Humans Season 1 Episode 6 Review: “Episode 6”

Humans

It took six episodes to get to this point, but Humans finally illustrated how good a series about AI could get! The writing and the acting were so incredible I was mad at myself for even doubting Humans.

This Sunday’s episode begins with Fred actually getting some lines, and an awesome threatening plot sequence between him and Detective Hobb. He explains that he wants Fred to help the new Synths, and not destroy them. I was pretty convinced, actually, considering he saved Fred and did not destroy him. Fred wasn’t fooled, though.

Fred tells a story of him and David Elster, and how he rescued a fox and David did not believe it was possible. Fred says it’s “a limit of nature. Human beings cannot comprehend that their creation could surpass them.” He then punches through the wall and strangles the armed guard. He grabs the gun, shoots Hobb, and makes his escape. How amazing! Where was this Fred all along?

Then Mattie confronts Laura about Tom, accusing her mother of cheating on Joe. Mattie leaves home and refuses to come back until Laura tracks her down, and reveals exactly who Tom is to her. Laura tells Mattie the emotional story of her brother Tom who died while she was supposed to watch him. Her mother blamed her for his death all along, and Laura never went home after she left for university. Of course, Mattie is mad that she’s had a grandmother all along, and she never knew of her. Mattie asks Laura why she went to see her mother if she hasn’t seen her for so many years. Laura tells Mattie that it was because she thought she was losing Mattie the same way her mother lost Laura. This scene was so touching! It was nice to see this human connection between a mother and a daughter in this world so saturated in technology.

This new connection between Mattie and Laura is even more vital in the following scene, where Mia finally comes out of the Anita shell. Gemma Chan’s acting is as flawless as it has been all season, but her seamless transition from Anita to Mia to Anita again left me astonished. It’s so easy to forget that Synths are not real, because the actors adopt that glassy, obedient personality so well. Anita takes a deep, sharp breath, and Laura pulls the car over suddenly. Mia emerges, and talks to Mattie, warning her not to be afraid. Mia tells them that the Anita code tries to delete her, and she begs Laura not to call the police. She tells them “My brother died too, no my son,” and she regresses back to Anita.

Luckily, Mattie and Laura trust one another enough to agree that they do not need to call the police. Mattie finds Max, and they locate Leo together. Leo projects his memories onto a wall, technology which is apparently far too advances for this parallel universe. Leo tells the story of how his mother was ill and his father could not take care of him, so he created Anita to take care of him. Then he created Fred as a friend, Niska as a tutor, and finally Max as his little brother. We learn that one day his mother escaped her caretakers and drove herself and Leo into the lake near the house.

This is the moment that all of the Synths review like a memory. Mia saves Leo, but she is too late, and he dies. David repairs Leo’s brain with Synth technology and creates the first half human, half Synth person. Apparently, David killed himself after telling Leo to look after the Synths. I want to believe that he realized how dangerous they could be to human society if the world knew about them, but I think there is far more to David Elster than we have learned.

Meanwhile, Niska and George spend some genuine quality time together. They’ve easily become my favorite pair to watch. Niska is so automatically suspicious of everything and George is so easygoing, with nothing to lose. Niska threatens to kill him, but George insists that she won’t because Niska likes him. They have some interesting dialogue about body language and how Niska speaks without saying anything. She accuses him of not hearing her correctly, and he says “You’re not hearing yourself.” Their interaction brings up an important note about humanity in regards to feelings, and how a person spends their life.

Niska shows compassion when she repairs Odi, even after asking George why he would care for something that could not return such care. George’s explanation is touching and sparks a question in Niska. She wonders if David Elster cared for her and her Synth siblings. George says all David cared about was his work, and he never cared much for his wife, Beatrice.

After laughing at how young Niska is for a human (nine years old to be exact) but old for a Synth, she subtly reveals that David used her for more inappropriate encounters. She has never told anyone this, and George receives her well, apologizing to her and offering to help her in any way he can. This relationship built into something so fantastic, and I’m glad the writers took the time to craft it over a few episodes.

Karen and Pete reach a confusing intersection. After Karen learns that George Millican lives in the area, she decides to tell Pete that she is a Synth, but only after they sleep together. Pete, runs away, in fear. I cannot decide who I feel worse for, considering both people put a lot of trust into their partnership at work. Karen seems to be at the same level of consciousness as Niska and the others, but she wants to see their kind destroyed (I think we will see more of this next week).

All along, Toby and Joe have talked, often with Toby yelling at his father. I am so glad Toby took a stance in this episode, and he was firmly on the side of Mia, but not for some silly crush, but because he understood that Mia has feelings just as real as any human. I loved seeing how Toby grew even more disgusted with his father as he learned of Mia’s feelings.

Unfortunately, Toby reveals a little too much information to Joe because Joe comes to Laura explaining that he ‘understands’ that Anita is more than just a thing because she takes care of  the children. Laura tells him to leave when Leo, Max, and Mattie show up to hack into Anita.

Mattie and Leo hack into Anita together and Mia returns, hopefully to stay. I almost cried at this reunion. Laura, Mattie, and Toby all look so happy to watch the family reunited, and it was such an emotional moment. Laura insists on helping them gather the rest of the family, which is a major change from the Laura we knew in the first episode. After finding out where Fred was, Mia, Max, and Leo decide to meet up with him, but Laura convinces them that the safest place for Mia is right in their home.

Joe makes a call to the police after Leo and Max leave his house (and he simultaneously becomes my least favorite character on the show). The police track down their car, with Detective Hobb and several armed officers in tow. Leo and Max make a run for it, but Max’s battery is too low to go on. He stands on top of the bridge and jumps, but only after Max says, “If I die, it means I lived.”

What a truly heartbreaking end to a wonderfully sweet character. Max’s final words reminded me of George and Niska’s conversation about body language and that being human lies within moments they may not recognize themselves. My favorite moment of this episode was earlier on, when Max prays in the abandoned church to a god he logically cannot believe in. His words are sweet, and simple: “I don’t know if you even listen to things like them…please help I don’t even need to see them again, just keep them safe and I will do anything I can to help.” Later, when he and Mattie search for Leo, she asks him what it’s like to be him (the very same question George asked Niska in the previous episode), and Max responds, “Frightening, confusing, like my feelings are too big. What’s it like being a teenage girl?” To which Mattie responds, “The same.” Priceless. I also loved how Max and Niska responded so differently to the same question. It just goes to show that conscious machines are truly unique like humans.

This episode could have been disappointing and cheesy, but it was phenomenal and it has me desperate to know what happens in the next two episodes. It also makes me want a second season if I get to know Mia a little bit more. I’m excited to learn more about David Elster, as he is definitely different to each person who has encountered him. There are only two more episodes, Humans, make them good ones!

[Photo via AMC]

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