optimistic moniker for a computer system that will eventually grow into something that defines one’s life for them.
Better Life has been conceived by Hour as simply a database, a way to collate information and knowledge such that all the FBI’s agents can access and benefit from it in real time. Naturally, there’s pushback against the idea, stemming from ethical concerns and, probably more notably, fears of obsolescence.
Poet is stuck in the middle since she’s spying on Hour, which Hour is aware of, and is at least partially responsible for the system being shut down. This essential conflict also defines their relationship in the future, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
Why does Tayo use Hour’s system?
Through Tayo’s perspective, we see how Hour’s system might be justified. His investigation leads him to a frustrating dead-end with an uncommunicative suspect and then to an outright attempt on the life of his wife, Viv. Tayo isn’t just annoyed but actively under threat, so he turns to Hour and her system to help him track down Tupirik.
And it works. Through the suspect’s idle scribblings, Better Life is able to make a connection to a construction company logo, and Tupirik is found hiding in the back of one of its trucks. But the use of the system is unauthorized and Poet is present as a reminder of that.
In the future, following the death of Amos Garcia, Poet goes to see Hour, who is living a quiet and ostensibly happy rural family life.
Hour still feels betrayed, though; by the FBI, and by Poet, and their obvious romantic connection lingers over all of their interactions. Hour is reluctant to help, but since she knows the dangers of whatever Better Life has become more than anyone, she agrees.
In a telling scene that pays off the cold open, Hour and Poet are pulled over while driving — indeed, because they’re driving. Poet’s Tesla can drive itself. It’s intended to drive itself. Poet manually driving constitutes probable cause for the car to be remotely taken control of and driven into a security checkpoint where a sign thanks drivers for not driving.
Class of ’09 Season 1 Episode 3 Ending Explained
The episode ends with scenes both in the present and future.
In the present, Tayo goes to interrogate the now-imprisoned Tupirik, who seems entirely unconcerned with his predicament. On the contrary, he thinks he has the best seat in the house since he gets to watch Tayo’s expression when he sees the news.
What news? We don’t know yet. But something big is coming, obviously.
And in the future, the data Amos gave to Poet reveals that the system is acting independently, without human input, making predictive arrests and deciding guilt or innocence. The recorded voice of Amos implores them to investigate what Tayo really knows.
In the final scene, Poet gets into bed, and Hour joins her, holding her while she sobs.
You can stream Class of ’09 Season 1 Episode 3, “Thank You For Not Driving” on Hulu.
1 thought on “Class of ’09 Season 1 Episode 3 Recap – Why does Tayo use Hour’s system?”
The AI System used is called “BETTER TOMORROW” not “BETTER LIFE”.