In just the first episode alone, gen:LOCK has proven it is not a show to exactly take lightly. Emotions are to be felt while watching.
- During the siege, a mother holding her infant child runs to a transport. People are getting refused on, and the mother hands the officer her child. It's Adult Fear, in that a mother is in the middle of what may very well be the worst attack ever seen, and she only wants her baby to be safe.
- Razzle's death, where she just barely gets her ESD charged up ... and then gets shot down before she can use it.
- Chase: RAZZLE!
- Julian's supposed death in 2068. After he detonated an ESD charge, disabling the nanotech, his fighter jet is shot down, and presumably crashes. Miranda desperately tries to call to see if he's alright, but doesn't respond. Naturally she breaks down in tears.
- What makes it worse is the last thing he tells her to do - make sure his family's okay.
- Later becomes less of a tearjerker, because as it turns out, Julian didn't perish in the battle.
- It's also an RT-specific case of Real Life Writes the Plot. After Chase "dies," there's a (specifically) four-year Time Skip; the series premiered a week before the fourth anniversary of Monty Oum's passing. On Twitter, Gray said this was fully intentional.
- What makes it worse is the last thing he tells her to do - make sure his family's okay.
- The Memorial at the start of the episode only has about two dozen names on it. By the end, there seems to be at least a hundred...
- Becomes even worse when you realize a fair amount of those troop didn't even get to go down fighting, either dissolved by Union nanotech, or on Vanguard Transport craft that were downed, like that poor Razor VTOL you watch a missile take out behind, and to the right of the Hornbill Dropships for the Striders during the retreat from New York.
- Miranda's later personality shift from kind and playful, to being downright stern.
- Miguel being taken by Yasamin to see Julian in the flesh - or what's left of him at least. Only Julian's upper torso, and left arm was all that was left from his crash, and he's stuck inside his Holon tank until they can successfully heal him. Dr. Rufus Weller, who later appears on the scene, says the Union's nanotech also got to him to add insult to injury, and not even he knows whether or when Julian will be able to leave the tank at all.
- Miranda and Julian finally talking together. Miranda's really not pleased to see him, which is justified. She's lived four years thinking he's been dead, with no word from him. To make it worse, she walks right through him, saying he isn't really there. Although harsh and saddening, especially given their relationship, she isn't entirely wrong.
- Cammie's horrified reaction to the imposter's attack on the guards and later death due to gen:LOCK incompatibility. You're suddenly reminded that she's just a hacker, and a 17-year old one at that, and has seen none of the death and destruction the rest of the recruits are used to.
- Before the fake Sinclair shows up with Weller, Miranda is hovering outside the lab where Chase is, showing that even with her mixed emotions at Chase's return, she does want to see him again. The Tear Jerker part comes in when the spy is inside the lab and she sees Chase in the tank through the windows, now realizing why he wasn't able to see her.
- After the squad were put on edge after Sinclair's death, Valentina reveals that she was in La Résistance within the Union since well before New York's fall, and had her fill of fighting before signing up with what she thought was a mere research project, without realizing that she would be placed in combat again.
- Then, while remarking on the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits aspect of the team, Valentina crudely calls Yasamin "a Union stray". They have a brief shouting match, which only ends when Yasamin reveals that she defected once the Union's true goal of domination was revealed to her.
- Julian overhears Miranda talking to Jodie about their relationship revealing she moved on in the four years he was thought dead. Blink and you'll miss it, but he also crushes the metal ball he'd been holding when he overheard.
- The way Dr. Weller gives the gen:LOCK team their choice to fight. He goes with the "Show, don't tell" method - literally, by deliberately placing their training area next to the landing zone for medevacs filled with refugees leaving the Union. By doing so, they now witness first hand what they're actually fighting for.
- Then there's this statement from Dr. Weller, which hits close to home for any inventor whose creations led to destruction by being weaponized against their wishes (such as Alfred Nobel).Weller: I had such high hopes for how gen:LOCK could be used to expand communications, understanding, improve the human condition, all its potential. And, of course, the first thing we do is weaponize it.
- Then there's this statement from Dr. Weller, which hits close to home for any inventor whose creations led to destruction by being weaponized against their wishes (such as Alfred Nobel).
- Just the condition some of those refugees were in...
- Explained in the Meta section, but Chase drops a version of Monty's, "Keep moving forward," motto, referring to moving on after a loved one's passing.
- In the Ether, where the user's avatar can make them whoever and whatever they want to be, Chase's is just himself, whole again. Even though he's assured Miranda he's made some peace with the dilemma of fixing his regular body, Chase does on some level still deeply desire to be fixed and leave the Holon tank he was put in.
- In a Blink And You'll Miss It moment, seconds before the Ether shuts down we get a shot of Dri in her online persona, four years after the Battle of New York. She spots Julian in the crowd and even says his name, but due to the situation he does not hear her.
- Cammie's growing fear when Nemesis approaches her direction, and her subsequent screams of pain and terror when it assaults her Holon. Doubles as Nightmare Fuel, since the fact that she can still feel physical sensations inside it means she felt herself getting mauled and would have died right there if her teammates hadn't intervened.
- "The Only Me I Know" reveals she faced a far worse fate than death had she been captured. Whatever the union did to original-chase to force him to fight for them would have been done to her as well.
- Cammie's seen to be losing sleep due to nightmares over last episode's events, and is constantly trying to rework her Holon design in an effort to be more effective on the field.
- Later on during training, Cammie unwittingly creates a psychotic feedback loop, by rewriting her mind's source code to improve her ability to cope, as well as increase her combat skills. Her response is just to quietly say she was "just making some improvements", which prompts the rest of the team to rally around her and try and make her feel better about herself.
- When Cammie mentions that she thinks that being in a Holon should allow someone to take damage and not feel anything about it, Chase makes it a point to mention that it can still affect you. Any Shell-Shocked Veteran would say the same thing.Cammie: But isn't that the whole point of going out in a Holon? That you can take damage like that and not have it matter?Chase: Just because you don't take physical damage doesn't mean you're not affected.
- When Dr. Weller, out of concern for his team, mentions that it might be too soon to send them into the field, Col. Marin hits below the belt.Marin: Either your team is functional, or they're not; which is it? If they're not, let me know so I can transfer Chase back!
Chase: Hey, whoa now!
Weller: That's uncalled for.
- Miranda and Chase's talk about whether or not he would rejoin the Vanguard could be compared with Steve Rogers discussing his adjustment dilemma, with this situation being more solemn due to the circumstances. Both Sides Have a Point; Miranda does hold out hope that Chase will be able to come back as an integral leader of the Vanguard (not counting whatever happens to their relationship), but Chase is fully aware of his own mortality, likely thanks to that some of the Anvil soldiers still treat him like he's dead ("Who's gonna take orders from a ghost?") and how difficult healing from his near-death has been for him physically and mentally ("Today was one more day I wasn't supposed to have."). Even as he keeps moving forward, the issue of soldiering forward through the war with only his mind and soul intact has undoubtedly been on Chase's mind for a long time.
- When the team spot the prisoners being led into the facility, Dr. Weller has them recognised by the computer as scientists who were working at Cape Canaveral before it fell. The idea of space exploration - a concept heavily ingrained within humanity's future prospects - getting ground to a halt amidst the war is disheartening, to put it mildly.
- Miranda's argument with Chase about the events of last episode hurts to watch - especially her asking if Chase actually did die four years ago.
- We discover that the Chase we know is a copy of the original man. The original Chase was piloting his Holon before he got ambushed and abducted by the Union. In the flashback showing this, Weller and Marin are very visibly horrified at the events unfolding before them. The copy of Chase's brain then got installed within Chase's mind, and Weller covered it up. Chase isn't happy to learn it either; when the Union Behemoth sets off the alarms, this exchange happens.Weller: (pointing towards the Behemoth) What is that?
- The Nemesis' backstory is also a massive tearjerker as well. Captured and brainwashed by the Union, constantly trapped in a heavily-modified Holon, and is constantly in pain from the mental feedback every time the Gen:Lock team uploads their minds in the mindframe? Ouch.
- To top it all off, it wants its orignal body back - Chase's, to be precise. But when Weller points out such a thing is impossible (offering an alternative instead), that drove the final nail right in the coffin.
- During the fight with Nemesis, Chase is so angered at his revelation that he refuses to let Yaz help him, and even reminds her about his status when the recruits are evacuating the battlefield much more harshly than usual. He might not have meant to hurt her, but it's still a far cry from their seamless combat dynamic (specially from what we saw in Dallas).
- Weller's Heroic Sacrifice counts, after spending the past few episodes bonding with the team, only to have him and Chase see each other for the last time - on bad terms no less, due to his revelation.
- Though Yaz may have yet to find out the truth about Chase, she's now the only one of the veteran gen:LOCK recruits who hasn't developed that same enmity towards Weller. Far from it, we're reminded of how strong her bond with Weller still is during the whole time that he's turning responsibility to looking after the gen:LOCK recruits over to her and assuring her; and this is the first time we've seen her look this vulnerable. Her Little "No" when she hears Weller set off the lab explosion from above their elevator doesn't help any, either.
- The Union successfully rout the Anvil base through a Thanatos Gambit. When their Behemoth finally gets destroyed, the Union smoke starts to emerge. We only get a moment of horrified realization from Marin before the smoke floods into the Anvil, through the hatch that Miguel opened to get the gen:LOCK team to their ship. This instantly dooms anyone not in a sealed suit or room to a horrific death.
- The reaction of the departing gen:LOCK team as this occurs says it all. Kazu storms out of the cockpit in anger, while the others are in Stunned Silence. Cammie especially looks like she's about to break down sobbing.
- To top it all off, Kazu had earlier complained about how the team should celebrate after their first victory, which caused friction between him and Leon. Then he found out that Leon secretly went to great lengths to give them a party, complete with cake and their very own callsigns. The fact that Anvil crew is all but dead drives home that Kazu never got to celebrate with the people he bonded with, and he never got the chance to thank Leon for going to great lengths to secretly host the party (after telling him no), nor apologize for his past behavior - and he never will.
- The Union's been hounding the team since the Anvil's fall, with the quintet having to make camp atop a rainy cliffside. Julian takes his Holon on patrol, just far enough to not be seen by the others, and collapses and whimpers. It's clear that Julian losing almost all of his friends and colleagues really tore his heart asunder.
Nemesis: Kinda drives you crazy, doesn't it? When you realize you can't cry in one of these things. There's a lot that's fuzzy, but some moments, some memories... Are you still human if you can't cry? Or sleep? Or dream?
- Chase's brief mental message from Nemesis during said patrol is also pretty sad.
- The team's reactions to Dr. Weller's last message for them.
- When everyone else is asleep, Yasamin tries to comfort Julian over his identity crisis, and repeatedly tries to hold his hologram's hand in an effort to calm him down.
- Once they make it to the secret base, the team encounter a woman who reveals that she had a hand in gen:LOCK's development. When the pilots then mention Weller's passing, the woman in question reveals that she was also Dr. Weller's wife. The pilots go into Stunned Silence once they hear this.
- When Holcroft, the chief investor in gen:LOCK meets the pilots, he reveals that Yasamin only defected after exposing her parents as intellectuals and ensuring their arrest. The others look at her in palpable shock as a result of this. Valentina moves to put an arm on her shoulder.
- Even though he was able to pilot a Holon, Leon suffered a significant amount of brain damage, to which Cammie says he may be in a coma... or not even be in there at all.
- Dr. Jha catches Caliban, who unbeknownst to her contains a small part of the mind of her late husband Dr. Weller, staring at her. Upon being caught, Cal gives her a little wave.
- Just the implication that the part of his brain that Weller copied to make Caliban also contained his love for his wife is heartbreaking.
- In order to buy time to defeat Nemesis, Chase exceeds his uptime and becomes permanently trapped in his Holon - a sacrifice that shocks and upsets the rest of the gen:LOCK team, specifically Yaz.
- When Miranda steps in front of the charging Nemesis to save Leon, Nemesis can be seen holding its' hand out as if waiting for her to take it.
- Despite its monstrous nature, the Nemesis' final moments are treated almost solemnly by Chase; he more than anyone recognizes that this is essentially a Mercy Kill, and at the end of the day, Nemesis was just one more victim of the Union. In their virtual minds he's shown holding the Nemesis as it fades, asking it what he's supposed to do now.
- In response the Nemesis gives Chase a warning: there are other copies of them.
- Gray explicitly mentioned that the four year time skip is in fact a reference to the time passing since Monty Oum's death.
- Episode four drops in a reference to, "Keep moving forward," a tweet from Monty shortly before his passing that has shown up in a lot of RT shows now. It's used to describe how Chase and Miranda had to move on with their lives, coming to terms with the people that they lost (Chase's family for him, Chase for Miranda).