Humans Season 1 Episode 4 Review: “Episode 4”


Last week, I challenged Humans to expand the smaller plotlines, and it didn’t succeed at all this week. However, it kept its shocking storylines. The themes regarding abuse and Synths skyrocketed from last week, and provided a slightly disturbing and glaring commentary on the treatment of women as objects.

Humans establishes a world where synthetic humans exist and humans react to them in different ways. Some humans fight for synthetic rights, and some humans act as if their Synths are life-size toys to use and abuse as they please. In Niska’s case, a Synth fights for other Synths who cannot fight for themselves.  In a stunning turn of events, Karen, Pete’s partner, is a Synth who has beautifully passed the Turing test.

Mattie and Toby have an interesting relationship, and they go to a house party together (and I guess Laura and Joe know they’re going and what’s going on at the party). Toby’s storyline explores the concept of romantic feelings for Synths, which seems like a believable possibility for a young man of this world. I adore Mattie, who challenges two boys who plan to abuse a housekeeping Synth. Even though she does not agree with the presence of Synths, and is obviously suspicious of Anita, she still understands that there is a line that no one should cross, especially when the abused object in question has a gender identity.

The fact that Synths look so much like humans begs the question of what makes people human and what makes people treat you like a real person. Niska was able to blend in with new clothes and new contacts, and one woman believes she is a Synth. Howard, can appreciate plays, when he really only understands the storyline.

In a disappointing turn of events, Joe exposes human vices when left alone with Anita and her 18+ settings. We have come to a place in the story where we know Joe is not the only person to abuse a Synth like this, but what is worse is that we know Anita feels things the same as a human. Anita cannot unlive those moments. When Laura asks Synth Howard if he ever feels fear he responds, “I am not built to feel fear,” but when she asks Anita she responds, “I think everyone does, Laura.”

Furthermore, we finally see our characters merging in this episode. Mattie meets up with Leo and Max, and she promptly runs away (who wouldn’t?). Then Leo and Max find Dr. George, and he helps them discover a code that was meant for a Synth to experience. Leo reveals that he is the son of the original Synth creator. Hopefully, more characters will interact with one another, and it will bring on more complex storylines for the smaller characters.

This week’s episode of Humans had some shock value, but it wasn’t enough to really attract my attention for too long. Of course, the acting is pretty amazing every week, and the cinematography is very aesthetically pleasing, but it’s not enough for this show to stand out, unfortunately.

[Photo via AMC]

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