Biohackers season 1, episode 1 recap – “Arrival” gene machine

August 20, 2020
Jonathon Wilson 1
Netflix, TV Recaps
3.5

Summary

“Arrival” shows off plenty of weird potential in its science-y premise, as it introduces a protagonist with an enigmatic agenda and driven scientist potentially up to no good.

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3.5

Summary

“Arrival” shows off plenty of weird potential in its science-y premise, as it introduces a protagonist with an enigmatic agenda and driven scientist potentially up to no good.

This recap of Biohackers season 1, episode 1, “Arrival”, contains spoilers. 

Check out our spoiler-free season review.


Biohackers episode 1 opens, quite fittingly, by introducing its protagonist, Mia, a medical student who helpfully wears her name on a chain around her neck and is immediately faced with an emergency aboard a train speeding through the lush countryside. The passengers begin collapsing, while Mia attempts to tend to them and her friend, Niklas, tries to keep their families calm. That is until he, too, clutches his chest and falls to the ground, making for quite a cold open.

The next we see of Mia, she’s checking into a rundown flat occupied by dorky students — one of them answers the door naked, and their WiFi is named “flux capacitor” — where the stuff in the fridge is suspiciously inedible and the box of her possessions contains a big wad of newspaper clippings and journals that she hides in the back of a bedside speaker (I say bedside, but I really mean mattress-side, since it’s on the floor.) In a hazy flashback, we see a young Mia open a little ginger-haired Viking toy, which she still has with her.

One of Mia’s fellow residents is Chen-Lu, a biologist who is trying to make livestock farming obsolete by injecting meat flavors into mushrooms and talks at a thousand miles per hour. She rapidly interrogates Mia about her family situation for the benefit of the audience. It’s worth mentioning that all of Mia’s hidden documentation was related to a Dr. Lorenz, a visionary prodigy who is, wouldn’t you know it, quickly introduced as the lecturer in Mia’s first class. She very quickly lays out her stall: She’s big into synthetic biology, turning us from creatures into creators; it’s our responsibility, she claims, to shape tomorrow, make God obsolete, and prevent the eradication of the human race. You know how university professors are.

Mia — as we’re doled out more brief flashbacks in Biohackers episode 1, for context — clearly has her sights set on Dr. Lorenz, and indeed her sleepy assistant Jasper. His luminous green mouse, Mendel, leads him and her on a merry chase around the library’s shelves until they’re able to corner it, at which point he reveals that he rescued it from a trial — the animals are always killed after the experiments have been conducted, though how he’s going to hide the thing seems a question worth asking given that it glows. Nevertheless, we’re introduced to the idea of gene therapy.

“Arrival” is very much into the idea of using science as a shortcut to different powers and abilities; in the very next scene, at a party where everyone is annoyingly wearing neon headphones, Mia takes some eyedrops that let her see in the dark. She pays for this advantage the next morning — imagine having a hangover while staring directly at the sun and you’ve got a pretty good idea. Everyone in the flat is in the same boat, though, rocking dark glasses and nursing sore heads.

Even with the hangover from hell, Mia is able to impress Dr. Lorenz in their first class together, and charms Jasper into a night out with very little difficulty.

Chen-Lu watches everything on Netflix at 1.5x speed, which isn’t surprising, and she has a cool “bio-piano” with plants that play little tunes when you touch them. It’s obvious even as early as Biohackers episode 1 that this show has virtually limitless ideas to play with, though how far it takes its various concepts is anyone’s guess at this point.

Out for their drink, Mia and Jasper do that clever people thing where they show off how much they’ve figured out about each other while we’re left to wonder how much of it is accurate. He suggests they go for a walk, which takes them into the woods — never a good sign — and to a hidden little cabin lab where Jasper is working on a “gene vector”, a modified virus that can transport DNA into human cells. He gives Mia a quick rundown of how this works and what its potential repercussions might be, including the eradication of genetic diseases, with the help of a Lego X-Wing. He offers to give her a genetic sequencing, totally free of charge, and then swoops in for a smooch that she embarrassingly swerves. Her goal remains the same: Working for Lorenz. He forwards her the forms, so the mission is partway to being accomplished.

We cut to Lorenz at this point in “Arrival”, who is meeting with a journalist, Dr. Andreas Winter, whom she knows affectionately as Andi (spare a thought for her obviously long-suffering assistant, Monique.) They talk briefly about family, and Lorenz leaps at the opportunity to extoll the virtues of her work. When she sits down to eat, Mia is outside gawping at her through the windows.

Biohackers season 1, episode 1 reverts back to the opening scene, where Mia awakens in the train carriage full of presumably dead passengers, where she’s asked her name by a woman in a bulky orange hazmat suit. The woman spots it on her necklace — told you it was helpful! Although perhaps not, since the young woman we’ve known as Mia until this point reveals that her name is Emma. That’ll do for a cliffhanger, won’t it?


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1 thought on “Biohackers season 1, episode 1 recap – “Arrival”

  • August 21, 2020 at 3:01 am
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    Interesting start. I watched this epsiode tonight and will watch the rest over the weekend. I really like Luna Wedler. She seems to be very talented.

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