Humans: Season 3 – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Title card for TV show humans.
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After a lackluster season 2, Humans comes roaring back with a vengeance thanks to its focus on synthetics pursuing civil rights.


Network
Channel 4 & AMC
Creator Sam Vincent, Jonathan Brackley
Noted Cast
Karen Ruth Bradley
Sam Billy Jenkins
Niska Emily Berrington
Max Ivanno Jeremiah
Mattie Lucy Carless
Leo Colin Morgan
Laura Katherine Parkinson
Audrey Yasmine Akram
Mia Gemma Chan
Anatole Ukweli Roach
Agnes Holly Earl
Joe Tom Goodman-Hill
Flash Ritu Arya
Stanley Dino Fetscher
Astrid Bella Dayne
Neha Thusitha Jayasundera
Neil Mark Bonnar
Ed Sam Palladio
Sophie Pixie Davies

Summary

After launching the code which caused over 100,000 deaths, things haven’t really calmed down. A year later, synthetics are scattered about the world with various progress towards being treated as equals. But, for Max, Mia, and a handful of new faces, things are dire. The government isn’t in strong support of them and their kinds are dying more and more by the day. Thus leading to some, like a newly introduced synth named Agnes, to begin to question Max who has become a leader of the recently awaken.

While he tries to handle the people in his railyard, another synth causes a terrorist attack which attracts Niska’s attention for it nearly kills her girlfriend Astrid. Thus sending her on a journey which tests her wits and even her faith in humanity. All the while, Karen and Sam remain incognito and though things get a tad difficult when Joe discovers them, he becomes more of an asset than liability.

As for the rest? Well, with Leo becoming more human than synth, he finds himself at Laura’s house. A place where, after teasing it for a while, he and Mattie finally get together. Though, all is not happy and peaceful in the home. Mattie is still dealing with guilt from being a mass murderer and as for Laura? Well, her being a synth advocate goes from being life threatening to her getting on what is known as the “Dryden Commission.” Something which will decide the fate of synths and being that she is the only true advocate for them, it makes her position seem important.

However, is isn’t until Neha, pushes her further, Mia becomes a civil rights leader, and she, arguably, manipulates a man named Neil she gets anywhere. A place in which she finds herself having to question if a human life, including hers, is worth risking for synths.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. So did Audrey release her article which would out Mattie?
  2. Will Max be in trouble at all for murdering Anatole?

Highlights

The Best Kind of Villain There Is – Humanity

Max trying to reassure how people about their future.
“In time, the humans will accept us”.

After Niska became an anti-hero, Humans has gone through many lackluster villains who never survive beyond a season. Something which happens this one too, but with synths waking up and causing tens of thousands of human deaths, humanity finds itself trying to play the victim but becoming the villains. For between those who lost people on Day Zero and those like Joe who lost their jobs, and families as a result, the season touches on both modern and future issues.

First, it touches on the idea of cheap labor and automation ruining things for the little guy. All while they do anything but point fingers and demand more from their employers and the government. Second, it reminds you how disgusting humanity is. Particularly with what we see in Mia’s storyline which, because of how well we have gotten to know Mia, seeing her harassed, knocked down, even beaten, is heartbreaking. Especially since you see she is on the road to forgiveness. Particularly after reconciling with Ed.

The Infighting Among Synths

One of the main things any and all cultures desire is to not be seen as a monolith. That the way your neighbor wants to do and change things doesn’t necessarily represent you. Something we see in a multitude of ways. For Max, his means of pushing things forward is living peacefully separated with minimal contact. Mia believes integrating is the best way and then there are those like Karen and Sam who assimilate.

Yet, there are others who have a more aggressive approach. Agnes believes violence is required for civil rights and sees a phyrric war because of an assassination still some kind of win. And then there is Anatole. Guided by what he sees as the principals of David Elster, he sees synth domination as part of humanity’s future. Giving is a multitude of ideas which compliment at times, but also present a major conflict despite the shared goal of a better life for synth kind. Creating a rift which reminds you of the basis of the X-Men or the American civil rights movement a bit.

The Originals’ Journeys

Mia telling a reporter she just wants to live.
“I just want to live.”

When we met Niska, way back in series 1, she was kind of a villain. If not the black sheep of her family. She was masquerading as a sex worker, killed a human, and spent a good portion of the show on the run. Then, in series 2, she began to learn to trust humans. She asked of Laura to set the wheels in motion for what is the major fight of this series: Civil rights. Laura failed, but so began the healing process. One which led to Niska meeting Astrid, falling in love, and leading to her journey of finding faith. For she learned to trust humans, love a human, and now she needed to have faith to perhaps reach some level of self-actualization.

And, in many ways, all the original synths, Leo’s siblings, go on journey’s where they find their purpose in the grand scheme of things. For Max, he went from this simple synth, the kindest of them all, to being a leader. One who makes hard choices, is capable of murder, and loses that innocence he once had.

Then Mia? She too has a full circle journey. From forgetting who she was, to rediscovery, trying to live as Karen did and integrate to becoming one of the most visible synths in the country. She lived a full life and even like both Max and Niska, she took on leadership positions which pushed her to her limits, and fell in love. Yet, for both things, she faltered.

But, again, like her siblings, despite setbacks, she found a way and not only made a name for herself but delivered the most emotion scene this show has ever produced. Maybe produced in the sci-fi genre in quite some time. In terms of television shows especially.

Sam and Stanley’s Journey

Sam asking Karen if Joe is really their friend and if he can be trusted.
Sam: “Is he really our friend?”

Beginning with Sam, there is something so cute about his and Karen’s relationship as she teaches him to become more human. Especially as he questions things, makes friends, and even questions whether Joe, upon discovering them, is a friend or not. But then Karen dies and you are hit harder by his reaction, especially as Sophie tries to help him with it, then Karen’s death in itself. For all this training to be human doesn’t help this synth child process his caretaker, the only one he consistently interacted with, no longer being accessible. And this sends him trying to figure out what it means to die and dealing with it in a way which really forces you to take note of Billy Jenkins as a performer.

Especially as Stanley comes into his life. Originally, Stanley was just a tool for Anatole but it is through Stanley, alongside Agnes, you realize that these new synth are children. Ones who may look like adults but are more similar to Sam than anything else. And with every question Stanley asks of Sam and seeing them play, you see Stanley going from this Hester type to becoming reborn. Perhaps even going on a Niska like path.

Low Points

The Fall of Anatole and End of Agnes

Humans doesn’t usually allow its villains more than one season. It’s female villains especially and it is such a shame that remains true with Agnes. As a sort of rebel leader, even taking note of the way this season ends, you can see the power of her voice still needed. Granted, like Stanley, her voice is influenced by outside sources, but considering how she shares Anatole’s opinion and doesn’t have a copy of his, it made for important synth diversity.

Agnes looking over her shoulder.

But, alas, she ends up being a tool for Anatole and dies in a suicide bombing. Then, for Anatole, he gets killed by Max. Which sucks even more than Agnes’ death because Anatole unseated Max as leader. He had an army and with him also planning out terrorist attacks, it truly seemed like he could remain a threat for at least another season. Yet, after fighting Leo, and not being able to finish the job, within minutes Max crushes his skull. Thus making it where the insurgency seems dead and we lose the most interesting villains this show has ever presented us.

On The Fence

The Death of Karen & Flash

Death is a necessary evil in television as it pushes a sense of realism. That life ends whether you are talking about people getting order or because people are evil. Yet, I must admit, while you see the massive boost certain characters got from Karen and Flash dying, when it comes to them specifically, their death is an afterthought. Flash dying pushes Max to no longer be that lovable boy with the grin which makes you want to hug him. He has experienced a hurtful lost. One which people like Agnes bring up to question his authority.

Then with Karen, her death brings out something in Sam and create a reason to see Joe as more than Laura’s ex. Now, granted, all Joe really does is transfer the boy from his household to Laura’s, and that’s about it. But through him discovering Sam and Karen in the human only town, to finding her dead, and introducing Sam to his family, he is given a real purpose. Not a huge one, but it makes the death somewhat meaningful.

Mattie and Leo’s Relationship

Though not a long-awaited romance, the possibility of Mattie and Leo being together has existed for years. Something which finally comes about this season but it has such bad timing. When it comes to Leo, it pretty much hampers him discovering what it means to be human, or more human than he previously was. Then for Mattie, it pretty much decimates how much potential her storyline could have had.

Think about it, on top of the guilt from killing 100,000 people, she is being hunted by detectives and even gets discovered. Yet, one thing missing from the puzzle are synths looking for her too. Who is the one who freed them from their servitude should be a serious question. Especially for those like Anatole who worship David Elster for giving them life. So why aren’t they also searching for who woke them up from sleepwalking? If David Elster is seen as a god, shouldn’t Mattie be seen as some kind of Moses?

But, instead, we get watered down relationship drama from these two. All to set up the future of the series dealing with Mattie giving birth to a hybrid baby. One which seemingly will bring humanity and synth kind together.

Overall: Positive (Watch This)

Mia's candlelit vigil surrounded by synth and human supporters, as well as her family.

One of the things Humans has always done well is be a sci-fi rooted in reality. In season 2, it leaned more on the sci-fi and pushing the tech forward and it made for a lackluster season. Some of the things introduced, like Sam and V benefit season 3, but largely it was a disappointment. Yet, Season 3 bounces back by taking note of civil rights issues, synths not being a monolith, and making the dark side of humanity the true villains. Even if Agnes and Anatole’s methods made them seem evil and perhaps unredeemable.

And the combination of those things are why this is being labeled positive. For while the loss of Anatole and Agnes leaves you worried who maybe our villains in season 4, that is something to worry about in the future. As for season 3, many characters came to an apex in their development and even those not heavily featured contributed in ways which made it so they felt essential. Making Humans, once again, one of the best English language sci-fi programs available and a show to clamor for.

Has Another Season Been Confirmed?: No


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Episode List

Episode 1
After the death of over 100,000 people, and countless synths, the world is in a new era. One in which, as always with humans, being progressive is easier said than done.
Episode 2
As it is increasingly questioned how synthetics can carve out and secure their future, humanity has the same discussion without them. Possibly to their own detriment.
Episode 3
As Laura and Mia trying to push for change together and on their own, Max’s struggle to keep those like Agnes from rebelling is becoming difficult.
Episode 4
Agnes’ backstory gets revealed, Mia sees an old acquaintance, Karen makes a surprising decision, and the Dryden Commission visits the yard.
Episode 5
Just as Laura achieves some baby steps forward, we are met with a surprising figure ready to obliterate all of her progress – permanently.
Episode 6
Everyone’s definition of progress is different and one leader does not speak for them all. Which becomes quite clear this episode.
Episode 7
Faith is heavily relied on to believe as each character questions their path. Especially as they find themselves in life or death situations.
Episode 8
Many civil rights movements have one thing in common and in Humans’ season 3 finale, we experience what usually is the climax of many.

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