Beyond The Aquila Rift
Another technical wonder, the uncanny valley is in full effect for "Aquila Rift", which features human-like CGI. A space captain wakes up from a hypersleep to find his ship drastically off course and stationed at a leftfield checkpoint. During a fling with an old love interest, Gretta, he begins to question what's actually happening; Gretta eventually drops the facade. It turns out they're nowhere near human civilization, now stuck in some biomechanical, insectoid hellscape where an arachnid with telepathic powers is creating a comforting reality for him to exist in, presumably until he dies. Several other ships can be seen within the sprawling nest, a literal hive taking in stragglers as it slowly expands in its own bleak corner of space.
Love, Death & Robots' "Good Hunting" shares a thematic link with "Sonnie's Edge", in that it's all about female autonomy and vengeance. The short is something of a reversal, beginning as a demon hunter versus a shape-shifter in the colonial Hong Kong era of the 1800s to the 1930s before becoming a steampunk alternate history of China that sees Britain forge a much stronger colonial presence within the Asian state. Liang is an apprentice hunter who grows up to be a great inventor, maintaining a friendship with shape-shifter Yan who's losing her powers as technology infests the natural land. Becoming a sex worker to survive, one of Yan's clients kidnaps her and turns her into a robot for his pleasure. After escaping her captivity, she turns to Yan for support, and Yan turns her robotic body into a shape-shifting mechanism that allows her to transform into a ferocious fox that now hunts predatory men on the streets of Hong Kong.
It was only a matter of time before gentrification showed up in a compendium like this, and show up it does – in a literal garbage dump in the Love, Death & Robots episode "The Dump". A luckless land inspector is sent to get Ugly Dave to sign off on leaving his dump home as a new development doesn't fancy being near all the trash. Dave agrees so long as the inspector listens to his story of his pet, Ollie. No ordinary trash-diving pest, Ollie is a mutant blob of rubbish that consumes sentient life to stay alive. This sounds ludicrous to the inspector, but he isn't doubting it much when Ollie swallows him at the end. A simple reminder of the lives that are forgotten as the corporations dig a deeper hold.
Naturally, the wars in the Middle East also get a look in Love, Death & Robots, with "Shape-Shifter" being a video game-type concept of the US military using human-canine mutants for war. A base of soldiers finds out the enemy also have quasi-werewolves, and after his partner lycan is killed, Decker chooses not to reveal the whereabouts of his opposing wolfman so that he can have the pleasure of killing it himself. Once he gets his revenge, Decker quits and walks out on the Marine Corps, becoming one with the wild once he gives his friend a proper burial. Doesn't say anything novel about the ongoing American presence in the region, but it doesn't need to.
"Helping Hand" is a shorter, George Clooney-less version of Alfonso Cuaron's Oscar-winning Gravity. A female astronaut is stuck floating in space when her suit is damaged by floating debris, forced to stare as the space station she needs to get back to lies just out of reach and help too far away for her to rely on. Eventually she has a brain-wave – make airtight seal around half her arm so she can detach part of the sleeve and throw it, propelling her towards solace. When the first throw doesn't work, she's then forced to be more drastic, shattering off her own forearm to have something else big enough to throw; the second try does the trick. Missing an arm, she checks back in with home base and begins her journey back to Earth, having seen both the beauty and horror the vacuum of space has to offer.
A father-and-son are visited by a sea of aquatic ghosts in the middle of the Arizona desert in "Fish Night", the spirits of the life that existed when the sand plane was filled with water. The pair are naturally enamored, but the son gets too excited, stripping naked and swimming among the multi-colored ghosts. A blood-red shark spots the son and goes on the prowl, and the father's cries falling on deaf ears until it's too late. The shark gets its prey and the incredible light-show disappears with the son's body, leaving the dad all alone in the quiet desert heat.