TV Review: Cyberpunk Edgerunners
by Ross Stafford
Warning: here be spoilers
The series begins with the young protagonist David Martinez waking up in the corporate hell hole that is Night City, with him not having enough money to even do the washing, he is watching a video of a cyberpsycho, (a person driven insane due to a large amount of cyberware) attack in the inner city. The world-building begins almost immediately with David’s journey to school being one through the various ‘Ncart Stations’ with someone vomiting outside showing the truly dystopian world that David lives in and also shows his socio-economic problems. David struggles at the high-end corporate-backed Arisaka academy, with him being an almost social outcast due to his economic status. He later uses a bootleg upgrade that ends up almost destroying the high-tech infrastructure of the academy. During the car ride home with his mother, they are caught in a drive-by shooting with their car crashing and his mother being mortally wounded. The Trauma team arrives, (a private healthcare system) and ignores David and his mother due to their not being clients, with the slower regular medics arriving a lot later, likely leading to his mother’s death later.
After his mother’s death David finds a Sandevistan cyberware in his mum’s old jacket that he gets installed, and he ends up getting expelled from the academy. David later almost gets robbed on the train by his later love interest Lucy with him later joining the Edgerunner crew she works for. David begins his journey in the crew with many memorable characters, my personal favourite being the character of Maine (a gruff ex-soldier) who eventually warms to David becoming the father figure he never had. The crew end up becoming close through many jobs, but during said jobs, Maine begins to show symptoms of cyberpsychosis foreshadowing his eventual tragic death, where he beings to become psychotic during a gig and accidentally kills his wife leading to David to ‘snap him out’ of psychosis for long enough for Maine to cover their escape from the police, in doing so sacrificing himself. The death of Maine destroys the team with Lucy retiring the team. David takes control becoming the leader of the team and in doing so slowly increasing the amounts of cyberware becoming more and more like Maine. He begins a relationship with Lucy, while slowly showing symptoms of cyber psychosis beginning with minimal symptoms to more and more. Rebecca another incredible character begins to realise that David is experiencing major symptoms of cyberspychosis. Rebecca begins to realise that whatever she says David will not stop and beings to self-administer immunosuppressants as the cyberware is slowly destroying him from the inside. The final job is botched due to Faraday’s double crossing leading to David being tricked by Faraday to install the Cyberskeleton which turns him cyberpsychotic. David assaults Araska tower, saving Lucy and killing Faraday. But the happiness is short lived as Adam Smasher arrives and kills Rebecca. David and Adam Smasher being to brawl with David being easily beaten by the psychopathic Adam Smasher. David is executed by Smasher, while Lucy and Falco (the driver) flee. The final scene of the series is Lucy on the moon hallucinating that David is with her there. But sadly in a tearful ending he is not…
Next, Faraday (played by Giancarlo Espinosa) offers David a job,(but backstabs him as David is wanted by the Arasaka corporation. Faraday promises the corporation David as although David is slowly dying, his tolerance for cyberware is incredible. Faraday promises that he would trap David and force him to wear the cyberskeleton. The gig goes sideways and the crew are corned David receives a mock phone call from Lucy (when it is in fact Faraday). David believes this and puts on the cyber skeleton and in doing so saves the team. David receives another phone call this one from the real Lucy asking him to find her. David saves her from Araska by killing Faraday and the Arasaka goons. But then the real threat arrives being Adam Smasher, a monstrous cyborg who was once human, but now is pure metal. Smasher and David begin a fight between them and from the beginning David dives out of Arasaka Tower with Lucy in his arms and meets the rest of the team. But this euphoria only lasts for a split second as Adam Smasher crushes Rebecca and begins to brutally beat David. Lucy attempts to hack Smasher but he flings her aside and Falcao rushes her into the getaway car at David’s insistence. Smasher begins to pummel David leaving him lying on the floor, Smasher offers to make him like him which David refuses and he is then executed. There is a time gap and it reveals Lucy on the moon, fulfilling her and David’s dream, Lucy begins to see David on the moon with her. But, when she looks again she is alone.
David Martinez is the main protagonist who has a tragic life. He struggles emotionally with the death of his mother. The Edgerunner crew end up becoming his family of sorts with Maine becoming his father figure. The death of Maine snaps his psyche leading him down a path of extreme amounts of cyberware leading to his cyber psychosis and later death due to this. David is a character who doesn’t achieve his own dreams but instead makes sure that others achieve their dreams.
Lucy is the love interest of David Martinez. Lucy was a netrunner (hacker) for the team. However after the death of Maine she begins to isolate herself from the team and ultimately David sacrifices himself for her and she later fulfils her dream of going to the moon. But ultimately this is done alone.
Rebecca is the most memorable side character with a psychotic streak. But also, the most selfless member of the team whom even though David does not love her she dies defending the team.
Maine is the father figure of the team and the glue of the team, slowly disintegrating after his and the death of his wife. Maine’s death later foreshadows David’s own death since both of them die protecting the dreams of others.
Falco is the driver of the team who is the only other survivor of the team who follows David’s last order of escaping with Lucy leaving David to face Adam Smasher alone.
Adam Smasher’s limited screen-time still shows his level of evil and psychopathy. Adam Smasher is full borg, with his humanity having been lost long ago. In a fight with David he offers him a deal to survive, with Smasher likely showing him respect as in his own words he was a ‘worthy opponent’. David unsurprisingly denies this and is later executed.
Faraday is the double-crossing villain who is voiced incredibly by Giancarlo Espinosa and is incredibly memorable due to his charisma and Machiavellian nature. Faraday is a metaphor for life in Night City as the only way to survive and move up the social ladder is through violence.