Title card from a January 2018 teaser video
|Created by||Gray Haddock|
|Written by||Gray Haddock|
|Directed by||Gray Haddock|
|Opening theme||"Belgrade" performed by Battle Tapes|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||8 (list of episodes)|
Warner Bros. Television Distribution
|Original network||Rooster Teeth (Season 1)|
HBO Max (Season 2)
Adult Swim (TV; Season 1)
|Original release||January 26, 2019 –|
Gen:Lock (stylized as gen:LOCK) is an animated web series created by Gray Haddock and produced by Rooster Teeth. It is set in a dystopian future Earth where an international coalition known as The Polity fights a hostile, autocratic invading force known as The Union. The show follows the gen:LOCK program and its members, who participate in the development and testing of an experimental technology which allows for individuals with unique mental make ups to have their minds uploaded to giant suits of mecha armor.
The concept for Gen:Lock originated in 2017 as a cautionary tale about cultural warfare. It was announced with a brief teaser at RTX Austin 2018. A trailer was shown at New York ComicCon 2018, where it was described as, "grounded science-fiction" in the tradition of mecha anime such as Gundam and Tom Clancy novels but with a look and feel reminiscent of RWBY.
In May 2018, it was announced that Michael B. Jordan would voice lead character Julian Chase, the news of which accelerated the signings of other voice talents. Gen:Lock is RoosterTeeth Animation's first series that allowed members that are part of the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) like Jordan, Dakota Fanning, and David Tennant joining in. Jordan's production company, Outlier Society Productions, co-produces the show. In July 2018, Austin-based writer Evan Narcisse joined the writing staff of Gen:Lock.
For the first four months, the team animated the show without the actors’ voices recorded. Haddock performed every voice for the first few episodes himself, hoping his direction would match later.
Gen:Lock premiered January 26, 2019 on Rooster Teeth's FIRST platform.
Adult Swim ran the first eight episodes of Gen:Lock from August 3, 2019 to September 21, 2019 on their Toonami programming block, albeit edited down to approximately 23 minutes to fit into a standard time slot. During the period, Gen:Lock was either the second most viewed Adult Swim show after Dragon Ball Super, or third after Dr. Stone. Its best performance was Episode 6, which ranked at ninth among all shows on September 7.
At New York Comic Con 2018, Rooster Teeth announced a partnership with DC Comics to publish RWBY and Gen:Lock comics starting in 2019. The Gen:Lock comic is written by Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing, while drawn by Carlo Barbieri.
On October 24, 2019, it was announced that the show had been renewed for a second season set to be released on HBO Max for its first 90 days before it is released on Rooster Teeth for FIRST members.
Cast and characters
The lead cast comes from intentionally inclusive backgrounds, the goal being to normalize diversity.
- Michael B. Jordan as Julian Chase, a Vanguard pilot and "All-American guy" from Brooklyn. After losing much of his body in the Battle of New York at the start of the war, Julian is recruited into the Gen:Lock program and becomes the first successful Holon pilot. Because his physical body is confined to a preservation tank, he mostly interacts with others through holographic projections or his Holon. As the most experienced pilot, Julian helps Weller form the rest of the team and assumes a leadership role. Julian pilots a Holon with teal markings which is later equipped with thrusters, wings, and propellers mounted on its back, allowing for long-range flight. It is later upgraded with a sleeker and more aerodynamic design. In addition to a rifle for offense, it can launch two large rockets attached to the wings, and missile batteries in both of its forearms. Julian's call sign is "Chaser".
- Jordan also voices Nemesis, a mecha controlled by the original mind of Julian Chase that was captured by the Union and was subjected to extreme mental torment due to far exceeding his Uptime and is bent on killing what he sees as his copy. His Holon has four arms with clawed fingertips and is later upgraded with heavier armor, making him appear much bulkier, and is able to control Union Nano-tech for offense, defense, and limited self repair. He also has spider-like legs attached to his back including 4 mechanical tentacles and three thrusters giving him flight capability.
- Dakota Fanning as Miranda Worth, a Strider pilot and Chase's girlfriend prior to the war, conflicted by his return after he was presumed dead for four years. Originally light hearted and cheerful, she becomes battle hardened, battle-weary and scarred in the years after losing Chase. Her callsign is "Tempest."
- Maisie Williams as Cameron 'Cammie' MacCloud, a Scottish hacker and the youngest Gen:Lock recruit at 17 years old. Cameron uses a Holon with green markings with a set of flaps on her head that resemble rabbit ears and equipped with two drones that provide near perfect 360 degree awareness of her surroundings and aim assistance. It is equipped with two handguns, and can automatically dispense and position two handgun magazines to its back for quick reloading. Cammie later upgrades her Holon to look like a rabbit with hind-legs and rabbit-like ears that function like satellite dishes, allowing for long-range sensory capabilities. It is the shortest in comparison to the other Holons, but is shown to be the most agile. Cammie's Holon can deploy five drones that are equipped with an antenna system and machine gun turrets. Smaller drones that allow for remote hacking can be deployed. It is equipped with a new set of dual pistols and disk-shaped remote explosive devices. Williams drew comparisons between Cammie and her Game of Thrones character Arya Stark, noting Cammie's naivety is comparable to Arya's at the start of Thrones: she jokingly remarked that Cammie would win in a fight between the two. Cammie's callsign is "Trixx".
- Kōichi Yamadera as Kazu Iida, a transfer from the Japanese military, where he was demoted from the rank of Sergeant to kitchen duty on grounds of insubordination. Kazu uses a Holon with red markings, equipped with dual katana-like swords, and benefits from additional armor in comparison to the other Holons. It is later outfitted with the most armor and is visibly the bulkiest in comparison to the other Holons. The shoulder armor is capable of unfolding to offer more protection to the upper body. Its dual swords have been replaced with a single hooked greatsword with a telescopic handle and blade for ease of storage, along with a compact shotgun to better complement his close quarter fighting style. Cammie based Kazu's upgraded Holon on a fictional manga he read as a child called RoboShogun. Kazu exclusively speaks Japanese throughout the series, however AR contact lenses with automatic translation, and similar translation software in the Holons allow the team to communicate without issue. Kazu's callsign is "Shogun".
- Golshifteh Farahani as Yasamin Madrani, an Iranian fighter pilot who defected from the Union after accidentally outing her parents as intellectuals, resulting in them being taken by the government. Wary of her intentions, The Polity held her in the Mesa Detention Center until Weller requested she be released to join the Gen:Lock program after Julian, but before the rest of the team. Yasamin pilots a Holon with yellow markings equipped with wrist-mounted beam weapons and two submachine guns, later upgraded to a sleeker design with thrusters and a pair of collapsible wings, allowing the short-range flight capability. It is equipped with a pair of new submachine guns and beam weapons that can be fired from the her eyes and wrists. Yasamin's callsign is "Huma".
- Asia Kate Dillon as Val/entina Romanyszyn, a former Russian covert agent disillusioned by years of fighting a losing war against the Union in Eastern Europe. Initially intent on abandoning the war to live a life of leisure, they are convinced to join Gen:Lock to continue helping people. Val/entina is genderfluid, going by the name "Val" when male-presenting and "Valentina" when female-presenting. Val/entina uses a Holon with purple markings and an energy-based sniper rifle for combat. Their Holon is later upgraded with a lighter armor than the others, possessing a retractable cloak that allows for virtual invisibility, and a wrist-mounted grappling hook strong enough to support the Holon's weight. It is equipped with a new sniper rifle and a single-edged short sword for close quarter combat. Val/entina's callsign is "Wraith". Actress Tatiana Maslany was approached for the role due to her experience playing a trans character on Orphan Black, but turned the role down and insisted the producers cast an actual gender non-conforming actor in the role, which led the team to Dillon.
- David Tennant as Dr. Rufus Weller, a scientist from the Polity's Experimental Science Unit and creator of the gen:LOCK program.
- Tennant also voices Caliban, Weller's personal AI assistant, whose mind is an early copy of the Doctor's.
- Monica Rial as Col. Raquel Marin, the leader of the Vanguard (the Polity's military).
- Blaine Gibson as Robert Sinclair, a Vanguard Specialist selected by Weller for the gen:Lock program. Sinclair was presumed dead after a Union imposter (also voiced by Gibson) attempted to steal a Holon using his identity, but a post-credits scene in Season 1 reveals he survived his attempted abduction and is trying to escape Union territory.
- Gray Haddock as Lieutenant Leon August, the leader of Miranda's strider unit. Though gen:Lock compatible, he is too old to safely upload to a Holon without causing brain damage, and thus settles for training the rest of the team.
- Miles Luna as Miguel 'Migas' Garza, a mecha mechanic and one of Chase's closest friends who bonds with the gen:LOCK team.
- Chad James as Jodie Brennan, a strider pilot who has an unspecified relationship with Miranda after Chase's supposed death.
- Lindsay Jones as Simone 'Razzle' Rasmussen, a fighter pilot and Julian's former squadmate in the 'Silver Falcons' unit.
- Shari Belafonte as Roberta Chase, Julian's mother.
- G.K. Bowes as Driana Chase, Julian's sister and aspiring pop idol.
- Lara Toner Haddock as Patricia Bartlet-Young, President of the Polity.
- Lawrence Sonntag as ABLE, the Anvil's AI unit and Colonel Raquel Marin's assistant.
- SungWon Cho as Heng Li "Henry" Wu, a scientist who is kidnapped by the Union and then rescued by the gen:LOCK team. He works for RTASA, which becomes gen:LOCK's new base of operations.
- Anisha Nagarajan as Dr. Fatima Jha, a scientist working at RTASA and Dr. Weller's ex-wife.
- Matt Hullum as Marc Holcroft, the principal investor in the ESU and RTASA, and one of the early collaborators on the gen:LOCK project.
Initially advertised for release in 2018, the show's final release date of January 26, 2019 was announced at New York Comic-Con. Following a mysterious tweet from Rooster Teeth's Twitter account on December 21, the first episode of the series was broadcast in a surprise screening on the company's live streaming service the next day. On January 9, it was revealed that the first two episodes would premiere on the 26th, and that only the first episode would be available for free and all subsequent episodes would be exclusive to Rooster Teeth FIRST members. The remaining six episodes released on a weekly basis.
Prior to release, Rooster Teeth released four "Character Reveal Teasers." These teasers, set during episode one's four-year time-skip, were framed from the perspective of Dr. Rufus Weller (David Tennant) and his continued phone conversations with Colonel Raquel Marin (Monica Rial), discussing the new recruits for the gen:LOCK program.
|No.||Title||Length||Original air date|
|P1||"Character Reveal Teaser 1"||1:40||January 20, 2018(final version reuploaded November 23, 2018)|
Dr. Weller runs an experimental field trial operation using test subject Julian Chase. Colonel Marin expresses her concerns about the project and is discouraged to learn that Dr. Weller only found six matches. Dr. Weller reassures her that they are just getting started.|
Note: This teaser was originally released after the credits of the Volume 5 finale of RWBY, prior to the casting of David Tennant so voice actor Ian Russell played the role of Dr. Weller in the first release of the teaser. The piece was redone with David Tennant's voice after he was cast for the role.
|P2||"Character Reveal Teaser 2"||1:55||August 9, 2018|
|While observing another field test, Dr. Weller receives another call from Colonel Marin demanding to know why she has a transfer request from the Mesa Detainment Center. She reports that the Vanguard is strictly running defense against the Union and that they are only slowing them down. Dr. Weller announces he's found another pilot for the program: Yasamin Madrani, an incarcerated Iranian combat pilot with significant military training. Dr. Weller requests that she be released into his custody from the Mesa, prompting Marin to hang up on him.|
|P3||"Character Reveal Teaser 3"||2:02||September 15, 2018|
|Colonel Marin admits she is impressed by Yasamin's work with Chase. Dr. Weller expresses misgivings about the new armor sets for the program but is ignored. He then reveals the next two recruits: Cammie MacCloud, a talented Scottish hacker, and Kazu Iida, a former tank driver who was demoted to cook for insubordination. Colonel Marin angrily refuses to approve Dr. Weller's transfer requests, despite his protests that they are "one in a million." Marin reminds him that they would not have to rely on such subpar candidates if they could improve "gen:LOCK compatibility" and orders Dr. Weller to keep looking.|
|P4||"Character Reveal Teaser 4"||2:36||November 26, 2018|
|Colonel Marin contacts Dr. Weller to report that the Union is trying to bring down the whole comms network to find him, and that they need to evacuate him and his work to a safe location. Instead, Dr. Weller reports two more candidates: Ukrainian special ops soldier Valentina Romanyszyn and Vanguard ranger Robert Sinclair. Despite the fact that the integrity of the network is close to being compromised, Dr. Weller refuses to evacuate until Colonel Marin approves the rest of the recruits for transfer. Marin reluctantly complies and orders him to meet her at the Anvil, along with the new recruits. Just as she hangs up, Weller receives a notification that the call was intercepted.|
Season 1 (2019)
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|Title||Written by||Length||Original air date|
|1||1||"The Pilot"||Gray G. Haddock||32:07||January 26, 2019(premiered December 22, 2018)|
|In 2068, Vanguard pilot Julian Chase holographically visits his family in New York to introduce them to his girlfriend and fellow soldier Miranda Worth. Shortly afterwards the Union begins its attack on New York, and Chase and Miranda are dispatched from the Anvil with the rest of the Vanguard forces. Despite their efforts, New York is lost to the Union, and Chase is seemingly killed in a crash after defeating the Union's nanotech swarm in an attempt to buy the evacuees more time. Four years later, a battle-hardened and still grieving Miranda is ordered by Colonel Raquel Marin to meet Dr. Rufus Weller and Yasamin Madrani from the Polity's Experimental Science Unit, who are moving their headquarters into the Anvil. Miranda, along with Chase's former squadmates Unit Leader Leon August and tank pilot Jodie Brennan, are dispatched to pick up some people on the underground railroad but face a Union ambush. Just when Miranda is about to give up hope, she hears Chase's voice over the radio and witnesses two humanoid mechs enter the battle and single-handedly drive back the Union forces. At the debriefing session, the suspicious pilots demand to know who the mechs were. Marin explains the ambush muddled their plans on how to reveal the truth of the Experimental Science Unit, and an apparently still-alive Chase proceeds to materialize in front of the crowd.|
|2||2||"There's Always Tomorrow"||Gray G. Haddock||26:16||January 26, 2019|
|Chase, Dr. Weller, and Colonel Marin explain the situation to the shocked soldiers: at the ESU Dr. Weller was in charge of an R&D program developing new mech technology called "Holons," controlled by a human mind digitized into a computer interface. The system requires very specific candidates in order to achieve what is referred to as "gen:LOCK," and Chase was the first of those candidates identified for the Phase 1 stage, with Madrani being the second. Chase was recovered alive by the ESU and can control his mechs remotely as though they are his own body, and can interact with others via an augmented reality projection he can materialize anywhere nearby. Miguel 'Migas' Garza, one of Chase's friends, visits him in his Holon tank, learning the full extent of Chase's injuries: he lost all of his limbs save for his left arm, and has to be constantly connected to a life support system. He cannot have his limbs regenerated due to the Union's nanotechnology that attacked him, which ironically also kept him alive: until they can develop the technology to remove them, he has to stay confined to the tank. The next day, the other four gen:LOCK candidates arrive: Cammie MacCloud, Kazu Iida, Valentina Romanyszyn, and Robert Sinclair. Chase attempts to talk to Miranda, who angrily rebuffs him for keeping her in the dark for the past four years. Before the recruits can use the holons, Sinclair is revealed to be a Union imposter who replaced the real Sinclair. He kills the guards sent to contain him and takes Dr. Weller hostage. He demands that Weller upload him into one of the mechs or he will release the nano-tech on the base. Dr. Weller complies, but because the imposter Sinclair is not gen:LOCK compatible he is immediately killed while trying to use the Holon unit.|
|3||3||"Second Birthday"||Gray G. Haddock||25:05||February 2, 2019|
|The recruits are reluctant to continue participating in the gen:LOCK program after witnessing what happened to the imposter Sinclair, further insisting that they were misled as to what the program was for: Valentina, in particular, had retired from active combat and was told the program was a science experiment. Dr. Weller meets with Colonel Marin, who is less than pleased that a Union spy was able to sneak into the base and warns that based on current estimates the Union will reach the West Coast in 6 months. Dr. Weller asks the recruits to start over, requesting that they at least try the Holon units once. With some difficulty, the recruits are uploaded into their Holon units for the first time and sent to a training ground where the tank pilots - Leon, Jodie, and Miranda - will serve as their instructors. Chase witnesses Miranda and Jodie discussing an apparent relationship and whether or not they should tell Chase, but he does not say anything about it. The tank pilots challenge the recruits to a game of capture-the-flag, where they have to grab a flag without being shot by the line of tanks. None of the recruits fare very well, but Chase shows off the full capabilities of the Holon units by winning easily. A fleet of carrier vehicles carrying injured refugees from the front lines arrives right by where the recruits are training, much to their horror and Dr. Weller's secret strategy. Dr. Weller explains that he created gen:LOCK as a potential solution to the culture war, hopefully bridging divisions between sides and helping them come to an understanding, but the military weaponized it. He tells the recruits that even so, perhaps the six of them can usher in a new way of fighting the war if they all work together to support the military's efforts, be it in battle or through rescue missions. The recruits all agree to continue with the program.|
|4||4||"Training Daze"||Gray G. Haddock & Kerry Shawcross||24:19||February 9, 2019|
|Training for the gen:LOCK program continues, and though the recruits show progress, they have a difficult time forming a bond as a team. Chase talks to Miranda again, who warns that the group could have trouble on the field if they do not improve their communication. Chase apologizes for not reaching out to her, explaining he knew with his situation that there was a chance he would die on her again before they could be reunited, and understands that she moved on through her relationship with Jodie. Miranda hesitantly raises the possibility of them starting over. Migas lets Cammie know she can overhaul the endoskeleton of the Holon units for a better center of gravity and hints that he's working on some other design modifications. Exhausted from training, the group takes a break in the Ether, a virtual reality hub for recreation. Before they can do anything, however, the Ether starts to glitch. Unbeknownst to Chase, his sister Driana (who he assumed was lost in New York) is also in the Ether, and she spots him just before it shuts down. The Holons are dispatched to Dallas's Data Center for the Ether, which the Union is trying to take down. They manage to defeat several of the Union's tanks, and the grunts are able to secure the data center, but the group is confronted by a giant Union mech that ambushes Cammie and severely damages her Holon, leaving her unable to fight but still alive. The rest of the gen:LOCK team manage to force the mech to retreat and Yaz helps Cammie by mind-sharing with her Holon unit. Dr. Weller and Colonel Marin are the only ones not left bewildered at what the Union mech was.|
|5||5||"The Best Defense"||Gray G. Haddock||23:54||February 16, 2019|
|The team continues training, despite Cammie's trauma from the attack in Dallas and Chase's concerns about her and the fact that they do not know what the Union mech was. Cammie's frustration with her lack of improvement leads her to alter her own confidence and aggression settings during a training session, leading her to have a psychotic episode during a sparring match with Kazu. The team tries to cheer her up, revealing that they all have a shared nightmare of themselves in place of their Holon units in battle, and assuring Cammie that they will support her in their next fight. Colonel Marin briefs the gen:LOCK team and the Vanguard pilots about a mission to a Union manufacturing base in Atlanta, their first offensive attack in some time, despite Dr. Weller's concerns about dispatching them so quickly. Chase and Miranda discuss him returning to the Vanguard, which he shows reluctance to doing. The team is given additional upgrades by Dr. Weller (a sword for Kazu, a new rifle for Valentina, wrist-mounted lasers for Yasamin, and targeting drones for Cammie), while Migas reveals to Chase he upgraded his Holon to include wings for aerial combat, to Chase's delight. The mission is briefly complicated by the arrival of some Polity scientists taken hostage by the Union. The gen:LOCK team successfully rescues the scientists and destroys the base, but their exit is blocked by the return of the Union mech, which strangely recognizes Miranda and speaks in Chase's voice before targeting him specifically. After a vicious fight, the mech escapes, leaving Chase confused.|
|6||6||"The Only Me I Know"||Gray G. Haddock||25:33||February 23, 2019|
|The Vanguard is left reeling by the encounter with the Union mech, who to their knowledge is another Chase. Chase tries to talk to Miranda, who is unable to accept the idea that he might not be "her" Chase. Upon returning to the Anvil, Chase confronts Dr. Weller about the mech: Weller admits that the mech is another instance of Chase's brain, his "Nemesis." Contrary to what he had been told, the program had been making back-ups of his brains since the start of the program, uploading copies into one while the other would be deployed into the field. The Union became aware of the gen:LOCK program and ambushed Chase on one of his missions, capturing him and his Holon unit. With no other option, the ESU downloaded the backup into Chase's real body and ended the practice of copying pilots for the rest of the program. Soon after Chase learns all of this, the Union launches an attack on the Anvil spearheaded by the same giant Behemoth mech that attacked New York alongside the Nemesis Chase, who angrily demands that they "kill the copy" and that the Union promised they could return him to his body. The Vanguard's Chase quickly attacks the Nemesis, signaling the start of the battle. The Holon units are dispatched alongside the tank pilots, where they face the Union forces. Kazu and Valentina engage in mindshare, providing his unit with some edge in the battle. Yaz offers to mindshare with Chase but is turned down. The Union's droids breach the Anvil in a bid for the gen:LOCK pilots, forcing Kazu, Yaz, Cammie, and Valentina to return to the base so they can escape on a transport with Dr. Weller's android unit Caliban, who is ordered to use the Omega Protocol. In order to buy them more time, Weller sacrifices himself by blowing up the lab with several Union soldiers inside of it. The gen:LOCK units manage to successfully escape on a transport with the help of Migas, and the Anvil is able to down the Behemoth. Unfortunately, this results in the release of a massive nanotech cloud that quickly overtakes the battlefield and the entire base with most of the Vanguard's personnel inside. Chase is unable to contact the control center and the ground forces, including Miranda, and is forced to join the rest of his team as they escape from the Union.|
|7||7||"It Never Rains..."||Gray G. Haddock and Jason Weight (Story by Gray G. Haddock)||24:32||March 2, 2019|
|On the run from the Union, the gen:LOCK team deals with the aftermath of the loss of the Anvil and presumably the entire Vanguard. Val/entina discover they can now play Kazu's guitar, a side-effect of gaining each other's memories during their mind-share, which Kazu finds uncomfortable. Chase gets into his Holon and patrols, only to hear Nemesis mocking him for no longer being a real human. Union drones soon ambush the group, forcing them to flee. Cammie realizes Nemesis is tracking them because he's still connected to the GL network, and so long as they stay in their Holons he will know where they are: none of them can use their Holons. As they contemplate their next move, Caliban initiates the Omega Protocol and starts speaking in Dr. Weller's voice: he delivers a message from Weller, who reveals Caliban is one of the earliest gen:LOCK experiments, possessing an early copy of his neural pattern and everything Dr. Weller knew for gen:LOCK; he ends the message assuring the team that they were all important to him and apologizes for not being there to the end. Caliban then reveals the gen:LOCK program's next destination was the Rogue Technology Aeronautics and Space Administration (RTASA) administration facility for further research and development. During the trip, Yaz tries to comfort Chase as he questions whether he or the Nemesis can be considered the real one: Chase being a copy, and the Nemesis now fighting for the Union. The group arrives at the facility to be greeted by a security force, who are quickly ordered to stand down by Dr. Henry Wu, one of the scientists they rescued in Atlanta. Wu introduces them to Dr. Fatima Jha, Dr. Weller's ex-wife and one of the earlier collaborators on gen:LOCK. They inform her of the loss of the Anvil and Weller's death: she expresses surprise that the Holon units made it to field-ready status, and brings in Marc Holcroft, one of the principal investors in the ESU and RTASA. Holcroft agrees to allow them to stay at RTASA and fix their Holons in exchange for the capture or destruction of Nemesis's Holon. Cammie leads the repairs, and upgrades the armor to give the Holons unique appearances, weapons, and abilities: Yaz is given wings similar to Chase's, Val/entina's is designed to resemble them, Kazu's is based on RoboShogun (a manga he loved as a child), and Cammie's is designed to look like a rabbit. Chase upgrades his holographic appearance with the gen:LOCK uniform, accepting the group as his new team.|
|8||8||"Identity Crisis"||Gray G. Haddock, Evan Narcisse, and Jason Weight||31:57||March 9, 2019|
While preparing for their next skirmish, the gen:LOCK team receives a transmission from Migas, who reveals the Anvil and everyone inside is safe: the late Dr. Weller had figured out Union sympathizers were given a chip that could broadcast a signal to nanotech so that it would not affect them and manufactured a copy for the Vanguard that was put into effect when the Behemoth's nanotech attacked. He then reports that the Union is making another move in Chicago, and needs the gen:LOCK team's help. As the team prepares to leave, Dr. Jha lets Chase know that they're always welcome at RTASA and reassures him that Dr. Weller was proud. The team touches down at a pier in the South Side to draw Nemesis to them: after taking out some Union forces they are horrified to realize Nemesis has been upgraded with flight capabilities and nanotech that can repair any damage. The team uses mindshare to get an edge on Nemesis, but when this does not completely work they decide to all mindshare at once. Chase shows reluctance to do so, questioning what this means for him, but before they can try anything they receive a notification that they are almost at uptime and need to download. Chase chooses to stay in his Holon, exceeding uptime and leaving him unable to return to his body, in order to buy the rest of the group time. Nemesis and Chase continue their fight, but when Nemesis realizes how important the team is to Chase he heads to where their real bodies are in front of the Museum of Science and Industry. Before he can attack them, however, he is ambushed by Miranda and Jodie in their tanks, and Leon (who had earlier learned he was gen:LOCK compatible but too old for the program) using the Holon intended for Sinclair. Chase realizes without the limits of uptime he can mod himself and overclock his Holon without any consequences, and continues his fight with Nemesis, buying enough time for the rest of the team to upload back into their Holons. The entire gen:LOCK team engages in mindshare, using their combined skills to disable Nemesis's nanotech and damage him beyond repair. Before Chase destroys him for good, Nemesis hints that he was a mere copy of the real Chase's brain, and that the Union made many more. With the battle over Leon tries to download back into his body, but because of his age, the download is not entirely successful, leaving him in a coma that they cannot confirm he will ever get out of. Colonel Marin congratulates the team on helping them win the battle and offers them a chance to return to the Anvil. Chase has a talk with Miranda, who sadly remarks that the people they were four years ago died in the Battle of New York, but tells Chase not to be a stranger and that perhaps someday they can try things again. The gen:LOCK team decides to move their base of operations to RTASA, with Migas serving as their chief engineer and liaison to the Vanguard, and Leon moving there to aid in his recovery.In a post-credits scene, the real Robert Sinclair is revealed to be alive. His actions and appearance indicate that he may have escaped his captors and is now trying to find a way out of Union-controlled territory disguised as a Union soldier.
Reviews for Gen:LOCK were largely positive. Critics praised the series as a clear step forward for the company behind Red vs. Blue and RWBY, highlighting the animation quality and the performances of the lead cast, as well as sharp dialogue by writers Gray Haddock and Evan Narcisse. The series' use of action and spectacle, while praised for its quality, was criticized as taking precedence over storytelling, with Comic Book Resources' Reuben Baron noting it made the series feel unfocused. Writing for Inverse, Eric Francisco observed that at least for the first five episodes the series lacked a clear antagonist which made the stakes of the story difficult to perceive, but overall praised the series as a much more mature outing for Rooster Teeth than RWBY. Austen Goslin from Polygon observed that the series was at its strongest when the characters were the focus and that the fight sequences, though well-choreographed, took time away from those interactions. However, Goslin conceded that the series was a strong addition to the mecha genre. Tristan Gallant of anime review series Glass Reflection noted the series seemed to be following some recognizable tropes and story beats, but praised its entertainment value and overall production quality, noting its animation was superior to other Western-animated 3D shows like The Dragon Prince (which uses a similar reduced framerate as part of its style).
Mike Toole of Anime News Network offered a more mixed opinion after Season 1's conclusion. Toole praised the show's casting and use of classic science fiction tropes, but noted that despite enough material to keep audiences engaged the first season lacked a truly compelling conflict to drive the story. Toole expressed that a second season would require a story that matched the ambition of the series' characters and core concept in order for it to become a truly great show. "Until then, gen:LOCK feels just a little bit like a prototype."
Fan reaction to Gen:LOCK prior to release was largely skeptical: potential viewers found the initial trailers underwhelming due to a lack of information on what the series was about, and many expressed fatigue with the show's marketing in the months leading up to release. Some mecha anime fans found the concepts unoriginal, with an opinion piece published on Forbes a few days before the premiere claiming that the designs were generic and encouraging viewers to watch something else. The reception was much more positive following release, with several of the more skeptical fans admitting the first episode was all it took to win them over.
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- Trumbore, Dave (January 22, 2018). "Exclusive: First Trailer for 'gen:LOCK' Reveals Rooster Teeth's Biggest Series Since 'RWBY'". Collider. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
- Spangler, Todd (May 21, 2018). "'Black Panther' Star Michael B. Jordan to Lend Voice to Rooster Teeth's 'gen:Lock' Anime-Style Series". Variety. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
- Francisco, Eric. "How Casting Michael B. Jordan in 'gen:LOCK' Helped Rooster Teeth "Grow Up"". Inverse. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
- Gross, Joe. "Austin writer Evan Narcisse joins Rooster Teeth animated show". Austin 360. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
- UPDATED: SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 150 Saturday Cable Originals - Network Finals: 9.7.2019
- DC and Rooster Teeth Announce New Details For Upcoming Gen:LOCK And RWBY Comics
- Francisco, Eric. "Maisie Williams Says Her 'gen:LOCK' Anime Character Could Crush Arya Stark". Inverse. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
- Whittaker, Richard. "How Rooster Teeth Built Meaningful Diversity Into gen:LOCK". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
- Rooster Teeth [@RoosterTeeth] (December 21, 2018). "Caliban activate gen:LOCK, candidate Rose. 10 15 27.pic.twitter.com/JISX2IPwP8" (Tweet). Retrieved December 23, 2018 – via Twitter.
- Rooster Teeth [@RoosterTeeth] (December 22, 2018). "gen:LOCK initiated" (Tweet). Retrieved December 23, 2018 – via Twitter.
- Luna, Miles [@TheMilesLuna] (December 22, 2018). "I've seen the #genLOCK pilot several times now, and I'm still so floored by what our team has been able to accomplish. Absolute professionals. Every one of them. Hope you guys enjoyed that surprise screening! Let's keep watching cartoons!" (Tweet). Retrieved December 23, 2018 – via Twitter.
- Haddock, Gray (January 9, 2019). "Gen:LOCK - It's ALMOST HERE!". Rooster Teeth. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
- Trumbore, Dave (January 26, 2019). "'gen:LOCK' Review: A Quantum Leap Forward for Rooster Teeth's Animation Team". Collider. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
- Egan, Touissant (January 26, 2019). "Dakota Fanning and Michael B. Jordan are lovers separated by war and 40-foot mechs in gen:LOCK". The A.V. Club. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
- Baron, Reuben (January 26, 2019). "REVIEW: gen:LOCK Is Action-Packed, But Underdeveloped". CBR. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
- Francisco, Eric (January 26, 2019). "'gen:LOCK' Review: One Giant Leap for Mecha Kind". Inverse. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
- Goslin, Austen (January 27, 2019). "Gen:Lock is great when its characters are actually the focus". Polygon. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
- Gallant, Tristan. "Is Gen:LOCK Worth Watching? - First Reaction". YouTube. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
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- Solomon, Dan. "Will Rooster Teeth Be the Netflix of Animation?". Texas Monthly. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
- Barder, Ollie. "The Upcoming Mecha Series 'Gen:Lock' Looks Pretty Terrible". Forbes. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
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