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Humans Recap: Do the Right Thing

Gemma Chan as Mia. Photo: Nick Wall/Kudos/CH4/AMC

Gemma Chan as Mia. Photo: Nick Wall/Kudos/CH4/AMC

‘It’s time for them to fear us.’

Episode 7 Season 2 Episode 7

 writes: The moment Hester was introduced earlier this season, it was apparent Humans was headed for a violent reckoning. Throughout this episode, Hester uses her revolutionary aim for synth freedom as an excuse for her murderous tendencies. It may be true that power is rarely wrestled from the hands of the elite without some blood being spilled, but Hester doesn’t just want to liberate synths like herself. She wants to punish the humans that have hurt them.

Any time an opportunity presents itself to exert her strength over a human, Hester eagerly grasps it. Just look at the moment she tightens her grip around Mattie, hoping to scare her into handing over the code that would wake up all synths simultaneously. The only reason Hester didn’t kill Mattie is because Mia was there to stop her. Watching Hester, I wondered: Where does the line exist between necessary force and brutal sadism? How many other conscious synths might exist without remorse toward humanity? And what does freedom even mean for conscious synths?

The answer to that last question changes depending on who you’re asking. Every synth has a different relationship to their own consciousness. Mia was at first empathetic and maybe even too kind for her own good. Now she’s hardened emotionally in the face of Ed’s betrayal, deciding to throw herself into helping Leo free other synths.

Mattie: “If you do this, they’ll only hate you more, fear you more.”
Mia: “It’s time for them to fear us.”

Leo and Mia are so focused on simply acquiring freedom, they haven’t stopped to think what that would freedom mean. It isn’t like they will easily find a place to exist in the world. Just look at Odi: After failing to find purpose, he effectively commits suicide in mind, if not body, by erasing the code that gave him consciousness. He leaves a suicide note for Mattie that says in part, “I long for the past. I had a purpose. […] It is a great gift but I cannot accept it.”

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After Niska failed to gain legal rights, she’s fallen back into her relationship with Astrid. But even romance holds no peace, since Laura accidentally leads the authorities to Niska. How is a life on the run with Astrid something worth living for? What will happen to their relationship as Astrid ages but Niska doesn’t? A lot of the decisions by synths seem naïve at best. It’s almost as if no one in the series can see beyond their next step. Well, anyone except for Karen, who only sees a long future of pretending to be something she desperately wants to be: human.

Karen’s ability to chart out her own future is a curse. She knows she will never truly be human in the ways that count — and even worse, she has to wear the face of a dead woman. So she decides her only course of action is to go to Athena for help. It’s a bold gambit: Karen’s yearning for freedom from the machinery and immortality of her synth body leads her to reveal her true identity to Athena as the recreation of Dr. Elster’s dead wife. “I don’t want to wear a dead woman’s face anymore,” Karen explains. She hopes that Athena can eventually find a way to transfer her consciousness into a human body. She wants to be able to experience things that remain out of reach: biologically having a child, growing old. It’s fascinating to witness Karen yearn so profoundly for the very thing that humans like Renie and Sophie shun.

At one point, Sophie explains to Renie, “Synths are clean and perfect […] And you don’t have to feel anything anymore.” Synths, at least when they aren’t conscious, represent a simplicity that the fraught and thorny human condition doesn’t have. … (read more)

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