In the original Blade Runner, Deckard is surprised when he's told that

Rachael was given memories to help Tyrell control her better.

Apparently, the idea of a replicant with memories is new to him. Yet just a short time later, he not only tells her that those memories belonged to Tyrell's niece, but he also recites them to her as if they were old hat - as if she weren't the first replicant he has met with exactly those memories.

I can maybe see Tyrell having enough time between those scenes to explain whose memories were implanted, but describing those memories in detail? I don't buy it. But then how does Deckard know?


3 Answers 3


We're meant to assume there's an off-screen conversation between Tyrell and Deckard, and that's when this information about Rachael's memories is shared.

The actual scene is cut short after Deckard realizes Rachael is a replicant. However, we are not supposed to think the conversation ends there. We know at least in the theatrical version the conversation must have gone further, because in the tacky "happy ending" Deckard's voice-over informs us:

"Gaff had been there, and let her live. Four years, he figured. He was wrong. Tyrell had told me Rachael was special: no termination date. I didn't know how long we had together ... who does?"

So they definitely continued discussing Rachael in at least one version of the script. It seems natural to assume Tyrell shared at least a couple of examples of memory implants.

The question remains, are they "too detailed" for Deckard to know? He mentions only two memories. Let's see in how much detail:

Memory #1: "playing doctor"

"Remember when you were six? You and your brother snuck into an empty building through a basement window ... you were gonna play doctor? He showed you his, and when it got to be your turn you chickened and ran. Remember that?"

Memory #2: "the spider"

"You remember the spider that lived in a bush outside your window? Orange body, green legs? Watched her build a web all summer. Then one day there was a big egg in it. The egg hatched..."

Barely sketches! It's pretty simple to memorize both in a single conversation. In fact, he doesn't even finish the second memory; it's continued instead by Rachael, showing it's a memory she actually remembers and not a wild guess or something generic.

So to me the answer is clear: Deckard knows at least these two memories because Tyrell told him, after Rachael's VK test. He knows them at a sketchy level, specific enough to scare Rachael, but not in so much detail he couldn't have learned them in the course of a single conversation.


Having just seen the movie this last weekend, my impression was not that he was saying that her memories came from Tyrell's niece.

He was asking Rachel how she knew that her memories weren't implanted copies of the memories from a real person, like perhaps Tyrell's niece. Also, the things he recites aren't anything really specific, more of general things a child would experience.

Just realized, I watched it on German TV. Dubbed in German. They might have changed the dialog.

  • 3
    No, Deckard knew Rachael's specific memories, these are not generic. It'd be weird for them to be generic, think about it: the "playing doctor" is not something that happens to every kid, but the green spider thing is definitely not something he could have guessed -- and it's an actual memory (implant) of Rachael, because she ends up completing the description of that memory. You can check the shooting script and see Deckard specifically claims they're Tyrell's niece's memories.
    – Andres F.
    Oct 15, 2017 at 3:01
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    Yeah, those are some pretty specific memories, certainly NOT something everyone experiences.
    – Martha
    Oct 15, 2017 at 4:11
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    He also said "you never told anyone". which sounds odd to me: if Tyrell's niece never told anyone, how did Deckard (or, anyone) come to know about it?
    – Mr Lister
    Oct 15, 2017 at 8:33
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    @MrLister Rachael has no memory of telling anyone, but that doesn't necessarily mean Tyrell's niece kept it secret. For example: the implanted memories only go to age 21, but the niece told her uncle about the memory at age 25. Or, maybe it was actually a well-known family story, but Tyrell edited that out of the memories given to Rachael. Or the memory extraction process allows viewing too, or an unmentioned prototype of Rachael relayed the story to Tyrell and the niece confirmed it was true. A good question, but there are lots of possibilities with no confirmed answer.
    – LazyGadfly
    Oct 16, 2017 at 15:35

The strong implication is that Tyrell and Deckard had an extensive conversation (with Rachael out of the room) after her Voight-Kampff test.

"Let me explain . . Rachael began.

"That will be all, Rachael,” Dr. Tyrell said. "Mr. Deckard and I have business to discuss. Highly classified business." He indicated the door with his eyes.

Rachael stood up. Holding herself stiffly, not looking back, she left the room.

"My God,” said Deckard. "She doesn't know.” Tm afraid she’s beginning to suspect," said Dr. Tyrell. "A pity, really. She’s a pet project of mine. It seems our Nexus Sixes have a need for memories. There are empty places inside them that demand to be filled. In Rachael I implanted replicas of the memory cells of my sixteen-year-old niece. Rachael remembers exactly what my niece remembers. You can see what a success it's been. It took the Voight-Kampff at least ten times longer than normal to penetrate to her nonhuman core.”

"I've never even really needed the Voight-Kampff before," said Deckard, talking more to himself than to Tyrell. "I've always just known, the moment I met one—until now.”

Deckard shook his head to clear it. He felt like somebody had smacked him hard in the face. He looked at the white owl perched on a desk. That owl was more real than Rachael. Except that Rachael was real to Deckard. Very real.

"I'm sure you’ll find our Nexus Six a truly stimulating challenge,” said Dr. Tyrell. "I envy you. Chess is the only game that offers me a challenge — and it’s so hard to find good enough opponents to make it interesting.”

Deckard stood beside Tyrell at his high office window. He looked down at the acres of smoking factories surrounding the Tyrell building, and beyond that, the city stretching to the horizon. Somewhere on that immense chessboard four figures were moving. Four figures to be found and taken.

Blade Runner: A Story of the Future

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