'Better Than Us' Season 1 Ending On Netflix: Arisa Deserved Better

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Few endings have gotten me as impassioned as the one Arisa gets on the Season 1 finale of “Better Than Us” (“Luchshe, chem lyudi”) on Netflix. The show gets off to an extraordinary start. The first few episodes center on a robot named Arisa, and the little girl she decides to let be her user. Those installments are super sweet, lighthearted, and heartwarming.

For its first three episodes, “Better Than Us” plays with a strong nostalgic sentimentality. Arisa bonds with Sonya as the latter keeps her new robot friend a secret from her dad. This is where the first sign of trouble starts. Sonya's self-involved dad, Georgy, does not care about bots, and he does not care that his daughter does.

In an act of true heroism, Arisa risks her life to save Sonya. Georgy begrudgingly budges, agreeing to let Arisa stay with them. Then things take another turn.

For whatever reason, the first season on Netflix abruptly descends into a show focused on Sonya's grating older brother, Yegor. His “Endless Love” style obsession with the sister of a terrorist becomes the centerpiece of the series as Arisa and Sonya are pushed to the background. It all leads to a disturbing finale.

Spoilers for the Season 1 ending of “Better Than Us” (“Luchshe, chem lyudi”) are discussed below.

Arisa sacrifices herself to save people after Yegor, and his girlfriend, drive a bomb into a factory hanger. Arisa's moving memories of happier times play out as the blast appears to destroy her. “Better Than Us” then flashes forward three months to show everyone having moved on with their lives.

Sadly, Sonya is not given a scene where she reacts to Arisa's death. She gives an ode to her beloved robot friend by gifting the daughter of her dad's new girlfriend, a doll that looks just like Arisa.

Sonya's obnoxious father has forgotten about Arisa, but his daughter has not. In the end, Georgy receives a transmission from Arisa: "help me." Georgy has only ever helped himself or his son. So, I hope Arisa is not holding onto any false hope.

He probably just pushed her notification into spam and moved on. Remember, Arisa is "just a robot" (his words) who sacrificed herself and saved his girlfriend's life. In his diluted and arrogant mind, she is not worthy of him trying to help her.

Let's Discuss Arisa

The thing is that Arisa deserves so much better from everyone in the show. Except for Sonya, they all treat her horribly. They are not worthy of Arisa, her skills, talent et cetera. She is too magnificent for them to be able to understand or appreciate. Arisa is better than them.

For the most part, the cast of characters in “Better Than Us” take a stand against the show's lovable bot protagonist. A very “Absentia” Season 1/ Emily Byrne-type situation.

The series implores viewers to consider that robots feel hurt by things, and yet, despicable characters who torment, degrade, and destroy robots continually succeed. Yegor, his girlfriend, and her brother are terrorists -- not morally confused centers.

When you can harm a creation that looks, feels, and responds with humanity, you have destroyed something human. It is simply not right. It is criminal.

I would have preferred “Better Than Us” concluded its first season with Zhanna and Yegor in prison with Bars. They are terrorists, and that is where they belong.

In a sign of how disturbed he is, Yegor continually defends Bars even after he hurts Yegor's own family. Yegor goes so far as to try to get the guy out of prison and chants Bars' disgusting anti-robot motto in the finale. Enough!

Yegor and his gang clearly learn nothing from what he experiences. Arisa and robots are not one of the world's problems. The Liquidators and their thinking is!

Yegor Is The Worst

No matter how much good he, Bars, and Georgy see Arisa do, they continue to hate her. It is irrational. They claim they are scared of being replaced by her and other robots. The more accurate assessment is that they fear being bested by her and them. Too late.

Yegor and Bars' gang contribute nothing positive to society throughout 16 episodes. Arisa saves life constantly. She kills the person at the start of the show in self-defense. He was assaulting her, she told him to stop, he did not, and she defended herself. Arisa had the right to refuse his advances, and it ended up requiring lethal force to stop him.

As a viewer, it is upsetting that the circumstances never seem to clear her name with other characters. What she did was justified in self-defense. Arisa did not need to sacrifice herself to atone for killing a would-be robot rapist.

Yegor commits terrorism and gets a pat on the back from his parents and grandpa. Meanwhile, Arisa kills a guy in defense of her person, and she is treated like a ruthless murderer by the same people. Not cool.

Season 2?

According to ShowSpy.ru, there is going to be another season of the series. A third installment reportedly set for release in 2020. Netflix released the first two seasons together as Season 1. It is actually the third season for the C1R drama. My next season wish list for “Better Than Us” is this:

1) The show will focus its attention onto Arisa and restoring her dynamic with Sonya.

2) “Better Than Us” will free Arisa of the awful Georgy and any feelings she has for him. He is not worthy of them.

3) Yegor will go to prison along with Zhanna and Bars, and he will be recognized and treated like the terrorist he is.

4) Georgy will either apologize and correct his behavior or just drop out of sight.

5) Sonya will finally be made her parents' top priority instead of an afterthought.

In closing, I am not sure any of this is possible. The characters' bias is deeply ingrained, and they showed no signs of becoming any more enlightened by the end of Season 1.

Arisa is better than Georgy and everyone else with the exception Sonya. Them refusing to accept Arisa does not make her any less valuable. They should all take a cue from Sonya, who represents humanity's best ambassador in “Better Than Us.”

Sonya embraces Arisa with an open mind and heart. She has no reason not too, and so she does. At the same time, Arisa cares about Sonya in a superior way to the little girl's family.

Arisa, Sonya, and Selflessness

Like Arisa, Sonya is designed to want everyone around her to be happy even if it is at her own expense. Sonya lets her guard down with Arisa and expresses the pain she has had to pretend does not exist from her parents' divorce and ongoing disputes.

In an incredibly moving scene, Sonya breaks down, and Arisa works to cheer her up. Arisa cares that Sonya is unhappy when no one else ever is and tries to help her.

In the world of “Better Than Us,” Arisa and Sonya are the only ones who care about other people. Make no mistake. When someone justifies hurting others for a person, they hold dear, that is just as selfish (i.e., Yegor).

Yegor helped Zhanna because she makes him and only him, happy. She is an extension of him. In Season 1, Yegor is willing to flush his family, and anything, or anyone else, that gets in the way of his buzz. That is love for one's self.

Georgy, his ex-wife, and his father (Yegor's grandfather) enable his awful behavior throughout the first season. He is a brat, not a romantic hero. Yet, his parents continue spending time, and resources on a son who has made it clear, they are not even a priority. Meanwhile, Sonya takes a second-class seat in the family's hierarchy.

Zhanna is a camouflage that acts to obfuscate that Yegor's motives are purely for his pleasure, which only Zhanna can provide. Like an addict, he betrays anyone and everyone who is in the path of his fix.

In Closing

Arisa should have disabled Yegor and Georgy's user abilities. She found the only person worthy of her talents in Sonya. That Arisa's closing memories primarily focus on Sonya, indicate that she may know that too. If there is another season, I hope Arisa can get repaired and make her way to Australia. Or Sonya will return to Russia.

Speaking of which, why does Georgy decide to give up on reuniting his family? By the end of “Better Than Us” Season 1, he does not even try to keep Sonya from moving to another part of the world.

Does he let Sonya go because he gets to keep Yegor, who only wants to stay in Moscow to be with his girlfriend? Georgy is the worst, an enabler and perpetrator of horrible behavior.

“Better Than Us” Season 1 did its job in eliciting a passionate response from this viewer. Brilliantly played by Paulina Andreeva (“Locust”), Arisa is one of the best new characters of 2019. In such a currently rich television landscape that is saying something.

Getting viewers to feel something is half of any show's battle. Given how emotionally profound Arisa's montage was to watch, I think “Better Than Us” achieved that better than most.

Season 1 of “Better Than Us” (“Luchshe, chem lyudi”) is currently streaming on Netflix, along with a lot of other content.

[Featured Image by Channel One (C1R)]


  1. An excellent review. I too found Sonya's brother selfish. The fact that he got away with his actions is very irritating. I knew he would however since teenagers in love can do anything in American shows, so why not Russian shows?

    I also agree that none of the humans are anything but selfish, stupid, and shallow except the little girl.


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