Love, Death & Robots: Pop Squad – Review/Summary (with Spoilers)

Detective Briggs entering someone's home

Imagine living in a world where you could live forever if you forego having children. Is this a tradeoff you could accept? Especially knowing the price to pay if you had kids?

Imagine living in a world where you could live forever if you forego having children. Is this a tradeoff you could accept? Especially knowing the price to pay if you had kids?

Director(s) Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Screenplay By Paolo Bacigalupi, Philip Gelatt
Where Can You Watch? Netflix
Date Released 5/14/2021
Genre(s) Action, Drama, Sci-Fi, Animation
Duration 18 minutes
Rating TV-MA
Noted Cast
Detective Briggs Nolan North
Alice Elodie Yung
Officer Pentle Michelle C. Bonilla

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Film Summary

Detective Briggs is borderline immortal. Like his romantic partner and partner at work, he has traded in the ability to have offspring to potentially live forever. However, unlike most cops, who investigate murders, or crimes as we’ve come to know it, he is an enforcer of registering children. Also, Detective Briggs is the man who, if he catches you violating the law, takes care of your kids, and not in a loving way.

Things To Note | Question(s) Left Unanswered

  • Reason(s) for Film Rating: Implied harm against children, smoking, drinking, and gun violence.

Cast & Character Guide

Please Note: This is not an exhaustive list of every cast member.

Detective Briggs (Nolan North)

Detective Briggs (Nolan North) out of uniform
Detective Briggs (Nolan North) out of uniform

It isn’t clear how long Detective Briggs has lived, but between signs of aging showing on his hands to a mind filled with too many memories of doing what he is paid to do, time has begun wearing him down. Hence, when his life partner Alice mentions what perhaps would be unthinkable, that having a child triggers something in him. Thus making him seek out why, despite the consequences, people would seek to have children?

Alice (Elodie Yung)

Without having children and keeping herself young, Alice became a sought-after opera singer whose recent performance has gained her great acclaim. However, in the high of the moment, she speaks about children, and that sends Briggs down a path that makes them no longer in sync.

Officer Pentle (Michelle C. Bonilla)

Office Pentle is Detective Brigg’s work partner who aids in handling unregistered children cases.

Review/ Commentary

Movie Material

Alice (Elodie Yung) in the middle of her performance
Alice (Elodie Yung) in the middle of her performance

While we loved the other shorts we saw, this one made sense as an 18 minute short, and honestly, whether animated or live-action, could work as a feature film. After all, technology is inching closer and closer to finding ways to maintain the human body, likely long past how it was designed, and overpopulation remains an issue. So a film in which children have to be registered, or else they will be mercilessly killed, likely by a bullet, is next level.

Now, would it play out well anywhere but a streaming service, like Netflix? Hell no. However, considering all the other things people have twisted and made to be considered entertainment, even classics? In the right hands, a full-length Pop Squad should be able to side step the horrors it implies and controversies it could rile up.


Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)Recommended

While we have loved the shorts thus far seen in season 2 of Love, Death & Robots, this is the first one that seemed meant for expansion. For whether it is Detective Briggs giving you that Clive Owen vibe or you imagining Lucy Liu as his life partner, it sparks ideas of how this could become a series of a full-length feature. Which, all things considered, with Netflix assumingly licensing or owning the stories part of this anthology, the fact they haven’t adapted some of these shorts makes me think someone is sleeping at their desk at headquarters.

Love, Death & Robots:  Pop Squad Ending (Spoilers)

After Detective Briggs murders two tiny tots who were unregistered, it seems, unlike past killings, he can’t shake it off. Though what doesn’t help is that when his famous operatic singer companion, Alice, has a triumphant moment, she appears to have the same stuff dinosaur the kid Detective Briggs just shot had. Add in her teasing the idea of having kids, if she wasn’t getting a life-maintaining booster shot, it puts things into perspective.

Leading him to track down the maker of the stuffed dinosaur making and him running into someone buying a toy. He tracks that woman to her home, not to kill or arrest her, never mind her daughter, but to ask questions. Of which she answers in regards to why someone 218 years of age would have kids – to which the answer is, to experience things through new eyes. And as Detective Briggs finds himself drawn into playing with the woman’s kid, she goes for his gun and nearly gets her child shot in the process.

Officer Pentle (Michelle C. Bonilla) and Detective Briggs (Nolan North) in the Angel Tower, investigating a unregistered offspring case
Officer Pentle (Michelle C. Bonilla) and Detective Briggs (Nolan North) in the Angel Tower, investigating a unregistered offspring case

But, with seemingly having a jarring awakening, Detective Briggs leaves without doing serious harm to the child or her mother, but finding his partner as a cop, Officer Pentle, outside, and they shoot at each other, seemingly due to Briggs knowing Pentle would kill the kid and Pentle perhaps believing Briggs kept this child in secret. Thus leading to both dying from bullet wounds and the woman getting another day to be with their kid.

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