12

I remember the scene where Sebastian asks the replicants to demonstrate something, and then Pris puts her hand into a boiling water to take an egg without feeling pain and at another point Batty breaks a wall with his head. This means that replicants don't feel pain.

Now my question is: If this character:

Deckard

is a replicant, why does he feel pain when Batty breaks his fingers?

5
  • 1
  • 6
    Depending on which interview you believe, Deckard was android, a nexus-5 replicant, a nexus-6 replicant, a Nexus-7 replicant or a human. And yes, those are all from word of god sources, some contradicting others within the same interviews :-)
    – Valorum
    Feb 5, 2015 at 0:05
  • 1
    I don't know that the scene shows replicants don't feel pain; to me it shows they have some skill at suppressing their pain. And while Deckard is a replicant in the Director's Cut, he doesn't know it, so he probably doesn't know how to suppress it either.
    – Andres F.
    Feb 5, 2015 at 0:19
  • 5
    The thrust of the scenes is that there is little difference between a human and a well-designed bioroid. Decker could have been designed to feel pain in order to fool himself and others. Ultimately the philosophical point is he could be either one, and is there really any difference between the two ultimately, other than their initial creation? Feb 5, 2015 at 1:20
  • 2
    I didn't think it was about them not feeling pain, but more-so about them not reacting to the pain. Feb 5, 2015 at 2:04

3 Answers 3

22

Until the events of the film, the replicant Rachel believed herself to be human:

DECKARD: She doesn't know.

TYRELL: She's beginning to suspect, I think.

DECKARD: Suspect? How can it not know what it is?

That would include having a normal pain response. If she could put her hand into a pot of boiling water and not react, it would be a rather large clue that she was not a typical human being.

Therefore, some replicants are designed with a pain response. If Deckard is in fact a replicant, this must apply to him.

Incidentally, it appears that the other replicants do feel pain. In a later scene when Roy pushes a nail through his hand, he looks distinctly uncomfortable -- indeed, he's doing it in the first place to experience the sensation of discomfort. However they appear to be capable of ignoring pain when they so wish.

2
  • Poor poor replicants...
    – Daft
    Feb 5, 2015 at 11:47
  • It seems logical, perhaps the replicants Nexus-6 only feel pain if they had health problems, rather than physical injuries. Another theory about Deckard is that he could be some prototype of Nexus-7, but then we need to take into account that he retired nexus-4 and 5 and he would be at least 3 generations beyond when he was created.
    – LordWater
    Feb 5, 2015 at 21:35
11

Your basic premise is not valid; replicants do feel pain.

Near the end of the film Roy Batty was trying to stave off his impending death. He pushed nails through his palm to provide a strong stimulus; Batty was visibly in agony while doing this. As another example, Pris' heel-drumming and demented screaming when wounded by Deckard's gunfire were evidence that she experienced pain.

In humans and their meatspace analogues, pain response is a symptom of damage in normal situations. So if a replicant's skin is durable enough to not be horribly burned by a plunge into boiling water then there should likewise be no pain response. Pris' hand looked undamaged by the hot water. By contrast, Deckard's fingers were broken or at least dislocated with badly torn ligaments. There was damage, therefore there was pain.

1
  • 2
    Another example is how when Deckard smashed Roy with the club, Roy said that hurt.
    – Möoz
    Oct 5, 2017 at 2:28
-4

There actually was a 60 Minutes or some other news show decades ago about a family (I think with a lot of cousin marriage) where many of them due to a genetic condition did not feel pain. And not surprisingly, they had all sorts of broken bones. (I think leprosy also leads to nerve damage that can in part be responsible for the appearance of the affected although I think also there is a direct effect also.)

I would guess such people would be dangerous for a normal kid to play with.

Anyway, pain serves a purpose. I would suggest that when Pris stuck her hands in boiling water to fetch the egg, she was able to turn off pain -- also her skin was more resilient. Leon also plunges his hand into liquid nitrogen, I think.

However, Roy Batty during the fight with Deckard says, That hurt! at one point.

Maybe they can't turn off pain but have both higher pain thresholds, and to go along with this, tougher bodies. This makes sense: no point in experiencing pain if the body is not at risk of damage.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.