Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Summary
Bounty hunter Rick Deckard wakes up to a world devastated by nuclear war, where humans care for animals to prevent the mass extinction of several species, where androids are colonial slaves who kill their masters and flee to hide on Earth. You know, just another day in the year of our Lord 2021. (Whoa, that's starting to feel really close.)
Only it isn't just another day. When he gets to work, Deckard's boss Harry Bryant tells him that Dave Holden, another bounty hunter, was hurt while hunting eight fugitive androids. Holden managed to "retire" two of them before the third laser gunned him in the back. He's in the hospital due to the side effects of excessive lasering, and now Deckard has to finish the job.
The catch? The androids are Nexus-6 models, the most intelligent, advanced androids ever created.
Rick flies to the Rosen Association headquarters in Seattle to try the Voigt-Kampff test on a real Nexus-6 model. There, he meets Rachael Rosen and deduces she's an android despite Rosen's attempt to trick into thinking his test is weaksauce.
Elsewhere, John Isidore lives an isolated life away from the rest of society, shunned because the radioactive dust in the atmosphere has wreaked serious havoc on his genes. On his way to work, Isidore hears a television playing in the building and discovers a woman named Pris Stratton has moved in, and she is in no way suspicious in the slightest, not at all.
Next up, Rick hunts Polokov, the Nexus-6 who got the drop on Holden, with Polokov going after him at the same time. In their confrontation, Rick manages to shoot the android dead—or should we say he malfunctions him with a bullet?
Rick then goes after Luba Luft. He tries to give her the Voigt-Kampff test, but Luft calls the police. Rick thinks that's going to work out swell for him, but he soon discovers the police station is another trap—this one set by the third target on his list, Officer Garland. Confused yet?
With the help of fellow bounty hunter Phil Resch, Rick retires Garland and escapes the android-police station like a boss. The two then catch up with Luba Luft at the art museum. Rick's feelings for Luba Luft prevent him from retiring her, but Resch manages the job just fine.
Elsewhere in the city, Isidore and Pris have dinner with two unexpected guests, Roy and Irmgard Baty. (Ermagerhd! Androids!) They have news of the other escapees, all dead, and they have decided to hole up with Pris. Isidore is so happy to have some new roomies that he doesn't even care they're androids.
Rick goes home but a call from Bryant informs him where the last androids can be found. Before finishing the job, he meets up with Rachael, and the two have an affair that goes horribly south when Rachael reveals she only slept with him to cement his inability to kill—er, retire—androids. Oops.
Understandably ticked off, Rick heads to Isidore's apartment building and retires the remaining three androids. In a character switch-a-roo, Isidore decides to move closer to other people, and Rick takes off for the wasteland currently known as Oregon to be isolated from everyone.
There he finds a toad, an animal everyone thought to be extinct. He drives home, excited, but his wife discovers it's an electric animal. Rick goes to bed, disappointed but willing to re-program himself with the mood organ and take tomorrow to rest.
And they'll keep the toad.
- Rick Deckard wakes up alongside his wife, Iran. Rick set his Penfield mood organ, so his mental state is currently set to ready-to-take-on-the-world mode. Man, where can we get one of those?
- Iran evidently set hers to wrong-side-of-the-bed mode, and her depressed attitude brings Rick down in a bad way.
- She says she set her Penfield mood organ because she wants to feel depressed every now and then.
- After a couple's fight—where they both argue over who can set the mood organ to the most bickersome—Iran gives up on dialing a mood altogether, and Rick does so for both of them.
- Details Snack: You might notice Iran's complaints include a commercial for "Montibank Lead Codpieces" (1.15). A codpiece is a bit of clothing dating back to the 1500s that covered a man's, let's say, manly regions (source). The lead part suggests this ensemble has come back into fashion to help protect men from the radiation, much like how your dentist puts a lead vest on you before taking x-rays. Of course, the company name Montibank is a play on the word mountebank, a person who sells quack medicine. So, we're guessing they don't work as advertised.
- Rick breakfasts and heads to the room to care for the couple's sheep.
- Bill Barbour, Rick's neighbor, appears on the roof to care for his horse and announces that the mare is pregnant.
- Rick wonders if Bill has thought of selling the horse, but Bill feels it would be immoral for him to part with such a valuable animal as a colt. Besides, he points out, Rick has his sheep.
- Rick reveals the creature's control panel. It's an electric sheep, which, in the future, is not as awesome as it sounds.
- He explains that his real sheep, Groucho, died of tetanus. Rick purchased the mechanical sheep so as not to live with the shame of having no animal and because it was more affordable on his salary. We love a man who knows how to handle his money.
- Bill promises not to tell anyone in the building and suggests some more affordable animals: a cat, mouse, or cricket perhaps? Rick, not being a wooden boy, doesn't want a cricket for a pet.
- Spitefully, Rick tells Bill that his horse could die at any time, too. He heads to work.
- The chapter opens with a discussion on World War Terminus, a world war so bad they skipped the numbering system altogether.
- After this massive nuclear war, nuclear dust covered the planet, killing animals by the species load and forcing humans to emigrant into outer space.
- Those who remained on Earth were slowly deteriorated in the dust until they either died or developed mental and genetic disorders to become "special."
- One such special, John Isidore, is getting ready for work in a Northern California apartment building where he lives by himself. Not just the apartment is empty, either. He's the only tenant in the whole building.
- He listens to a TV interview with a woman who immigrated to New New York on Mars, and we learn that the space colonists are horribly unoriginal in naming places.
- Isidore is bitter that he has become a "chickenhead," i.e. his genetic makeup has become so messed up that he can't legally move to the colonies.
- On the other hand, he has enough of a mind to keep a job at a false-animal repair firm.
- Turning off the TV, Isidore is suddenly struck by the sounds of silence. Not the Simon and Garfunkel album either but the actual, physical silence.
- He reaches for the empathy box and merges with the mind of Wilbur Mercer, a type of futuristic, virtual reality Christ-figure.
- Isidore also merges with everyone else using an empathy box at that time, and together, they all join Mercer's climb up a hellish, rocky mountain side.
- A rock strikes Mercer during the climb, and when Isidore disconnects from the empathy box, he is wounded where the rock hit him. (Or is it "them"?)
- He cleans the wound and hears the muffled sound of a TV coming from somewhere else in the building.
- Ecstatic he is no longer alone, Isidore rushes to the refrigerator and grabs a cube of margarine—never having neighbors before, he has no idea what to bring as a housewarming present. Hint: It's not margarine.
- He rushes into the derelict apartment building to find his new neighbor.
- On his way to work, Rick stops by a pet shop on animal row and spies an ostrich in the window.
- At the office, Rick's superior, Harry Bryant, tells him to meet in Dave Holden's office at nine-thirty. Holden, the department's senior bounty hunter, is in the hospital after being shot in the back.
- Rick checks out the file on the new Nexus-6 model of android CPU and considers the Voigt-Kampff test. It's the only method he has of telling an android from a human being, and it operates by measuring empathic response.
- Rick decides to call up the pet shop and ask them how much the ostrich costs, because who doesn't want an ostrich running around on the roof of his apartment building? No one, that's who.
- The clerk tells him one thousand dollars under book listing, which is still expensive.
- He also calls up his fake pet shop and learns that an electric ostrich would cost a mere eight hundred dollars. A bargain!
- He heads for Holden's office, knowing that Dave's absence means work and that sweet bounty money will be coming his way.
- Bryant informs Rick that Dave was hunting down eight Nexus-6 androids. Dave got two of them before one decided to skip the villain's "Why don't you just shoot him?" conundrum and… just shot him.
- He tells Rick that he's not sure the Voigt-Kampff test will work with these new models.
- Ergo (Latin!), he's set up a test at the Seattle headquarters of the Rosen Association, the manufacturers of the androids. Rick is supposed to go there… like right now.
- Flying to the Rosen Association building in a hovercar, Rick steps out on the roof and is immediately greeted by Rachael Rosen. Side note: commutes in the future are wickedly fast.
- The small talk is exceptionally small as Rick quickly notices the animals housed on the building's roof, including *gasp* an owl. Apparently all the owls dropped dead years ago.
- During the descent into the building, Rachael is an ice queen to Rick thanks to the implications his Voigt-Kampff analysis will have on the company and its latest models.
- Rick meets Eldon Rosen and is led into the room where the test will be administered.
- He's introduced to his first subject: Rachael Rosen.
- Rick attaches a biosensor onto Rachael's cheek and shines a sharp pinpoint of light into her eye. He explains that the test will measure her responses to a variety of questions. And time is a factor.
- Rachael guesses, correctly, that her verbal responses count for nothing and nada. It'll be the way her body responds that truly counts.
- Rick asks her a series of questions dealing with various social situations—most involve, in some manner, a dead animal. (Check out our "Symbols, Imagery, Allegory" sections for Voigt-Kampff and Animals for more on why this is important.)
- Rick proclaims her an android, but Eldon assures him she is 100%, genuine human being. Her empathic handicap is the result of growing up on the spaceship Salander 3 and learning about Earth through library tapes.
- Rachael and Eldon both suggest the possibility that Rick could retire a person with this faulty test.
- Realizing he was set up for failure, Rick packs up to leave, but the Rosens aren't done yet.
- They offer him a deal: They'll give him the owl, one Scrappy by name, if he keeps quiet about the Voigt-Kampff's failure and carry on with his work.
- But the way Rachael refers to the owl as "it" gives Rick an idea.
- He tells Rachael that his briefcase is made of babyhide and notices that her horrified response is just a little too late.
- He asks Eldon whether Rachael even knows she is an android.
- As for the owl, it's artificial too. Eldon says there are no more owls.
- Rick heads back to the hovercar parked on the roof. He's now come up against a Nexus-6 and knows the Voigt-Kampff empathy test works on them.
- Time to earn his pay.
- A TV set booms on the other side of the door that Isidore stands in front of. When he knocks, it instantly goes silent.
- Isidore introduces himself to the still-shut door—in a manner that betrays the fact that he is not exactly in the habit of introducing himself.
- A petite young woman cracks the door.
- Isidore tries to talk to her about Buster Friendly, but the girl doesn't know who he is—the future equivalent of not knowing Johnny Depp or that girl from Jersey Shore…you know, what's her name?
- He wonders where she came from, but she says it doesn't matter.
- Isidore offers to help the girl unpack, but she says all the stuff was already there when she arrived.
- Never one to quit, Isidore doubles down, offering to help her scavenge some other apartments to help keep the kipple at bay. (For more on kipple, check out our "Symbols, Imagery, Allegory" section.)
- The girl eventually accepts. They'll meet after he gets off work.
- Isidore asks her his name, and she says Rachael Rosen, which surprises Isidore, what with her being part of the Rosen Association head family.
- Then she changes her mind and says it's Pris Stratton.
- Um, okay.
- Isidore returns to his apartment still clutching the margarine. He thinks the girl is a wee-bit out of touch.
- An hour later, he's at work picking up an electric cat. The cat's as sick as, well, a dog, and its mechanisms make it look like a sick animal in death throes.
- The realistic workmanship is so phenomenal that Isidore can't locate where to plug in the recharge cords before the mechanism shorts out.
- En route to the office, Isidore listens to the Buster Friendly show, where Friendly is announcing his big exposé later in the evening.
- At the Van Ness Pet Hospital, Isidore brings the cat to his boss, Sloat, and the two compare Wilbur Mercer and Buster Friendly.
- Sloat says the cat wasn't a fake but a very real, and now very dead, one. So that's why Isidore couldn't find the plug.
- Milt Borogrove, another employee, defends Isidore, noting that he doesn't think Isidore can really tell the difference between authentic and fake.
- But Sloat's upset at the waste of life and takes it out on Isidore, forcing him to call the owner to tell him the news.
- Terrified of communication by vidphone (us too, Isi), Isidore calls only because he does not want to lose his job.
- Mrs. Pilsen is distraught over the cat's death and worries about telling her husband. She chooses to have an electric replacement of Horace built to trick him.
- Sloat notes that the death of an animal can really affect an owner before telling Isidore he did very well.
- Milt also gives him props and passes on instructions for what to do next. Isidore is elated as he goes to work.
- Rick returns to the office to tell Bryant he got what they needed from the Rosen Association.
- Bryant orders Rick to start with Polokov since he knows he's on the hit list. He adds that the android is posing as a special for a trash collecting company.
- Rick's superior also tells him that a Soviet cop, Sandor Kadalyi, will be joining him to help with the next Nexus-6, Miss Luba Luft.
- History Snack: The Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, and the novel takes place in the year 1992 or 2021, depending on which edition you own. Writing in the 1960s, there was no way Philip K. Dick could have known the end of a world super power was fewer than 20 years away. With that said, other science fiction novels featuring a future with the Soviet Union, such as Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End, were updated with the ever-changing times. We'll have to wait and see if new editions of Do Androids Dream? make this change or not.
- Rick stops at the Bay Area Scavengers Company, but Polokov didn't come into work that day.
- He heads to the android's listed apartment next. Playing it safe, he sets off a remote Penfield transmitter, paralyzing everyone in the building.
- But no Polokov. Rick fears the android wised up and skipped town after shooting Dave.
- Rick radios in and informs Bryant he's going after Miss Luft.
- Bryant tells him that Kadalyi will meet with him on top of the apartment building.
- Rick reads the poop sheet on Luba Luft—we're not being juvenile; poop sheets are an actual thing. He plans his attack on the opera-singing android.
- Rachael Rosen phones Rick and offers her Nexus-6 services in tracking down the renegade androids, but Rick refuses.
- A hovertaxi arrives, and the Russian police officer emerges.
- Kadalyi shows Rick his tricked-out laser weapon and gives it to Rick to fire. Nothing happens.
- Kadalyi reveals himself to be the android, Polokov, and Rick reveals that he's triggered a sine wave to cancel out the android's tricky gun.
- With the mention of "sine waves," our brains temporarily shut down. (We're the humanities model of Shmoopdroid.)
- Okay! Back on track. Polokov attacks Rick, and the bounty hunter draws his old school .38 to "retire" the android. And by retire, we mean shoot in the head.
- Rick radios in his success before calling his wife.
- He tries to tell her what he plans to do with the bounty money, but she dialed depression on the Penfield anyway. He hangs up in frustration.
- His hunter's hunger anticipating the next one, Rick flies to the opera house to find Luba Luft.
- At the opera house, the players are rehearsing Mozart's The Magic Flute.
- During their break, Rick makes his way backstage to Luft's dressing room.
- He introduces himself as San Francisco Police and informs her that he'll be performing an empathy test on her, despite her protests.
- Luft takes the test but keeps messing with the results by asking questions of all of Rick's questions. She especially plays up that English is not her native language.
- When the adhesive disk falls off, Rick bends over to pick it up. When he sits up, he finds Luba Luft has drawn a laser tube on him.
- Claiming he's a sexual deviant, she calls the police, a move Rick thinks will be the best thing for him.
- An Officer Crams arrives. He claims he knows all the bounty hunters and inspectors in the SFPD, and—surprise, surprise—he's never heard of a Rick Deckard or an Inspector Bryant.
- Rick calls Bryant on the phone while Crams takes Luft's statement.
- Crams and Rick agree to go to the station to straighten the matter out, and Crams calls in a pickup for the retired andy in Rick's trunk.
- As the police hovercar takes off, Rick notices it's heading south, the wrong direction. He realizes the truth—the androids set a trap for him.
- Dun dun dun.
- The only comfort Rick has as the police car descends into the fake police station is that, at the very least, he got one of the Nexus-6 androids.
- Inside, Rick is processed through an actual police station, and he wonders who these people are, working in a parallel police agency to his own.
- He's brought in to see a police official.
- The official rummages through Rick's briefcase while Rick puts in a call to his wife.
- Rick dials the number, but the woman's face on the other line is not his wife's.
- The police official invites Rick into his office and says his name is Garland. He also happens to be the third android on Rick's hit list, and, we have to say, that has to be a super awkward way to meet someone.
- Garland calls to have the station's bounty hunters sent in, noting it's an unpleasant experience to find oneself on a hit list.
- Bounty hunter Phil Resch enters the office, and Garland brings him up to speed.
- Resch thinks it's a bad idea to run a bone marrow test on Polokov, noting the man always felt cold and calculating.
- And guess what? He was an android.
- Rick and Resch agree to take the android test, even though Garland still thinks it's bad for morale to have senior officials take the test.
- Garland agrees to have the test run on him, and Resch leaves to grab his equipment.
- As soon as he does, Garland draws a laser tube on Rick. Rick points out it won't make a difference as Resch will just run the same bone marrow test on him, proving he was human.
- Garland lowers the laser tube and informs Rick that Resch is an android as well but one with false memories.
- Rick wonders what Resch will do when he finds out, and Garland says he hasn't the foggiest notion. To be fair, that's not really Garland's No. 1 problem at the moment.
- He explains to Rick how the fake police operation works and how he took a gamble on Polokov, one that obviously didn't pay off.
- Resch returns, Garland draws on him, but Resch gets the drop. He kills the senior officer.
- Resch asks Rick what was said while he was gone, but Rick only says that Garland admitted to being an android.
- He tells Rick they have to double back to the opera house to get Luba Luft before she flees.
- They set up Garland to look as not dead as possible (good luck) and have his secretary cancel all his calls. Then Resch uses his authority to break Rick out of the android-infested building.
- On the elevator up to the roof, Resch asks if Rick's department will give him a job.
- Rick, knowing the truth, lies and says he sees no reason why not.
- Resch begins questioning whether a real Garland was replaced with an android or if he had been implanted with false memories (which only work on androids apparently).
- In the hovercar and en route to the opera house, Resch asks Rick to administer the Voigt-Kampff test on him once they get Luba Luft.
- Resch doesn't believe the memories are false. After all, he owns a squirrel, and he loves the thing.
- At the opera house, Rick and Resch are told Luba Luft has gone to the Edvard Munch exhibit at the museum.
- Art Snack: Edvard Munch is the Norwegian artist who painted The Scream and a bunch of other wonderfully symbolic Expressionist works that no one bothers to remember because everyone is crazy in love with The Scream and because it's been the target in several high profile art crimes. And if there is one guaranteed way to make a painting famous, it's to steal the heck out of it. Looking at you, Mona Lisa.
- Bonus snack: Munch composed four different versions of The Scream and one lithograph. So, while people talk of it as a single painting, that's not technically the case.
- They search the museum for Luba Luft as Resch worries over whether he is an android.
- Resch spies—what else?—The Scream. He believes the painting expresses what the androids must feel.
- They find Luba Luft checking out a Munch painting, Puberty.
- They escort Luba Luft to Rick's car, but on the way, she asks Rick to buy her a print of Puberty. Rick pays for a compilation book out of his own pocket.
- On the way, Luba Luft confesses she's an android, saying she always wanted to be a real boy. Er, human.
- She also harasses Resch for being an android, which… big mistake. He retires her right there.
- Rick takes the laser tube from Resch and burns the book. Distraught over her death, he feels the world could have used Luft's beautiful voice.
- He calls in a patrol car to transfer Luft's body to the station for a bone marrow test.
- Resch agrees to take the Voigt-Kampff test.
- The test results read Resch as human. Rick suggests a defect in the man's ability to empathize with androids. Resch notes it's not odd as they don't test for that.
- Rick takes the test himself and realizes the truth: He is able to empathize with certain types of androids. He's the one with the "defect."
- Resch, ever the gentleman, says it's just sex, theorizing Rick wanted to bed Luba Luft.
- For the first time, Rick wonders if he is a good bounty hunter.
- John Isidore flies home with delicacies he purchased at a black-market grocery store, like a pre-war bottle of Chablis.
- Back at Pris's apartment, Isidore shows his new friend the feast.
- Isidore theorizes that Pris's problem is she doesn't have any friends, but she says she has friends, seven of them in fact. Wait, how many androids were supposed to have escaped the colonies again (nudge, nudge; wink, wink; say no more)?
- She explains that a bounty hunter is after them, but Isidore thinks that would be against the tenets of Mercerism.
- She agrees to have a peach slice and begins to cry. Isidore, who just learned to introduce himself this morning, isn't well equipped to deal with someone crying.
- Pris tells the story of how she and her friends emigrated from Mars and how horrible it is on that ancient, dead planet.
- The one good thing, she explains, is the pre-colonial fiction written about space travel before it was an actual thing. For her, these stories imagine the world the way it should, not as it is.
- A knock comes at the door. Pris asks Isidore to answer it.
- On the other side are Roy and Irmgard, two of Pris's friends from Mars.
- Roy and Irmgard update Pris on the situation. No, not Mike "the Situation" Sorrentino, but the bounty-hunter-coming-to-retire-them situation.
- To summarize, they are the only three left of the eight, and they've got to stick together.
- Isidore finds he cannot fathom Roy as the man is too… mechanical. As they talk, he realizes this is true for all of them, even Pris, who seems "almost natural" (14.21).
- Roy's plan is for Irmgard and him to live in the current apartment and for Pris and Isidore to live in Isidore's. He'll jerry-build a two-way bug and an alarm system.
- Pris argues with this plan a bit, but it becomes clear that Rule No. 1 is that Roy makes the decisions. Rule No. 2: No exceptions to Rule No. 1 unless you are—wait for it—the Mongols.
- At Isidore's apartment, Pris tries to convince Isidore that the bounty hunter is a group hallucination brought on by schizophrenia.
- Hm, Isidore thought something must be up. After all, it's not like the government hires people to go around killing others, unless you count outsourcing.
- Roy comes in and explains the alarm uses a Penfield unit that will send any human intruder, and Isidore for that matter, into a blind panic.
- That clinches it for Isidore: they're androids.
- He says he doesn't care though. The human race hasn't treated him very well either, and he wishes he had their abstract intellect.
- Pris notes Isidore is special indeed.
- The androids vote on what to do with Isidore. Baty says they should kill him, but the other two decide to make their stand in the apartment building with Isidore's help.
- Elsewhere, Rick quits work and heads to animal row. He buys a female, black Nubian goat.
- When he gets home, he brings Iran to the roof to show her their new animal.
- Iran is, in a word, stoked.
- Not only does this cure her depression, but she wants to join with Mercer, so she can share her joy with everyone using an empathy box. Rick, you've earned that "#1 Husband" mug this day, friend.
- Downstairs, Rick tells Iran about his newly formed empathy toward androids.
- He says he understands Iran's distaste for his job and that he'll look for a new one in the department.
- The vidphone rings. Bryant is on the line, informing Rick that they have a lead on two of the remaining three andys. They've fled to an apartment building.
- He wants Rick to finish the job as soon as he can while Rick wonders if he can do anymore today.
- Rick takes Iran's place at the empathy box, but instead of merging with Mercer, he comes face-to-face with the guru.
- He asks Mercer what he and the empathy boxes are for.
- Mercer replies it is to show "'that you aren't alone. I am here with you and always will be. Go and do your task, even though you know it's wrong" (15.110).
- A rock nails Rick, and he releases the handles. Iran asks him what happened, and he tells her Mercer gave him a revelation he already had.
- Realizing he's in trouble, Rick calls Rachael to ask for her help. She initially refuses but agrees to meet him at the St. Francis Hotel that night.
- In the hotel room, Rick reads the poop sheets on the remaining androids and wonders if androids dream. Shmoopers, we have a title.
- Rachael enters the room, sporting a bottle of pre-war bourbon. She takes a look at the poop sheets, notices something, but decides to open the bourbon rather than elaborate.
- Rick asks what upset her, and she informs him one of the three remaining androids is the same model as her.
- She says she feels a sense of identification with this Pris android, not to mention a tiny bit odd hunting someone who looks exactly like her.
- Rachael asks Rick if he knows why she came. He answers that it's to observe his test and report back to the association.
- She argues that she can't go anyhow as she's drunk. (While we're here, what is it with future civilizations building machines with substance abuse problems? Like, a programmer had to take the time to actually program that in, right?)
- Rachael begins to undress and tells him about an item in her purse.
- Rick retrieves it. It's a device that puts an android into catalepsy for a few seconds. She says it might just save his life.
- Rachael calls him to bed, but Rick says he can't because later that night he'll have to retire Pris.
- She says that if he goes to bed with her, she'll retire Pris.
- Deal. Rick crawls into bed.
- Afterward, Rick and Rachael are driving in his hovercar. Rick admits he'd marry her if it was legal, which is one of the worst proposals ever (but not the worst).
- Rachael tells Rick to not look so sad; after all, he'll no longer be able to hunt android bounties.
- Rick is confused at first, but then Rachael explains that no bounty hunter has ever been able to hunt after sleeping with her—well, expect for this one cynical guy named Phil Resch.
- Rick has his light-bulb moment; it's another TRAP!!1!
- Rachael explains that she knew all of the escaped androids.
- Rick is all, I'm going to kill you and all your friends … although he does wonder if he can really go through with Pris.
- He also realizes why Resch was as warped as he was: Rachael is cold as ice.
- Deciding he can't follow Resch's example, Rick does not kill Rachael but heads back to the St. Francis to drop her off.
- Rachael turns on the radio, saying the Buster Friendly show will be very important tonight.
- Pris sends Isidore to pick up her stuff while the androids huddle around the television to watch Buster Friendly and his Friendly Friends.
- Isidore feels useful for the first time in his life, although he does wonder if there is a hint of exploitation in the relationship. Um, you think?
- He finds a spider. This is a super-big deal because spiders are supposed to be extinct, and this little guy didn't get the memo.
- Isidore rushes upstairs to show his roomies what he found.
- Pris takes a look at the spider and thinks maybe it doesn't need all those legs to get around. Irmgard suggests they cut off four, since this species is clearly being greedy in the legs department.
- Isidore begs them to stop, but his pleas fall on deaf circuitry.
- On television, Buster Friendly is in the middle of his exposé, showing proof-positive that Wilbur Mercer is an actor and his world a bunch of sound-stage fakery.
- Irmgard says this means empathy is just an empty concept with no reality behind it.
- She then helps Pris cut off the spider's remaining legs, proving that a spider can indeed walk on fewer than eight legs, albeit awkwardly and (we suppose) with tremendous pain, but proving it nonetheless.
- Isidore is in shock, and Pris believes this has to do with the revelation that Mercer is a fake, not even considering the spider.
- Isidore snatches up the spider and drowns it in the sink.
- He then goes into a depressed rage, breaking everything in the apartment while hallucinating that the word is crumpling around him.
- He discovers the mutilated spider crawling across his foot. With the spider alive, Isidore realizes that Mercer must be near.
- Sure enough, Mercer arrives, and Isidore asks if he really is a fraud. Mercer admits that he is a phony but says it really doesn't matter because, after all, both he and Isidore are still here.
- He hands Isidore the spider, but now it has all of its legs back.
- The alarm sounds, pulling Isidore out of his dream/hallucination/revelation/we don't know what it is.
- The bounty hunter has entered the building.
- Isidore realizes he has a grip on the empathy box handles.
- Pris sends him into the hall to confront the bounty hunter. Isidore goes, still gripping the spider Mercer gave him.
- He heads into what was once the apartment's garden terrace and sets the spider loose.
- A flashlight beam shines on Isidore, and a man asks Isidore why he released the spider. Isidore responds that if he returns with it, the androids will cut it up again.
- The man says androids do that and introduces himself as Rick Deckard. Surprise! Yeah… it was fairly obvious.
- Rick asks Isidore to show him where the androids are, but Isidore refuses, warning him that he won't be able to fuse with Mercer if he goes through with his task.
- Rick heads down the hall. Mercer appears to warn him that an android is on the steps.
- Rachael appears and appeals to Rick, but he notices she isn't quite Rachael. When she dashes toward him, he fires.
- He hurries down the hall, and his gear picks up the androids' signal.
- He knocks, pretending to be Isidore. The door opens.
- Roy takes a shot at Rick, missing and losing his legal right to a Voigt-Kampff test.
- Rick enters the apartment, and when Irmgard tries to take a shot at him, he retires her. Then he shoots Roy.
- On his way to his car, Rick warns Isidore not to go in and look.
- Isidore tells him he's already seen what remains of Pris.
- On the vidphone, Bryant says he'll send a patrol car to pick up the bodies.
- Isidore tells Rick he's moving into town where there are more people. Rick offers an apartment in his building to Isidore, but Isidore says he doesn't want to live near him.
- At home, Iran tells Rick that someone threw their new goat off the roof. And that's not a euphemism.
- The woman she describes is a fit for Rachael.
- Rick lands the hovercar on a dead hillside. He tries to call Dave Holden, but the hospital nurse says he's in no condition to take calls.
- Rick walks up the hillside, feeling defeated in some vague way.
- Rocks crash down on him, striking him hard. He believes he sees Mercer before realizing it's his own shadow.
- Afraid for his life, he rushes back to the hovercar.
- Inside the car, he takes a hit of snuff and calls Bryant for someone to talk to.
- Bryant's secretary, Ann Marsten, answers the vidphone, saying he looks like Wilbur Mercer.
- She tells him he's obviously overexerted himself and needs rest.
- Rick explains his illusion of becoming Mercer on the hill, stating that Mercer isn't fake unless reality is.
- After hanging up, Rick goes to call his wife when he suddenly notices something outside the car.
- Rick finds a toad, one of the most important animals to Mercer and long thought to be extinct.
- He grabs a box from his car and captures the creature, becoming the most excited person ever to catch a toad.
- Geography Snack: In Chapter 21, Rick says he's somewhere near the Oregon border (21.42). Then, the narrator mentions that he travels 700 miles south to San Francisco (22.12). This means he must be near the Washington-Oregon border since the California-Oregon border is much closer to San Fran (roughly 350 miles). Guess Portland didn't fare too well during World War Terminus.
- After flying back, Rick excitedly shows Iran the rare find, but she fumbles around with it and finds its control panel. It's electric! (We waited as long as we could before linking to this joke).
- She wonders if she shouldn't have told him, but Rick is glad to know.
- It doesn't matter to him. He says, "The electric things have their lives, too." (22.30).
- He agrees to go to bed and set the Penfield mood organ for long-deserved peace.
- Iran stays with him to make sure he doesn't wake up with night terrors as he sometimes does.
- After she's confident he's asleep, Iran calls the electric animal repair shop.
- She orders a repair on the toad. As she tells the repairmen, "I want it to work perfectly. My husband is devoted to it" (22.59).
- Then she fixes herself a cup of hot, black coffee.