Ghost in the Machine – Pantheon Ep 1 Review

Logorhythms created a program to upload human minds into a cloud. Two years after her father’s death, Maddie Kim begins receiving messages from a machine ghost.

Wow, what a spicy start to this series! 

Pantheon had been on my radar since I happen to catch a tweet about it a few weeks prior. With everything else coming out in the anime and kdrama sphere, I kind of lost track of it.

After catching another advertisement for it I thought to myself “right, this show exists” and decided to check it out. 

I was not disappointed. 

What is the AMC Studios Series Pantheon About?

Logorhythms data center in Norway
Logorhythms data center in Norway

Pantheon follows the story of Maddie, daughter of intellectual genius types Ellen and David Kim. David seems to have some unspecified association with a tech company called Logorhythms that is scanning human minds and uploading them to a cloud-based computing system. 

David suffered an unexplained prolonged illness, and before his passing gifted his daughter her mother’s old laptop.  

Although not on great terms at the start of the series, it seems the events transpiring will inspire a close bond between Maddie and Ellen. 

Symbolic Patricide in Mythology 

The series begins with Maddie’s school teacher highlighting popular myths with themes of socially ‘overcoming the father’ and patricide throughout history. 

Odin and his brothers kill their father, the giant Ymir
Odin and his brothers kill their father, the giant Ymir

Even today, tales like Attack on Titan focus on themes of killing and overcoming one’s father to achieve the personal freedoms adolescents need to write their own life stories. 

“Indeed, [killing one’s father] as the adversity that enables the protagonist to grow up is a technique used in myths or a movie.” 

Hajime Isayama interview excerpt, 2016

There was even a mention of Tiamat, a lesser-known deity that I plan on writing about in the coming weeks on this website. 

The point being, Pantheon may eventually cover themes from mythology that involve our core set of characters overcoming powerful male figures in some way, in order to cement their place in the world. 

After all, is a ‘Pantheon’ not literally a temple from mythology that was dedicated to the ancient gods of Rome? 

Introducing Maddie Kim 

Maddie Kim is being bullied at her new school by a group of girls who quite frankly, behave like robots.  

I don’t know if it’s an intentional “Queen Bee” thing where the others are following the blonde mean girl (named Samara?) in an attempt to appease her ever-growing wrath, or if it’s an actual AI-hivemind kind of thing where the girls unconsciously have no choice but to mimic her movements. 

The head bullies at Maddie's new school
The head bullies at Maddie’s new school

After all, if you’ve been keeping up with all the shenanigans coming out of the WEF you’d know that apparently “the physical and the digital world will grow together” as “many of these things will be directly into our bodies” in a metaverse sort of way. 

We have countless anime series that have covered a fractured digital integration with ‘reality’ (namely Psycho Pass, Sword Art Online and Accel World) and even live-action tv series like Netflix’s critically acclaimed Black Mirror.  

Or Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One.  

I’m pretty sure I could go on all day naming tv series with similar themes, but that wouldn’t be a very interesting read, right? ☺ 

David Kim as the Ghost in the Machine 

As I mentioned earlier, Maddie’s parents are intellectual types.  

David Kim spies on his daughter Maddie through a machine
David Kim spies on his daughter Maddie through a machine

It seems upon his death, David’s mind was uploaded to a Logorhythms data cloud system that prevented speech patterns but allowed partitioned language access through a series of emojis. Bypassing the network’s security, David managed to contact and chat anonymously with his daughter, Maddie. 

David gets rid of Maddie’s bullies by hacking their phones and scrambling their messages – making them turn on one another.  

Ellen notices her daughter talking to an anonymous stranger online and rightfully investigates, only for the Stanger to quote a poem only Ellen and her late husband would have knowledge of: 

“what lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why” 

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Overhearing a conversation between her mother and the shady Logorhythms employees hiding out somewhere cold, Maddie hits up the deep web intel exchanges to try and find answers. 

Caspian the Sleepy Hacker 

Caspian the secret cool guy
Caspian the secret cool guy

Caspian seems like a cool dude.  

Surfing the conspiracy intel exchange boards through Tor and listening to what sounds like a song from the band Cigarettes After Sex in his neon vaporwave-themed room. 

I wonder who was monitoring Caspian’s user activity through Tor? 

I remember years ago hearing a rumor that Tor was a honeypot infiltrated by the feds, and that a lot of the regular users left when the ‘Silk Road’ was taken down. Seeing Caspian’s conversations and data be extracted in real-time by unidentified men in an off-site location was…unnerving, to say the least. 

I don’t know if Caspian will prove useful to our story, but it seems like he may have been the one to DDoS Logorhythms’ servers with the request to ‘free the man’ they are harboring.  

Little does Caspian know that they may already have millions of minds – a scene very reminiscent of Black Mirror‘s Season 3 Episode 4 ‘San Junipero’ storyline. 

There are a lot of cool things happening in this show – including the Indian engineer Chanda being kidnapped while visiting a city strangely reminiscent of Seattle -but I think I’m going to leave it here. 

Tell me your thoughts. 

Another (cloud) ghost in Logorhythms' machine?
Another (cloud) ghost in Logorhythms’ machine?

How close is mankind to discovering Singularity where User Intelligence is uploaded to the cloud? 

And… what do you think about the weirdness surrounding Caspian’s parents? 

Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, we’d love to hear from you! Also be sure to follow us for more AMC Pantheon Episode Reviews and Discussions!        

Next Episode Review: Maddie Takes Down Logorhythms 

We are also creating Anime and Japanese fashion-inspired merchandise for fellow fans, Visit our Redbubble store if you have a chance – you get cool gear, and it helps support the blog!        

☆ In Asian Spaces     

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Author: In Asian Spaces

I write in my personal time and I haven't published much at all. I don't know if that qualifies me as a writer or not, but I'd like to change that. I have a deep passion for travel, cinema and (mainly) East Asian things, but I plan on writing various things to keep it spicy. Let's prosper together ~ よろしくおねがいします。

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