Hello, PKD Fans! If your emotionally abusive spouse returns from a mission a changed person but could be an alien what would you do? Find out which one Vera chooses on this week’s Electric Dreams Podcast, where we discuss Electric Dreams Season 1 Episode 6, entitled Human Is, which originally aired on October 29, 2017.
It’s the year 2520 on Planet Terra (formerly known as Earth) and Terra is a dying world desperately in need of clean air. The production of this requires Hydron and the inhabited planet of Rexor IV has it. The inhabitants are not only intelligent, but brutal against those that seek to destroy their home world.
After leading a failed invasion on Rexor IV a highly decorated Colonel Silas (Bryan Cranston) is receiving an honor for bravery on that recent mission from General Elin (Liam Cunningham). After his acceptance speech, a conversation with the General brings up the importance of Silas’s wife – Vera (Essie Davis) as the mission director who made the call to retreat which actually saves his life but this doesn’t set too well with Silas.
When they arrive home that evening Silas is emotionally abusive to Vera blaming her for degrading his honor and makes sure she knows her place. They sleep in separate rooms and later that night she sneaks out to go and fulfill her needs that he isn’t. The next morning he makes the comment that she was out late.
When it is reported that Terra only has six months of breathable air left the General decides that the Colonial should lead a small group back to Rexor for more Hydron despite Vera’s suggestion to go to uninhabited planet. The mission goes bad very quickly as the Rexorians attack and even though the ship is full of Hydron the General gives the orders to explode a nuclear device.
Believing there are no survivors, Vera is left to ponder her life and subtly shows actual relief and happiness, finally being untethered, and we can plainly see that she hopes that her husband won’t come back.
Several days later Vera receives news that a ship has entered Terra’s atmosphere and there are two life signs aboard. Silas somehow managed to get one other soldier on board and the ship off the planet before the nuke went off. But when Silas is eventually released from the hospital he is a very different man, showing genuine compassion and commitment. Vera gradually warms to this new presence in her life and slowly, but surely, she comes to life as she starts appreciating Silas’ company believing he is indeed a changed man.
Unfortunately it is discovered that two metamorph Rexorians made it on the ship before leaving and the solider Silas saved is speaking rexorian. Due to his rank in the military Silas is given a trial and the state goes after him hard. They even go as far as using Vera’s closest friend Yaro against her by accusing her of harboring an alien. Silas decides to confess as long as they agree not to punish Vera and they agree. As they are about to lead Silas away Vera addresses the court stating that if Silas was a metamorph he would be cruel and ruthless, not someone who would be willing to sacrifice himself to save her which are human qualities. The court decides in her favor and let’s them both go free. Back at their home, Vera asks Silas what his real name is and he tells her it’s too difficult to pronounce.