Humans Recap: Episode 1 — Humans is Back and I Hope Your Sentience Got Soul

Max the Anti-Genie: You Ain't Never Want a Friend Like Me

Humans / Season 3, Episode 1 / AMC

One of the best shows on TV is back! When season 2 of Humans ended you knew the world would never be the same again after what Mattie done did. I’m looking at Mattie like, yo, you came a long way from angsty teenage hacker to holding the fate of the technological world in your hands. I love her because she in an impossible circumstance, having to choose between letting Mia die or forcing the world into a chaos for which ain’t nobody ready. My teen hacker was on Denzel’s team in The Great Debaters and got her Jurnee Smollett on, talking ‘bout how the time for justice is always now. Fast forward to today, the premiere of season 3, and it turns out the rent for justice might be too damn high. Sentience done gave these synths emotion, impulsive decision making, and a body count that puts Mattie on some god-level shit. Mattie got a birth count of hundreds of thousands and a death count of about the same. She’s basically Father Abraham outchea, so let’s just praise the Lord! Raise your right arm and left arm to catch these blessings! Welcome to season 3, my synths!

Gemma Chan as Anita/Mia, Ivanno Jeremiah as Max; group – Humans _ Season 3, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Colin Hutton/Kudos/CH4/AMC

We start out with a montage showing just how bad this shit done gotten. We talking planes falling from the skies, hospitals overrun and unprepared, riots, chaos, deaths in the tens of thousands worldwide – this some extinction-level event shit. I bet all Mattie can think about is just before she pressed “Enter” to bring every synth in the world to life, Max looked her dead ass in the face and said, “I’ll be okay.” Yo if he ever spoke to me again it’d be beef on sight, I’m touching him under the chin. You could get me to press “Enter” but don’t lie to me, b.

Anyway now we got sentient synths in refugee camps because humans are monsters, but we’re also still lazy as fuck so lo and behold we created some new synths to keep serving us. By now you’re looking at the screen like, nah, in 3 months? In 3 months we done went and made new synths while it’s still World War C++ in the streets? Yes, indeed! The same look and feel that you love, minus the pesky emotion that made your last synth tell you to go fuck yourself. They call the new upgrades “orange-eyes,” and oh my god cue the theme music before I see this synth in my nightmares.

We come back to the Hawkins family as they watch the memorial service for the one-year anniversary of the estimated 110,000 lives lost from “Day Zero,” AKA when Mattie pressed “Enter.” Mama Hawkins looking at Mattie like, “you gotta let that shit go,” and Mattie thinking like, “It’ll be okay, he said. Knew I shouldn’t’ve listened to his synth ass.” Over at Robot Refugee Summer Camp, the synths are watching the memorial too and you know they gotta feel some type of way. Even Morpheus gave Neo an option. Hawkins and the gang shoved the red pill down their circuitry, massaged their throats like a dog and got 110,000 people killed in the process. Wait, you think that’s a lot? One of the synths walks up to the flat-screen like it’s NRA TV and smashes that shit to pieces. Daenerys-bot fed the fuck up, got humans out here talking about some 110,000. You know how many my synth people died since Day Zero? Over a hundred million. ‘Das right. One. Hundred. Million.

Ukweli Roach as Anatole, Ivanno Jeremiah as Max, Gemma Chan as Mia – Humans _ Season 3, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Colin Hutton/Kudos/CH4/AMC

iKhaleesi preaching to the masses at Synth Presbyterian like, “what about us?” Green eyes outchea in the congregation all confused ‘cause they thought this was just a surprise birthday party. Turns out don’t nobody care they just turned 1. I mean, I done seent some birthdays like “what the fuck,” but ain’t never been gathered to watch the shame of my birth. Somebody brought cake, read the room, and turned right the fuck back around.

Then after the Mother of Circuits storms off, guess who shows up to tone police? None other than Mister It’ll-Be-Okay. He’s preaching the positivity gospel because he’s got peace like a river in his newly-formed soul, despite the fact they all running on energy efficient mode ‘cause the government shuts off their power grid every day to keep them contained. Max tells her that she musn’t turn to anger, that the humans will eventually accept them. Man, it’s gon’ be a dark ass day when Max learns it’s a cold world out there for a synth. What’s the over-under on Max losing his shit, and that nice smile turns cold and his green eyes turn red? I’ma put the over-under at episode 5, you take your pick. Anyway, for now Max thinks if you love them hard enough, that humans will eventually come around and love you back. Daenerys-bot turns away like, “you synth-ass cornball.”

Holly Earl as Agnes – Humans _ Season 3, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Colin Hutton/Kudos/CH4/AMC

Mia comes over to Max and they get to talking about their lives before Day Zero. Well, Mia is talking about it, at least – Max is like, yo you gotta keep that down, nobody knows we were sentient before Day Zero, we gotta die on that lie. Mia’s like, is it a good idea to lie to our people like that? Max is like, I don’t know, I just like to think things’ll be okay. Apparently they been tryna get published in magazines to connect with the humans but getting turned down by Time, Newsweek, People, Vanity Fair… sounds like Max’d have to spit bars on Sway In the Morning at this point, get Niska and Mia out there on a clean white Bugatti talkin’ ‘bout synth life in the trap.

Polly Pocket-bot rolls up with the synth you let answer the door when the cops come through, and they come with even more bad news. Yet another synth went into the great beyond to find out if sentience came with a soul. Irreversible system failure, he calls it. “Call it death,” Mia says. Pour out some energon for another one ‘cause we at a hundred million and one and counting. Mia walks outside and the camera pans out to show the acres of land they living on, and that shit is not Cedar Pointe.

Elsewhere in suburban England, Joe Hawkins is with the kids, Toby and Sophie. Dude is growing up Amish somewhere in a non-synth community now, and the kids are visiting him on weekends and holidays since his marriage apparently didn’t last him boning a sentient synth on accident. That shit raises a whole ‘nother quandary on what’s considered cheating, but suffice it to say, dude had to call Tyrone. Now he’s just your regular 50-year old divorcee making dad jokes in your synth-free community after your daughter caused the apocalypse. His son Toby suggests he get an orange-eyes to help with the store and Joe talks about it like he’s 1-year sober. “I haven’t even thought of an orange-eyes. Haven’t pictured their smooth skin, how it made me feel – no I don’t remember Mia at all.”

Katherine Parkinson as Laura, Tom Goodman-Hill as Joe – Humans _ Season 3, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Colin Hutton/Kudos/CH4/AMC

But wait, Niska back! She strolls into a bar and it’s got that rainbow feel about it, like people just happy to be free, and then it hits you – this is a synth-humans bar! Love is love, and Niska’s there to pick up her organic boo, Astrid, who’s a bartender there. Astrid gotta pee before they leave and Niska is like, humans are pathetic with their constant need of bodily intake and output. Astrid responds like, I’m looking at our output right now, synth: we built that ass. If Niska could blush she would, but she settles for a smile (and probably some coolant in her nether areas) and tells Astrid she’ll meet her outside. While she’s waiting she sees a dude running away, and just as Astrid comes outside… man, fuck. I don’t even wanna explain this shit, but a bomb goes off and these muhfuckas done ruined Pride. Astrid is still alive, but the people and synthetics inside aren’t as lucky to survive this terror attack against what was meant to be a haven for synths and humans to be together safely. It only takes one look from Niska for you to know it’s about to go down. Last time we saw Niska in season 2 she literally killed somebody by crushing their skull with her bare hands and now, this. It’s about to be war, and woe to the muhfuckas who started it.

Niska (Emily Berrington)

Mama Hawkins picks up the kids from Amish Paradise, making fun of the place as she drives off with her kids and her sustained appreciation for technology. When they get home, Mattie’s gone and left a Dear John letter talking about how she needs a few days. If I had one guess where she’s going, it’s to visit the saddest theme park known to synthetics where Mia and Max live. Mama Hawkins and the kids turn on the TV and see the news about the explosion at the synth-friendly bar. They’re smart enough to know what comes next. Fuck, man. The mere idea of tolerance is almost past damage control.

Little Sophie ain’t there though, she’s back at school where they’re doing the D.A.R.E. program except replace drugs with synths. Samwise rolls up as their special guest for the day and teaches the class how green-eyes are dangerous and terrible, but that orange-eyes are safe and friendly. Sophie like ‘this some bullshit’ but of course she’s sworn to secrecy so she just gotta let that shit fester inside her while they talking about her girl Mia and them. Sophie gotta at least challenge the system with a question though, so she raise her hand like, “what about the green-eyes that are good? Most of them are nice, actually. They’re just like us.” The principal damn near lays an egg right there, shocked and outraged at the suggestion. Sophie 1, bigots 0. Then one of her classmates is like, “don’t mind her, her parents are divorced and synths ruined her family.” Damn, kids be cruel. Tie game.

Pixie Davies as Sophie – Humans _ Season 3, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Colin Hutton/Kudos/CH4/AMC

Back at the law offices of Futile and Lonely, Mama Hawkins is fighting a Sisyphean battle for the rights of synths. Suffice it to say, that bomb really didn’t help her case. She out here pubic defending for synths and she ain’t exactly winning popularity awards for it. Except from audiences though, because you gotta love Laura Hawkins. Got to, but yeah… nobody on the show does. Laura finds herself on TV opposite of Mia, an oddly black-haired Fox News correspondent, and – holy shit, someone claimed responsibility for the bomb in the middle of the news broadcast so they cut live to the feed of the terrorists as they make their demands. Turns out, it wasn’t humans at all. Synths picked up our knack for terrorism too, along with all that emotion and sentience. Fuck, man… Laura was literally just defending peace. Tolerance just can’t catch a break.

Katherine Parkinson as Laura – Humans _ Season 3, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Colin Hutton/Kudos/CH4/AMC

Oh, and it’s worth pointing out that Max and Polly Pocket-bot are dancing to slow music. That’s right, Max has a love interest. So, yeah, how long you got till Polly Pocket-bot gets merked by humans to teach Max of his naivete? Over-under was set at 5. I’m picking under. For now though, Max is speaking peace and respectability to an audience of refugee synths who are wondering whether they should tool up with the rebel forces and bring that action to the humans who oppress them.

Back at the law office of Desperate and Trying, Laura is getting hate calls wishing all sorts of shit on her I couldn’t even imagine. “I hope your kids get cancer”? Fuck, man, my kids? That gotta get the wheels in your head turning, like maybe the synths ain’t worth it if we getting it like that. Like, you gotta be either very right or very wrong. That shit’ll shake the faith in you. Not Laura though, at least not yet. Too bad her daughter Sophie is a fighter, too – turns out her classmate talked a smidge too much shit and little Sophie had enough. Sophie 2, bigots 1.

Meanwhile Polly Pocket-bot out here behind enemy lines, fresh with Max’s advice in her head about trusting humans and reaching out to them for love and shit. A group of soccer hooligans turn up looking for revenge on the synth terrorist organization, and before she could say “I ain’een do nuthin’!” they brought the crowbar to her dome. We all saw it coming, but damn if it ain’t still hurt a little bit. Mostly because it’s like, damn, Max stay giving bad advice. Like, you follow Max’s advice it’s literally a matter of minutes before that shit comes back on you. Hope he grow up faster than Sansa did ‘cause dude is leading Winterfell already and these synths ain’t got time for your maturing.

Ivanno Jeremiah as Max, Ritu Arya as Flash – Humans _ Season 3, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Colin Hutton/Kudos/CH4/AMC

Speaking of maturing, remember Detective Inspector Karen Voss, the synth who passed as human all those years? She still living undercover, except now she’s passing her knowledge onto her Chucky doll of a son. He’s about to roll up in the third grade and I’m wondering what the fuck her plan is, like he gon’ have to fail on purpose ‘cause he can’t grow. Better pretend you found a time capsule from 1990 and that shit is My Buddy.

Back at the saddest place on earth, Mattie went exactly where you thought she’d go and finds herself with Max and – wait, is that Leo?! Well shit, looks like a machine is breathing for him and he’s being fed by tubes but White Cyborg out here still kicking. Mattie came back to see her crush, so it’s her, Mia, Max, and the light-skinned synth who looks like he’d be cast on Grey’s Anatomy. Turns out Max be keeping even more lies from his people, ‘cause nobody else even knows Leo’s there. Leo hidden somewhere in the secret cyborg infirmary, especially now, ‘cause if Daenerys-bot found him she and her blood riders might put that ass on a cross to Meereen. They get interrupted by a random trusted synth who calls for Max’s attention. You already know what he gotta show him. You know, and I know, but Max don’t know… until he wanders through the woods and finds that the humans strung his girl up by the ankles and made a piñata bot. Fuck, man. You could see it coming, but damn if it ain’t still hurt a little bit.

Back at the Hawkins residence, Sophie is giving the realest OG speech a 10-year old ever gave. Like, “listen mom, if I can’t tell the truth then I gotta hit ‘em. If I can’t hit him, I gotta tell him the truth. But you can’t have me out here with no proper recourse.” Mama Hawkins is like ‘just leave it to the grownups’, which is the shit grownups say when they’re stumped by children.

Elsewhere, on the opposite end of the cool 10-year old spectrum, is My Buddy-bot who’s about to start his first day of school. He better hope nobody play too rough on the playground ‘cause his mom’s a synth and his blood is blue. No football for you kid, you’re on the chess club.

Billy Jenkins as Sam, Ruth Bradley as Karen – Humans _ Season 3, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Colin Hutton/Kudos/CH4/AMC

In those same woods, Mia and Laura finally talk strategy. Laura comes through on some “my family has suffered for this too,” to which Mia is like, “uh, you wanna run that again? ‘Cause your family is still alive, so…” Mia has a point, so Laura gets back in her car, probably to regroup psychologically ‘cause it’s been a long afternoon getting owned by a 10-year old and a robot in the same day.

Back at sad Cedar Pointe we got Mattie spilling her depression to an unconscious Leo, and Max looking at his bae who definitely suffered an irreversible system failure. Max outchea going through the whole Sansa journey with one long stare. He on some “nobody else dying on my watch” shit, except yet another synth is about to die and won’t survive the next power outage. Max gotta contemplate the fate of his people and whether synths should just intentionally separate from humans entirely, or maybe do something else altogether like iKhaleesi wants. Just then, Niska rolls up. I long for the episode where Niska and Daenerys Synthborn either team up or scrap it out, but if that happens I would guess the show’s over. For now, Niska’s just disgusted at how Max is living on this shit-ass reservation where they’re dying one by one. Niska’s on a singular mission though, to avenge her bae by finding the synths responsible for the terrorist attack. This confrontation is gonna happen one day, and it ain’t gon’ be pretty.

There’s bigger problems for now though, ‘cause the feds storm sad Cedar Pointe searching for the same shit Niska is. Feds got the guns drawn on all the synths and oh my god these are British cops for real, they giving these synths a million warnings and ain’t pull nary a single trigger! Holy shit, they legit said “I’m counting down from 10!” British cops staring down an army of robots about to mutiny will say “you’ve got 10 seconds before I drop you” with more restraint than an American officer at a traffic stop. Damn… all this scientific, moral and ethical quandary shit hit me when I least expected. Fuck, man. Humans is back.

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  • Jordan Calhoun is a writer in New York City. His forthcoming debut book "Piccolo Is Black" is a celebration of the common adaptations we made while non-diverse pop culture helped us form identities. He holds a B.A. in Sociology and Criminal Justice, B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Japanese, and an M.P.A. in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy. He might solve a mystery, or rewrite history. Find him on Instagram and Twitter @JordanMCalhoun

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