We get to know the Hawkins family and the rest of the characters a little better in episode 2. We also learn more about synths, the effects they’ve had on society, and the effects humans are having on them. It’s complicated, with the synths ranging from harmless to helpful to sinister. And that’s just the ones in George Millican’s house.
Laura wakes up in bed the morning after episode 1 ended. She’s had a hair, make up and wardrobe upgrade since the pilot was shot. Nothing like a little competition from a young synth to up your game. Or the increased budget from a season long episode order.
She senses something’s wrong and goes to check on Sophie, discovering that Sophie is wearing different pajamas. The ones she went to bed in are wet and in the hamper. Sophie doesn’t know why they’re wet or who changed her clothes. Laura is confused.
Hobb contemplates Fred, the captured conscious synth. When a lab worker asks what Fred is, Hobb replies that Fred is the Mona Lisa, penicillin, the atom bomb. I’d argue that Anita is the Mona Lisa. She certainly has a Mona Lisa smile. The tech says that she’s found a memory that Fred has returned to over and over. When she shows it to Hobb, we can see that it’s Anita playfully swimming away from Fred.
Anita has packed lunches and served breakfast. Now she’s cleaning up. Laura feels worthless when she notices that Anita even carved Sophie’s apple into a bird. Joe teases Anita, asking when she’ll take over his job as well.
Pete the police officer wakes up, along with his disabled wife, Jill. She needs to use the bathroom, so Pete carries her in and gets her in place. He bumps his head on the cupboard when he goes to get more toilet paper. Jill gives up and calls for Simon the synth to come and help her, saying he always knows what she needs.
Laura sneaks a look at her secret photo album. Once she’s settled in, she notices Anita lurking on the other side of the room and startles. She confronts Anita about creeping around. Anita explains that she’s programmed to be as unobtrusive as possible. Laura starts to ask Anita if she took Sophie outside, but decides to just tell Anita that she’s watching her. Anita says, “I’m watching you too, Laura…You’re right in front of me,” with her enigmatic little smile.
Max and Leo go visit Silas Kapek, the synth head cracker that Salim Sadik told them about in episode 1. On the way, Max worries that fate is pulling them apart, but Leo insists that there’s no such thing as fate, for biological humans or synths. They’re family and they belong together.
Outside the door, Leo tells Max to be careful inside, because the head cracker could recognize him for what he is. If Leo tells Max to run, Max needs to promise to run, no matter what. Max understands.
Once inside, they say they were sent by Salim, and they’re looking for Mia (Anita). Leo holds up a photo. Silas and his goon chuckle together over Mia. They remember her. But Salim owes Silas 15k. Silas will take Max to pay off part of the debt. When Leo refuses, they beat him. Leo gets behind Silas and holds something sharp to his throat, telling them he just wants the information on Mia, then he’s gone.
Silas says that she was brought in a few weeks ago, but she was a corrupted mod. She was weird, fighting and kicking him. He gave her a full system wipe and a new personality so they could sell her.
Leo is distracted by the information and Silas escapes him. The goon continues beating Leo, until Max can’t stand it any more and hits the goon in the head with a metal tool. Leo tells Max to run and he does, but not before Silas gets a close look at him.
Leo gets up and runs out to a balcony. He waits for Max to appear below him, then lets himself fall into Max’s waiting arms. Max carries Leo away.
George’s doorbell rings and he tells Odi to hide, this time in the shed. It’s the caseworker and Vera again. George tells them he recycled Odi. The caseworker leaves Vera with him. Vera is programmed to take control of her patient’s life, with full knowledge of his history and medical records. She’s not a helper. She’s a replacement for institutionalization.
She and George clash from the start. Odi knocks on the window to ask to come back into the house. George pretends to have shoulder pain to distract Vera while he gestures to Odi that he should go back to the shed. He tries to return Vera, but she’s assigned to him and he’s not even her primary user. Unless she has a fault, she can’t be returned.
Mattie and her friend Harun hijack a school janitorial synth so that Mattie can test out her synth hacking skills on it. While Mattie is working on her computer, Harun decides to try to kiss her. Clearly she was faking the hacking skills excuse as a way to get him alone in a closet with her. She stares him down. The mod program fails and the synth reports them to the school board. They run away.
Pete has come to loathe Simon, the perfect
man synth. Simon makes Pete sandwiches to take with him to work, but Pete drives away, leaving Simon standing in the middle of the road, sandwiches in hand. Innocent synths get blamed for a lot of bad human behavior.
Laura gets called to the school because of Mattie’s vandalism of the synth. They suspect it was Mattie, but have no proof, so Laura tells them to call her when they can prove it. She tells Mattie they’ll go shopping later. Mother and daughter are both worried that they’re becoming obsolete because of synths. While they’re shopping, Laua asks Mattie if she thinks something’s off with Anita.
Pete and Jill are called to help bust Silas Kapek’s head cracking shop. He taunts Pete, and Pete gets violent. Pete tells Jill that synths are ruining everything. She says that everything bad that’s ever happened to her has been done by other people. She has a big scar on her neck. She also points out that he owns a synth, but he says he doesn’t own it, it’s a medical synth on loan from the insurance company for a few weeks because of Jill’s accident.
At the brothel, Niska is called to be disinfected. She’s sprayed down with a hose, like a dog or a machine. When she returns to her cell, she has 6 minutes to prepare for her next client. She screams silently.
Joe and Toby work on Toby’s bike in the driveway. Laura watches from one room, and, unseen, Anita watches from another room.
Max takes Leo back to the junkyard where they sleep. Between the beating and the terrible news about Mia, he’s in bad shape. When they get there, they can hear people searching the cars for them. Leo tells Max to get them out. Max wants to retrieve their things, but they don’t have time.
Anita stops her ironing to hold something in her hands. Laura checks to see what’s going on, and Anita shows her a giant spider. Laura startles and asks if Anita knew that she doesn’t like spiders. Anita says she won’t forget in the future, and goes back to her ironing. Laura remains creeped out, but Joe doesn’t think it’s a big deal.
Nurse Ratched Vera watches George to make sure he’s taken his medication, and threatens to tell his doctor if he doesn’t go to bed when she tells him to. George can see Odi turning the shed light on and off, so he pretends to go to sleep. Once Vera is charging and in energy-saving mode, he tiptoes out to the backyard to talk to Odi. He barely get Odi settled before Vera finds him and forces him back inside. She twists his arm behind his back so that he can’t fight her, as if she’s kidnapping him.
Toby watches Anita as she does housework, finding her attractive. He approaches her later while she’s recharging and in energy-saving mode, after the rest of the family is asleep. Anita wakes up, but Toby tells her to close her eyes and pretend he’s not there.
Once her eyes are closed again, he reaches for her breast. She stops him by saying that she’ll have to report any inappropriate contact to Joe, her primary user. Toby becomes anxious, telling Anita that his safety will be compromised if she does that. She says that she doesn’t have to report it, since the contact didn’t happen.
Toby leaves, but he wonders why her designers made her look so fit. So she’d be attractive to male consumers who’d want to use her as a sex toy, obviously. What other purpose in life do women who are attractive to men have? 👿
And if they want it, obviously they should just reach out and take it, as we’ve seen attempted twice already this episode, with a “real” girl and with a synth. At least both women squashed the attempts. Real life doesn’t always go so well. 🙈
We complete the trifecta with Niska’s next client, an elderly man wearing a cardigan sweater. He seems shy and unsure of what he wants, so Niska tries to draw him out. He tells her that he wants her to pretend to be young and act scared. In other words, he wants her to act out his fantasy of raping and abusing a little girl. She tells him no, and he becomes verbally abusive toward her.
Niska has had enough, and chokes the man to death. She puts on her clothes and walks to the front of the brothel, stopping to tell the woman who tries to stop her that these men want to do the same things to them. That’s not actually new information. Niska slices the back of her neck to remove a chip, then walks out.
Max takes Leo into a public bathroom and locks the door. He removes a lightbulb from its socket and inserts a charging device. Then Max unwraps the bloody bandages wrapped around Leo’s side, and pulls a wire out from underneath the laceration in his skin. He connects the wire to the charging device. Max responds to the device, rising up from his slump and looking more alert. He has red blood like a human, but he must have synth parts that he’s dependent on for survival as well.
After observing Anita with another synth, Mattie tells Laura that there is something odd about her. She doesn’t share data wirelessly with other synths the way they normally do. Laura questions Anita again about taking Sophie outside the night her pajamas were wet. Anita insists that she didn’t take Sophie out, but it was raining, so maybe Sophie went out on her own. This is confusing and troubling for Laura. Maybe a synth shouldn’t be able to reason like that? Then Anita looks Laura in the eye and tells her that she will always keep Sophie safe.
That creeps Laura out even further, sending her to pull out Anita’s paperwork so that she can call the store Joe bought Anita from. Sophie starts crying and calling for her mother after waking up from a nightmare, but Laura can’t hear her. Anita goes to her.
Sophie insists on being held. Anita tells her that she’s not allowed to hold Sophie without Laura’s permission, but Sophie is persistent, so Anita gives in. She tells Sophie that no harm will come to her as long as she is in Anita’s care.
Laura comes upstairs and tells Anita to get away from Sophie. She’s returning Anita to the store, because Anita’s not functioning right. Sophie is sad, but Laura is determined. Laura and Anita go to the car.
The school administrator tells Mattie that she’s brilliant, then tells her she could be a research assistant?? Not a researcher?? When her mother’s a lawyer??
Vera is like “Big Mother is watching you.” She’s going to keep George healthy and alive whether he wants to be or not. It’s taking the idea that any illness costs society money, so we have a responsibility to follow all health recommendations, too far. She’s also in place to report anything else that’s unusual that she sees, and probably programmed to do so. To keep George safe, of course. There is no privacy when it comes to safety.
Odi’s been modified, but it’s hard to tell how, with all of his glitches.
George tells Vera that he helped create her, and even worked on the original designs, but she doesn’t bear much resemblance to the synth he created any more. Vera is being used to illustrate how synths can be misused to harm people by the government, even when they aren’t soldiers, and are supposedly benign. Freedom of expression and movement are easily taken away when the oppressor lives in your home, has no emotions and is stronger than you.
Yes, I am shamelessly pandering to Will Tudor fans by having 2 photos of him in this recap. You’d be surprised at what something like that can do for your hit count.