The Train Ride
A nervous Mia rides a train with her friend Niklas. Suddenly, a woman called Heike starts to hyperventilate and falls to the ground. Only, another woman soon collapses too. Eventually this spreads across to the whole carriage as everyone starts coughing and passing out. As Niklas drops down and clutches his chest, Mia watches on helplessly. Biohackers gets off to a pretty intriguing start before slamming on the brakes and setting the foundations for a middling mystery to follow.
2 Weeks Earlier
Mia arrives at her dorm and meets her new roommates for the first time. Lotta is free-spirited and care-free while curly haired nerd Ole is obsessed with body hacks. They’re joined by Chen-Lu who seems to be more machine than human, spouting out sentences at a million miles per hour.
As Mia starts unpacking her belongings, she finds an old figurine given to her by her brother Daniel as a child. This happens to hold painful memories of the past as we see him rushed into ER.
That first day comes in the form of a big lecture around medicine. The host informs them all that this isn’t going to be a walk in the park. It’s certainly not going to help them ascend to the level of Professor Dr. Tanja Lorenz, who arrives next to take over.
Soaking in the rapturous applause, she speaks to them all about synthetic biology. This form of medicine could transform mankind and turn us as a species from the creations into the creators – essentially making God obsolete.
Mia immediately becomes fascinated by the Professor’s assistant, Jasper. After watching and following him in a very un-stalker-like way, she uncovers a luminous glowing mouse in the library. Jasper shows up not long after and the pair race through the library to capture it. As they talk under the table, he quizzes her over an upcoming freshman party.
Mia sits at home and begins studying until Lotta convinces her to join them at the party. With luminous headphones and plenty of booze flowing, the group all start dancing. Mia immediately appears before Jasper and introduces herself, which is where we also meet Niklas for the first time. She leaves a lovely introduction for him, puking all over his shoes.
In the morning, a hungover Mia grabs her stuff and heads back up to the science lab. After class, she corners Jasper and apologises for the night before. To make it up to him, she invites the boy out for dinner.
As she starts getting ready, Chen-Lu excitedly throws a whole range of texts and ideas her way. However, it’s really her top that takes Mia’s fancy as she notices Jasper’s social media shares a similar pattern.
The First Date
As Jasper and Mia sit together and talk, Jasper boasts that he has a lab of his own. Taking her out the busy club, they walk through the darkness to where his lab is. Inside, he explains that he’s working on a modified virus that can transport DNA into human cells.
As they get talking, Jasper encourages her to become Lorenz’s assistant and sends over some files for her to read and sign.
While she leaves, Dr Lorenz receives a visit from a man named Andi who happens to be a journalist. After getting the niceties out the way, Lorenz explains that her research will help heal thousands of people. After finishing her interview, she heads home alone and starts reading through papers. Only, Mia happens to be watching from outside.
As the episode closes out, we cut back to that very same train carriage where Mia seems to have recovered while everyone else remains passed out. As a woman approaches wearing a biohazard suit, she asks what her name is. “Mia?” She quizzes as our groggy protagonist tells her that’s not right. “My name is Emma.”
The Episode Review
With some pretty thin character depth, the story just about recovers with the sandwiched scenes on the train. The entire episode is pretty typical for this genre, with character building lacking and the first-day-at-school tropes played out instead.
The idea of modified gene splicing is interesting enough to keep you invested though but so far we’ve only really seen illuminated living beings like plants and animals. This early in the game it’s also not initially clear exactly what Jasper is trying to do.
By nature, a virus expands and consumes everything it can so injecting a virus into someone doesn’t seem like a particularly bright idea. Then again, I’m no gene scientist so I can’t comment on the scientific rationale here.
However, the characters lack much in the way of charisma to drive this forward and Mia in particular is pretty cold all round. There’s definitely secrets being hidden here – especially with her name revealed as Emma – and hopefully we learn a lot more about this in the upcoming episodes. For now though Biohackers gets off to an indifferent and average start.
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