I’ve been looking forward to this premiere ever since I’d first read the premise last year. HUMANS is set in an alternate present day where synthetic robots can be purchased to make life easier. In this first episode, we see the affects of having a Synth in the home through three different households. We also learn that not all Synths are the same and someone is hunting those that are different.
A group of Synths are stored in a large warehouse. After a worker closes up and leaves, one of the Synths breaks form and looks up at the moon visible through a skylight.
Joe Hawkins struggles to get work done, cook, and see after his three children while his wife, Laura, is out of town on business. They’ve been playing tag of sorts. She calls, but doesn’t leave a message. Instead she texts him she’s still stuck in court and will call again the next day. Note: She was not working at this point. She was in a hotel, sitting on a bed with rumpled sheets. Hmmm. Later, we see she has missed several calls from home.
Frustrated, Joe takes his youngest (Sophie) shopping for a Synth. As the salesman unzips the Synth’s covering, Sophie wonders if she will be pretty. She is. Very pretty, which Joe notices. She boots up upon his vocal command, and by shaking hands he is recognized as her primary owner.
At home, Sophie’s older siblings (Toby and Mattie) are shocked to see they now own a Synth. Toby looks like he caught an instant crush, while Mattie remains a mopey teenager.
Laura is on her way home, walking through the city past Synths being used for all kinds of services: some clean the streets, others hand out flyers for businesses, and quite a few people are walking and chatting with their personal Synths. Laura doesn’t seem to like them very much, even going so far as to slap the hand of one trying to give her a flyer.
So, it’s not surprising that upon returning home, she isn’t happy to see one in her house. Joe and Laura fight about it in the next room. He needs help if she’s going to continue to stay away longer than anticipated. He puts his foot down and says they are keeping the Synth, who Sophie officially names ‘Anita.’ When Anita recites her name as Anita Hawkins to Laura, Laura doesn’t look like she cared for that at all.
That night, Laura unpacks a photo album from her suitcase. After gazing at a photo of a mother and young daughter, she hides it in the closet. She’s startled to find Anita in her bedroom, offering to unpack for her. Laura declines.
Anita prepares the family a massive breakfast, but Laura reminds the children that Anita isn’t their slave. There’s an awkward and creepy moment at the table when Anita laughs a bit too long and hard over a silly joke Joe told.
It’s clear Laura feels like a shitty mother. It doesn’t help that Mattie pretty much implies it when Laura apologizes for staying away longer than she planned, which seems to happen a lot. Fresh off her argument with Mattie, Laura catches Anita watching Sophie while she sleeps. Laura tells Anita to no longer check on Sophie. That’s her job.
Before bed, Laura asks if Anita was purchased to replace her. Joe says she was purchased in order to free up some of Laura’s time so they can have her back. She insists she hasn’t gone anywhere. But when Mattie gets a failing grade and Joe and Laura try to talk to her about it, it’s obvious Laura doesn’t know how to be a present parent.
Anita is reading Sophie a bedtime story when Laura tries to take over. Sophie prefers Anita because Anita “doesn’t rush.” Laura ushers Sophie off to take a bath and tells Anita she doesn’t want her touching Sophie. Laura is the Queen of Petty.
While Anita prepares dinner, Laura questions her about her thoughts on the classical music playing. Anita doesn’t under the questions. The whole conversation seems to be a way for Laura to assure herself that Anita is no more than a machine. Then, Anita accidentally burns Laura’s arm with a hot pan when Sophie comes running into the kitchen. Laura screams at her daughter to go to bed.
The family watches TV while Joe goes through the instructions that came with Anita. He slyly pockets a red package with “Adult 18+” options. Later that night, Laura finds Anita outside, looking up at the moon. She scolds her for being outside the house while they are sleeping. Anita asks if Laura agrees that the moon is lovely, then goes back inside. While Anita charges, Laura tells Joe something isn’t right. Anita shouldn’t be asking those types of questions. Joe tells Laura Anita is not going back and returns to bed.
Later, Anita watches Sophie sleep and then walks down the street with the sleeping child in the middle of the night.
FIVE WEEKS AGO
A man named Leo walks down a dirt road surrounded by woods. He’s accompanied by four Synths, including Anita. After each Synth reports how much battery life they have left, Leo decides they’ll camp for the night nearby. They split up with Leo and Max going off in search of water while Anita and the two other Synths set up their tents. When Leo returns to the campsite he finds it empty. The missing Synths are being dragged into a van parked nearby. Leo and Max give chase, but the van speeds away.
Leo approaches a man he knows deals in Synths – stealing, wiping, and reselling them. After a few threats, the man gives Leo the damn of someone who may know where Cam (Anita) is: Silas. Max worries Mia (Anita) may be gone for good since she’s the only one of the missing three who hasn’t made contact – they’ve since heard from Fred and Niska, who were each resold. Later, Fred calls Leo and says he’ll be at their rendezvous point in an hour.
Fred is now working in a food processing plant, but he’s confronted by a man named Hobbs who knows Fred is pretending to be like other Synths. They found his hidden cell phone (used to call Leo, no doubt). Hobbs warns Fred not to run, but he does anyway. He’s shot in the back.
Hobbs has Fred in a lab and another man demands the opportunity to examine him. The company he works for has been funding Hobbs’ operation so he feels it’s the least Hobbs can do. He doesn’t seem to really believe Hobbs’ claim that some Synths (like Fred) can think and feel. Hobbs explains that Synths like Fred are the singularity – the point where machines take over, because why would they want to be slaves?
Leo visits a brothel that specializes in Synths. He pays to be in a private room with Niska. She thinks he’s taking her away, but he says Fred was caught and he needs more time. Since no one has heard from Mia (Anita) in five weeks, she also tells Leo that maybe it’s time to admit she’s gone for good. She then unbuckles his pants and hits him in the face a few times to make it appear as if they had sex. She’s not happy to be staying, but he promises he’ll get her out soon.
Later, as Leo and Max prepare to sleep in a auto scrap junkyard, we see Leo is injured on his side. He vows to get Mia back, because they love each other.
A health services inspector visits Dr. Millican (William Hurt) to check on his health and do a check-up on his government-issued Synth. He claims the Synth is out shopping and the inspector is surprised to note Millican has D-Series (an original) Synth. He’s eligible for an upgrade, which the inspector has brought with her. Millican refuses (No offense to Synth Vera) and insists he’s fine with the one has, who we later see had been hiding in a closet the whole time.
His Synth, Odi, has been with him a long time, from back when his wife was still around. Odi was like their son and despite the fact that he’s clearly malfunctioning, Dr. Millican can’t bear to be without him.
At the supermarket, Odi malfunctions and starts breaking jars of jam. When a store clerk tries to stop him, she’s accidentally knocked down. Another store employee turns Odi off despite Millican’s pleas. When the police who deal with Synth crimes arrive, DS Pete Drummond tells Millican his Synth needs to be scrapped for harming a human – it’s the law. He feels bad for Millican, though, and allows him to take Odi in himself.
At home, Millican gets Odi to power on, but he’s glitchy. George is unwilling to let Odi go because he’s able to provide memories and stories of George’s dead wife, Mary. George is ill and losing his memory.
At home, Drummond’s wife is being cared for by a home nurse Synth, who is a young and handsome man. She’s paralyzed from the waist down and Drummond appears jealous as he watches the Synth carry his wife off for her bath, the two chatting and laughing as they go.
- I was so impressed with this premiere that I’ve decided to podcast the season. You can leave thoughts to be read on the podcast on our Facebook post for this recap.
- When Joe and Sophie were leaving the store, Joe was eyeing Anita’s butt. When the salesman ran up to him and said, “More bum stuff,” he totally caught Joe looking, right? Funny that the “Adult options” were in the packet that he almost forgot to give him.
- Are we supposed to feel sorry for Laura? She’s pretty much the worse.
- During a television interview, a man describes the Asimov settings in each Synth, which is supposed to make it impossible for them to hurt humans. We know this is not present in the different Synth’s as Nishka was ready to shank a bitch when they heard a strange noise in the woods.
- Anita seems to have memories of being in a car underwater. So much for them not having memories or nightmares.