“It’s not safe out there”
What a penultimate episode of Humans, Series 1, we witnessed! It encapsulated everything a penultimate episode should do: answer some questions, pose some more questions, and leave us with baited breath waiting for the finale. Although it only furthered the themes of the series as a whole, rather than adding more themes to the mix, the episode still developed and twisted the themes in diverting directions. A few minor niggles aside, Episode 7 continued the overall high quality of Humans.
A lot of time has been dedicated to the concept of family, and in Episode 7, with the human family and the synth family side by side, the concept was yet again explored. An early conversation between Mia and Laura highlighted the differences between the two women as mother figures. Mia explains that she was made to love Leo like a son. Laura says to Mia that the Hawkins are not the best example of a family, to which Mia replies: “You love each other.” Of course, the synth family ‘love’ each other, but how is that comparable to human love? Like Mia said, she was created to love Leo, whatever that means. Are humans created to love as well? Or is it a natural development with regards to children/spouses? Again, new and interesting ground was covered in the concept of family.
(As an added parallel, there’s the actions of Joe and the actions of David Elster. Joe has let down his family by his sexual intercourse with Anita/Mia. Ever since that infidelity, he’s been rather useless as a father, even letting his son take the blame for sex with Anita. David Elster, as revealed by Fred, quickly tired of his creations after building them. Niska’s ambiguous assertions about David treating her like an adult (sexual intercourse?) could also explain her murderous streak. Are the father figures of Humans the cause of all problems?!?!?)
“You’re bad at playing”
What are the differences between synths and humans? The revival of Max was almost too similar to human surgery (with the drip etc). Whilst playing football with Fred, Joe says he game is unfair as Fred is programmed to be an expert in things like that. Fred responds by revealing that Elster let the synths play to learn, just like children do. The conscious synths were built to adapt and to learn; to assimilate experiences to help their everyday life. It’s how humans mentally grow; putting a finger on a flame and learning it hurts, etc. Of course, the parallel to this scene was Niska and Sophie playing with dolls. Initially, Niska’s logic interferes with the play. She can’t understand why the dollies and the T-Rex have to go on holiday. However, she soon enjoys the play, laughing and smiling with Sophie. It’s a very human interaction from a murderous (and psychotic?) synth.
From one rogue synth to another, in the form of Karen. Her identity is laid out in the first scene, cutting short the question of who she is. She’s Beatrice, a synth designed by Elster to be a copy of his late wife. Yet again, Elster is the cause of a synth’s inner turmoil. At several instances, Beatrice asks someone to destroy her. Just like the T-800, she cannot self-terminate. She believes in the futility of her existence due to the fact that she’s merely a replica of a human being. That’s the only reason she was created. However, she also wants to destroy the conscious synths, as she believes them to be a threat to humanity. She teams up with Hobb to locate the conscious synths…
She was also the cause of the series’ most touching and emotional moment thus far: the death of George Millican. After a purposefully dull struggle between Beatrice and Niska, Beatrice stabs Millican. She flees, Niska flees after George compels her to, and Odi walks over to George. Odi tells George that they aren’t alone; Mary is in the next room. His glitching memory banks convince him that the past is happening in the present, but it’s a comforting memory for George to hear whilst in the throes of death. Odi and George’s relationship has been a constant good throughout the series, and it was an overwhelming sad but fitting note for it to end on. “You have died, George,” said Odi. And so did a part of my soul!
Although a flowing and riveting episode, there were a few niggles dotted throughout. Just at the moment that the conscious synths are going to link up and discover the secret to their consciousness, a news bulletin comes on the TV about the destructive actions of Niska. It causes Joe and Laura to have second thoughts about helping the synths. It was not only an obvious plot convenience, but raised another question. George was reading a headline about Niska a couple of episodes ago. Have Laura and Joe not been reading/watching the news?
Apart from those niggles, Episode 7 of Humans was a great penultimate show. The end , as Hobb and the police forcefully entered the Hawkins household, left us on a brilliant cliffhanger. On the cusp of discovering the secret to synth consciousness, the synths were stopped. What will happen in next week’s episode? There were great moments throughout, from Leo’s trouble that he can’t forget, to Joe playing FIFA after being outperformed at football by Fred in real life. My only fear is that too many questions will be left for the inevitable second series. I want some proper resolutions!
VERDICT: 8/10. Another quality episode of Humans that relies on visuals on dialogue to tell the story, rather than action scenes and explosions. A great cliffhanger for the finale as well!
(Click here for my review of Humans, Series 1, Episode 6)