“Spiderhead” imagines a different kind of prison system

one with an open-door policy that allows the incarcerated to have their sense of self to cook for themselves, to work out when they want to

What they sacrifice as punishment is their brain chemistry for science

which is toyed with by Steve Abnesti, following the orders of a protocol committee hoping to cure the world's problems through dosages

The prisoner has the free will to take an experimental dosage—approved by saying “Acknowledge”—and can be faced with the self-loathing of “Darkenfloxx,

or the immense need to laugh from “Laffodil.”

One good side effect from "Spiderhead" is that the performances can have their own potency, but not when they're given a certain dosage

Miles Teller and Jurnee Smollett, two of the main prisoners, give surefooted performances as Jeff and Lizzie, respectively

"Spiderhead" is pseudo-heady sci-fi stuff that treats its most intriguing elements like an afterthought