Sunday, 28 June 2015

Humans — Episode 3: 28-6-2015

28th June, 2015.

You know, it’s really a quiet Sunday night.


Quite a perfect one, actually: especially when you consider I’ve spent some of it with my family: including my four year-old nephew, Jude.

Who can ask a zinger or two of a funny question, some times.

Some other time, maybe … !

At ANY rate … it’s a quiet Sunday night: when I’m not working.   One where I’d devote a lot of time to some socialising — possibly — and catching either a movie.

Or, in tonight’s case, the third episode of a TV series.

In this particular case, the third episode of Channel 4’s new science fiction drama, Humans.

It’s seriously good stuff … 

Now, I mentioned — last week — that I’d seen the first two episodes of the series.

And thoroughly enjoyed them

This week is no different.

At the end of last week, we saw Laura — Katherine Parkinson — start on a car drive: to take the family Synth, Anita — Gemma Chan — back to the shop.

The first two episodes had shown us quite how unnerved Laura had become, in her dealings with Anita.

Tonight’s opening … ?

Shows us a frantic Toby — Theo Stevenson — bicycling after his mother to stop her.

Only to be saved by Anita, as he’s almost hit by a truck.

Something that earns Anita a reprieve AND an apology, from Laura.

In other strands?

Dr Millican — William Hurt — decides he needs to get Ody away from the house: and stages a car accident to do so.

The technophobic DS Drummond … ?   Is OFF the investigation of death of a client: after having assaulted a reporter who’s getting too near the truth.

And after he’s told his boss he feels the client’s death is murder: rather than the accident his boss claims it is.

Either way, the death is the responsibility of Niska: on the run, after stealing some clothes, and coloured contact lenses†.

Niska … has managed both to contact Leo and Max.   AND pick up an unsuspecting bloke in a bar.

A man she shows every sign of being happy to kill: until she realises he’s a single father with a daughter.

In all of this … ?

The fact Mattie, the eldest daughter — and child — has managed to hack into Anita’s brain, copied every bit of code she can find, and post it to a Synth hacker’s site — to find out what’s going on inside Anita’s head — is almost incidental.

The fact Leo — Colin Morgan — and his Synth, Max — Ivanno Jeremiah — have found this post, and worked out roughly where in London it was posted from, is almost as incidental.

Until we realise that the woman, Mia, that Leo and Max are looking, ASLO knows Niska … AND seems to be Anita … ?

Certainly kept me watching … 


Now … 

Good and enjoyable … ?

Oh, LORD, yes … 

It’s strikes me Channel 4 are sitting on a hit, here.

And a science fiction hit of an old fashioned flavour, as well.

One that has emotional depth to it: the relationship between the human and synth characters shows us that, clearly.

But old fashioned it the sense that Humans wants to have a look at us: and what we do with technology.

And seems to want to ask the question I feel the genre repeatedly asks.

‘What if … ?’

What IF humanity managed to invent an incredibly lifelike robot.

What would we doing?   How would we be reacting?

Humans — with it’s Synth staffed brothels, illegally souped up synths, self aware synths and synths with the safeties off* — is making a good stab at answering this.

*        The series makes the very good point that the synths can’t harm a human: and can only lie, if human health — including mental health, and emotional well-being — demands it.   It makes the very good point that we — as humans — like technology with safety features.   A knife has a sheath.   Cars have both brakes and ignition keys.   Guns have safety catches and can’t be shot until they’re loaded with ammunition.   Computers have parental controls: although I’m blowed if I know how to turn on mine!   Even something like an electrical socket has an off switches.   And, in a nod to the man who first raised this point, by writing the Three Laws … ?   The series calls them Asimov circuits.

†        In the series, The Synth characters all have green iris: of a noticeably artificial shade.

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