Love, Death + Robots: Jibaro Explained
Love, Death + Robots is finally back with the third season, and many fans argue that this one is the best season to date. And, as always, almost every episode has a deeper meaning, either metaphorical or literal. One of the episodes that confused many viewers is the final episode of the season, Jibaro. So, what actually happens in Jibaro, and what’s the meaning behind it?
Jibaro is a reimagined tale of a Siren who gets infatuated by a deaf soldier who is unaffected by her deathly voice. However, he uses her for what he needs and then discards her. Jibaro is actually an allegory for greed and toxic relationships.
You see, both of them were attracted to one another for all the wrong reasons. The soldier only wanted the Siren’s jewels, whereas she was intrigued only because her voice couldn’t kill him. In the end, they both end up losing, as such relationships usually end. Keep reading to hear the entire breakdown of Jibaro and its meaning.
What Does Jibaro Mean?
In Puerto Rico, jibaro is a word used to describe a rural worker, a small farmer, or a manual laborer in the mountainous regions of the country. However, in Love, Death + Robots, it was only a term used to set up the plot. It revolves around a rural area of Puerto Rico, near a river and a lake, and the main character – the deaf soldier – is called Jibaro.
One might speculate that it might be a metaphorical way for the Oscar-winning writer/director Alberto Mielgo to paint a picture about a soldier whose purpose is to do his job, but greed drives him to do things that shouldn’t be his business.
It was never confirmed, though, but it would somewhat make sense. What we do know is that the term Jibaro is essentially a connection to Puerto Rico.
Love, Death, And Robots: Jibaro Plot Summary
The entire episode has no dialogue but is presented through sound, choreography, and breathtaking visuals. It starts in Puerto Rican wilderness when a group of soldiers – most likely colonialists – stop to rest and replenish at a nearby lake. One of them, Jibaro – the main protagonist of the episode – is deaf and finds a jewel in the shallows.
Soon, other soldiers realize there are treasures in the water, and, judging by their gold-ornamented horses, pillaging isn’t foreign to them at all. However, it quickly backfires when a Siren emerges from the lake. She is embroiled completely in gold and jewels to awaken the greed among the men.
She starts to sing and dance, and her voice sends the soldiers into a frenzy. Most of them kill each other, while the others keep walking towards the Siren in a trance, and their heavy armors pull them to the bottom of the lake, drowning them in the process. The deaf knight remains clueless and unaffected since he can’t hear the Siren, and he runs away.
The Siren is intrigued and infatuated with the deaf soldier, as it was clearly the first time she’d met a deaf person that’s unaffected by her song. So, she tracks the soldier up the river, and when he falls asleep, the Siren lays down with him instead of killing him like the rest of the army.
When the soldier wakes up, he is frightened by the Siren, and she runs back into the river, walking on water atop a nasty waterfall. The deaf knight sees that she is covered in gold and jewels, so he, captivated by the riches, starts following her into the river.
The Siren approaches him, and they, enamored by one another, share a passionate kiss. However, her razor-sharp teeth and mouth hurt the soldier severely, and at this point, he shows his true intentions. He only wants her jewels, so he knocks the Siren out and starts ripping the gold and jewels from her body.
It severely hurts the Siren, as the treasures are a part of her, like her skin. The deaf soldier throws her body into the river, down the waterfall, and escapes with his colossal loot. However, as the Siren bleeds into the river, it takes her back to the lake, while her magical blood turns the water into a glowing shade of red.
The soldier carries the huge load of treasures and gets exhausted, so he stops by the water to wash his face and drink. It was a dire mistake for him, as the reddish water now had magical properties from the Siren’s blood, healing the deaf soldier and allowing him to hear.
The Siren survived, bloody and naked, and she can’t dance anymore. However, the soldier can now hear her agonizing screams, which lure him into the lake, just like the rest of his army, and he drowns due to the heavy armor he’s wearing.
Love, Death + Robots: Jibaro Explained
Jibaro is a reimagined story about Sirens and their deathly voices that lured men into the water, drowning. However, it’s much deeper than that. It is actually a symbolic representation of greed and lust, but first and foremost, a depiction of toxic relationships between partners.
None of the characters are actually the good guy in this story. At first, you feel as if the Siren is the evil entity of the story. However, later, you feel some sort of empathy towards her, seeing how the deaf soldier used her and nearly killed her for his own selfish reasons. In the end, both of them entered that “toxic relationship” for all the wrong reasons.
The Siren wanted to kill the deaf soldier, just like the rest of the army. However, the only reason why she was ever interested in him after that is because her voice didn’t work against him. She became infatuated and obsessed with the one guy she couldn’t get.
On the other hand, the soldier could’ve easily walked away when the Siren tried to lure him into the river. However, he chose to enter that relationship for his own selfish reasons – all he wanted was the Siren’s treasures, so he tricked her into a kiss, only to knock her out and take everything from her, almost killing the Siren in the process.
In the end, neither of them are the heroes of the story, and neither gets a happy ending. The soldier’s actions come right around to bite him as he regains his hearing due to the blood he spilled into the water, which eventually leads to his demise.
On the other hand, the Siren is left with nothing – hurt, broken, unable to dance anymore, barely clinging onto life. Mielgo did a fantastic job portraying a toxic relationship in which none of the parties gain anything but get hurt, broken, and devastated for their selfish reasons.
As the director himself explained, the story is the clearest representation of many modern-day toxic relationships: “We use, and we choose people for a completely wrong reason. And they choose us for a completely wrong reason as well. And we end up all suffering.”