This interview contains spoilers for season 1 of Humans but is spoiler-free for season 2.
Humans was the sleeper hit last summer on AMC, exploring the concept of androids achieving consciousness well before Westworld came around, and a big part of the show’s success was the surprising turn of events surrounding the character of Detective Inspector Karen Voss, played by Ruth Bradley. With season 2 having premiered on Monday, Bradley shared some of what the future holds for her character (who begins her story arc next week) and the series at large.
Things ended in a dark place for Karen last season, but she did contribute her part to the great synth awakening that is the cornerstone of season 2, thanks to the support of her peers. “Mia’s persuasive thing there at the end of season 1 was basically the idea of being loved for Karen, that there was another route; it didn’t have to all end,” explains Bradley. “I think we find her in season 2 in a more positive place for the moment… and is far more open in season 2 than she was in season 1.”
Karen’s relationship with her fellow detective, Pete, will definitely be evolving in season 2, despite her keeping him in the dark about her true nature last season. “He probably should be angry at her for deceiving him,” admits Bradley, “but then I suppose we all have to forgive… [It’s] like any relationship in the beginning, which is what’s great about this season: it focuses so much on relationships.”
Even though his relationship with Karen is a key element this year, Pete wasn’t exactly a champion for synth rights last year, and he’s definitely having to adjust to Karen’s hidden life as well as overcome his own prejudices. “She’s played the role of human so much longer than this time with Pete in this relationship,” Bradley notes. “She’s going back to work, so she’s going to put on her act, and obviously that makes him uncomfortable, but that is where Karen is most comfortable… The most ‘her’ she knows is her pretending to be something she’s not.”
Sharp viewers may have caught a few hints in season 1 of Humans that Karen was a synth, and the physical and emotional dissonance will continue in season 2. Bradley recalls, “I think there’s a moment where Karen is sitting in a car before Pete arrives, and there’s very much synth blankness to her. All throughout season 1 until the reveal happens, I had my hands in my pockets because synths don’t gesticulate the way we do.”
Fortunately, Karen and the others have had plenty of practice, and they will need to be very good actors as more and more synths awaken, increasing the suspicion levels. “The five conscious synths that we knew in season 1… have had time to fine tune their performances and blend in,” Bradley agrees, “but as other conscious synths became aware of this and what they would have to do… everybody would be looking at their eyes thinking are they contacts? Are they just really good impersonations of humans?”
Just like last year, thankfully, Karen’s story won’t be completely self-contained, according to Bradley. “There will be moments where people do all meet up, much like season 1, when you least expect it,” she promises. “That’s what’s great about the show as well: there are always so many twists, and I don’t think you could ever predict what’s coming next.”
Humans continues its eight episode run on AMC on Mondays at 10pm. The full audio of this interview will be available on the March edition of Sci Fi Fidelity. Be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss it! iTunes | Stitcher | Soundcloud