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Real Life Recap

A woman, Sarah, is sitting and remembering a man discussing a police case. Her partner Mario is sitting at the diner counter with her, and snaps her out of her reverie. Sarah talks about the case and how the suspects will lead them back to Colin. They go to their police car and drive back to the precinct house, and Mario points out that everyone is affected by the departmental massacre. He assures Sarah that she want to find Colin and the men responsible.

At home, Sarah is drinking and looking out the window when her wife Katie comes in. She takes the drink away from Sarah and holds her, massaging her shoulders. Sarah explains that they keep telling her to let it go, but she can't stop seeing the massacre. Katie assures her that it's in the past, but Sarah says that it isn't for her. Her wife takes out a flash drive her company developed and says that it lets the user transfer into an entirely different life with another set of rules the user accepts as reality. The user will become a new person drawn on the user's subconscious. Katie says that it's a vacation from her life, and Sarah admits that it sounds great.

Katie applies the electrode to Sarah's forehead and says that initially it lasts a couple of hours. Sarah that Katie is too good for her, and Katie kisses her and wishes her a great vacation. The officer activates the electrode...


George wakes up and finds his partner Chris there. Chris says that George is bleeding from a forehead wound, and George confirms that he has a shallow cut. He gets up and asks where they are, and Chris figures that he's joking. Chris leads George through an urban landscape and draws a gun. As George wonders what is going on, several men come out, capture them at gunpoint, and take them to their leader, Colin. Colin has his men disarm George and then asks him if he thought he'd just come in and kill him. They slam George down on Colin's desk, and Colin says that all George had to do was what he asked. The thugs grab George's hand and spread it out, and Colin takes out a knife and caresses George's finger.

Chris and George attack the thugs, throwing them out the windows and shooting them. Colin escapes, and George and Chris shoot at him but he drives off. Chris runs to their car and George follows him, and is surprised to discover that it's not his voice-activated future car. He tells Chris to drive and they switch places, and George is surprised when Chris turns the key to start up the car. As they drive away, Chris asks if he should call Paula. George doesn't know who Paula is, but starts to remember his new life like how he and Chris have been friends.

At George's office, his doctor Paula tends to George's wound. She tests his memory and George remembers that he runs AvaCom Data Systems, a company that he built in 2012 and he's a billionaire. Paula asks if he wants her to stay, and George says that he doesn't. Once she leaves, George looks around. Chris comes in and says that the police found the bodies but there's no sign of Colin. The billionaire says that he feels like he wants to cry, and Chris warns that what happened wont' be easy to get over. George has flashes of a massacre, and Chris suggests that he take a vacation. He point out the VR helmet that George has developed and asks when he gets to test the prototype. George says that each headset is designed to a specific person, and remembers saying it before. Chris confirms that George has said it in his sales pitch for the device, and George thanks him.

Once Chris leaves, George put on the prototype and lies down.


Sarah wakes up in bed next to Katie. She looks outside at her future Chicago, and goes to the diner to meet with Mario. Mario figures that Colin won't stay around and risk capture, and Sarah asks him if the food tastes right. She says that it tests flat, and she admits that her vacation seemed different like she was in a coherent dream. The longer she was there, the more familiar it became. A report comes in that Colin and his men got picked up on a FBI surveillance scan, and they're having a meeting that night. Sarah points out that it's too easy and they fell into their laps, but Mari doesn't care.

That night, the two cops go to the meeting place and Sarah realizes that it's the same place that George and Chris encountered Colin. Colin meets with the locals and says that the people he represents want to make a bigger statement and nuke City Hall. Mario calls for backup but can't get a signal, and tells Sarah to stay there and watch while he moves clear of the buildings.

A man attacks Sarah from behind and she takes him down. Another man runs out and throws a neural inhibitor at her, knocking her out.


George collapses, and Chris and his lawyer Malia come over. The billionaire says that he just needs water, and Malia warns that they can't cancel on the Justice Department. George assures them that he's fine and goes to meet with the DoJ representative, Cora. Cora asks for his alibi on the night he and Chris confronted Colin. The DoJ lawyer asks why George is running around Chicago playing vigilante, and Cora points out that George has endangered people. Malia points out that George had nothing to do with the incidents and is still recovering from having his wife's murder goes viral while the DoJ did nothing. George remembers video of his wife being killed on video and collapses, vomiting.

Paula examines George and warns that his concussion has affected his memory centers. George tells her that he can't remember his wife except for flashes of the video. Paula suggests that it's his conscious mind trying to protect him from a traumatic memory, and George wonders why there's no photos of her. She says that George had them put away after she was killed, and mentions that her name was Katie. Cora brings up a photo from before she was killed, and it's Sarah's Katie. George remembers his wife and smiles, crying. He tells Cora that there are two Katies.

Cora suggests that déjà vu is a momentarily delay in the transference of information from one side of the brain to the other. She figures that the memories of Katie are from the VR program, and George's program is having trouble processing the images. George says that the memories feel true, but Cora assures him that he's a lesbian cop in a flying car. He isn't convinced and insists that something isn't right, but Cora warns that the virtual experiences are interfering with his recovery. After a moment, George seemingly agrees and says no more VR. Paula says that she'll see him the next day and walks off.

Once Paula is gone, George puts on the VR headset and lies down.


Sarah wakes up on a hospital bed. Mario and Katie are there, and Mario says that backup arrested the killers and they're in jail. Colin is in the security level of the hospital after Mario put him in a coma. Katie assures Sarah that she's really there and everything will be okay.

Later at their apartment, Katie and Sarah make love. Afterward, Katie figures that Sarah had sex in the VR vacation. Sarah assures her that there wasn't but she was a man. Katie asks if there was anyone special, and Sarah says that she was a widower trying to find her wife's killer. Her wife realizes that it's still real to Sarah, and Sarah says that Katie reminds her of the other Katie. Katie says that it's getting weird, and Sarah describes the similarities. She figures that her life is perfect there, with a wife who wants to have sex and a flying car. Sarah wonders what she's done to deserve a life like she had, and Katie suggests that the program is designed to generate a "vacation" based on the user's subconscious. Sarah has been wracked with guilt since the massacre and thinks that Katie is too good for her, and the program created the simulation because that's what Sarah wants. Katie says that they'll wipe the program from Sarah's implants, and asks if Sarah trusts her. Sarah says that she does.

Later, Sarah can't sleep and looks at her reflection in the window. She lies back down and looks at the sleeping Katie. Sarah then puts the vacation implant back on and lies down.


George goes out on the street and looks at the 2017 Chicago. He goes to the local diner, which is the same diner that Sarah goes to. The music is the same, and the owner Victor asks if he wants the usual. Chris comes in and he and George take a seat. The younger man says that the Feds don't have enough on Colin to press charges, and Colin has left the country. Victor brings over the same food that Sarah has, and everyone in the diner does the same thing that George remembers from Sarah's life. George tells Chris that he knows what's going on and walks out.

When George goes home, he finds Cora there and says that he knew she'd be standing there. Cora says that Chris called, and George says that she won't have to worry about him for too much longer. He tells her that he's going to sell the company to whoever wants it or give the assets to charity, and realizes that the headset is gone. George asks Cora where it is, and says that he changed his mind about using it. He tells her that it's the easiest way to get back to the real world, and Cora tells him that it is reality. George yells at her to hand it over, and Cora takes it out of her bag but says that his cerebral cortex will be permanently damaged and he'll never wake up.

George says that his life there is perfect, Cora points out that it's too perfect, and wonders why he needs the headset to go back. George suggests that it's not perfected, and Cora tells him that he needs to hear her one last time. George remembers that they were having an affair, and they were intending to end it. Before they could, Katie disappeared. Colin wanted the decryption software George had developed for the NSA. George offered him billions to release Katie, but Colin insisted that he couldn't be bought and killed Katie. That's when George developed the headset and said that he needed a vacation. Cora asks him which world is more likely to be a fantasy: one where he has a wife and is happy, or one where his wife is dead and he's heartbroken.

When George insists that it isn't real, Cora says that she won't stop him but if he doesn't then they can face the pain and horror together. George says that he doesn't deserve Sarah's life, and Cora says that neither of us do. He figures that they deserve punishment for their sins and smashes the headset.


Katie and Mario discover that Sarah has gone comatose. They monitor the program and see George and Cora. Katie begs Sarah to come back to her, but the doctor says that Sarah's neural pathways have shut down and there's nothing they can do. Mario wonders why Sarah would choose George's life, and Katie figures that Sarah wanted to be punished for her sins: real and imagined, surviving and being happy. She says that everyone wants to be punished for their sins, even if they don't exist.

Written by Gadfly on Jan 27, 2018

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