Synopsis: As Leo struggles to come to terms with being human, Mattie takes him back to the Hawkins home. Laura is determined to uncover the truth about the top-secret Operation Basswood and tries to enlist Dr. Neil Sommer’s help. Joe decides to help Karen with Sam, and Niska receives a mysterious message.
Review: This was a more romantic episode that had some very grim real-world parallels. Mark Bonnar is a charismatic and likable love interest, and the scene where he kisses Katherine Parkinson’s Laura was very sweet due to its awkwardness. There was a nice touch of humour when Dino Fetscher’s Stanley informed Laura of her elevated heart rate and breathing.
Mark Bonnar shows his acting ability when he recounts his infant son dying on Day Zero that led to the formation of his politics regarding synths. Ivanno Jeremiah and Holly Earl play well off each other throughout this episode, with Max feeling the pressure of leading the synths in a hostile world. It will be interesting to find out the consequences that the dead synths who Max turned away will have for his position as leader.
It is great to see some positive character development for Joe, who saves Sam from a speeding car. Tom Goodman-Hill is being challenged here to show Joe’s more positive qualities and I’m intrigued by the possibility of a Joe/Karen relationship.
Undercutting the romance were some much darker themes, with the residents of a town turning against Mia as she attempts to rent a flat there. The shots of Gemma Chan walking amidst the stares and abuse were beautifully done and the use of the soft, tinkly theme as Mia enters her new home was a nice touch. Gemma Chan delivers her line “I just want to live.” with the perfect mix of sadness, vulnerability and hope. I liked Mia’s memories of her first relationship which were juxtaposed with the thrown brick very well. It was soul crushing when the estate agent dialled 999 for no other reason than because Mia was a synth.
Ukweli Roach’s Anatole proved to be very interesting this time around, with his statement “We shall see a day when synths can live free” possibly implying that he is behind the terror attack that took place in the first episode. I loved every scene with Leo and Mattie. Lucy Carless shows great presence yet innocence in her scenes with Colin Morgan, who like Mark Bonnar proves very interesting and charismatic in the role of love interest. The tension and romance of Leo and Mattie’s first kiss was handled well.
Emily Berrington shows great menace yet vulnerability in her scenes with the unnamed orange eyes, who is frightening in his role as messenger of the synth terrorists. There was a beautiful piece of Blade Runner-like music when Niska gathers evidence in the abandoned house and I loved the score that played when the green-eyed synths stare at Max after Agnes agitates them.
Overall, a good episode that juggled the themes of love and hate deftly.
- Incidental Music9.0