Love, Death And Robots: Zima Blue seems to be the short that is most alien to the overall feel of the collection. It possesses no violence, gore or nudity and yet it arguably is most deserving of the title: Love, Death and Robots.
Throughout this video I’ll be breaking down everything that you need to know about the inspiration for the episode, it’s plot ending.
This is full spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t had a chance to watch the episode yet, then I highly recommend that you turn off now as it’s one of the best from the collection.
With that out the way, I’m Deffinition and welcome to the channel where I explain it so you don’t have to!
Zima Blue Background
Zima Blue is actually an adaptation of the story of the same name by Alistair Reynolds from his collection of short stories called Zima Blue and Other Stories. Published in 2006 by Night Shade Books, the work contains ten stories including this and Beyond The Aquila Rift which was also adapted for The Netflix Series.
Zima Blue Plot Synopsis
The episode itself follows a universally famous artist that for the very first time is allowing the presence of a journalist, named Clair Markham, to gain insight into his life.
Throughout the episode, we learn about Zima’s past, work and his plans for the future and discover what it means to be human and also not at the same time.
Initially, we are told that Zima began life as an artist in portraiture before branching off into the cosmos and painting vast murals that one by one gain his signature style: a Blue block colour that slowly begins to take over his artwork until eventually, it stretches beyond it.
Zima Blue’s Art
We witness Zima paint rings around planets and this could potentially be an easter egg for those who have seen the ending of the fourth Episode from Love, Death and Robots, titled Suits.
As Zima begins to divulge his history he informs Claire of a practical, seemingly unimportant Robot that a woman once used to clean her pool. She gained an affection for this Robot and over the years began upgrading it, giving it an almost human-like brain so that it is able to create and advance beyond it’s surroundings.
Unfortunately, the woman dies and thus the machine is shifted from owner to owner receiving upgrades in the process. We learn that this robot is, in fact, Zima and this autobiographical tale ties into his final masterpiece which he is on the verge of unveiling.
Zima has collected the original pool that he used to clean and rebuilt it as part of his new piece. The titular Zima Blue colouring comes from the tiling of The Pool and it is important to the character is it is the first thing that he ever laid eyes upon.
Zima Blue: Ending Explained
After showcasing the final piece to an audience, Zima jumps into the pool, deconstructing himself in the process and shedding all of the upgrades so that he is able to revert back to the simplistic life that he once had.
In my opinion the overwhelming urge for Zima to return to this simplicity is present and this representation of his will to return to this state is showcased by the fact that the Zima blue colouring slowly took over his pieces more and more till that became the main fixation.
The closest similarity to this in pop culture that I can think of is the ending of Citizen Kane in which the titular character utters the word ‘Rosebud’ which is the name that he had on his sled as a child. Kane, similar to Zima, amassed a lot of wealth, traveled to countless places and was regarded as almost God-like, however it did not stop this longing to return to something that he lost long ago.
For his entire life, Zima has been on a quest to find meaning throughout not only the galaxy but also through his art. However, he realises that the most peaceful and meaningful part of his life was when he was not concerned about the rest of the universe but rather the simple task ahead of him. This rebirth that closes the episode out reminds us that whilst we may strive for greatness, we will never truly attain enough to feel complete and even in doing so there will be dissatisfaction. In going on this journey we will have to sacrifice and leave behind something that is very dear to us and this is why Zima returns to the pool because he accepts that this is the happiest that he ever was.
It’s an amazing message that really makes you appreciate what you have around you and reminds us that there is beauty to be found in everything and that the greatest pleasures come from the simplest things.
Obviously, I’d love to hear your thoughts on Zima blue and if you agree with me or if you took anything different from it’s ending. Make sure you leave them in the comments below and if you enjoyed this video then please like it and make sure you check out my breakdown of the ending of Suits from Love, Death and Robots which will be linked at the end.