The first thing that was notable in this episode is the reinforcement of the fact that despite the whole range of mods, upgrades, and entire custom builds not one of the team have any parts that are fundamentally different from those of a traditional human. Sure they may have eyes that don’t look quite right or fingers made of a synthetic far stronger than normal bone but in the end all the basic parts remain. One head, two ears, four limbs split between arms and legs evenly. Even though there is fundamentally no reason they couldn’t or shouldn’t have chosen to add elements. Anything from a tail to an extra pair of eyes or even more unusual choices might be valuable. Especially for people in their line of work.
This seems to often be the case in science fiction. Even when giant ears would be an advantage we just don’t see them. To say nothing of cases where people make unusual choices in their appearance and body simply for personal or aesthetic reasons. There may be some degree to which this can be explained due to social pressures toward attractiveness or away from a non-human aesthetic. There is also an interesting possibility in the area of bodily dysphoria where people might shy away from massive modifications as it would make them uncomfortable. Still given what we’ve seen in Virtual worlds to date people like to take all kinds of weird shapes. Given free reign to choose their shape they may select anything from a simple box to a giant worm to a talking truck and more. Not to say that it seems likely most people would choose something especially unusual or eclectic but to have virtually no variation from human normal does seem a bit limited.
All this mostly just from thinking about the opening scene where our favorite team is handcuffed by the Delta team. It looks just like it would at present with both sides going through the motions of weapons down, hands over head, handcuffs on wrists behind back. Nothing novel about any of it save the telepathic like communication.
So as the episode moves along we learn that the team is needed for a special operation. One in which they have little choice but to participate. They get busy training for this and we see another great facet of the technology on display. All the training is done virtually. Rather than utilize massive space and require large build areas the team simply do full simulation dives by directly connecting to a system. It isn’t fundamentally different from virtual worlds that currently exist except that the level of immersion is much higher. There is good reason to believe that people will eventually spend very large quantities of time in such places. After all, if a collaborative working environment superior to the modern office can be had at a fraction of the cost and without the commute why would a company or its employees choose otherwise.
This perspective is a little skewed by a later event in the episode where Bauto, in search of his former team, actually accesses a real in-person office space. Actually, he does this twice. The first one is a shared office much like we would see with modern cubicles. The second is to visit Amaraki and get a green light on a trip to the war torn United States. There may be an added argument here for why governments and some high security facilities might still require employees to come to a physical space and that would simply be a matter of security. Of course not everyone has that luxury. As we see a later trip to the immersive dark web. Although they are online the criminal underground still meet in person in hidden spaces which look like a typical meeting room in an office building. Presumably it is still reasonably secure but even there they maintain anonymity by wearing masks on their virtual heads. This remains strange as this would seem a perfect application of avatars completely different from the real-world individual. After all it would be very hard to identify the person behind a talking cheezeburger outside the virtual environment.
A possible explanation might be that people retain their normal shape and features because these are easier to move in, or that they are more natural for communication, or that people just like them better, or even that such is a government requirement to reduce the sense of anonymity and thus freedom to act in an uncivil manner. These all have their problems and are all speculative however, with this issue completely unaddressed in the series.
Meanwhile the main team, our heroes, are failing in their mission scenarios. From the brief look we get this is mostly due to hacking issues. One concern that many people have about cybernetics is basically the same, that they are not secure. We will pick up on this in the next episode as it really delves deeply into this and other body issues.