I'm sure this has been discussed before, but the new information from the concert had me thinking some more and seems to confirm my suspicions.
Before I kick off this post, there is something I'm curious about. I see some people dislike 9S. Why? I haven't seen any explanations on why and I've been curious about it. But anyway, moving onto the actual post.
When critiquing the game, some people point out that 2B and 9S are inconsistent in their opinions involving the machines. At one moment they're questioning if the machines are more intelligent than they thought. In the next, they deny that's possible and insist machines have no point in anything they're doing. That's a fair criticism I guess, but I think that's only a surface understanding of what's going on.
As we know, 2B is actually 2E. She is designed to kill 9S when she is alerted that he has gained confidential knowledge, probably relating to the fate of humans. Whether she knows about that or not is kind of vague, the new concert suggests that Pod 153 simply reports to her that 9S has gained confidential knowledge and she carries out her orders to kill him.
Once pod 153 detects that 9S has acquired classified information she reports the fact to 2E who then executes her mission.
Even still, 2B not only hesitates in her mission to take out 9S from time to time, but she questions the sentience of machine lifeforms too. Either 2B is aware of the fate of humans and she is one of the few privy to that information, or maybe because of all the time she spent with 9S, his curiosity rubbed off on her.
When it comes to 9S, I think curiosity is in his job description. Yeah, at one moment he'll say machines are just machines, but our first introduction to him in route B is 9S watching this slow ass robot carry a bucket of oil over to his brother (probably multiple times). His first joke ending implies he was so curious about machines he literally abandons Yorha. In one breath he says machines can't be intelligent, but in the next he's analyzing their behavior and their data because he can't help himself.
These are not necessarily inconsistencies in their characterizations, these are indications that they know it's not as simple as 'machines are machines', but they are also trying not to stray from their mission. Especially when it comes to 9S.
On numerous occasions, 2B tries to quell 9S's curiosity and stop him from questioning the machine lifeforms. This is not 2B denying machines are more than machines. This is 2B/2E trying to make sure 9S doesn't learn too much or start digging too deep because she'll just have to kill him again. At some point 2B even says something along the lines of he shouldn't ask so many questions, but she also likes that about him. 2B wants to ponder these things with 9S, but she can't because he's too smart and it will end in his murder by her hands.
When it comes to 9S and his back and forth, it's probably multiple things. One, he's trying to listen to 2B when she says not to think about it too much. Two, he fully believes in their mission of protecting the humans and defeating the machines. But lastly, especially nearing the end of his route and onward, he's probably becoming aware of his past memories and what happens when he learns too much. Maybe he doesn't know exactly, but his hesitance to tell 2B the truth about humans is probably the influence of memories he can't quite remember.
What do you think?