Humans S02E02 “Episode Two” REVIEW
Essential Plot Points:
- Laura ponders what to do about Niska. She overhears Niska and Mattie talking, and learns that Niska uploaded the code to awaken the synths.
- When Mattie wonders why not all of them have woken up at once, Niska ponders: “Perhaps our father designed it that way. So the world would have a chance to adjust to what’s coming.” Hence, Niska is trying to pave the way for them by getting herself legally declared sentient. Clever girl.
- Karen and Pete shop for beds together; they’re like any regular human couple. Pete sometimes even forgets that his partner is a synth. They discover that someone has bought a synth for £100,000 and it strikes an alarm bell with them – why would any synth be worth that much?
- Dr Morrow has dissected Artie and asks Milo for more “awakened” synths. She also has a nice little chat with her AI, V, who says she’s been building a world in her head where people are happy “because they are together”. Awwww.
- Meanwhile, on the opposite end of the AI spectrum, Hester chokes the prisoner to find out why his people want to hurt synths.
- She gets told off by Leo and Max, but not before discovering the synths that the bad guys have been picking up are taken somewhere called “The Silo”. She thinks that information was worth a bit of torture. She’s a regular Jack Bauer, this one.
- Laura visits the CPS. They agree to assess Niska to see if she’s “human” enough to put on trial. Niska, therefore, gives herself up.
- Dr Morrow tries to transfer V into a synth, but fails.
- Mia does some chores for her boss, and is very nice to his mum. She also cheats so that Ed gets more money for his bank loan than he should have been allowed. When Ed realises this, he figures out there’s something wrong with her – and the nice guy we’ve seen up until now turns nasty.
- Mia runs away, devastated, and has a, “What the hell are we doing here, anyway?” conversation with Leo about it.
- Mattie tracks down Odi to a junkyard and tricks her mum into revealing where she’s hidden the hard drive containing her copy of the code. Mattie is going to upload it to Odi once she’s fixed him.
- Joe and Laura’s next counselling session goes swimmingly.
- Dr Morrow tells Milo that (a) she hates that he’s wasting his talent on pointless things rather than fixing the world, and (b) she’s off to the UK.
- Max has a crisis of conscience and lets their prisoner go.
- Hester doesn’t. She follows the guy and kills him. “I should feel guilt for this,” she says, but of course she doesn’t.
Wow, that Hester, eh? What a psycho! She knew full well that what she did was wrong but did it anyway – if that’s not a sign that humans are going to be in a lot of Terminator-style trouble in the future, we don’t know what is. And what a shame, too, coming after Max’s kind-hearted gesture in letting their prisoner go. We sense that, at some point down the line, there’s going to be a synth civil war in the offing, with humans caught in the crossfire. Should be fun, eh?
Aside from Scary Hester, this week’s episode contains a lot more oomph than the opener: from the rising tension as Mia tries to fit in at Ed’s cafe despite not wanting to blow her cover, to our first glimpse of how the British judiciary would judge a synth’s rights in court (answer: they have bugger-all), to the heartbreakingly bleak way Niska tells Laura “Goodbye” as she gets out of the car and hands herself over to the police.
There’s some real food for thought here, too. Dr Morrow challenging Milo over the way he uses his genius is a biting critique of human society (just imagine if, instead of inventing Snapchat or building robot dogs, tech geeks and scientists had been pouring their energy into solving the world’s problems all these years!). Hester’s inability to understand why she shouldn’t have hurt the prisoner to get information is pure logic, and you totally see her point – he hurts her kind, why can’t she hurt him to find out why? And Pete wondering what it’s like to be Karen, having to pretend to be human every single day, really makes you wonder if it’s all worth it. After all, we are a bunch of violent, nasty types who enjoy throwing synths down stairs and clubbing them to pieces.
Honestly, who are we rooting for on this show, anyway? For every Max there’s a human who’s cold-bloodedly dissected one of his kind, despite knowing they have feelings. Niska might be fighting a noble cause in trying to pave the way for other awakened synths, but there’s really no way society will ever accept them – or, for that matter, they’d accept our society. This is one huge mess.
- The job site having the heading “Jobs for humans in London” is a fantastic touch of future-paranoia.
- Hester repeating: “Why do you hurt us, please?” while choking the prisoner is just terrifying: her inflection stays the same every time and it’s chilling. A great performance from Sonya Cassidy there.
- “Is this… fear?” says a synth before Dr Morrow destroys it. We know it’s a cheap tug on our heartstrings, but it’s still effective. In her own way, Morrow is as immoral as Hester is right now.
- The next time we have an awkward meeting with the bank to try to wangle a loan, we’re taking Mia with us.
- This junkyard full of discarded synths is like something from a horror film. Yuk.
- For the second week in a row we get great use of Josie Lawrence’s talent for accents!
- Drowned in a muddy puddle – what a way to go. And that must have been unpleasant to film, too. Acting’s not all glamour, is it?
And The Random:
- The best science fiction has always reflected the times we live in through a prism, and thus Humans has taken the current headlines about kids “choosing” their own genders, and society either allowing or not allowing them to do so, and transformed it into kids pretending they’re synths as a lifestyle choice. It’s frighteningly clever – but you can’t help wondering what they do at lunchtime…
- Best Quote: Joe: “Someone at school you wanna look good for?”
Toby: “No! … Get a job!”
Reviewed by Jayne Nelson