When watching Pickup on South Street with particular attention to possible Neuromancer connections/comparisons, the notion of conventional plot denouement remained in my mind. So much of Neuromancer revolves around the question of whether it is possible to return to an equilibrium, where every person, place, and thing is where it ought to be, and where it came from in the first place. Case’s ultimate objective is to be “happy” the way he once was, whether through Molly, Linda, drugs, or hacking, and in the epilogue, he seems to have achieved a balance that allows him to live comfortably with himself. Neuromancer and Wintermute achieve singularity, with Case explaining, “Wintermute had won, had meshed somehow with Neuromancer and become something else, something that had spoken to them from the platinum head, explaining that it had altered the Turing records, erasing all evidence of their crime” (268). Even Linda, who had been murdered in Chiba City, has her own shot at happiness in an alternate reality where she and Case remain a couple. All appears to be right with the world.

While the ending remains somewhat ambiguous in Pickup on South Street, there still is an implication that Skip has renounced his days as a pick-pocketing thug, and that he and Candy will begin anew. Alternatively, Skip and Candy could join forces as both lovers and partners-in-crime–the film’s final lines leave this unclear. In either case, Skip turns his back on his initial ideologies: being a loner, being distrustful (of “commies” like Candy, especially), and doing the thing that he is skilled at—pickpocketing. With this, and with Pickup on South Street’s sentimental ending (which is perhaps in line with the Noir genre), the suspiciously harmonious ending of Neuromancer made some contextual sense, given its other paradigmatic homages to noir, but still, it feels as though the high stakes of the novel become undermined by the conveniently benign convergence of Wintermute and Neuromancer, and the fate of Case, Linda, and Molly.


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