Humans s1 ep 8

Season finale time and Leo, Mia and co are in dire straits: Hobb has horribly evil plans for them, Karen seems determined to help him and the Hawkins family are under house arrest and powerless to stop them.

Or are they?

Looking back over the past eight weeks, what has impressed me most about Humans is not the ins and outs of the plot, but the philosophical, deeper themes at its core. The questions about what it truly means to be alive, whether advances in technology are always a good thing, whether machines of our own making will one day render us entirely obsolete…. over the season, the show has quietly, deftly made me agonise about all these huge, unanswerable questions, while making me care about robots and, occasionally, creeping me the hell out.

Although perfectly entertaining, though, the finale was much more sci-fi than sci-phi, focussing more on the tech itself than the feelings and bigger issues behind it, and giving us a lot of thriller-type stuff which was quite exciting and all, but resolved just a smidgen too easily in the end. I mean, I don’t intend to go too far into spoiler territory, but as if Hobb would just let Karen go. And as if REDACTED would change sides in such a relaxed fashion, just in time to help save the day.

That type of thing still makes you think, yes, but more about plot holes and plausibility than personhood and the meaning of life, which is a tiny bit disappointing given how much more daring and insightful Humans has shown itself capable of being.

But I’m probably being unnecessarily harsh. While this last episode wasn’t the best Humans has offered us this season, it was still thoroughly enjoyable, and, fittingly, the stand-out moment was the quietest, most human one: Mia’s silent, beautifully moving goodbye to Laura. One mother to another. Sob. I’d have liked more of that side of the show and less of the slightly cheesy “plucky family and pals outwit supervillain” adventure elements in the finale, but, overall, Humans has surprised me in a good way this season by being much more thoughtful, interesting, poignant and generally (if not necessarily this week) much darker than I expected. I’m looking forward to seeing what season two brings.

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