Almost Human episode 5 review: Blood Brothers

Review Billy Grifter 11 Dec 2013 - 09:56

Is Almost Human becoming disjointed due to a lack of overriding story arc? Here's Billy's review of Blood Brothers...

This review contains spoilers.

1.5 Blood Brothers

Last week the episode was allocated to giving Rudy more personality, and this week the spotlight shifts to Captain Maldonado (Lili Taylor) as the primary focus.
As the head of her department she clearly never read the bit in the leadership manual where it tells you not to get emotionally involved in a case. Something that seems very relevant to her battle of wills with super-smart Ethan Avery.

It starts as a courtroom drama, and then develops into a case when one of the women giving evidence is killed while giving said evidence. At that point surely the trial would be abandoned, as the jury would surely be influenced by seeing her gunned down? Nah, that happens all the time in the future, it appears.

But she’s not the only witness, there’s another called Maya, and we know she’s bonkers because she dresses like Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan. Actually, while the character was hard work most of the time, I though Megan Ferguson who played Maya was actually pretty good, considering the dialogue she had to work with. Her sixth sense is the means by which the case is actually solved, though without much explanation as to how enhancing people’s brains can connect them to dead people.

Things moved along at a reasonable pace with the usually strong character moments between Dorian and Kennex, until the end, where the writers obviously got bored. The final set piece where the holographic Ethan Avery and Captain Maldonado walk towards his three remaining clones was so full of holes it could have graced pastrami on rye.

My first thought was that this special effect, if possible, wouldn’t be remotely convincing, because the ground they're traversing isn’t perfectly flat, and the lighting in the corridor is totally different from that outside. But assuming they had software that could fix that, there was an even bigger issue with the court case. Surely the existence of four perfect clones would be an excellent rebuff to the witness identifying Ethan? Yes, they were younger, but any defence lawyer would have a field-day with that positive identification. And, he’d walk, unless one of his clones testified against him as the killer.

But the cardinal sin of the closure was what Dorian did with the vehicle, running after it and then flipping it using his android strength. As unexpected as that was, it’s a nightmare for future writers. Because whenever a car speeds away you’ll wonder why Dorian doesn’t just flip it, like he did here.

Overall, I liked Blood Brothers more than the previous two stories, but it still wasn’t as well considered or executed as the second story, Skin. The attempt to humanise Captain Maldonado didn’t entirely work, and their initial efforts at making Minka Kelly more than a fashion accessory weren’t conclusive. She’s got chemistry with Karl Urban, but frankly she’d have that with anyone with an X and Y chromosome, and probably any other combination. In five episodes we’ve discovered she drinks Bourbon, which is hardly a character trait cornucopia.

What’s really missing at the moment is any bigger story arc, as we’ve not returned to the Syndicate since the pilot. What I’d like to know is what was the series of events that caused Dorian to be deactivated previously, what happened to the other DRM robots, and why did they never implement Asimov’s three laws?
For this to work more than just a by-the-numbers futuristic buddy cop show the synthetics need to have their own sub-culture, unknown to humans, rather than just be their robot counterparts with easily repairable features. Kennex needs to be on a journey where he realises the world he lives in is different than he’s assumed, and Dorian must surely evolve too.

I’m finding the series so far disjointed, mostly because they’re showing the episodes entirely out of production order. But the promise offered by the first two stories hasn’t been realised, either because the writers got cold feet delivering something that edgy, or they’re already convinced it won’t make it through to a second season.

Read Billy's review of the previous episode, The Bends, here.

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I'm afraid you are looking for science fiction in the wrong series

Be advised: this is actually episode 8. Fox is going Firefly on this one. Thought they would have learned by now.

The most frustrating thing is hearing the voice over at the beginning that supposedly explains a universe that clearly doesn't exist in the series at all, "technological advances that can't be controlled", "400% increase in crime mandating all police be accompanied by robots" Where is that universe? It all looks pretty clean and milquetoast. The new drug from last week is clearly still illegal. There is really nothing sci-fi about this show and the writing is soooo bad. Yesterday a police captain didn't know the difference between jail and prison, twice, there was no explanation of no DNA left at a scene of a crime and RUDY actually explains how he can guarantee it is someone voice speaking, not a twin or a reproduction, confirms who the speaker is and then we learn it was a clone completely negating that premise. It's actually not that hard to write sci-fi and they need to get some sci-fi writers on this show fast. And Minka kelly's character is beyond dumb and shallow and just not there. get rid of her.

By the way it's Insyndicate, not Syndicate, that is the missing criminal cartel from the pilot, and it's telling that you didn't remember that.

ahhh, I actually like this show...

Would you care to cite your source? I can't find anything that mentions that.

Anyway, about the witness being shot convincing the jury. I think the reason it's supposed to work is the out of control criminal underworld that supposedly exists.
This series had potential, and the first couple of episodes were good. It seems to have gone downhill since then. Also about the brain enhancement. I think it's got something to do with the common internet myth that we only use 10% of our brains, considering it was specifically said that the process used to give people those powers makes them use a higher percentage of their brain.

Loved it this is being brilliant. keep going

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