Following the events of Deckard's abduction in Blade Runner 2049, K meets the revolution, then is sent home. However, he is seen walking somewhat forlornly, apparently lost in thought, making his decision.

Then the Joi advertisement reacts to him, calling him "lonely" and "a good Joe". He then flashes back, and pulls out Deckard's gun, apparently having had made his decision.

I'm slightly confused as to what it was about this interaction that caused him to trigger. The memories talk about dying for a cause, and freeing themselves from slavery, and the advertisement, to me, seems like the opposite of that - dehumanising his companion by simply making her a product.

What was it about this interaction with the Joi ad that triggered K into action?

  • Good question. I have some particular thoughts about it (most of which are covered in the first answer below). +1 for getting past my own initial reaction to Joi in the movie and coming up with something more substantive than - "I really need a holographic girlfriend." Sep 4, 2019 at 19:33

3 Answers 3


Because he knows he's an android and Joi calling him Joe showed him that "not humans" are unable to make their own decisions. Proving to him that they are not able to be free as everything, even things they think are their own creativity, are pre-programed.
That they are able to make as much own decisions as they are allowed to. It's not only dehumanising Joi but also K as "slaves" are not allowed to chose beyond what they masters allow them.
For a brief moment K thinks that the only escape to be free is death.

  • 1
    So you're saying that by using Jois "pet name" for him, is the trigger? It wasn't his pet name, it was just a variable in Jois code, and his realization of this was the trigger to realise that he too, is (meant) to be just following his "programming", and therefore rebel against it?
    – Ben
    Sep 5, 2019 at 2:20
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    @Ben Yes, You could search into Schopenhauer philosophy of suicide being surrender to misery and living life as a resistance symbol Sep 5, 2019 at 7:11

Following up to SZCERZO KLY's answer, there is also a personal reason. (As personal as a cybernetic organism)

As I recall, this was after "his" Joi was eliminated (the metaphor is thick there), so to have this mass market advertisement address him so familiarly irritates his recently open wound and further motivates him to take action to help liberate his oppressed companions.

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    I took it to mean the exact opposite: by using "his" Joi's pet names and other mannerisms, the Joi advertisement just reminded him that all three of them are just manufactured products, and he was rebelling against that truth. Sep 4, 2019 at 20:31

When his Joi told him he needed a name, and picked "Joe," when she'd greet him with "what a day," Kay came to believe it was a special, personal relationship, bonded possibly with love between the two.

When he sees the programmed, repetitive advertisement hologram using those same phrases that he thought were intimately personal between the two of them, it's a psychic slap to his face. He questions whether what he saw and felt was real, programmed, what he wanted to believe, etc. He questions his greater personal worth, as an individual, given his belief that something born has a soul, but those manufactured do not.

I think his look of grim determination might be based on his viewing his own self as much more unimportant and expendable for a greater cause than previously.

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