Humans S02E03 “Episode Three” REVIEW
Essential Plot Points:
- Dr Morrow goes to see her daughter, who’s been in a coma for three years, after having a little reminisce about the time they went hiking by a waterfall together. She then argues with her kid’s dad about the fact she’s still being kept alive when there’s no hope.
- Mattie can’t seem to fix Odi, and decides to take a chance and upload the code into his systems. He wakes up, but can’t say anything except “apricot”. (We’ve all had Sunday mornings like that, haven’t we?)
- Laura goes to work and tests on Niska begin to see how “human” she is. “Try to open up. Show them how you feel. That you can feel. Everything depends on that,” she tells the synth, who just seems bemused by the idea.
- Mia tells Max that she cares about Ed. Hester overhears.
- Leo discovers their prisoner is gone! He runs back to the house and tells everybody they have to leave, as the guy will have told his bosses where they are.
- For a moment, it looks as though Hester is going to tell him they have nothing to worry about (seeing as she killed him, of course), but she rethinks it. Hester is now actually lying to her friends.
- Hester also tells Leo that Mia cares about Ed, so she’s a sneak, too. Anyway, Mia says she wants to stay because she wants to go and see Ed again. Leo’s a bit annoyed, but accepts her choice and leaves.
- Joe goes back to work in his old factory, this time on the factory floor on a back-to-work scheme. His boss blanks him. Wow, some humans are dicks.
- Niska is shown images of spiders, snakes, blood and needles, plus a whole host of other stuff that causes an emotional response in humans. Her baseline doesn’t shift. (Ours do.)
- Toby tries to befriend the girl at his school who’s pretending to be a synth (last week we wondered what the kids like this do at lunchtime – it seems they just sit there, without food). He fails.
- Karen goes back to work at the police station with Pete. One of their co-workers realises they’re dating and scares Karen by saying, “I know your secret!”
- The cops are investigating a series of synths exhibiting strange behaviour – and the way they seem to disappear straight afterwards, with the person who reported the behaviour suddenly shutting up. They think it’s an insurance scam, but obviously we know differently…
- Mia goes to see Ed. “I am a synthetic, but I’m awake. Conscious,” she tells him, then pours out her heart. “I like you more than anything I’ve ever seen or heard or touched.”
- He accepts her and they kiss. Altogether now: “Awwww!”
- Niska’s baseline still doesn’t shift, even when dance music is played for her and she thinks of Astrid back in Germany. However, Laura realises that Niska keeps fondling something imaginary on her arm, and goes through her belongings – finding Astrid’s hair band, as well as Astrid’s phone number. She realises something might be up.
- Odi, meanwhile, suddenly wakes up properly and says he thinks he can feel. Mattie introduces herself. “What happens now?” he says.
- Pete and Karen go to interview a suspect about the “£100K for a synth” business. He does a runner (leaving his son behind – what a prince!). He also mentions something about “Seraphim”, which seems to be the name given to awakened synths.
- Morrow goes to see Professor Hobb and wants to talk to him about conscious synthetics. She blackmails him when he isn’t willing.
- Sophie cuts herself while grating cheese but pretends it doesn’t hurt. Joe tells Laura he’s worried about her. Laura hadn’t even noticed anything was wrong with her! (Although given how neat Sophie’s bedroom is, it’s fairly bloody obvious.)
- Laura asks Niska why she killed her victim. “My whole life was being scared, being hurt, being angry. Sometimes things become too much for anyone, don’t they?” is the reply.
- Ed’s friend sees him canoodling with Mia. Uh-oh.
- Karen is on a night out with her co-workers and it’s lucky Pete is there, too, because her food/drink bag bursts inside her and she has to be rushed home to be drained! Oh, the dignity.
- Dr Morrow arrives at Qualia UK and we discover this is where the Silo is.
- Her AI talks about the waterfall Morrow went to with her daughter. Clearly Morrow is trying to create a host body for her daughter’s mind, or somesuch. No biggie, then…
Well, while Niska’s testing and Mia’s confession to Ed were both great, there’s not much else going on in this episode that grabbed us, really – it felt like a lot of plodding filler paving the way for more interesting events in episodes to come (we can hope).
For example, while it’s good that Mattie managed to get Odi to wake up, why did the scene of him staring at Joe in the shower go on for so long – were we supposed to be scared for Joe? We weren’t; Odi hardly has Norman Bates vibes at the best of times, let alone here (maybe the music needed to be darker to signal something was off with him?). Then there’s Dr Morrow visiting an old scientist and wanting to know more about his research: did that really need to be dragged out across an entire episode? It felt as though there was no payoff, other than more evidence that Morrow’s not a nice person.
(And even after a few episodes and a subplot about a poorly daughter, Carrie-Anne Moss’s performance is still so uninteresting – she’s basically filling the personality vacuum left by William Hurt’s character in the first series.)
Elsewhere there’s some fluff about Toby trying to chat up a synth-pretending girl at school, Sophie doing some synth-pretending herself (Joe’s over-reaction to her tiny cut would’ve made most kids freak the fuck out, so good on her for keeping her calm), and some rather ordinary police-procedural stuff with Pete and Karen. Their scenes this week wouldn’t have registered at all, really, if it hadn’t been for the shock of their suspect pegging it and leaving his kid behind, and of course the split-bag drama in the pub. Oh, and Leo yelling at everybody to run and hide is getting so old now – will someone give the poor lad a Valium and sort his life out? Thanks.
So, after all of this, we come to the good stuff. Mia and Ed add a lovely soft edge to a show that usually leaves its soft bits to the Hawkins family – their new romance is rather touching, particularly after Mia’s adorable speech about how everything about him is just “more”. That’s almost Richard Curtis-level lovey-dovey, right there. Of course it’s all going to go wrong soon, but we hope they’re happy while it lasts.
And as for Niska… the tests are fascinating, particularly when you find yourself rooting for her to have a response and prove she’s human after all. We really thought she’d twitch during the dance music, but apparently the synth is strong with this one.
And her bafflement as to why she should be reacting is brilliant, too: “You want me to be more human? Casually cruel to those closest to you, then crying over people you’ve never met?”
Girl’s got a point…
- Karen faking being human by sitting in the toilet reading files is rather amusing. She should take in a whoopee cushion for authentic soundtracking.
- Odi’s pupil has split and seeped into the rest of his eye. Ewwwwwwww!
- Why would Niska keep the napkin with Astrid’s phone number on it? Surely she memorised it instantly with her computer brain? Or was it that she just couldn’t bear to part with it? It also looked brand new, which is odd given that she must have sat on it a million times.
- An affectation that some shows really need to lose (Smallville was the master of it) is when a character says something momentous to the camera with their back turned to the person they’re talking to. Mia does this a lot, and you can forgive her because she’s not human, but here it’s really annoying. She’s telling Ed all about how she’s not just a robot, how she’s awake and has feelings, and the whole time he’s just looking at the back of her head.
- Surely she could see that – logically – it would be better if he could see her face? Of course, this means that a few moments later she can turn and tell him face-to-face that she loves him, but by then he’s walked away. Rubbish!
- Also, we apologise for pointing out this acting/directing quirk, because now you will see it everywhere, and it’s ALWAYS annoying.
And The Random:
- Check out the way Max sits in this shot. All the actors had training to learn how to be synths, and when you see little moments like this, you realise how superb it was.
- Best Quote: Hester: “How is it that you can have feelings for a human?”
Mia: “Some of them are worth it.”
Reviewed by Jayne Nelson