Oh, what a tear jerker this episode turned out to be! You wouldn’t think a show like Humans would be able to pull on your heart strings so completely, but wow, this week’s episode gave me so many feelings. There was a lot of discussion about what makes a human, or what defines humanity, both from our human characters and from our synths. It’s hard to figure out where to begin when this episode taught us so much.
We’ll start, as we so often do, with the Hawkins family. Laura finally explains to Mattie who Tom is. Given that the only clue we’ve had so far is that old picture, it stands to reason that it was someone close to Laura who died very young. But to learn that he died because Laura was supposed to be watching him, and that her mother has always blamed her for his death, was gut-wrenching. (It also explains why she reacted to Toby’s accident the way she did.) If you were wondering, as I was, why Tom’s identity needed to be a six-episode long mystery, the simple act of Laura telling Mattie the story seemed to trigger Mia’s programming in a way all of Leo’s technical expertise wasn’t able to. She was able to briefly break free from the Anita personality and speak to Laura and Mattie, prompting Mattie to seek out Leo. And let us take a moment to marvel at Gemma Chan’s switch between Mia and Anita in the same scene.
We also learned exactly what happened to Leo, which is more or less what they’ve been implying for the past several episodes – namely that he died as a child and was brought back to life, and his brain is part synthetic. However, learning that David Elster’s plan to create conscious synths was largely caused by his desire to have someone to take care of Leo while his mother was ill is quite interesting. (Or at least, I presume that was the reason. Perhaps he was always planning that and his wife’s illness was just the perfect time to test it.) Ever since the pilot, I’ve been assuming that Leo and Mia had a romantic relationship, but it turns out that he views of her more as a mother or a sister than a girlfriend. Their reunion was one of the more heartwarming moments we’ve witnessed so far on Humans – mostly because of Colin Morgan’s acting. (I honestly try not to gush about him too much, but seriously, this guy and his acting.)
Let’s examine Leo’s memories a little more closely, shall we? Because we’ve been wondering how Karen fits into all of this – clearly the same as the rest of our special synths, yet not connected to them at all – and I can’t help but notice a few things about Leo’s memories. First, his last projected memory is of his father standing in front of someone and starting to step away. Second, they were very careful to not show Leo’s mother’s face.
Niska and George have an interesting relationship. For a while, I was all gung ho about Niska’s imminent violent rampage, but I like that George seems to be tempering her rage-tastic tendencies. I am disgusted to discover that the illustrious David Elster appears to have had a sexual relationship with her, which would certainly explain both her extreme desire to escape the brothel and most of her interactions with men so far. But speaking to and being with George is showing her that there is more to people – more to men – than what she has previously experienced. The way he is so willing to help her, or the diligent way he cares for Odi, is something she has obviously never seen before (except perhaps in Leo). We also discovered the depth of George’s attachment to Odi – since his stroke, he is unable to remember his dead wife…but Odi can.
George and the Hawkins family (minus Joe) have proved that there is some good in humanity. In a world where entire groups exist to just beat the crap out of plastic people – a world where they hate and fear the very things they created – our special synths have discovered that there are some humans who will accept and acknowledge them for who and what they are. However, Laura’s adamant requests that Mia remain with them for her protection, or George’s declaration that he will help Niska in whatever way he can, are sadly balanced out by Peter fleeing in terror after discovering that Karen is a synth, or Joe calling the police on Leo and Max.
Oh, my poor Max. This was the episode where he was as fleshed out as he has ever been, so naturally they killed him off. He was the synth who seemed the most human – not in manners or appearance, but in personality. He so desperately wanted a family; he even prayed to God to keep his family safe. So naturally the most human among them sacrificed himself so that Leo could escape. Being synthetic, it’s difficult to say whether or not he will actually “die”, but Leo certainly seemed worried enough for his safety.
Between Laura’s devastating family history, Leo and Mia’s tearful reunion, and Max’s sacrifice, I spent much of the episode dabbing at my eyes. But it wasn’t all gross, incoherent sobbing (not even from me!). As I predicted last week, Hobb did not destroy Fred, and dear Fred, after being pretty much unconscious for most of the season, was finally given something to do. And that something was to bust his way out of Hobb’s creepy backwoods prison of a house and make contact with Leo. Hobb’s motivations remain a mystery. He worked on the project with David and George but was supposedly kicked off near the beginning. He mentions that he’s not in charge of the manhunt – or synth-hunt – but then what does he want? Does he want to create more sentient synths or does he want to destroy them? It’s unlikely he wants to destroy them, otherwise he would have just gotten rid of Fred like he was supposed to. But I also don’t believe that he wants to help them. I think that Fred was right not to trust him. Who knows what he did to Fred before he woke up?
Where does the story go from here? What will Peter do with the knowledge that Karen is a synth? How will the rest of the family react when they discover what Joe did? Is Max truly gone, and how will the other synths proceed now that the code for making more of them is apparently gone as well? Do you think that Hobb may have let Fred escape?
Did you guys watch this week’s Humans? What did you think? What was your favorite moment?
P.S. It was announced last week that Humans has been renewed for season 2! Yay!
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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