Humans, Season 1, Episode 4: Sex, Lies, and Mysterious Synths

Episode 4.Niska (Emily Berrington)

We’re at the half-way point of Humans, and things are finally starting to gel together in a way that’s bringing the separate threads together. But in order to get to that point where things feel like they’re gelling, we gotta suffer through some extremely awkward interactions—as well as answering the old questions, “What does man really want?”

Before we get to the Hawkins Family—who are still adjusting to Anita in their own ways—we get to the other threads:

First, there’s Pete, Mrs. Pete, and Simon. Pete is checking up with Karen, and he wants to look at the case files on the synth murder, which Karen is letting him know is verboten. This puts him in a bad mood, which means he’s gonna have words with his wife, Jill, and splits for a while. When he comes back Jill is giving him the bum rush out the door, and Pete is like centimeters from going nuts on Simon, because, well, why not? He hates the bastard because he’s what Pete can never be. Before he starts to beat on Mr. Helper Synth, Jill reminds him that they’ll lose their deposit if he damages Simon.

So Pete is out on the street—sorta. Karen comes in and finds him sleeping on the sofa in their office, and she makes an offer for him to crash out at her place. This eventually leads to Pete meeting with the journalist he beat up with the offer that if the guy drops all charges, then he’ll feed him what he can about the synth murder. Scratch mine, scratch yours, all kinds of scratchin’ about to go down—

Hobb, Niska, and Joe are about to come together in a strange way, which must all start, believe it or not, with Mattie Hawkins. Little Miss Synth Hacker wants to speak with Anita first thing in the morning—she wants to know more about her flipping out during the hack. Anita gives her the synth blow off, but Mattie feels something’s wrong, and Laura hears all this go down.

RT: Mattie is reminding me of the student in the Fear The Walking Dead trailer. They should all be listening to her, but they won’t so shit will go down waaaay worse than it should…

That night Toby and Mattie are going to a party, and Anita helps Horrible Henry tidy up before going out. Oh, yeah: just lead him on. At the party a girl, a real girl, more or less hits on Toby, tells him if he goes outside with her she’ll make it “worth his while,” but Tobes has eyes for someone more—synthetic. Loser.

RT: LOL! That awkward moment when the plastic is more appealing than the real deal. At least he will have plenty of material to keep his therapist employed busy.

Back at the Hawkins stead Joe is looking to get together with Laura, but she’s heading out on biz. On the way out the door Laura asks Anita if she ever gets scared, and Anita says everyone does. But synths aren’t “everyone”, and Laura can just smell the bullshit heading her way.

Laura is out checking on a client who is suing a theater who kicked her and her synth out, but Joe is thinking the worse. He thinks about this “Tom” dude, and thinks Laura is out with him, and he’s doing his damnedest to have Anita—who, you know, can track email and GPS stuff—find out where Laura’s at, and he’s deep into the wine and feeling the blues, and while Anita is checking out her owner’s manual, Joe pulls out the “Adult Options” and go on about unlocking Anita’s “passion” and, um, he just wants to know if she’s interested in finding out if she’s passionate.

RT: Hahahaha! FINALLY, he opens up the can of worms unlocks her full potential 😉

This brings in a three-way montage of Joe “unlocking” Anita, of Mattie getting crazy on some of her party mates who’ve shut off a female hostess synth and are taking her upstairs like she’s a passed out girl to do pretty much what scumbag dudes do to passed out girls, and Laura interviewing her female client and her male synth—whom the client swears “feels” things—and after a bit of questions comes to understand that not only does her client feel her synth is more than a machine, it’s also true that synths don’t feel fear—

But Anita is feeling Joe! Oh, yeah, big time, and in what is probably the worst robot sex scene ever, ‘cause what goes down is about as erotic as a guy bangin’ a Real Doll and painful to watch. And if Joe is unlocking Anita’s passion, he’s doing a piss-poor job—

"This is my O Face, Joe.  My 'Oh, get this shit over with' face."

“This is my O Face, Joe. My ‘Oh, get this shit over with’ face.”

RT: Burn is when you’re so bad at sex even the paid help can’t look animated.

When it’s all said and done, between the party dudes wanting to screw a shut-down synth, Joe looking like he was caught masturbating in the living room—which is pretty much what he was doing—and Anita unemotionally asking if she can clean herself out, we find the answer to what men and maybe a few women want—and it goes back to something Stephen King said during a review of The Stepford Wives in this book Danse Macabre. The answer to the question of what men and women want is, “A robot with sex organs.” And this brings up a question I have: if synths in Humans have genitals, then are are they going to replace us completely?

RT: Does that make us no better than lab rats then? After all, if we give the robots genitals we are basically rubbing ourselves out of existence.

Now, to Hobb and Leo . . . Hobb finds out about Leo and Max through the dude who did the mod on Anita. Max and Leo contact and meet Mattie about the code she pulled out of Anita, but when she books because Leo comes off like a strange-ass stalker, they go see Doctor Millican. The doc looks at the code and realizes there code inside the code, and Doc Millican wants to know who Leo really is. It turns out he’s really the son of Dr. David Elster, the man who created the sentient synths. At the same time we find out Leo is dead . . .

Later Leo runs the code on himself and tells Max he discovered “life”. Um, okay, dead dude.

But what about Niska, you say? She’s still on the street, still passing as human, and about the only one not having sex right now. She gets invited to a Smash Party, which is nothing more than humans beating on synths with baseball bats. Those synths can’t fight back—but Niska can, and she beats the shit out of a few people before the joint clears, Hobb shows up, and she gets a call from Leo about “life”. Desperate times demand desperate synths take desperate actions, so she grabs a human, holds a nail gun to his head, and uses her human shield to waltz out of the joint. Before she leaves she uses the nail gun on her hostage’s hand, fastening him to a board, so I guess you can say she did nail a guy . . .


Back with the Hawkins, and the family have Anita at the shop getting checked out, because Laura knows there’s something wrong with her. Joe is shitting bricks because he’s afraid the game is up for him, but there’s good news and bad news. First, the good: there’s nothing wrong with Anita. Now, the bad: she’s fourteen years old. Back home Joe wants to dump Anita, but Laura wants to keep her because she knows she’s different. Laura wants to know who Anita was; Anita doesn’t understand the question; Laura calls bullshit.

Last thing now . . . Back at Karen’s Pete gets the sofa and she goes upstairs. She closes the door, sits, reaches down her throat, pulls out a sack with the wine she’s drank with Pete, and bins said sack. Let’s say it together: Synth Cop! Say it again! LOUDER! Time to call her Deckard, I guess . . .


Interesting Trivia:

The idea of an android having a food sack was used as a plot point in the Issac Asimov novel, The Caves of Steel. R. Daneel Olivaw pointed out that the food in his sack was undigested and still eatable, so dig in? Also, the Asimov novel The Robots of Dawn, which also features R. Daneel Olivaw, involved as a major plot point that a human woman was involved in a sexual relationship with an android, and that she felt he was so human she considered him her husband.

The coworker who puts Laura onto the client with the synth suit is played by Naoko Mori, and the moment I saw her I yelled, “It’s Tosh!” Just as I suspected, Torchwood is behind the whole damn thing, and they’re probably watching Laura to get to Anita. We can expect The Doctor to show up any episode now . . .


The Cast:

Laura Hawkins — Katherine Parkinson
Joe Hawkins — Tom Goodman-Hill
Mattie Hawkins — Lucy Carless
Toby Hawkins — Theo Stevenson
Sophie Hawkins — Pixie Davies
Synth Anita Hawkins — Gemma Chan


Dr. George Millican — William Hurt
Synth Odi — Will Tudor
Synth Vera — Rebecca Front


Detective Sergeant Pete Drummond — Neil Maskell
Detective Inspector Karen Voss — Ruth Bradley


Leo — Colin Morgan
Synth Max — Ivanno Jeremiah
Synth Niska — Emily Berrington


Professor Edwin Hobb — Danny Webb


Humans airs in the US on AMC at 9 PM EDT.

About Cassidy Frazee

There's a lot about me you'd probably like to know; if so, ask. You'll be surprised at some of the things I might tell you . . .
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