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Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams Recap: Human Is Asks Questions About Who We Really Are

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Our first look at the new Philip K. Dick series Electric Dreams features the show’s executive producer, Bryan Cranston, in the role of a high-ranking general on a future version of Earth, circa 2520. Both he and his wife Vera (Essie Davis) are professionally engaged in a battle against the inhabitants of Rexor IV, the location of a large store of material needed to decontaminate Earth’s atmosphere. Silas goes into combat while Vera remains on the ground directing the missions. The difference in their roles is a point of contention and resentment for the battle-hardened general, who dismisses his wife’s efforts as being only a minor part of the real fight for humankind’s survival.

When his commander (Liam Cunningham) orders an emergency expedition to the planet to secure more resources, Vera is against it, arguing that the ethics of stealing from the Rexorians are questionable, even though they’re thought to be a violent, unfeeling race. The mission goes ahead—and goes awry when the small crew comes under attack. Vera believes her husband to be dead until she receives word from a colleague that the auto-piloted ship has reentered Earth’s atmosphere with two live crew members on board. One of them is Silas.

Vera seems unsure of how to process the news that her cruel, emotionally abusive husband has returned until her first encounter with him proves that he’s come back a changed man. Or a completely different man. Or, maybe, not a man at all.

Once callous and dismissive, this new Silas is suddenly caring, attentive, and into making breakfast for his hardworking wife. But just as she’s starting to get used to it, he’s arrested and accused of being a Rexorian metamorph. Dang. Footage from the battle on Rexor IV shows two Rexorian light orb creature things sneaking onto the ship. In addition to that, his fellow survivor has been caught on video talking in his sleep. In Rexorian.

In court, experts testify to the fact that Silas has been body-snatched and Vera’s colleague and close confidant (played by Humans’ Ruth Bradley) goes on record to say that she believes Vera has been knowingly harbouring a Rexorian metamorph for weeks. Ugh, careerists. Just when it seems that both Vera and Silas are going to be sentenced to execution, Silas (or whoever he is now) steps up to sacrifice himself for her. But wait, that can’t be right. Rexorians are incapable of love, empathy, and all that other stuff that we say makes us human. Which, Vera points out, MUST mean that he’s who he says he is: good old Silas, the same guy that left Earth for Rexor IV.

Based on the strength of that argument, both he and Vera are acquitted and sent home to live in newly blissful matrimony as (Rexorian) husband and (genius) wife.