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Recaps / Television PopWrapped | Recaps

Humans: 01x01 Pilot

Rebecca Haslam | PopWrapped Author

Rebecca Haslam

06/30/2015 12:25 pm
PopWrapped | Recaps
Humans: 01x01 Pilot | Humans
Media Courtesy of amc.com

After a record breaking launch three weeks ago in the UK (the show drew 4 million viewers, the highest debut ratings figure for an original drama on Channel 4), Humans has finally made it's way to the States and the Synths are ready to take over TV!

The show begins as, within a tech factory, row upon row of distinctly human looking robots are lined up. Toys these robots certainly are not and, as viewers will soon discover, they have a job (or several) to do.

Fed up of doing the housework, the first character within the show to purchase a synth is Joe Hawkins, played by Tom Goodman-Hill. The synth in question is later named Anita and portrayed brilliantly by the stunning Gemma Chan, complete with creepy, unblinking stare.

Other synths meanwhile are hard at work too - handing out newspapers and picking up litter; they're keen to be both informative and environmentally friendly don't you know?

Unsurprisingly, Joe's wife, Laura (Katherine Parkinson) upon her return home, is a little shocked to find the often messy house neat and tidy, the usual pile of shoes in the hall now perfectly lined up, and is worried about her childrens' reaction to the new addition. "It'll mess with their heads" she warns Joe, not that he's paying a single ounce of attention.

Anita is soon settled into her new home life, much to the chagrin of Laura and prepares breakfast for her new family. Laughing along to Joe's jokes with a freakishly creepy giggle, she is only silenced when ordered to do so.

As odd as the new family dynamic is, the show really picks up as Anita is seen lurking in the background of almost every central scene - wherever Laura is, there she is too. Daughter Mattie (Lucy Carless) uses Anita as an excuse not to study her way towards becoming a doctor. In one of the episodes' best delivered lines, with an unmistakable hint of envy and frustration, she simply hisses: "That'd take me seven years, but by then you'd be able to turn any old synth into a brain surgeon in seven seconds."

A chap named Leo (Colin Morgan) is then seen making a desperate attempt to get his synths back, but it is only via flashback that viewers are able to discover a little more about who he is and why he's in the precarious position he is right now. By going back five weeks, we see Leo and Anita, along with a couple of her friends walking through the woods - nothing particularly unusual there - but then they're dragged into a car. Are Anita and her friends stolen synths or about to be part of black market synth sale? The show is certainly raising a lot of questions.

Away from the Hawkins family, Dr. George Millican has a synth that's six years old and in desperate need of an upgrade. However, George is adamant his synth will remain as it is. With great sentimentality and emotion delivered by William Hurt, we discover it's keeping the memory of his late wife alive thanks to conversations regarding toast and apricot jam. It's a touching reminder of how, robot or not, humanity struggles to let go of the things and the people we hold dear.

The episode draws to a close with a sequence of spooky, slightly odd scenes. Firstly, there's synth Simon who gives the girlfriend of his owner physiotherapy then carries her off to the bath, then the discovery of a lap-dancing club staffed by synths (anyone a little creeped out by that?) and finally, the sight of Anita, in the dead of night, carrying the Hawkins' youngest child, Sophie, off into the darkness.

This first episode leaves viewers scratching their heads and eager for more. What is Anita doing with Sophie? Since when can/do synths perform strip teases and the like? And finally, are the sythns as robotic as their manufacturers say they are? My answer to that one is looking like a resounding 'No'.  Bring on next week!

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