Synopsis of 2×08: Hester’s truly apathetic nature becomes clear as she holds Laura hostage in her own home, forcing the others to pull a life-saving ruse out of a hat. Karen searches for meaning in a life without Pete and Morrow’s relationship with V gives way to anguish.


So here’s the skinny:

  • Joe decides to move the Hawkins clan to a synth free community in a last-ditch effort to reclaim the supposed normalcy he believes his family lost. Laura argues against it, but Joe insists they seriously consider their options.
  • Karen’s synth child, Sam, consoles her in Pete’s absence and she promises to take care of Sam as she would a child of her own.
  • Hester takes Laura hostage at her home and threatens to kill her if Leo does not meet her within an hour. Laura gets in Hester’s head and we see Hester break under the pressure, almost killing her in the process.
  • Astrid gives Niska her blessing and Niska consequently comes to her family’s aid.
  • Leo, Max, and Mattie develop a protocol to remotely destroy Hester’s brain chip. Leo meets Hester at the home while Mia waits outside, but Hester permanently destroys Leo’s synthetic brain after he lies about loving her. So now Leo is essentially in a comatose state until further notice.
  • Mia rushes in and activates the protocol, which kills both her and Hester… or so we think. Mattie saves Mia by uploading her revised Elster code to all synths around the world simultaneously, as it is the only way to save Mia. This causes chaos as synths gain awareness all around the world. Hester is revived as well until Niska squishes her forehead and kills her.
  • Remember the scene at the end of Spike Jonze’s Her, well that’s exactly what happens with V. She leaves Qualia’s server and Morrow to explore the world, never to return again. Morrow resigns from Qualia with hopes of pursuing happiness without her daughter.

So this episode begins with some traditional b-roll. It’s great footage of the environment and looks superb. 

As far as the protagonists, because that’s all any of you really care about, Joe mentions a synth-free housing community to Laura. She’s resistant, and argues that her children have given her a new sense of pride.

Synth child Sam walks in on Karen laying in bed completely drained of charge, but not plugged to her charger to refuel her. In this moment, it dawned on me that Karen’s grief over Pete’s absence is so severe that she would rather never wake up than face another day without him. It’s subtle enough, but still a powerful statement of how she felt for him. Sam can’t fathom this and plugs her charger into her.

Laura’s sitting in her living room looking through a photo album when a guest rings the doorbell. It’s none other than Hester, but she pretends to be an ex-tree surgeon named Molly.

Morrow walks into Qualia and we see Khouri in the background defending himself against other board members for the frick-storm that blew over the silo last episode. Morrow converses with V. At this point, V has crashed through the glass ceiling of her creator’s expectations. She no longer sees herself as any extension of Ginny, Morrow’s daughter, and knows that she can do things the human mind is incapable of.

Hester probes Laura lightly about her reasoning for helping the synths. Laura has learned, over time, that synths and humans are equals. Hester asks if it’ll take violence. Laura drops the philosophical quote of the episode in the form of Gandhi. Hester finds it interesting that Laura quotes a man that was defeated by violence, but Laura states that he was killed by violence, not defeated. Whoa… profound.

V drops some knowledge of her own. Morrow tells V that they will not speak anymore. She no longer feels that V holds a purpose for her. She tells V to explore because she’s bigger than what Morrow had planned her for. Even so, when V departs from the server, the doctor has a hard time letting go. She begs her creation not to go, but it’s too late. V recounts Ginny’s memories as they flood her system until she fades away and powers down.

A synth informs Khouri of V fleeing from the server and he comes to Morrow about it. He slaps an arrest threat on her, but she denies having any part in it or any knowledge of where V went. Khouri claims he was trying to do something pure and Morrow believes him. She should. Although he may have been our enemy at times, he really was trying to make lives better for people who deserved it. His methods were just off the beaten path.

Laura lays in her bed when she gets a phone call from Mattie. It’s the old “you have an intruder in your house” warning, but Hester catches the call and holds Laura hostage. She demands for Leo to meet her at the Hawkins home otherwise she will kill Laura. Mattie tells the Elster’s synth, minus Niska, and they created a firmware to shut Hester’s brain chip down permanently.

While Hester holds Laura hostage, the latter attempts to reach the former through sympathy and understanding. It almost works. She states that Hester has gotten a bad hand in life and handled it poorly, just as any human would have done, so she’s more human than she thinks. That doesn’t bode well with Hester and she reminds Laura that she has weapons that she will use if prompted.

Astrid notices Niska’s worry over her family and urges Niska to help them. She also teases Niska about her being Niska’s first love. It’s interesting seeing Niska actually care hugely for a human being.

Karen watches the sun set with Sam. She explains that Peter is dead and that he’ll never return, but she’ll care for Sam through the hard future awaiting them.

Mia and Leo get to the Hawkins home. Leo goes in while Mia waits for him in the car, insisting that she’ll come in after five minutes. Hester’s anger for Leo is stronger than her affection for him ever was. She wants an apology from him, one that acknowledges his “weakness” that led to all the dead seraphims. He musters up a good one and she accepts it. He even says they’ll seek redemption together. She asks about his love for her and when he falsely claims he does, she stabs him in the back of his neck.

Mia rushes in and comes to Leo’s side as he bleeds out on the floor. Mia activates the brain chip overload. Her and Hester drop to the floor, bleeding out of their ears and losing the color in their eyes. Laura calls the ambulance and Niska comes in just then. Now, it’s just a bunch of people, who could have helped, reaching the others seconds too late. Niska says that Leo will survive, but his brain can not.

They call Mattie, but her revised program would take too long to reach Mia and revive her if she uploaded it in person. That leaves only one choice: uploading the consciousness code to all synths around the world in an instant. Mattie has a slight moment of moral crisis, but Max assures her it will be okay and she unleashes the code.

Mia and Hester are revived, while synths around the world gain awareness. As soon as Hester comes alive, Niska walks over and puts and end to one of the most problematic characters on this whole show!! Hester’s got nothing on Niska and Niska literally shut her down. It was a great treat to see the cold, reluctant hero of the series butt heads with the apathetic muscle of the second season.

Even Sam gains consciousness, apparently right before he drives himself and Karen into a huge body of water. Guess they’re going to have a longer future together than she thought.

Lastly, Mia, Niska, and Laura come out of the home to witness the beginning of the chaos they have caused.

The finale of one AMC’s biggest powerhouses has reached its end. The ending was ambiguous enough to tease for more. This second season was much more eventful than the first and progressed with a comfortable speed that its predecessor found impossible.

Some excellent performances, I mean really excellent performances were plenty in this season. Sophie’s synthetic mimicking may have been one of the strongest of these in my opinion. But, I’m sure we all had our favorites. What did you think about this episode and this season? Leave a comment and let us know, we’d love to hear it.

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