Monday, 29 June 2015

Humans: Episode 2

"The synths steal their job; they steal the synth."

Well, it seems as though the second episode is no less superlative than the first. This is intelligent, literate, hard sci-fi which is so damn good that it's Scandinavian roots are showing. We have a solid plot, strong characters, a well-developed theme and visual flair. This reminds me, more than anything, of Borgen.

Gemma Chan continues to astonish with a performance of outstanding subtlety. The part of Anita- an apparent automaton with slight hints of humanity and a distinctly maternal instincts- is particular challenging as the viewer is carefully studying each individual mannerism and modulation of voice. It's a stern test, but one that is passed admirably by her, and to s lesser extent by those laying other synths. But a special mention has to go to Rebecca Front, cast against type as a tyrannical nurse synth, dispassionately bullying William Hurt's sympathetic George. 

Laura is increasingly and incrementally creeped out by Anita, hence the seemingly decisive ending. Laura may not be the most sympathetic character, being a workaholic who struggles to connect with her husband and children and sees Anita as a threat to her role, but she continues to be our identification character. Matilda, meanwhile, is our rebel. How and the younger two children are, thus far, passive characters who exist in terms of Laura's character developments; Joe is there, in contrast to Laura, as a character seeing synths as no more than household appliances.

The most disturbing scenes involve Niska, and a paedophile client; disgusted, she kills him and flees, in grave danger but, at least, true to herself. Of her fellow fugitives we seem to learn that Leo is some kind of cyborgs but the others- Fred, Max and Mia ("Anita")- are presumably synths? I'm sure we'll get the backstory in due course.

As yet it's far from clear where this is going, but I'm hooked. This is an extraordinary piece of drama.

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