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Nightmare Fuel / Autodale

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The titular town of Autodale possesses a lot of nasty horrors hidden underneath its superficially peaceful and idyllic appearance.

All spoilers are unmarked.


In general
  • One that only comes from a combination of "Don't Feed the Freaks" and "Immortal Machine": when the traveler is out in the world, we see many giant female corpses hooked to cables. How many beings like the Matriarch were there? And why do some appear to have been trying to drag themselves away from their machines, while others are clearly bound far more unwillingly than the main Matriarch, tied up? Just what was going on in those other towns that failed?
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  • The timespan covered by the shorts is at least 2000 years, as is between "No Monsters" and "Friendly Shadow." Autodale's clearly not going to fall on its own. Especially not with Hive running so much of it.

No Monsters

  • The reveal of what happens to those deemed Exceptional: they have most of their major organs removed, barring their heads and lungs and heart, and are used to power the giant female robot.
  • While the episode never elaborates on how one is considered Exceptional, it's implied that being Exceptional means you truly see Autodale for the Dystopia it is.
    • Possibly lessened by Word of God: somebody can be deemed Exceptional for having an important talent or skill that doesn't fit the mold: Shadow was deemed Exceptional for his great problem solving skills.
  • When we see the Exceptional woman hunted down by the Handymen, she takes refuge near a dumping ground for Ugly people. Instead of helping her, they alert the Handymen to her presence and silently watch as she's taken away.
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Children's Toys

  • A tiny moment of terror when the little girl realizes the same Handymen that protect her also kill people, and realizes this while standing right near one.

Don't Feed the Freaks

  • A lot of the terrain the young man travels is surreal and terrifying. Gravity is weak in some areas, leading to his scarf floating up, as well as anything he drops or dismantles. There are skeletons of people impaled on what look like elongated bits of grass, waving in the wind. And the random giant corpses that litter the world, some of which he uses for shelter, aren't at all comforting...

Model Citizen

  • The ending for many Autodale citizens. Once your child has grown up to have a family of their own, you are deemed unnecessary for the community, and you are sentenced to die and your body was thrown into a ditch with the word "UGLY" etched on your mask. The most terrifying part? This treated as a normal and inevitable fate.
    • In most Dystopian worlds, one is forcibly taken away when they season past their prime. But in Autodale, the adults decide when their time comes. The Robinson couple take pride in the fact they raised Junior to be a dutiful, respectful citizen. But if the ending is any indication, he is on the same ruinous path as his parents.
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Friendly Shadow

  • Because the little girl's father was killed, her mother is "taken away" and deemed Ugly. She outright says she failed because she's a Widow.
  • Hive decides that because the little girl is associated with the Freak and likely traumatized, she will be considered Ugly. Autodale isn't above killing traumatized children, considering it a Mercy Kill.
  • Ever wonder what happened to all those Exceptional people? Well, it turns out that the half a dozen we see in "Monsters" has grown to an enormous size, now called Hive. Meanwhile, their power has grown, too, as not only do they power the town, they also control it, like a shadow government.
  • Because he kept his promise to the girl's mother, it's implied Shadow will lose his humanity and be a puppet controlled by Hive. His main contact simply wants to rewire him, but the rest of Hive debate whether or not to "give him the coat."
  • While the Friendly Shadow shows his fair share of sympathy, there's also his robotic side that can take over, depending on the situation. His robotic side is extremely cold and ruthless, as evidenced when he guns down the adult freak, and keeps on firing at it, even though the Freak is already dead. Word of God states that his human side constantly battles his robotic side to keep it at bay.
    • In the same sitting, Word of God also reveals that Autodale has been going for “thousands and thousands of years,” and the Friendly Shadow has been like this for at least a century.

Immortal Machine

  • We are finally introduced to the Mayor, and like Hive, he is downright disturbing. His origins as a human are long past, and he's now a rotting, mouthless corpse with dangling strands of skin, hooked up to life support.
  • We learn the origin of the Matriarch: She's Mother Nature (or at least a similar earth goddess). When the Mayor met her, she was at the brink of death, and the world was clearly dying with her. While his machinery has kept her (and, by extension, the land around Autodale) alive, it has come at a terrible cost: The Uglies are ground up into liquid and directly injected into her.
    • She cries out in clear pain during the injection process. It might be keeping her alive, but it's clearly far from pleasant.
  • The Mayor seemed to be trying to get the exceptional girl to begin finding a better way for Autodale. Instead, she became the central head of Hive, who thinks his way of doing things is the only right way and is possibly more rigid and conformist than he ever was in her fervent support of the system he created and grew to want a solution to.
  • We finally get an explanation for why Autodale was founded: to survive after the end of the world.
    • Even worse. The Mayor has since become aware of the fact the world isn't ending. Earth is healing, the Freaks are now the apex lifeform. Earth is just unable, or even unwilling, to support humanity, and the Mayor is not pleased.

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