Robo is always correcting people whenever anyone refers to him as a robot. He is an AI and unlike many of the automatons in space, he has sentience. It can be a lonely life as an artificial intelligence (the show has referenced a culling of his kind), so every now and then he takes basic devices and makes them self-aware. At the beginning of episode three he does this to a pocket organizer but the thought processing is too much for the little gadget to handle and it kills itself. This becomes a more complicated situation when he tries the same thing with a more advanced machine.
[Slight Spoilers Ahead]
Fat Paul sends a resignation letter to the boss and says he’s joining their rivals, Phobos Trucking. This doesn’t sit well with Dallas and Robo so they pay their competitor a visit and to see what’s really going on with their former colleague. Not only do they find their friend has been kidnapped, but Phobos is illegally using robot labor disguised as humans as their drivers. Unfortunately, Robo has turned one of them into an AI and instead of killing itself, it wants to destroy all human masters. Our heroes must not only rescue Fat Paul but also put down this robo-rebellion.
Elsewhere, with most of his truckers gone, Uncle Danny has to turn to his daughter, Ellie, for a delivery; her first ever. She won’t be all alone though as The Woodsman will be with her every step of the way to show her the ropes. They even use his vehicle to make the drop off.
“I, Robo” does a good job putting the focus on the other half of the titular duo. Dallas can seem as though she’s the lead since she’s the more loud mouth and in your face personality of the pair but concentrating on Robo’s story shows he’s isn’t a sidekick but more of an equal. You really feel his loneliness being one of the few of his kind and wanting to talk with someone in a similar situation. Hence, why he creates other AI. However, he’s also grown close with his found family at the big rigging company and is willing to protect them, even from his own kind.
The plot itself is pretty run of the mill but it does do a good job planting possible seeds that will hopefully payoff later in the season. The show effectively connects all the episodes without having to rely too much on cliffhanger endings but everything introduced seems to have a part to play.
So, it should be interesting to see if stock car racer, Whiskey Johnson, will pop up again. We know Dallas was kicked out of competitive racing and she has an unhealthy jealousy towards him. Do the pair have history? Also, after the stranger in white from last episode and his creation this week, it seems Robo is accumulating a fair number of enemies. Will they all come looking for him later?
Ellie’s subplot serves its purpose by bringing her in as a trucker, but it could have been executed better. It was more a single schtick filled with sexual innuendo comparing The Woodsman’s truck to his only woman. After a while the jokes get tired and old. I guess you can admire the commitment to the bit.
Despite a flawed subplot, “I, Robo” further builds upon the mystery into Robo and his past. It’s a nice change of pace to focus on him for an episode and it helps give the character equal billing on the show.
Watch Dallas & Robo Saturday nights at midnight-ish on Syfy.