News

11 Things We Learned About The Synths And Scientists Of Humans Season 2

Gemma Chan and new cast members Carrie-Anne Moss and Sonya Cassidy talk moral dilemmas, unlikely bonds, and new developments in season 2.

by | February 10, 2017 | Comments

Science-fiction has always dealt with the moral quandaries surrounding artificial intelligence. From 2001 and Forbidden Planet to The Terminator and A.I., authors and filmmakers have taken turns warning us about the dangers of robots or computers who can think and feel, and chastising people for being irresponsible with the technology they’ve created.

On AMC’s Humans, this philosophical battle plays out in a very modern world. The England of Humans is the England of today, only there are synths, or robots who look just like people. The first season explored how some synth owners abused them, and even families who valued their synths had to protect them from authorities who saw them as nothing but property.

Gemma Chan returns as Mia, the synth formerly owned by the Hawkins family, in season two, which also introduces Sonya Cassidy as the synth Hester and Carrie-Anne Moss as a robotics scientist. Rotten Tomatoes spoke with Chan and Moss in person and with Cassidy by phone about the second season of Humans. Here are 11 things they revealed about the new synths and scientists in season two.


1. ANITA IS BACK, SORT OF

Gemma Chan, Colin Morgan in Humans _ Season 2, Episode 2 (Colin Hutton/Kudos/CH4/AMC)

In season one, Sophie (Pixie Davies) named her family’s new synth Anita, not knowing she was already Mia. Now that Mia’s consciousness has been restored, Gemma Chan is full on Mia in season two. However, she revealed, Mia sometimes plays Anita to make other humans believe she’s a regular old non-sentient synth.

“In season 2, it’s Mia, but she’s also using the Anita persona to hide in plain sight,” Chan said. “There’s still that duality going on. Mia is still a synth, but as a conscious synth, she’s more expressive. For me, there’s slightly more freedom in her movement and how expressive she is and how emotional she is. A lot of that is still done in the eyes. The Anita persona is much less emotional.”


2. ATHENA MORROW IS A SCIENTIST ENTERING THE BIG TIME

Carrie-Anne Moss plays Dr. Athena Morrow. Morrow is a humble researcher offered a chance to study the programs of sentient synths.

“She’s more grassroots in her approach and the way that she does what she does,” Moss said. “She ends up being swayed to go over to this company that is promising her some stuff that she doesn’t really think is possible, which is bringing consciousness into synthetics. She’s really interested in that concept, but she doesn’t believe it’s possible. You end up discovering over the course of the season why she cares so much and why she says yes to doing this.”


3. THE NEWEST SENTIENT SYNTH IS DANGEROUS

Sonya Cassidy plays Humans’ new synth, Hester. Hester works in a factory, and when she becomes conscious, she realizes humans have been abusing her and other synths. She flees and attacks anyone who stands in her way.

“Everything that she’s experienced is stored as data,” Cassidy said. “As soon as she comes online, she’s having to process all of that while she’s essentially on the run. It’s a very threatening kind of fight or flight scenario that Hester is in. Thankfully, she meets Leo (Colin Morgan) and Max (Ivanno Jeremiah). Hester’s world is a very threatened one, and it drives a lot of her early learning and development.”


4. LEO AND MAX ARE NOW THE RESISTANCE

Leo and Max are still living in the woods, helping to free synth consciousness whenever they can. Now it’s a rebellion involving guns and bombs. This isn’t how Mia wants to handle things.

“Leo has a desire to rescue others,” Chan said. “I know that he doesn’t feel comfortable unless he has a mission of some sort. That brings him into conflict with Mia, because Mia feels that they should be trying to build a life for themselves and not just be on the run constantly.”

When they take Hester in, Leo and the new synth have a complicated relationship. “Rather unexpectedly, Hester and Leo form much more of a bond than people would initially expect,” Cassidy said. “They need each other and are bad for each other at the same time.”


5. ATHENA MORROW IS NICE TO SYNTHS

Moss herself related to the struggle of Humans. Even though they’re machines, Moss found herself sympathizing with synths. She has a scene at a restaurant where a synth host takes Athena’s jacket. Moss’s instinct was to say, “Thank you” even though it was a robot.

“Granted, I am Canadian,” Moss said. “But I felt compassion for that synth taking my jacket in a way that made me really think about what kind of person you would have to be to not feel like you needed to say thank you to someone doing something for you.”


6. MIA WILL SEE THE HAWKINS FAMILY AGAIN

The Hawkins have moved away and Mia now works in a cafe. Chan said she would reunite with the family but in an unexpected way.

“I can say yes, but not in the way that you might necessarily imagine,” Chan said. “The writers have been quite clever with how they bring all the story lines back together. She cares very deeply for the Hawkins family. The bonds that she made with Laura (Katherine Parkinson), even with Joe (Tom Goodman-Hill), with the children — with Sophie in particular — that’s a bond that has been forged and she’ll be drawn back to them.”


7. HESTER IS MORE HUMAN THAN YOU THINK

As Cassidy said, Hester is responding mostly to programming, data she’s recorded to deduce what humans are like. In playing her, Cassidy added that Hester’s coping mechanisms are similar to those of humans.

“As with any human in times of crisis, some people will be very emotional and respond in a very energized way. But there will also be those people that just shut down and go, ‘Okay, I need to get through this because that’s how I keep these emotions in check,'” Cassidy said. “That’s where I took Hester. Although she is a synth and responding in a way that people will go, ‘This is what we’re worried robots would do,’ there’s something very human about how she responds to her new life. That’s what I tried to get across.”


8. ATHENA IS NOT A MYSTERY FOR LONG

Moss said that halfway through the second season, she has an episode that reveals Athena Morrow’s psychology.

“You get to really see why she is the way she is,” Moss said. “I’m always interested in why people are the way they are. You don’t always get to find out why with a character, but you do get to find out why she’s guarded and why she’s doing the things she’s doing.”


9. SOPHIE WANTS TO BE A SYNTH

Maybe the anti-synth contingent does have something to worry about. Chan revealed that season 2 explores a new condition in the world of Humans.

“One of the most powerful scenes for me is just a tiny moment,” Chan said. “Sophie draws two green dots in a mirror. She superimposes it onto her eyes and she’s basically over-identifying with synths. There’s a disorder that children are now getting called Synth Overidentification Disorder. If you’re watching it, you’d be thinking, ‘Wow, how would I feel if that’s happening to my child?'”


10. HESTER’S HAIR DESERVES ITS OWN CREDIT

All the synth actors use makeup to make their skin appear more artificial, and their green eyes are added later with digital effects. Hester’s hair is all Sonya Cassidy.

“The bob, I feel, should get a credit of its own, really,” Cassidy said. “It’s such a gorgeous haircut done by our very talented hair and makeup team. I had the bob cut for the role because we figured an industrial synth wouldn’t have long, flowing hair at all. There’s something very beautifully crisp and linear about the bob. I think a lot of people thought it was a wig but no, that’s my shorter hair.”


11. PLAYING A SYNTH IS NOT LIKE RIDING A BICYCLE

Fans might think that veteran Humans stars like Chan would be able to play a synth in her sleep. She revealed that she pretty much forgot how to play a synth between seasons.

“Weirdly I found it harder the second time around, going back into synth school, synth boot camp,” Chan said. “I thought that it would be like a muscle memory thing and it would be easier, but I found it harder. I really hadn’t retained any of that posture in between filming the two seasons. According to Dan [O’Neill], our choreographer, he just said, ‘Yeah, you got worse. You need to do extra homework.’”


Humans returns Monday, February 13 at 10PM on AMC.


Tag Cloud

Endgame criterion 007 godzilla aliens witnail A24 Awards Pirates DC Universe BET Awards king arthur fresh stand-up comedy Action Esquire Sneak Peek Epix Emmy Nominations Ellie Kemper fast and furious RT History BET science fiction Shudder 20th Century Fox archives Animation true crime biography Comic-Con@Home 2021 new zealand Disney venice book adaptation ESPN cars RT21 SXSW name the review asian-american new star wars movies Cosplay chucky crossover target CBS All Access crime drama Arrowverse Schedule gangster Best and Worst mission: impossible Elton John scene in color hollywood AMC National Geographic Crackle DGA ID Women's History Month anthology Sony Pictures Premiere Dates classics period drama Red Carpet Musicals 1990s batman social media Sci-Fi cancelled technology critics Comedy Central psycho Funimation Hollywood Foreign Press Association summer preview Black Mirror Ovation jurassic park historical drama Ghostbusters WarnerMedia Pet Sematary Fargo golden globe awards 2020 Walt Disney Pictures Rocky GoT AMC Plus Podcast Comedy USA 94th Oscars binge TCA Awards screen actors guild boxoffice mob cats Legendary SDCC Bravo blaxploitation comic book movies Film Festival best TBS History remakes Year in Review mockumentary leaderboard teaser harry potter elevated horror FX Trivia TV One king kong blockbuster Sundance Broadway supernatural Best Picture crime obituary The Witch TIFF comic books YouTube Heroines Star Trek Tags: Comedy south america 24 frames black comedy 73rd Emmy Awards Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt documentary USA Network First Reviews Academy Awards politics ABC Family psychological thriller Rock transformers laika YouTube Premium dogs nfl know your critic dramedy Hulu political drama Film Grammys composers game of thrones 79th Golden Globes Awards Peacock jamie lee curtis Discovery Channel live action trailers revenge richard e. Grant Toys spanish dreamworks Classic Film comiccon DC streaming service LGBTQ marvel cinematic universe dc rt archives genre joker CW Seed Hallmark Reality Competition miniseries a nightmare on elm street royal family films french VICE basketball live event Reality finale comedies Television Academy Fox News The Arrangement Star Wars TCM Trophy Talk Super Bowl Calendar new york Mary poppins TCA Spectrum Originals Winners halloween tv ghosts Musical sopranos Warner Bros. OneApp toy story Cartoon Network free movies Rocketman New York Comic Con superman Drama sequel Paramount adenture Image Comics Acorn TV diversity Pop spy thriller cooking singing competition Shondaland Superheroes Christmas posters Captain marvel boxing olympics BBC Travel Channel toronto robots kaiju 4/20 TV renewals Mary Tyler Moore Mindy Kaling Starz trophy Awards Tour Pixar IFC Films Britbox Amazon Studios WGN Avengers Exclusive Video cops GLAAD Anna Paquin Spring TV Pop TV black Pacific Islander DC Comics talk show ITV South by Southwest Film Festival breaking bad lord of the rings video on demand rotten Universal Pictures Amazon movie Syfy prank The CW sports Infographic 72 Emmy Awards summer TV Fall TV australia sitcom Video Games HBO Go Best Director Marvel Television game show cancelled television Neflix X-Men canceled TV shows tv talk FX on Hulu slashers obi wan Turner streaming movies Quiz Martial Arts SXSW 2022 San Diego Comic-Con universal monsters Tomatazos 93rd Oscars NBC golden globes APB Logo animated DirecTV Paramount Network wonder woman Showtime heist movie adventure Emmys MGM debate Set visit ViacomCBS docuseries Apple TV Plus Thanksgiving Winter TV Creative Arts Emmys Country 2021 Masterpiece comics natural history directors Character Guide latino razzies Trailer hist Stephen King feel good Television Critics Association IFC news blockbusters mutant Interview Dark Horse Comics reboot El Rey Lucasfilm scorecard children's TV sag awards Marvel 2015 Nickelodeon Election Comics on TV A&E First Look OWN foreign 99% Best Actress scary anime cancelled TV series nature travel comic crime thriller Mystery PBS vampires halloween franchise aapi popular YouTube Red adaptation 90s Marathons Kids & Family documentaries Sundance TV summer TV preview legend Box Office Holiday Valentine's Day series festivals ratings worst movies versus BBC America LGBT Wes Anderson SundanceTV Chilling Adventures of Sabrina IMDb TV indie Lifetime Christmas movies GIFs women Amazon Prime Video festival Vudu Nominations suspense Disney Channel Universal nbcuniversal Sundance Now Photos movies TCA 2017 spider-man kids hispanic heritage month Opinion Pride Month spain satire Disney Plus japan justice league rotten movies we love FXX cancelled TV shows theme song BAFTA screenings Paramount Plus Mudbound deadpool BBC One President TruTV Hallmark Christmas movies book dexter scary movies unscripted HBO monster movies Apple TV+ slasher Binge Guide kong Marvel Studios NBA romantic comedy disaster rt labs NYCC VH1 Watching Series Lifetime ABC Signature concert discovery HFPA canceled comic book movie Extras cartoon Food Network emmy awards Brie Larson Music spider-verse PaleyFest Black History Month thriller all-time TLC Netflix HBO Max Best Actor Disney streaming service Tarantino Oscars YA Lionsgate dceu green book Holidays rom-coms young adult 2017 biopic Disney+ Disney Plus zero dark thirty CNN die hard marvel comics TCA Winter 2020 strong female leads The Purge james bond action-comedy MSNBC American Society of Cinematographers TV The Walt Disney Company The Academy werewolf Mary Poppins Returns christmas movies facebook Hear Us Out dragons Superheroe parents casting medical drama Spike Prime Video TV movies Countdown stoner Biopics 21st Century Fox rt labs critics edition Netflix Christmas movies Tubi saw international telelvision Columbia Pictures child's play Teen Polls and Games hispanic war E! mcc sequels Nat Geo vs. renewed TV shows reviews superhero MCU ABC Song of Ice and Fire Adult Swim independent FOX Tokyo Olympics space twilight serial killer Turner Classic Movies VOD Tumblr indiana jones Chernobyl stop motion Apple dark quibi based on movie Oscar Instagram Live Western Horror art house 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Certified Fresh 2018 romance spanish language Amazon Prime cults zombies MTV The Walking Dead critic resources Fantasy E3 Baby Yoda italian CBS Alien cinemax video what to watch japanese high school television Rom-Com docudrama Family doctor who 2019 CMT police drama 45 Writers Guild of America hidden camera PlayStation football Fox Searchlight TNT award winner See It Skip It worst 2016 Comic Book streamig pirates of the caribbean streaming Summer zombie 71st Emmy Awards Freeform Crunchyroll TV Land Cannes spinoff