Almost Human episode 6 review: Arrhythmia

Review Billy Grifter 19 Dec 2013 - 17:23

Almost Human returns to its early form with an episode that delves further into DRN subculture. Here's Billy's review...

This review contains spoilers.

1.6 Arrhythmia

In last week’s episode review I’d made a couple of wishes as to where I wanted the show to go, and magically this week they were partially answered.

But before I get to that, Arrhythmia was a neatly paced whodunit where the illegal distribution of artificial organs takes an unexpected direction. After a man dies asking demanding medical help at a hospital, it’s revealed that his artificial heart has a limited warranty, based entirely on his monthly ability to pay extortionists.

Kennex and Dorian are assigned the case, and immediately get side-lined when they encounter another DRN series working as a repair droid at the hospital. This subplot provided an interesting insight into those DRN androids that didn’t succeed, and some explanation of why. What it also did was introduce another version of Dorian, who in this incarnation was amazingly accident prone.

Some of the best scenes with Dorian and Kennex so far have been in his cruiser, but having two Dorians there was probably more than the human could reasonably cope with. The story of the other Dorian, his decommission, and how he’d been psychologically damaged by his experience was quite compelling. My only complaint, and it’s a minor one, is that they never gave him a name. I presume all DRNs are called Dorian, though this isn’t implicitly stated.

What was remarkable was the interaction between Michael Ealy and himself as his DRN brother, in which it was easy to forget this is indeed just one person. That fulfilled one wish, and another was delivered with shades of a DRN subculture, where as well as helping humans, they were also driven to help their own kind. Initially this has disastrous consequences when Dorian uploads incomplete case files to his DRN brother, but eventually he focuses his efforts to make the other Dorian a less damaged individual.

In between this we got a round-robin piece of sleuthing, where they start with their first suspect, a crematorium worker, and then get sent on a wild-goose chase before ultimately returning to him.

What I didn’t follow was that having admitted that his was pillaging the replacement parts from bodies and reselling them, he’s not even taken down to the precinct for an interview. And, because of that, more people die. Not something the police should be especially proud if the case was ever reviewed.

That point aside, this was probably the second best episode so far, just behind Skin, as it delivered plenty of humour along with a good dose of spare-part creepiness.

The only blot on this landscape is Minka Kelly for whom the production team either have no love or time it seems. She gets scant dialogue and even less to do, other than look pretty. If she can act then she needs to be given things to do, and if she can’t then what’s she doing on here?

It doesn’t help that this was actually the third production episode, so the developing relationship between Stahl and Kennex seen at the end of the last story hasn’t actually happened yet, confusingly.

What I appreciate more are the continuing Blade Runner references, including the return of the glowing umbrellas. For those who missed it, the means to identify unstable DRNs was the Lugar test, where presumably just like the replicant revealing Voight-Kompf test where they ask them to explain what to do with a turtle on its back in the sun.

I’m glad they showed this one before the festive break, because it’s certainly primed me to look forward to the show returning on January 6th.

Read Billy's review of the previous episode, Blood Brothers, here.

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still one of my fav new fall shows. please Fox give it a decent schedule slot in the new year so it gets the ratings it deserves

Be advised! This is actually episode 3. Fox is going all Firefly on this again.

Wow was this a fun episode and the scene at the end with Dorian and the DRN was heart breaking. Also this show is really giving Karl Urban a time to shine

I doubt that the DRN has a name, not even a derivative one like 'Dorian'. Consider how even the politest of the show's characters will still only refer to their MX units by their numbers. The humans we've seen on this show use robots as tools and don't anthropomorphize them in any sort of way. As Rudy indicated in the pilot, this was why the DRN series had to be decommissioned: robots designed to be as human as possible were subsequently dehumanized by the people they were meant to serve and couldn't cope with the emotional trauma that caused.

Kennex is probably unique among those who were ever assigned a DRN in that he's willing to engage Dorian at an intellectual level and is concerned about his partner's welfare.

The show has potential but I sure wish there was some evidence that "in the future" we learn something, i.e. other then some of the sci fi aspects it's just the same old same old cop routines, cops bust heads when others fail to toe the line but the same cops have no problems bending the rules themselves. Since most of America takes it's lead from TV shows it would be nice if a few cop shows aspired to show cops forced to play by the same rules as mere citizens instead of rule benders with a free pass.

And before firefly space above and beyond as they showed an episode that was near the end of that series as the third episode.

You mean explicitly--not implicitly.

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