Humans S1E2 - "Episode 2" Review

Following up to its strong premiere episode, "Humans" returned with more of what we fell for in the first episode. The secretive synths were back at it but this time round, the stakes were elevated. The tension between Anita and Laura came to a head, with Laura's paranoia regarding the new Synth growing with each blank stare. Gemma Chan plays Anita's robotic mannerisms with Stepford-wife-like precision. What's great about the writing and flow of plot is that under other circumstances, we would simply side with Laura and that would be the end of it. We would succumb to those same fears of being made obsolete by technology because that's the very reason this genre of science fiction was born. But with one sweet forehead touch between Anita and Leo (Colin Morgan's character) in a flashback, we know that there is far more to Anita than precise household-chore-fulfilling abilities.

The mother-daughter relationship between Laura and Mattie, the eldest daughter, held some interesting developments. Despite the clashes between these two, they are the ones who hold the most in common. A large attribute these two share is their mistrust of Synths, and the feelings of inadequacy coming from them. While Laura's stems from the clash between balancing her professional and personal life, Mattie's is more so the traditional wandering angst of youth. Katherine Parkinson and Lucy Carless make an entirely convincing mother/daughter duo and it's so refreshing to see this type of relationship play out. In fact, "Humans" is ripe with strong female performances.

Emily Berrington was one of our favourite stand-out performances of this episode. With the slightest micro expressions, she communicates such range and depth in her emotions. When an elderly man came into the brothel to seemingly try to find a genuine connection, Niska is nearly overcome by the notion that she can offer up more than her Synthetic flesh. But when he reveals the most insidious tastes, that of the unwilling and underage, Niska flies into a rage and snaps the man like a twig. Now that Niska has broken out of the brothel and cut out her (what we're assuming is a) tracker, we're left eagerly anticipating what sort of havoc she just might wreak next. We're also dying to know whom this "Father" is whom she claimed was the one to teach her emotions.

Could it be Leo? In a surprise twist, Leo is not a human criminal with a propensity for cultivating emotional Synths. Leo himself, is also a Synth! Given Colin Morgan's raw grit in his performance of a man determined to find Anita, the woman(-Synth) he loves, it honestly didn't occur to us that he was a Synth. We're not sure just how long it'll take for Leo and Anita to find one another, but given that knowing smirk Anita showed at the episode's conclusion after learning that she'd be heading back to the factory, we're thinking it'll be sooner rather than later.

Humans airs on Sundays on Channel 4 at 9PM.


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