Almost Human episode 8 review: You Are Here

Review Billy Grifter 16 Jan 2014 - 07:03

Almost Human delivers its funniest episode yet. Here's Billy's review of You Are Here...

This review contains spoilers.

1.8 You Are Here

Before I get to this episode review, I’d like to say that generally I’m really enjoying this show. Sometimes you can get a very negative vibe from a production where those involved have already focused on their next project, and don’t really care, but not here. My impression is that while not every aspect of the show is working, enough is to keep people interesting in doing a professional job, and move things forward.

The perfect example of this is the early anger management sequence, which demonstrated why they pay Karl Urban the big bucks, and just how silly this show can be on occasions. This is probably the funniest it’s been so far, and hints that should things not work out, they could so easily flip this production to being an all-out comedy.

The story then segues into the reason Kennex needs therapy, when he shoots an MX in the face who doesn’t take ‘shut up’ as a hint. As amusing as it was, this did somewhat undermine one of the pillars of the show, and the reason that Kennex is twinned with Dorian. He is issued the DRN synthetic because they’ve no MX series replacements, but they just tell Detective Paul to just go and get another MX. It was my assertion that Kennex got Dorian for a reason, and it wasn’t the one he was told, and this possibly supports that view. Or it’s sloppy writing, depending on how generous you’re feeling at the time.

From this point it was a by-the-numbers detective story where the buddy cops must solve the murder of a software programmer, and find those who have a person-specific bullet they can fire. There were some plot holes in all this, mostly due to the amount of stuff that was left unresolved at the end. As Anton Cross, the software engineer is dead from the start, most of the interaction is with Kira, his girlfriend. She’s targeted by the same people who shot Anton, but why he has to die isn’t ever revealed. She didn’t seem to know anything, other than seeing one of the assassins, so what was the imperative to remove her?

The other problem is that if you wrote software that could track a person, and hand that information to the navigation system of a bullet, you’d exclude yourself and anyone around you from being a target surely? This does seem to hint that Anton was remarkably dumb, considering that he knew how ruthless the people he was dealing with were. Those points aside, this was a workman-like mystery exercise, where Dorian got to speak Korean and soak up bullets like the meat-wall he really is.

Along with the basic narrative they also managed to squeeze a few references in regarding previous stories, adding to the bigger a story arc. There was nothing fantastic here, but at least this show isn’t just stand alone adventures, at last. We have the mystery of what dangerous item is in the evidence vault, and we also have the pilot subplot about Kennex’s duplicitous partner. That it’s taken so long to come back to that plot is disappointing, but at least they did come back to it.

A bigger problem that the writers seem disinclined to address is the paper-thin nature of the supporting cast. We know almost nothing about Detective Paul, Captain Maldonado or Detective Stahl, other than they work at the precinct. They seem desperate to get a relationship going between Valerie and John, but are devoid on ideas as to how to make this believable. He smiling at him and him glaring at her isn’t a relationship, and for the viewer to care we actually need to know something else about her. Let her have a bonsai tree, or a convict brother, or bondage addiction, I don’t care, but she needs to have more than the one dimension she’s been given so far. The same is true for the other characters, including Rudy, because the entire focus of the show has been Kennex and Dorian up to this point. If this concept is to grow and develop it needs to more encompassing, in both respect of those that work in the precinct, and the people outside it they interact.

The next episode, which hasn’t a title yet, airs on February the 3rd. It guest stars John Larroquette as Dr. Nigel Bernard, the man who designed Dorian and also created a psychopathic sexy female version they very badly need to stop. I’ll tune in for that.

Read Billy's review of the previous episode, Simon Says, here.

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I didn't see a problem with the MX replacement thing, since my understanding was that there were no MX's available *at the time* in the pilot. Which was the official reason for him getting Dorian. Although I'm pretty sure the captain said that she manipulated things a bit to get him a DRN because she knew it would be a better fit.

My problem with Kennex' attitude was how cavalierly he disposed of the MX and yet is supposed to be developing a bond with Dorian. The problem may be the airing schedule since I believe they are Fireflying this series (credit for the term goes to another poster on this site) and in the original order the character arc would make more sense. Still it is a little disturbing to encouraged (as a viewer) to feel sympathetic to an AI like Dorian on the one hand and yet laugh at the casual destruction of another AI like the MX. I hope that the creators can become a little more consistent with how they want us to view the civil liberty issue of the rights of the various forms of android we have on the show.

To be fair, they seem to be starting to give Stahl a backstory in that she apparently comes from a very privileged background for which some (read: Paul) resent her. Not much as of yet, but it's a start.

Does this show still not have a UK air date yet? I can never seem to find anything concrete about it.

Be advised: this is actually episode 2 of the series.

Plus they basically said she was genetically augmented in some way because her family could afford it. That's probably gonna come up again.

The biggest thing about dispatching the MX was how easily it was dismissed. Even though he wasn't shooting a human, (as he compared it to his toaster), it's still a multimillion dollar piece of machinery that he just shot because he felt it was "annoying".

Not receiving any sort of disciplinary action for blowing an android's head off served to really separate me from the world they've created. I enjoy the humorous banter he and the DRN have between themselves, but don't want this sort of slapstick humor to bleed into other areas of the show, just for a quick laugh. You'd think that just telling one of the MXes to shut up would be a sufficient command that it would obey.

This sort of casual writing is what causes shows that start out so well to become a bit cocky, and then to get canceled. And I for one, am really enjoying this one

Did anyone else think they just used the plot for the 1984 tom selleck movie Runaway in this ep?

Im pretty sure an episode or 2 earlier Maldonado said to kennex that she picked Dorian because they needed each other or some thing. so I cant see the problem with how he got him. it was arranged with out telling him, maybe saying no MX's was just to get him off scent that he was being partnered with some thing more like him.

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