8

In Blade Runner 2049, officer K (a Replicant) is made to take a 'baseline test.

What's the point in repeating what the machine says in his baseline test?

  • 3
    The alternative would be to respond to the non sequitur accusations which itself would indicate emotional response – Naib Nov 25 '17 at 11:04
  • 7
    I think the idea was that, being a conditioned 'machine', his response times would be consistent within a certain margin or error, as well as faster than a 'real' human. Later in the movie, we see his reaction times falter, indicating a deviation from his normal response times. For his handlers at the LAPD, this warned that he was at risk of 'going rogue'. – Vanguard3000 Nov 25 '17 at 14:14
  • The call and response also was designed to evoke an emotional response from the subject. This could be pupil dilation, fidgeting, shakiness in the voice, maybe even sweating; but the key is that if you ever do anything different than before (or different than the precedent all the previous replicants have set) it will be easily noticeable. The more times you answer the way you typically do the larger the pattern is that you brake when you can't answer the same way. It is all about breaking the mold. – Odin1806 Jan 28 '18 at 22:46
10

To gauge K's reaction time and emotional response

The baseline test is self-explanatory; K has set a baseline response to this particular set of questions, the tester checks them and makes sure that he is aligned to it.

We have two examples of K taking his baseline, both with varying and telling signs. From them we can gather that the purpose is two-fold:

  1. To gauge K's reaction time

    In the first test, K responds to his cues almost perfectly. There's only a single mention of a moment's hesitation, but he seems to pass the test with what seems to be flying colours:

    INTERVIEWER (O.S.)
    Do you long for having your heart
    interlinked. Interlinked.
    K
    Interlinked.
    INTERVIEWER (O.S.)
    Do you dream about being interlinked?
    Interlinked.
    A moment’s hesitation. Then --
    K
    Interlinked.
    INTERVIEWER (O.S.)
    What’s it like to hold your child in your
    arms? Interlinked.
    K
    Interlinked.
    -Final Shooting Script (undated), Blade Runner 2049 (2017), Fancher, H. and Green, M.

    At which point he is almost immediately cleared and allowed to take his bonus:

    INTERVIEWER (O.S.)
    Say that three times. Within cells
    interlinked.
    K
    Within cells interlinked. Within cells
    interlinked. Within cells interlinked.
    A pause, a grinding of unseen machinery, the camera powering
    down, then --
    INTERVIEWER (O.S.)
    (kindly)
    We’re done. Constant K. You can pick up
    your bonus.
    K’s eyes look to the eye of the camera.
    K
    Thank you, Sir.
    -Ibid.

    Now compare that to his second baseline toward the end of the movie:

    INTERVIEWER (O.S.)
    What’s it like to hold the hand of
    someone you love. Interlinked.
    A pause.
    K
    Interlinked.

    ...

    INTERVIEWER (O.S.)
    Dark.
    K
    Dark.
    INT. JOSHI’S OFFICE. POLICE STATION. INTERCUT.
    ON JOSHI. Watching K’s FEED carefully, knowingly. She can
    sense a change in him, as --

    INT. INTERVIEW ROOM.
    INTERVIEWER (O.S.)
    Within cells interlinked.
    K
    Within cells interlinked.
    INTERVIEWER (O.S.)
    Within one stem.
    K
    Within one stem.
    INTERVIEWER (O.S.)
    And dreadfully distinct.
    K
    And dreadfully distinct.
    INTERVIEWER (O.S.)
    Against the dark.
    K
    Against the dark.
    INTERVIEWER (O.S.)
    A tall white fountain played.
    A pause. K looks at camera.
    K
    A tall white fountain played.
    A pause.
    INTERVIEWER (O.S.)
    You’re not even close to baseline.
    INT. JOSHI’S OFFICE. POLICE STATION. MOMENTS LATER.
    K is seated, looking off. A new energy to him. The
    entitlement that comes from knowing. Joshi enters, pissed.
    JOSHI
    The hell is with you?
    -Ibid.

    K's noticeably slower and more affected by the questions.

  2. To gauge K's emotional response

    It's not a wonder that the questions themselves are designed to elicit some emotional response out of him. Have a look at the distinct questions:

    • Have you ever been in an institution?
    • Do they keep you in a cell.
    • When you are not performing your duties do they keep you in a little box?
    • What’s it like to hold the hand of someone you love.
    • Did they teach you how to feel, finger to finger?
    • Do you long for having your heart interlinked.
    • Do you dream about being interlinked?
    • What’s it like to hold your child in your arms?
    • Do you feel like there is a part of you that is missing?
    • What’s it like to be filled with dread?
    • Do you like being separated from other people?

    [all extracted from the script]

    I mean, no one with real human emotions can withstand themselves from reacting to those questions. You can see above that K's emotions go rampant at the mention of closeness and connection (which these Replicants are supposed to be made distinct from).

  • I would upvote this twice if I could. Nicely done. – RichS Feb 19 '18 at 7:14
  • @RichS I mean, you can upvote it tons, using the bounty option ; -) – Möoz Feb 19 '18 at 8:20

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