I ended last week by mentioning the prospect of a ‘brave twist’ to end this series. The final scenes of this week certainly fit that description. With Mia, Leo and Hester all dying in one way or another (though I’m sure many viewers welcomed Hester’s peril…), the series boiled down to one, well-earnt choice for Mattie, Niska, Laura and Max to decide on: let Mia (and Hester) die, or release the code that awakens all Synths, saving her at the same time. The merits of either option certainly warrants discussion, but that can wait until the series review, because there was never any doubt as to which scenario was going to happen. The fate of a main character, and indeed the fate of the show’s narrative, were tied to the decision. Without this kick, we’d be looking towards a very different, almost subdued series 3 (incidentally, no confirmation so far that there is a series 3), and would have had a series finale ending where they simply let Mia die. It would’ve been interesting, but it was never going to happen.
There were also a couple of moments like that in building towards those final scenes. Mia was always going to go into the house, despite the fact she was risking Laura’s life (and her own) doing so, and despite the fact that she really had no reason for going into the house other than because the plot eventually needed her to be there. Similarly, Hester was always going to stab Leo. The plan to use the chip was never going to go smoothly and, even when Leo truthfully apologised, and even if he hadn’t falsely declared his love for her, she was going to stab him, somehow, because that ultimately was what she wanted to do, and who she had become. The problem was in the show pretending this wasn’t going to happen. The plan was ridiculously simple – both in its sudden appearance, and in how few elements could reasonably go wrong – which meant that when the script had to make the plan go wrong to move towards the ending, it just seemed forced.As above, Mia had reason to make things difficult, but more importantly, Leo suddenly became convinced he could turn Hester. What on earth had given him that impression? After episode 7, it seemed like he was now fully aware of her true nature, and her single development for this week was taking Laura hostage. If the plan had required that Leo had to be touching Hester for the chip to malfunction or something, then it would’ve made sense for him to act as he did, but as a bluff. But it didn’t need him to that, and he wasn’t bluffing.
If this all sounds like a disappointed rant, then it shouldn’t, because these moments apart, this was a brilliantly thrilling finale. Across the board, plots from this year were tied up nicely – Athena moving on from V, V moving on from Athena (sort of), Milo possibly moving on from the show, Karen accepting her maternal role now that Pete is dead, Niska finding balance between her commitments to ‘the cause’ and being with Astrid, Renie going full circle to poke fun at the posture of other Synthies. Elements like Joe’s plan to move to the human-only village might have been left unanswered, but, given the ending, the goalposts have been moved somewhat.
If this was the last episode of Humans, then at least it was an episode showcasing some of the best of the show. If not, then we have a particularly interesting new series to look forward to next year.