In Review: Electric Dreams – Human Is

A touching fable about what it means to be human

Synopsis: Bryan Cranston plays Silas, a stern military officer on a future Earth that is in the grip of a new Ice Age. After being deployed to fight an enemy known as the Rexorians his platoon is wiped out with apparently no survivors. This leaves a hole in the life of his wife Vera, played by Essie Davis, which is filled when Silas’s ship returns with two survivors including Silas.

Vera’s husband is a changed man, kind and attentive to his wife. Vera is summoned to her work where it is revealed from his ship’s black box that two Rexorian metamorphs infiltrated the crew and returned to Earth. Vera returns home where Silas makes love to her. As they lie in bed together a squad of soldiers bursts into their room and arrests Silas. He is placed on trial for assuming the identity of a man he killed. Silas admits to his crime on the condition that Vera is spared punishment.

As he is led from the courtroom Vera addresses the court and makes a moving plea for her husband’s life. Silas is spared and goes home to live a happy life with Vera, where it is revealed that he is a metamorph.

Review: This was a phenomenal episode. Bryan Cranston shows his spectacular range as first the cold and unfeeling Silas and then the kind and loving metamorph. This episode is fantastic because of what it says about humanity and what being human means.

The human Silas was ready to destroy the Rexorians if it meant advancing humanity’s cause whereas the metamorph, who is claimed to be incapable of empathy, was willing to sacrifice his life for Vera. There are some incredible sequences in this outing, from the shots of Vera visiting a brothel to the almost normal but not quite moment when metamorph Silas cooks for her.

Vera’s loneliness and disconnect from her life are shown beautifully through the shots of her walking through the cave as well as the montage of her having sex with two people. Essie Davis portrays Vera’s repression and unhappiness as well as her courage and vulnerability in an excellent way. There are some truly stunning moments in this episode, from when the human Silas dismissed a hologram message from Vera to the touching speeches given by both metamorph Silas and Vera to win each other’s freedom. I loved this line: “If sacrifice, kindness, and love is not the ultimate test of what makes one human then what is?”

A very sweet moment I thought was when Vera asks the metamorph his true name and he says she would not be able to pronounce it. Ruth Bradley deserves a mention for her character’s apparent friendship towards Vera which is replaced by cold cynicism when she gives evidence at metamorph Silas’s trial. The music in this story is beautiful. The score when the metamorph and Vera have sex has a very earthy and wholesome feel that contrasts with the cybernetic beat of the sex scene in the brothel. As a final note, I liked how the uniforms Silas and his other officers wore seemed like dark inversions of Starfleet uniforms. This would be appropriate as Earth seems to have become an expansionistic military power.

Overall, a spectacular episode that asks and answers big questions.

Electric Dreams: Human Is
  • Story
  • Acting
  • CGI
  • Incidental Music

I'm a writer on the autistic spectrum who loves sci-fi, cosplay and poetry. I'm also an actor with Theatre of the Senses.
    3 Comments on this post.
  • Vidaessueno
    30 October 2017 at 1:47 pm -

    A lovely review. This episode reminded me of the qualities which made Star Trek an international treasure: a simple plot acted with commitment and a strong moral centre with a plain speaking moving message. You are right to give a special mention to the music. The music has been thoughtfully selected throughout the series, but this week’s really added depth to the emotions.

    • Ian Cullen
      30 October 2017 at 3:10 pm -

      I’ve been loving this series myself and I’m glad I was able to give Dominic the opportunity to review it because he is so much more well read in science fiction than I am. So can give his reviews a bit of an extra layer of context for things like this. I loved the first episode with the Teeps and the humans. And its just gotten stronger from there really. It’s hard to pick one episode that really stands out over the rest, but I bet that if you asked ten people to select their 3 favorites. There’s be a rather interesting consensus.

      Thanks for reading these reviews. I will let Dominic know you commented and hope that he is able to find the time to come on and say hello:)

  • Dominic Walsh
    5 November 2017 at 10:03 pm -

    Hi Vidaessueno thanks for commenting. I’ve really enjoyed reviewing Electric Dreams and I thought this one was the best of them all. I think Bryan Cranston executive produced this episode but I’m not sure. Take care and thanks for your feedback.

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