Proximity Season 2 Episode 4
Angelica Jade Bastién writes: Mia and Niska are mirror opposites of one another. While Niska is icy, reserved, and untrusting, Mia is an open wound of emotion. Mia demonstrates a level of care and empathy for human beings that sometimes seems to border on gullibility. Her actions can read as the naïve desires of a young girl so eager for experience, she doesn’t stop to think about what danger she’s tripping into. Both approaches — Mia’s openness and Niska’s suspicion — lead to complications, as synths become romantically entangled with human beings.
“Episode 4” wastes no time exploring the current state of Ed and Mia’s fledgling relationship. The two are naked in bed after having sex for the first time (although the actual act is only spoken about, never seen). I wish episode writer Joe Barton had parsed out this milestone in their relationship further. I understand why Mia is drawn to Ed in a broader sense: He’s the only human being she interacts with on a regular basis, and she’s hungry for the chance to experience the world as humans do. But beyond finding Mia attractive and sweet, I’m not sure why Ed has so quickly fallen into this relationship. Mia starting a full-blown romance with a human and having consensual sex for the first time should be monumental. Instead, it plays as an afterthought.
There are a few more interesting threads I’m curious for Humans to explore — namely, can Mia feel physical pleasure? Can she have an orgasm? Ed fumbles while asking her those questions, but it’s never clear from her answers if she can. “I feel happy,” she says, her face marked with tranquil contentment. When he presses her a bit further, she responds, “I like the proximity.” Not exactly what you’d say after a night of great passion. But Mia doesn’t understand the language of passion, physically or emotionally. Watching this brief scene highlights how Mia often feels more worried about the desires of others than about her own. Her interactions with Ed have a sacrificial quality that can feel disconcerting. She gladly accompanies him to the care home where his mother, Diane, lives. She acts like a normal synth, even returning to work in the café. She shows no sign of apprehension when Danny (Eric Kofi-Abrefa) needles her with odd questions, nodding to his curiosity after seeing Mia and Ed in an intimate situation in the previous episode.
Mia is pretty much love-drunk. She’s so lost in the moment, she doesn’t worry about what’s next. Throughout the entire episode, I felt a sense of dread watching her say and do things that reflect her consciousness, even though anyone could easily walk in and discover her secret. A relationship between Ed and Mia could never work. The moment they step out the door, he has to pretend to be her owner. Mia doesn’t need romance — she needs a friend who will help her further grow into her own humanity. … (read more)