Nier: Automata Ver1.1a (Season 1), Episode 7: Nier Automata Ver1.1a introduces us to a fallen kingdom of machines very different from Pascal’s village, as well as a new major character in A2, which make for another strong episode that balances action and dialogue.
Nier: Automata Ver1.1a (Season 1), Episode 7 Recap:
The episode opens with Adam and Eve reading books, with the former explaining to the latter that existence precedes essence, which is a philosophical theory. Eve admits to not understanding it, and Adam says he is heading to something called the Playground, but without Eve. They promise to play together once Adam returns.
2B and 9S are in the city ruins, as 9S muses about how the deer in front of them and humans are inefficient owing to having to eat regularly. He then questions why they haven’t received further orders to investigate Adam and Eve, feeling that something is going on, and that is only enhanced during a call with Operator 6O. During the call, 6O tells 2B that she would look even more beautiful with a Lunar Tear flower, which 9S comically agrees with. 2B tells him not to overly scrutinize their mission.
At that point, they see Pascal chasing a machine lifeform who is going after her younger sister, who had gone to the forest kingdom for parts but hasn’t returned since. Pascal and the older sister manage to convince the YoRha duo to go and find the younger sister, despite 9S’s reluctance.
Pascal changes bodies and flies them to their destination. En route, the three of them discuss how much they have to change parts before they stop being themselves (a real-life thought experiment called the Ship of Theseus). 9S is doubtful as to how many values a machine lifeform can actually possess and is chided by 2B. Moreover, his mistrust of Pascal is shown, so he treats him rudely.
As they reach the forest kingdom, Pascal muses that if it is one’s heart that keeps them themselves, 9S gains doubts. Pascal notes how strange it is that they haven’t seen any forest kingdom soldiers, and he finds the younger sister’s ribbon. They further find a downed machine lifeform and deduce that its killer is quite powerful.
Inside the castle of the forest kingdom, they find more slaughtered soldiers, which disturbs Pascal as they are known for their strength. Suddenly, a nearly dead soldier appears and says that the android has returned to 2B, prompting 9S to enquire from his pod if any other YoRha soldiers are in the vicinity, which they aren’t. 9S wonders who it was that carried out this carnage.
The three proceed into a courtyard, where they find the corpse of the previous king, and through a recording device, they witness the formation of the forest kingdom two hundred and fifty-six years ago. The king describes a kingdom as a large home where everyone lives together as a family, which the other machine lifeforms are ecstatic to hear.
When 9S questions why such a record was preserved, Pascal explains it was to reminisce and remember their origins. It is history rather than a record, as history contains emotions. He then shows them another record from a hundred and twenty-eight years ago, where the king has just died, and the other machine lifeforms decide to raise an infant machine with the king’s memory so that he can be their new king in time. They vow to protect him.
The recording then shifts to four hours ago during a celebration which is interrupted by news that there is an intruder in the kingdom. 9S claims that Pascal might have laid a trap for them and that they shouldn’t go further ahead, but 2B disagrees and resumes the search for the little sister.
Nier: Automata Ver1.1a (Season 1), Episode 7 Ending, Explained:
At that point, their bridge suddenly collapses, and to his surprise, Pascal saves 9S from falling. This causes 9S’s harsh attitude to soften, but he says in embarrassment that he still doesn’t trust Pascal. He instructs his pod to find the little sister via her signal, which it does soon after.
The little sister reveals that she was hidden with a forest kingdom soldier and that they have decided to get married, which confuses 9S. They then beg the androids to save their king as the intruder kills everyone. 9S is again reluctant, but 2B agrees despite his protests.
They reach the king just in time to see him killed by A2, who their pods reveal is a wanted deserter who has killed several androids in pursuit of her. A2 is surprised that YoRha is protecting a machine lifeform as they block an attack meant for Pascal. She fights 2B and 9S briefly and then manages to escape, but not before revealing that Command was the one that betrayed her and not the other way around.