One of the most compelling features of Blade Runner is the character of Roy Batty. His violent resistance to “accelerated decrepitude” and quest to extend his lifespan speak to his frustration at not being allowed to live longer than four years. Through the noble actions that ensue after Batty has chased Deckard up on to the roof of Sebastian’s building, the viewer is able to appreciate the complexity of Batty’s character. In the beginning of the film, rather than resist death as a sort of knee-jerk reaction, or at least immediately understand his “retirement” as inevitable (as Batty’s character seems to do in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), he adopts a very “human” relationship with the knowledge that he is to be killed. Batty is characterized by a degree of suffering unmatched by any other Nexus-6 in the film, as it directly relates to his being informed that a “coding sequence cannot be revised once it’s been established”. His suffering and ability to empathize with other Nexus-6s is evident also when he comes across recently-retired Pris and kisses her good-bye.
If the objective of the film’s creators is to encourage the viewers to understand the human/non-human interplay through the eyes of the Nexus-6s, Rachael’s perspective seems much easier and more natural for the viewer to undertake (as her experience as a non-human revolves around learning that her memories are not hers, and forcing herself to be loved by a human). While Batty’s struggle with the idea of a very limited mortality and his lack of innocent motives make him, at times, deplorable and antagonistic, he does seem more the antihero than Deckard himself. Batty’s refusal to understand death as inevitable persists until he and Deckard meet in Sebastian’s building. After death begins to creep up on Batty, and through his decision to save Deckard’s life, the viewer can appreciate the complexity of Batty’s character. As he speaks his last words (“All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain. Time to die”), the viewer is left to experience for himself the entire weight of Batty’s suffering.