Film and Plot Synopsis
Blade Runner 2049 begins thirty years after the events of the original film. Agent K is a new new Blade Runner working for the L.A.P.D. While tracking down a replicant, he unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. This discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard, a former L.A.P.D. Blade Runner, who has been missing all this time.
‘Blade Runner 2049’ Opening Crawl
Replicants are bioengineered humans. Designed by Tyrell Corporation for use off-world. Their enhanced strength made them ideal slave labor.
After a series of violent rebellions, their manufacture became prohibited and Tyrell Corp went bankrupt.
The collapse of ecosystems in the mid 2020s led to the rise of industrialist Niander Wallace, whose mastery of synthetic farming averted famine.
Wallace acquired the remains of Tyrell Corp and created a new line of replicants who obey.
Many older model replicants — Nexus 8s with open-ended lifespans — survived. They are hunted down and ‘retired’.
Those that hunt them still go by the name…
‘Blade Runner 2049’ Movie Summary
Sapper says that K would never help humans kill his own kind if he witnessed the miracle that he did. Unmoved, K retires him and prepares to leave. On his way out, K spots a flower placed beside a dead tree in the barren landscape surrounding the farm. This prompts him to do a quick scan of the tree. He finds a buried chest at its foot, and has a forensic team come out to dig it up.
Back at his LAPD office, K undergoes a standard test for Replicants which he easily passes. He then goes home for the night. His apartment is in a seedy part of town where he lives mostly alone except a holographic woman named Joi (Ana de Armas) he bought for companionship. The two have formed an emotional bond of sorts even though they can not physically interact with one another.
To cope with this limitation, K buys Joi a mobile hologram projector that allows her to “roam” free from her console. As he takes Joi outside to the top of his apartment building, it begins to pour rain. A phone call from K’s boss, ordering him back to the office, ruins their play time for the evening.
It seems the Forensics team discovered the chest contains a human skeleton with a lock of hair. It all belongs to a female who died from complications during childbirth 30 years ago. Some superficial cuts in the bones suggest an emergency Cesarean section was the cause of death.
When K inspects the remains closer, he notices a serial number engraved on one of the woman’s bones; indicating that the skeleton wasn’t human, but a female Replicant. This revelation threatens to break everything since replicants have never been able to reproduce.
K’s superior, Lieutenant Joshi (Robin Wright), says that if the public ever found out, it could tear apart what little remains of civilization. She orders her team to destroy any evidence before sending K back to the farm to burn it down. Additionally, she wants him to track down the Replicant child, and retire it. On his way out, K takes some of the female Replicant’s hair.
K next goes to the Wallace Company to learn more about the serial number. A clerk finds that the number belongs to an older model Replicant. Unfortunately, the needed information may be lost due to the the fact that in 2022, an event called the ‘Blackout’ wiped out almost every digital file the company had before that date. Only sporadic hard-copy data remains.
Luckily, there does appear to be some remaining information left on it. A Replicant female named Luv (Sylvia Hoeks) works there, and she gives him the access needed to what appears to be an old memory file containing an audio recording. The file belonged to an experimental replicant named Rachael, who coincidentally went missing 30 years before. In it, she talks to a Blade Runner named Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford). K detects a very strong connection between the two as Luv thanks him for helping to close the case on Rachael.
K next goes looking for any information on Deckard. That leads him to a retirement home where a man named Gaff (Edward James Olmos) lives. Gaff worked with Deckard, and he says that Deckard and Rachel fell in love before escaping to parts unknown.
While this goes on, Luv reports her findings to her boss, Niander Wallace (Jared Leto). Wallace is busy witnessing the activation (birth) one of his new female replicants. Although he’s blind, small drones help him see everything. He quickly kills the replicant because of his frustrations with these new replicants being unable to bear children. With humanity spreading in off-world colonies, replicants that can reproduce would help him meet demand for his products and therefore increase his profits.
In Rachel, Eldon Tyrell obviously learned how to do this, but since that knowledge was lost in the Blackout. The only way for Wallace to learn those secrets would be to find Rachel’s child and reverse engineer it. He orders Luv, who is clearly disturbed with the killing of this new replicant, to retrieve Rachael’s remains, and track K to the child.
We return to K who walks through the city’s entertainment district to buy food. A cloaked woman orders three Replicant prostitutes to interrogate him. When one of them named Mariette (Mackenzie Davis) tries to offer her services for sex, she notices his a holographic projector. Figuring that he’s not into real girls, she leaves. At the same time, Luv shows up at the police station, and steals Rachael’s remains once she quickly kills a forensic agent who finds her in mid-theft.
As K returns to Sapper’s farm, he finds a baby sock and a picture of another woman holding the replicant baby. He deduces that Sapper and several other Replicants have been actively protecting Rachael’s secret for decades. Additionally, he finds a date carved into the bottom of the tree which is 6-10-21. This date upsets him for some reason.
He then burns the farm and returns to LA. When he reports back to Joshi, she tells him about the theft of Rachael’s remains before asks him about his most precious childhood memory. He says he remembers a group of older boys chasing him through an old factory to take away a wooden carving of a horse. To protect it, he hid it inside an old furnace. K remembers that the horse had a date on it which was the exact same date carved into the tree. He keeps that little tidbit to himself though. Joshi suggests he next try the DNA bank to identify who the child is.
With the assumption that the date in the tree and on the horse is a date of birth, K goes to the DNA bank to find someone born on June 10, 2021. Once again, only raw data remains, but he finds records of two children born that day; a boy and a girl. They have the same DNA which seems to be impossible as only identical twins have the same DNA, and they would need to be the same gender. This leads K to suspect that one was copied from the other. He finds the DNA data came from an orphanage in the ruins of San Diego, and that the girl later died from a genetic disease. K then theorizes that the Replicants hid the boy.
While on his flight to San Diego, a large group of scavengers shoots down his spinner. As it crashes into an old ship yard, the group attacks K. However, Luv’s been keeping a watchful eye on his progress from remote camera surveillance. She uses Wallace’s advanced weaponry to take out the vandals.
K quickly repairs the spinner and heads to the orphanage which is housed in an abandoned section of an old ship. He finds the orphanage’s caretaker, Mister Cotton (Lennie James), uses the children as cheap labor. K gets physical with the man to coerce him into showing him the old administrative files. Unfortunately, someone already tore out the exact pages he needs.
As K starts to leave, he notices the building itself is familiar to him even though he’s never been there. He goes deeper into the ship, and spots the furnaces from his childhood memory. He goes to the one he remembers he placed the wooden horse, and finds it there. An upset K returns to the LAPD station and takes his standard test. He fails it.
Back home, Joi tries to convince him that his childhood memory is real, and he is Rachael’s son. She thinks he deserves a human name, and begins calling him Joe. However, K remains unconvinced that his memory is real. Joi then suggests he contact an expert on implanted memories.
K agrees and goes to the lab of Dr. Ana Stelline (Carla Juri) to talk to her. She designs memory implants for Wallace’s Replicants. Dr. Stelline is happy to see anyone who visits because she spends all her time inside a dome. Her compromised immune system prevents her exposure to other people. When her parents left Earth for one of the off-world colonies, she wasn’t allowed to come along due to the disease. While she had a lonely childhood, she used her imagination to survive. This eventually led her to become one of the best creators of artificial memories.
K wants to know how fake memories are discerned from the real. Dr. Stelline says that fake memories tend to be overly detailed; real memories tend to be messy and reflect an emotion rather than a photographic recollection. However, a good fabricated memory always contains something personal of the maker. K asks her to take a look at his memory, and advise on it. She uses a special device to see the memory in his head. She’s suddenly overcome with emotion because the memory is real. K then storms out in a rage. Outside, the police are there; waiting to apprehend him.
At the station, an angry Joshi confronts K over his failed test because now she must retire him. He replies that he failed because he succeeded in his mission; he killed Rachael’s child. This revelation pleases Joshi, and she agrees to just suspend him; giving him 48 hours to disappear.
When K returns home, he finds the prostitute replicant, Mariette, in his room. Joi says this is her doing, because she needs Mariette for something. She synchronizes her holographic program with Mariette so she can make love to K.
The next morning, K feels awkward about the unexpected threesome, but work calls, and he sets out to leave. Before he goes though, Mariette places a tracking device in his coat. When K tells Joi that people are coming for him, she insists on coming with him. K’s reluctant because transferring her to the mobile projector would put her at risk of being lost if anything happens to the projector. However, he does agree to Joi’s request.
She then asks him to destroy the projector’s antenna. That will keep anyone from moving her to another device, and remove the ability for anyone to track it. Unfortunately for Luv, up to this point, she’s been using the projector’s position to track K.
Luv then heads to the police station. She asks Joshi to tell her where K is. When Joshi refuses, Luv tries to coerce the information out of her. However, it doesn’t work, and Luv kills her. She then uses Joshi’s computer to get the information she needs.
Meanwhile, K has travelled to see a specialist named Doc Badger (Barkhad Abdi) to inquire about the wooden horse. He finds traces of radioactive tritium in the wood, and deduces that there is only one area nearby that can account for this type of wood with such high radiation readings. K leaves to visit the abandoned ruins of Las Vegas.
Once there, he enters a deserted hotel/casino which he finds has many booby traps. He does find Deckard there who keeps K at a distance with a gun. The two fight a bit before K can convince Deckard he’s only there for answers. Deckard confirms that Rachael was pregnant, but he’s never seen the child, nor does he know where it’s location.
Since the police are still actively hunting for Deckard, he left a still-pregnant Rachael in the care of people who would protect her. Additionally, he taught the other Replicants how to tamper with birth records, and how to avoid capture.
Soon Deckard notices the two are no longer alone. Convinced that someone followed K, the two head to Deckard’s spinner to flee. However, a rocket grenade destroys it, and incapacitates the two. Luv enters with her minions. K takes care of them, but she is able to overpower him, and severely injure him. When she spots K’s mobile projector, she destroys it; killing Joi. She leaves K for dead, and takes Deckard back to Wallace.
K next finds a group of Replicants tending to his wounds. They have tracked him as well because Mariette is part of their group which is a Replicant freedom movement. Their leader named Freysa (Hiam Abbass) says that she was there when Rachael died in childbirth. Her group of Replicants, Sapper included, went to great lengths to hide the baby, whom they consider a miracle.
If Replicants can have children, then humans can no longer deny them their freedom. She says that the Blackout was their attempt to erase as many digital files as possible, in order to protect the secret of how Rachel was able to have children.
When K tells her that he is Rachel’s child, Freysa tells him that the child was a girl. This reply confuses and disappoints K. He asks how he could have a real memory of Rachael’s offspring if he isn’t her son. Freysa says that this too is also part of the puzzle. The memory of the wooden horse is implanted in all Replicants as a unifying motivation for freedom.
K thinks back on all he’s learned, and deduces that the memory originated with Dr. Ana Stelline herself which explains her emotional response to it. She is Rachael and Deckard’s daughter. The Replicants then ask K to return to Loa Angeles knowing that Wallace will do anything to get clues from Deckard. If he succeeds, he may be able to create Replicants with reproductive capabilities which in turn will create a self-perpetuating army of slaves. The resistance wants this prevented at all costs, even if it means Deckard must die.
K returns to Los Angeles. Once there, he spots a giant three-dimensional ad for the Joi hologram which fills him with sadness knowing that his Joi is gone forever. At the Wallace Company, Luv brings Deckard to Wallace. He shows him Rachael’s remains before calling her the lock and Deckard the key to unraveling the mystery of Replicant reproduction. Deckard replies that he has no idea who or where his child is.
Wallace says that Tyrell set up Deckard’s first meeting with Rachael from the beginning with the intention that they would end up together and reproduce. He starts a playback of the first conversation between him and Rachael, which emotionally affects Deckard. However, he still refuses to cooperate.
Wallace then ups the ante for information. A woman walks in from the shadows who appears to be an exact copy of Rachael from 30 years ago. While this moves Deckard, he dismisses this version as fake because the real Rachael’s eyes were green. Frustrated, Wallace has Luv execute the fake Rachael in front of Deckard. He orders Luv to take Deckard to one of the off-world colonies where they have ways to make him talk.
Luv and a hand-cuffed Deckard take off in a spinner with two other vehicles escorting them. As they fly along Los Angeles’ shoreline, K arrives to knock Luv’s vehicle from the sky. It crashes on the beach as K lands next to it. There, he fights Luv. She stabs him several times with a knife, and leaves him for dead.
Luv re-enters the spinner to free Deckard from his cuffs as the tide begins to drag it into the ocean. K enters the spinner again to drown the life out of Luv. He frees Deckard just before the vehicle sinks completely. When Deckard says that he should have let him die, K replies that the world will believe that Deckard went down with the spinner.
K takes Deckard to Dr. Stelline’s office because all his best memories are hers. When Deckard asks him why he did what he did, K only tells him go see the woman. As Deckard goes in, K lies down on the steps outside the building where he succumbs to his wounds.
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