Forrest Cameranesi: Geek of all Trades

(9x09) Virtuality Transcendent: Part 3, Episode 3

The rebel leadership urge Tom to use his newfound powers to lead their forces against the automata for the salvation of all of humanity. Tom is not having any of that as he still thinks all of it is fake and so none of it matters. But Xiuying urges him to consider the possibility that it might be true: that this metaphysical transcendence is not a continuation of their repeated deception, but something grander that they have achieved because of their deception, how it has taught them to see through mere appearances. At Xiu's urging, Tom agrees to at least act as though his actions in the dystopian world matter, and he agrees to spearhead a final offensive against the automata, while Xiuying remains at the base both to defend it from reprisals and to try to teach others the ways of magic.

As time passes, both of them dream of their time as "ghosts" in virtual Sphidia, between their deaths as the Eldest Wizard and Pseudo-Witch and their rebirths as half-siblings. They recall the centuries that passed as their ghostly forms first sought out each other – being the only "ghosts" in that time who understood what that state of undeath they found themselves in actually was – and then struggled long and hard, ultimately in vain, to figure out how to pierce the veil between the "dead" and the "living". In their dream-memories, they recall meeting the ghost of "the Eldest" himself, Xio, the creator and preserver of their virtual world, who they are surprised to find condemned to the same spectatorial condition as they are. (They realize that, in their lives as Murdock and Annabelle, they had wrongly presumed it mere fiction of Church dogma that in the unlife between lives, lost spirits could convene with the Eldest himself). They recall that it was Xio himself who eventually advised them to take advantage of the plans of Vis the Vampire Queen, to reincarnate into the bodies of the Old Ones whose births she orchestrated – hoping, once again in vain, that in doing so they might still preserve their memories while returning again to "life", such as it was. From the last of those dream-memories, at the moment of their reincarnation, they awaken, to Metis, telling them that "it's time". For the final assault against the automata, they assume, but she clarifies: no, it's time for them to wake up. They realize that she is dressed not as customary for the leader of the rebellion, but as the Metis helping them with their "Virtuality addiction" in the automata's simulated world.

With a gesture, she opens a doorway in thin air leading to the interior of the World Ring, still high in the sky above Earth somehow. Half-asleep, feeling like they're still dreaming, but curious, they follow her through. She says that it has been more difficult than expected, and she's had to improvise a lot along the way, but they are the trial run and she's learned a lot that can make the transition smoother for the next subjects. As Tom and Xiu object confusedly, Metis merely continues that she's finally gotten them to reintegrate all of their lost memories, so now all this deception can end. She beckons them to climb into what look like VR pods in the World Ring, promising to awaken them to the true reality at last, where she will explain everything. Hesitantly, but without really anything to lose if all of this is still just an illusion after all, they climb into the pods, and awaken...

Next: Virtuality Incarnate: Part 1, Episode 1