A robot that lives on a post-apocalyptic earth which was built to protect the life of his dying creator’s beloved dog, it learns about love, friendship, and the meaning of human life.
Initial release: November 5, 2021
Ten years have passed since a solar flare destroyed the ozone layer, turning the planet Earth into a largely-uninhabitable wasteland ravaged by extreme weather events while being scorched by the sun’s ultraviolet rays, increasing temperatures to 150 degrees Fahrenheit (70 degrees Celsius). One of the few survivors, robotics engineer Finch Weinberg, lives alone with his dog Goodyear and a helper-robot Dewey in an underground St. Louis laboratory once owned by the company he worked for before the cataclysm. Finch only ventures outside to search for supplies wearing a protective suit.
Dying of an undisclosed ailment (though Finch is seen reading a book on radiation poisoning), Finch is working on creating a more advanced humanoid robot companion to take care of his dog once he is gone. Finch feeds it volumes of encyclopedic knowledge, including a manual for training and caring for dogs. However, Goodyear initially doesn’t trust the robot (which eventually chooses the name Jeff.)
Finch observes that a massive storm approaching St. Louis would certainly destroy the area and kill him. Finch, Jeff, Dewey, and Goodyear set out in a heavily modified motorhome towards San Francisco. Because of the hasty departure, Jeff could download only 72% of his encyclopedic data, and his mental capacity requires training. Despite his condition worsening, Finch tries to teach Jeff some valuable lessons about life and how to protect Goodyear. Jeff’s inquisitive behavior both amuses and frustrates Finch, but the robot slowly shows more initiative.
By the time they reach Denver, Finch becomes bedridden and Jeff decides to loot an abandoned hospital with Dewey. Dewey unwittingly gets crushed by a beartrap and Finch retrieves Jeff to escape the city, realizing that the area is a trap set up by other humans. Later in the evening, the motorhome is pursued by an unknown car. Finch makes a panicked error in judgment and crashes their vehicle through an underpass too short to cross, but Jeff is strong enough to squeeze it out of sight. Finch begins to give up hope that he will survive the journey, and tells a story (in a flashback) about how he rescued Goodyear.
Approaching their destination, the UV radiation has dropped low enough for Finch to be able to step out into the sunshine without a protective suit. Ecstatic, Finch spends an afternoon outside with Jeff, teaching him how to play fetch with Goodyear before quietly dying. Jeff and Goodyear make their way to San Francisco, finding the city habitable but deserted, and set out to find any surviving humans.