While I’ve praised the slow-burning narrative of Humans in my recaps of the first two episodes, that patient pace is much more troublesome in “Episode 3.” Although the slower pace worked early on to establish the show’s mood and tone and allowed for solid character development, here the lack of narrative momentum makes for an episode that’s not nearly as fun or intriguing as the first two. That’s cause for concern when there are only eight episodes in your first season.
For the most part, tonight’s episode focuses on the Hawkins family and their continuing struggle with Anita. After finding out that Anita doesn’t share data like the other synths, Laura decides to take her back to the store. She doesn’t trust her and thinks she’s dangerous, that something weird is going on with her.
While driving to the store, Toby runs from the house and hops on his bike, hoping to catch up with his mom’s car and save Anita, who is apparently his one true robot love. Toby is harmlessly horny more than anything, but it’s starting to get borderline creepy. He tried to touch Anita’s breast in the previous episode, and now he’s executing bicycle rescue missions? Get your hormones in check, Toby.
With Laura and Anita stuck in traffic, Toby flies across the street on his bike, a truck using the outside lane barreling toward him. Anita senses it and hops out of the car and in front of the truck, taking the hit and saving Toby’s life. Relieved that Toby is alive and well, Laura does what any mother would do after their son has a near-death experience: She calls him stupid and yells at him for being reckless. She’s right, but a little compassion couldn’t hurt.
Anita’s lifesaving abilities are enough to get her back in the house, though Laura is still hesitant around her. She’s catching on to the weird consciousness the synth has, having opinions and feelings that she shouldn’t. Still, Joe is getting the final say, and his sad eyes and disappointment with his wife signal that Anita will be sticking around.
Meanwhile, Peter is investigating the murder committed by Niska, an investigation that the police chief wants to label a tragic accident. Peter is livid that such an injustice could be done, but the chief is being strong-armed by Hobb, who obviously doesn’t want word of conscious, rebellious synths getting out into the public.
Peter’s frustration boils over when he pushes an eager journalist down the stairs outside of the crime scene, and then later when he snaps at Simon, who’s using bread dough to reenact that pottery scene from Ghost with Peter’s wife.
Peter’s story line this week is rather inconsequential, as is George’s. He locks Vera in a room in his house so that he and Odi can go for a drive. Vera’s not so easily deterred though; she rips the handle right off the door and shouts at George as he drives away.
We don’t learn much more about George and Odi, but their scenes together continue to be some of the most heartfelt on the show. The two share a connection that’s truly touching, anchored by William Hurt’s wonderful, tender performance. Humans can be cold at times, from its clinical tone to its electronic score, but the continuing story of George and Odi, and really Odi’s demise, is a source of warmth, a nice change of pace in every episode.
NEXT: Pass the toothpicks, please