Synopsis: The revelation of Stanley and Anatole’s true intentions puts the Hawkins family in danger. With Mia speaking at the commission, Laura must do everything in her power to stop an awful attack. Leo and Mattie return to the Elster house where Leo comes to understand a painful truth. Niska continues her mysterious journey to Wales where she must defy all her instincts to survive.
Review: This episode was absolutely incredible. Ukweli Roach is outstanding in his role as villain, delivering threats to the Hawkins family and forcing an impossible choice on Laura with clipped, simmering menace. There are some beautiful montages here as well, from the stark and sinister sequence of Stanley and Laura driving to the Dryden Commission to the multiple viewpoints of Agnes, Stanley, Mia, Max and Laura as Laura argues for synth rights at the commission.
Perhaps the best moment in this episode is when Laura states that Sophie views Mia as part of the family and ponders the inability of adult humans to do the same. There are Aesops here about the redeeming power of love, which instigates Stanley’s heel-face turn, and the innocence of children.
I was reminded of the line in To Kill A Mockingbird where Atticus says “Maybe we need a police force of children.” Dino Fetscher shows his range in this installment, managing to be by turns menacing and conflicted. His scene with Katherine Parkinson gave us the excellent line from Laura: “You do have a voice. Your own voice. What do you want to say?” Ivanno Jeremiah does a great job of showing us Max’s pain and defeat at the end of the episode with an emotional plea to his creator. I loved the shot of Max closing the Railyard gates on his own.
Emily Berrington is showing great charisma as Niska, and I’m finding her storyline very intriguing. I liked her conversation with Paul the bartender, played by Philip Barantini, which came across as very true to how people might speak to those who are different. This was seemingly subverted when Paul rescues Niska from the slavers, showing courage and compassion.
I loved how Mos Eisley the bar where Niska searched for information about the Synth who Sleeps was, and Sion Tudor Owen was great as the sleazy informant. The most heartbreaking part of this episode was when Sam says to Joe “You said I was your favorite.” after Laura chooses the life of a random human over his. This is made even more poignant by Sam’s promise to protect Laura right before Anatole invades their home.
Lucy Carless shows some great acting here when she comforts Leo and right before she tells him she is pregnant. There were some nice humorous moments early in the episode when Mattie gags Stanley to stop him telling her family she is expecting and when Sophie tells Laura she is dressed like Margaret Thatcher. The music in this outing fitted the scenes very well, from the ticking clock employed when Audrey watches Leo and Mattie to the thudding otherworldly score when Laura was being taken to the Dryden Commission.
Overall, a tense and thrilling episode.
- Incidental Music9.5