Among the myriad other things that went wrong in the fight against Sharkface was that Epsilon didn’t seem to realize how bad off he was. “That’s a lot for me to handle” does not exactly express “I’m actually going to crash if I try to do that, so I can’t,” and Epsilon seems genuinely confused and concerned when Delta and Theta glitch out.
It appears that Epsilon really thought he could do it if he worked hard enough. And while this is the story of the Churches again and again, this time around it also seemed like Epsilon wasn’t even getting warning signals that he was falling apart at the seams.
I think the problem is that, in essence, Epsilon wasn’t being himself.
The way Epsilon compartmentalizes his personalities, he puts so much processor power or conscious thought (or however you want to conceptualize it) into being “Church” that all of the other personality emulations basically get grunt calculation tasks: Theta does physics stuff, Delta does prioritizing and probabilities, Gamma keeps track of time, Eta and Iota do…hacky things?…and Sigma and Omega stay out of sight.
Furthermore, he only brings up these other personalities when he needs them…even when they might have important things to say, like “It’s too much!”
It wasn’t always this way. When we first met Epsilon outside of flashes and hums, he appeared as Delta to Caboose. He thought Caboose would be most comfortable that way. He also referred to himself as “we.” It wasn’t until Caboose put Epsilon into the Monitor that Epsilon decided to unify under the “Alpha Church” personality. And once he did that…maybe he only did it more and more, until he forgot what it was like to be Epsilon.
When we see Epsilon now, he’s trying to be the Church personality over and above giving conscious consideration to his other personalities as parts of himself. They’re just tools, apps he pulls out when he needs calculations done and ignores when he “doesn’t need” them. But he does need them. They’re him.
It’s like he didn’t realize he was hurting because he blocked off the part of himself that feels pain.
I think that part of the healing process for Epsilon will involve becoming more “Epsilon” and less “Church”–perhaps reforming himself into more of a collective in which all parts communicate and are used to their fullest potential, and less an unaware “Church” with apps.
It might be that the “story of how Church died” this season will be the metaphorical “death” of Epsilon’s dedicated presentation as Church. A healthier, less-failing Epsilon in the future might appear most of the time as Church, but other times as Delta, or Theta, or even Sigma or Omega, depending on what is most efficient and necessary.
That is, in order to heal, Epsilon may need to remember who he really is, and what it means to be that AI.
Memory may be the key.