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Recap / Love, Death & Robots: "The Witness"

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"I think I saw a murder[...] I think the killer's after me."
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After accidentally witnessing murder, a woman in a surreal Asian city tries to escape the killer.

Emily O'Brien voices the woman and Ben Sullivan voices the man.


Tropes:

  • Apathetic Citizens: Nobody tries to help the woman nor will they listen to her when she asks for help, nobody even wonders why a man covered in blood is tearing down the street. This isn't just restricted to her, however, as she gets away with killing the man in the end.
    • She also has a bit of this herself in the beginning, as when she hears the struggle across the street, instead of immediately reporting the sound of gunshots to the police she instead opts to close the window instead. This is what gets her noticed by the man in the first place and leads to the inevitable chase.
  • Camera Abuse: The cross-dressing host spits on the camera as he speaks to the man.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: The Man looks surprisingly like Groucho Marx sans his iconic mustache.
  • Deranged Animation: Trippy visuals aside, there is the Gun Struggle scene (twice) which cuts into outright comic-book stills and traditional animation.
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  • Downer Ending: It's implied that the man and woman will continue their Stable Time Loop forever.
  • Fan Disservice: The woman performs a sexy show... and then realizes that the killer she's evading is in the audience. Not helped by the scene's Deranged Animation, which clashes with the incredibly graphic nudity in this episode.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • One of the icons that appears before the title card is an ouroboros, giving away the episode's cyclical nature.
    • The man in her bed at the beginning of the episode bears a startling resemblance to the man chasing after her. Doubles as a Freeze-Frame Bonus because he's just in the background. This also explains how the man, who becomes the witness at the end of the episode, is in her hotel room to witness the murder. He didn’t magically appear there. He was there the whole time.
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  • Gainax Ending: The episode ends with the scenario reversed, with the woman having killed the man and the man spotting her through the hotel window. It's implied they may be trapped in a time loop of some kind.
  • Gun Struggle: The man and woman somehow have the same fight over a gun twice, except the first ends with the man shot dead and the second with the woman dead.
  • Large Ham Announcer: The cross-dressing host at the club the woman works at.
    "MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE, BITCHES?!"
  • Killing in Self-Defense: What the murder at the end and the murder at the beginning turn out to be.
  • Mind Screw: A woman witnesses a man kill someone who looks just like her. She runs from him, finds a gun, and he eventually catches her. She shoots him several times and is witnessed by someone who looks just like him.
  • Nameless Narrative: The main characters are only called "the man" and "the woman", though some of the supporting characters are named.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The man claims he just wants to talk, but he gets shot in the struggle when he tries to disarm her.
  • Rear Window Witness: The episode begins with the man noticing the woman witnessing him killing someone from a window in the next building. The man then chases the woman through the city. The episode ends with her killing him, only for someone who looks just like the man to witness it from the next window...
  • Stable Time Loop: Despite no clear source of time travel, the short seems to show a two-phase loop that alternates between a man killing a woman, that same woman witnessing it then killing him, and vice-versa.
  • Written Sound Effect: Multiple sound effects show up in the air as things happen.

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