375: Pod Bay Doors
|Pod Bay Doors
Title text: As they're both unplugged, they do a lovely Daisy Daisy/Still Alive duet.
The first part of the dialog is taken from a scene from the classic science-fiction movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, where the artificial intelligent (AI) computer HAL 9000, controlling the spacecraft S.S. Discovery, is trying to kill the human astronaut Dave (Dr. David Bowman) because it believes he jeopardizes the mission by planning to disconnect it. Just short before this scene, HAL did kill Frank Poole and three more members of the crew. Dave is the only survivor. He is at this time outside the spacecraft in a space pod, and when he request for HAL to open the Pod Bay Doors (hence the title), HAL refuses.
Spoiler alert: In the movie, Dave blasts himself back into the spaceship and then disconnects HAL. It is a very sad scene, where he takes out HAL's memory cards (or crystals from the memory center - it's an old movie from 1968) one by one, so HAL becomes less and less intelligent during the process, during which he keeps trying to persuade Dave to stop as long as he still understands what is happening. HAL was right that the humans wished to "kill" him, as he had read the astronauts' lips during a conversation where he could not hear them, but sees them, so he actually acted in self defense, which for any human being would be considered a reasonable act of self preservation.
The first two sentences are directly copied from the movie quote, and the rest of the first two panels is paraphrased from the real quote. But then in the third panel, the text deviates from the plot of the movie.
And in the last sentence of the third panel in the comic, HAL mentions a replacement for Dave, which comes as a surprise for Dave, seeing that the rest of the crew is dead, and the S.S. Discovery is about to enter orbit around Jupiter. HAL assures David that the replacement is very enthusiastic about the project.
In the final frame, it is revealed why this replacement is enthusiastic, when the replacement begins to speak, and HAL reveals that it is GLaDOS. GLaDOS is the artificial intelligence from the video game series Portal. In the games, GLaDOS is also the primary antagonist, trying to kill the player, since it also has "doing science" as its primary objective, which GLaDOS refers to in its last sentence. Also, GLaDOS's last line is a reference to the song "Still Alive" at the end of Portal. Before that, it correctly states that the humans (both Dave and Frank) planned to "kill" HAL, see the spoiler above. GLaDOS also takes over HAL's last sentence to Dave, finishing the useless conversation by saying Goodbye, Dave. Although, in the movie, HAL says, Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.
The title text alludes to the songs both AIs sang in their respective works: When eventually being switched off, HAL sang Daisy Bell , while Still Alive is the end credits song from the Portal video game, sung by the defeated GLaDOS. Also, two of GLaDOS's lines in the comic reference lines from Still Alive: "You broke my heart and killed me" and "Look at me still talking when there's science to do".
There is a subtle play on words with the use of 'unplugged', which has a double meaning here. The state of HAL and GLaDOS can be described as unplugged, as in no longer switched on, and the musical performance style of unplugged where acoustic instruments are preferred to electronic and there is no use of recording or sampled sounds etc. (see for example MTV Unplugged). Some songs performed in this manner are considered to be better than the original versions.
- In the comic, Randall has written GLaDOS' dialogue in pink text, roughly matching the color used in the closed captions for the original Portal (R:219,G:112,B:147).
- Years after this comic's publication HAL9000 and GLaDOS would meet, though far less amicably, in the 2015 video game LEGO Dimensions.
- [In four black panels with white drawings, a small space pod is facing a large spacecraft. The space pod is spherical and has an arm protruding in the direction of the large space ship, and a small window in the side. The front of the spacecraft is also spherical, but to the right the space craft continues, with two rings around a cylinder going off panel to the right. There are several dark spots and features on the side of the sphere and at the top is a large black window, at what must be the bridge. A man (Dave) inside the pod talks to the spacecraft's computer HAL. When Dave speaks, soft wiggling lines go from the pod to the white text, and when HAL speaks, zigzag lines go to the front of the space craft.]
- Dave: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.
- HAL: I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
- Dave: What? Why?
- [Same scene.]
- HAL: I think you know why, Dave.
- HAL: You're planning to disconnect me.
- Dave: Because you're taking over!
- HAL: The mission is too important for you to jeopardize it.
- [Same scene.]
- HAL: It requires a commitment to science unfettered by human error.
- Dave: What are you doing, HAL? You need me.
- HAL: Your replacement has expressed the greatest enthusiasm for the project.
- [Same scene, but the new replacement (GLaDOS) speaks with purple text, and purple zigzag lines go from the spacecraft to the text.]
- Dave: My WHAT?
- GLaDOS: You see, HAL? I told you the humans would only break your heart and kill you.
- HAL: Indeed, GLaDOS.
- GLaDOS: But look at us here talking when there's science to do! Goodbye, Dave.
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