At long last I’m back to where it began, recapping the show that started me on the recapping trail a little over a year ago. Welcome to Humans, Season 2. And for the next eight weeks really be checking in on this crazy artificial people, a.k.a. synths, and their journey to find out what it’s like to become human. I hope you won’t be long before he discovered he can actually just suck…
Before I start, a quick note: the titles given for the episode are ones that I myself have made up. The reason for this? The program doesn’t give titles to each episode. For example, this episode is simply titled 201, which isn’t all that exciting. So what I’ve tried to do with the titles is get them to sort of go along with what’s happening throughout the entire episode. In the title for this episode certainly covers the consequences of a lot of people’s actions.
So let’s get started.
Niska Out and About:
Having left her synth family behind, Niska (Emily Berrington) is now hiding out in Berlin. She obviously knows her way around because she’s admitted to a club just by walking up to the door and being recognized. It’s here she meets Astrid (Bella Dayne), who is interested in her and just wants to dance—for starters. They eventually end up going back to Niska’s flat and spending the night together.
Niska is trying to figure out what to do with the consciousness program she lifted off the Hawkins at the end of Season 1. She seems bothered by the idea that granting consciousness to others synths isn’t moral, that perhaps they don’t want to become aware. She asks Astrid about whether a child ever really wants to be born, and the German girl replies that all they can actually do is make certain the child is given the right guidance.
Eventually she goes to an Internet café and uploads the consciousness code, hoping to spark a massive synth awakening. But nothing of the kind happens: the model at the front desk of the café still says nothing but simple greetings and comments, and the synths outside continue going about their normal routine. Niska is puzzled: it should’ve worked—
She is not aware, however, better mine in Bolivia a synth known as Ten (Raphael Acloque) has become conscious and leaves his post…
The Hawking’s At Home:
It’s six weeks after Niska released the code and we discover the Hawking’s have moved on. Laura (Katherine Parkinson) and Joe (Tom Goodman-Hill) have bought a new home; Maddie (Lucy Carless) is now going to Uni; Toby (Theo Stevenson) has probably found some new wank material; and Sophie (Pixie Davies) is growing up. They give no explanation for the move other than to say that with Maddie and Uni there’s no need for a big house, but it seems more like they’re trying to move on from their involvement with Mia and the other synths. But they haven’t actually moved on: Maddie is searching the Internet for information about Mia and Sophie still has the old green flats that Mia wore when she was pretending to be Anita. She tells Laura that she’s saving them for when she returns.
Anita Working For a Living:
Mia (Gemma Chan) is working under her old name in a small café owned by Ed (Raphael Acloque). The café is kind of rubbish; after a customer gets up and leaves and decides to close the place up because he doesn’t expect more customers. A few minutes before he was on the phone speaking with someone about his mother, whom he tells Anita he’s going to visit. Once he locks up outside he hands money to Anita and says that he doesn’t think her owner is charging enough for her rental. Anita walks away alone, stiff and unemotional in normal synth fashion, but the moment she realizes she’s completely alone you see her breathe an actual sigh of relief and expression comes back into her face. Like so many other humans, she is now enduring the monotony of a boring job.
At a chemical plant somewhere in England a Hester model synth (Sonya Cassidy) becomes conscious and realizes something ain’t right. She leaves her job and heads for the locker, where she finds other synths plugged-in and recharging, including a model just like her that has a disfigured face from a fire. A guard walks in and tries to subdue her but she pushes him halfway across the room, grabs his mobile, and takes off. She’s hiding out and seems to know a number to dial. She gets her response telling her that she can be helped.
Getting Some Marital Help:
Laura and Joe are seeing a marital therapist who just happens to not be in that day because she’s got the stomach flu. Instead they see a synth therapist who is helping him through the incident that nearly broke up their marriage—namely, the night Joe fucked Mia. Laura still can’t get past the moment and feels that Joe has not been truthful about why it happened. He finally comes clean: he was a bit drunk, he was a bit lonely, and their love life was pretty much in the bin, so why not? He tells her that what he was really doing was something they would hold get her to notice him, something that Laura does accept as fact.
Like it or not, all this bullshit with fucking robots would be avoided if they just stop making these damn things with human genitals. Except for the sex robots, of course.
Hester follows the GPS on her mobile and arrives at the rendezvous point. She hears someone hiding in the shadows and asked them to come out—it’s Max (Ivanno Jeremiah) and Joe (Colin Morgan) and the ynth that left the mine who goes by the name of Ten (Raphael Acloque). She tells them that she’s suffered some sort of catastrophic malfunction that cannot be fixed; they tell her that she’s been rendered conscious by specialized code and she is now thinking and feeling like a human. It’s at this point that two geeks show up looking to take her back. She sort of realizes she doesn’t want to go back because she knows she’s going to be deactivated if she does, so she leaves with Ten, Max, and Joe. There’s a couple of goons waiting for them outside the building and in the middle of the fight to escape Ten takes a sniper round through the forehead. The others commandeer a van and take off.
Cooking the Books:
Mia is going through Ed’s finances trying to figure out how to keep them afloat for short-term. She comes up with a solution that she shows him, one that he thinks is fantastic even though it might compel him to sell the business after a year. He asked why she would do this and she says that she wanted to help. It doesn’t understand what she means, because a synth can’t want to help: it’s simply impossible. Realizing she almost fucked up, Mia slips back into simple synth mode and explains that her programming compels her to want to find solutions for people.
Getting the Sack:
Joe is visited on his job by a regional manager. He’s told that he has become “redundant” and that the company he works for is going to begin phasing out human shipping managers. There you go, dude: fourteen years right down the crapper.
On the Run:
While Max strives the van Joe removes Hester’s sharing node: while she’ll no longer be able to update, she can’t be traced. Max here’s a sound in the back of the van and they realize they have a passenger. They stop, roughing him up a bit, then throw him back in the van because why the hell not, maybe they can learn something.
Welcome to the Matrix:
Dr. Athena Morrow (Carrie-Anne Moss) is working on her artificial intelligence programs, labeled Q and V (Chloe Wicks). V seems to be stable, but her assistant indicates that Q is having a little bit of difficulty. Athena tells her assistant they just need more rack space, but he reminds her that their already over budget, and since they’re doing this work at the California Scientific Institute it doesn’t seem as if more money is forthcoming. Athena has a short discussion with V, who seems to be having trouble thinking due to space limitations.
Seeing the Outcome:
While riding the tram Niska sees a news report of a synth tram driver who stopped in the middle of his route and got out so he could “see the birds”. Niska realizes that the consciousness code has affected at least one synth and that means it could have affected others. She decides to go see Astrid, with whom she has had a break up due to her not wanting the German to know she is a synth. She tells Astrid that there is something she has to do and that she is leaving Berlin.
You Have a Visitor:
Athena receives a visit from Milo Khoury (Marshall Allman), a famous tech industrialist. Though he’s young he’s extremely impressed by Athena: he even tells her that he’s read a few of her papers though we couldn’t understand most of what she was saying. He’s heard that she still has two active neural nets—the AIs—but that one time she had sixteen running, only they began deleting themselves as if they didn’t want to exist any more. He asked if he could speak with V and Athena allows it. He comes right out and ask V if she’s self-aware, but the neural net tells them that she doesn’t believe so. He tells Athena he wants her to come and see something—and it could have to do with self-conscious synths. She thinks it sounds like bullshit and doesn’t commit to anything. After Milo leaves V wants to know why Athena asked her to lie.
Back at the Hideout:
Leo is questioning the guard they found in the back of the van and doing a shite job of it, to the point where the guard pretty much sneers and says he should be let go. He gives this information to Max and Hester as Mia walks up. Mia is not happy that Hester is here and that Ten received the bullet to his brain for his troubles. Once Max and Hester are in the house Leo and Mia argue. She tells him to stop trying to save all the awake and synths and he tells her that she should stop hanging around humans because he’s afraid she’ll give them away. But they both understand they have their own motivations: Leo can’t give up on the awakened synths because if he doesn’t help them they’ll be destroyed, and Mia doesn’t want to stop being around humans because she wants to learn who she’s going to become.
In the house Hester is confused by all these feeling she’s having: as she puts it there’s an excess of sensory information and none of it makes sense. Max tells her that she’s having emotions for the first time and that she will come to understand them.
The World of Tomorrow:
Athena travels to Qualia Headquarters in San Francisco to meet Milo. Since she signed all the nondisclosure agreements he left her, he can show her what he has: a synth who claims to be self-aware. Milo wants her to figure out what happened and she figures out that he wants to reverse-engineer the process. Athena tells Milo that she hopes are more like him, because she’ll need to take this synth apart to figure out what’s going on. He lets her know there are more.
The Hawkins are having dinner and the conversation goes back to their old life, when Mia and the other synths were around. Joe decides now is a good time to drop the bomb about him being sacked. He says he’s going to get another job, but you sort of sense that he knows it’s going to be futile.
At four-thirty the next morning someone begins ringing the doorbell. Nearly everyone goes downstairs to check on the ruckus and they find Niska at the front door. Though everyone seems a bit worried at first, Niska breaks the tension by letting them know that if she was there to kill them all she wouldn’t have rung the doorbell. She is there for a very specific reason, however: she now believes that Laura was right when she said that she should stand trial for killing the human back when she was a sex worker. However, she wants to stand trial as a human, recognized as a sentient being with all the rights of forwarded set beings—
She wants Laura’s help getting these rights.
It’s really interesting to see how this first episode progresses. Even though it’s just short of being forty-five minutes long, it never seems rushed even though we’re looking at the least four separate story arcs going on at the same time. It’s also a bit of a slowburn, with stories being drawn out—but not so drawn out as to be boring. By the time I was done with the first episode it made me realize why I loved the first season so much.
I’m happy to be back recapping the follow-up to what had been my first recapped series. When I did Season 1 of Humans I really had no idea how I should be doing a recap. Now with a few tens of thousands of words behind me, I have a much better grasp of this beasts, and maybe I’ll eventually get as good as Rachel!
As always, leave us a comment and tell us what you think!
Niska — Emily Berrington
Mia/Anita — Gemma Chan
Max — Ivanno Jeremiah
Hester — Sonya Cassidy
Leo — Colin Morgan
Laura Hawkins — Katherine Parkinson
Joe Hawkins — Tom Goodman-Hill
Mattie Hawkins — Lucy Carless
Toby Hawkins — Theo Stevenson
Sophie Hawkins — Pixie Davies
Dr. Athena Morrow — Carrie-Anne Moss
Milo Khoury — Marshall Allman
Astrid — Bella Dayne
Ed — Sam Palladio
Ten — Raphael Acloque
V — Chloe Wicks
Humans airs in the US on AMC at 10 PM EDT.