Main cast: Steve Buscemi (Ed Morris), Sidse Babett Knudsen (Jill), Julia Davis (Sally Morris), Joanna Scanlan (Su), Michael Socha (Noah), Isis Davis (Jess), and Lucian Msamati (The Director)
Director: Marc Munden
In the future, everything is regimented. Everyone knows their place and role. Because natural food source is scarce, synthetic food is the way to go, which in turn leads to the prohibition of growing one’s own crops for food. Because the population is down, chimeras are made – half-humans created from genetic splicing, with them displaying traits of the non-human genes sometimes, such as Su in this episode having pig-like features on her face – and android-like Jacks and Jills are manufactured from artificial souls to help keep the wheels of society greased.
If that sounds very messy, it is. Crazy Diamond is loosely based on Sales Pitch – and I say loosely because the story here has little to do with the short story it is supposedly based on. This is more of screenwriter Tony Grisoni’s tale than Philip K Dick’s, which may put off some fans of the author.
Anyway, stuck in this existence is our guy, Ed Morris. He is increasingly frustrated by the dreariness of his routine. He is married to Sally, who gets anxious every time her husband talks about running away by sailing to the high seas and seeing other places. She likes her stable, predictable, and safe life… although she also abets his efforts to plant their own potatoes and has orgasmic dreams about succeeding in growing her own potato crops. Guess she isn’t that boring?
Ed’s life turns upside down when he meets Jill, a… well, Jill, whose expiry date is about up. She isn’t going to submit to being recalled, though, so she wants Ed to help her out. You see, Ed works at the company that produces these Jacks and Jills, so Jill wants him to help her steal some of the manufactured soul stuff used in the production of these things. She can use some to revive her failing system, and sell the rest in the black market. With the money from this endeavor, Ed and she can run away together to fulfill Ed’s dreams of living free.
Now that he has his chance to be finally the rebel he has always dreamed of being, can Ed walk the talk?
Crazy Diamond is a hot mess. Sure, the story seems like it’s aiming for some Hitchcock-like suspense gone science fiction, but there is just way too much crammed into one single episode. The episode takes its time to set things up – which is good, in a way, because it fleshes out the characters of Ed and Jill as well as Sally to the point that none of them feels one-dimensional – but this also means that it rushes through twists and counter-twists in its last fifteen minutes or so, culminating in an ending that feels like it is hastily slapped on because there is no time left to do anything else.
A pity really, as the main cast has put a lot of heart and soul in their roles. There are many things to enjoy, such as Ed’s relationships with Sally and Jill, Sally’s relationship with Jill, and Sally’s developing friendship with Su, the lady at the check-in booth at her workplace whom she finds herself confiding her worries about her husband in. All are well done, and with more time, maybe then the twists involving them will feel more organic and less of a “pulled out of someone’s ass” thing.
There are quite a number of intriguing things here, and oh my, Steve Buscemi and Sidse Babett Knudsen have such nice singing voices. Still, this episode tries to do way too much for its own good, and the payoff, therefore, is pretty poor.