Monday, 6 July 2015

Humans: Episode 3

"Dr. Millican! This is highly unsafe!"

Humans just keeps getting better and better. And that Kraftwerk-inspired theme tune is really growing on me.

Last week's cliffhanger is resolved, perhaps, with a bit of a cheat; Anita gets a reprieve by saving Toby's life, and by that point it's clear that no one else in her family agrees with her about taking Anita back. Nothing is resolved, though. Not for Anita and not within the family.

Probably the standout performances of the episode (taking Rebecca Chan's awfulness for granted, that is) are Rebecca Front as the tyrannical synth nurse Vera and Emily Berrington as the increasingly disturbed and upset Niska, for whom the world grows ever more nightmarish. It is a world like ours, but with little tell-tale signs of synth charging points. Immutable human nature is present and correct, but the synths are having a malign effect, an effect largely foreshadowed in Isaac Asimov's tales of the Spacers. But I doubt we'll be getting an Elijah Baley here. Instead we have an awkward and vaguely transgressive sexual tension between Joe and Anita as she asks him to inspect her naked body for damage. Is it mutual? Worse, with the addition of young Toby could we have a budding love triangle here?

Meanwhile, Niska's murder of that paedophile last episode is being investigated by detectives Pete and Karen, setting off a chain of events leading to the distinctly synth-phobic Pete losing his job. The whole thing is covered up; the public must not be told that the synths on which they rely could sometimes be killers. Now, though, Niska is deciding that, not only is she going to go rogue from human society, she also wants to dissociate herself from the mysterious Leo and become the ultimate lone wolf. Do I suspect some sort of one woman crusade against humans may be in the offing? Interestingly, she is seen reading The Ghost in the Machine by Arthur Koestler. Mrs Llamastrangler is reminded of Alpha from Dollhouse.

Niska gets an interesting series of scenes in which she allows a man to pick her up and follows him home, expecting him to be violent, lecherous and nasty and intending to kill him. Instead, he turns out to be nice, interested in her as a person and a devoted father. Instead of killing him, she simply leaves.

The episode's most tragic scene sees George, seemingly, saying a final goodbye to the malfunctioning Odi, who runs into the woods to die. Or so it seems. But it seems George has a past; he was deeply involved with the development of synths. Anita's past as Mia is briefly revealed during an abortive hack by Matilda, but she posts the results online. It seems that buried secrets from the past will soon be uncovered. One of them seems likely to be the mysterious "Tom", whom Laura does not wish to discuss. A lover? A dead child? Something else?

Humans is so good I just don't know how to praise it. I'm salivating at the thought of the five episodes to come.

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