Almost Human episode 9 review: Unbound

Review Billy Grifter
5 Feb 2014 - 12:22

Gina Carano guest stars in this week's Almost Human, which poses more questions than it answers...

This review contains spoilers.

1.9 Unbound

What with the standard cast costs, Almost Human must have blown its budget substantially this week on guest stars. For starters they introduced the lethal female counterpart to Dorian, the lovely Danica, played by ex-MMA fighter Gina Carano, who manages to be all-woman and all-synthetic killing machine in one, and neatly resolves the mystery about what dangerous object is sat in the police evidence locker.

And, if that wasn’t enough - and I’d never suggest to Carano's face it wouldn’t be - they also chucked in the mercurial John Larroquette, as the creator of the DRN series, Dr Nigel Vaughn.

While I’ve no issues with what Gina Carano brought to this story, I do have question marks about John Larroquette. Is it me, or does he always seems to be acting, even when he’s playing it straight? Maybe I’m confusing the roles he’s given and his acting abilities, but that he wasn’t being straight with anyone wasn’t a surprise, because he was acting fake from the outset.

I’ve seen other people say that they loved Larroquette, so perhaps I’m out of step with that opinion. I’m inclined to think that he comes over as Lithgow-lite, and regrettably they couldn’t get that other amazing actor involved.

While the story did have some great action sequences, and some nice moments, it wasn’t a great advertisement for their detective work. I was somewhat taken aback that not one police officer questioned why Danica killed everyone she met until she encountered Nigel, and then left him with a superficial injury. Though, and possibly to confuse matters, from that point onwards Danica went oddly soft on dispatching people.

This was especially evident in the fight she had with Kennex, which given her lethality seemed entirely staged. Surely, she’d have killed him in their first meeting, and what Kennex thought punching her in the head would accomplish I’m unsure? It was like she wasn’t allowed to kill him, although no comment was made about how relatively lightly he got off. But then again, she could have easily terminated Dorian too, and failed to deliver the easy coup de grace when she had the chance.

There seemed many bit of this that didn’t quite gel with what we’ve seen before, or were told in exposition. Given how lethal she’d been before, Danica wasn’t remotely that dangerous in this story, because Kennex isn’t Superman, is he?

But what truly confused me were all the references to ‘the Wall’. Have I missed something? Because I don’t recall we’ve had any explanation about the division of society and The Wall, and what’s on the other side of that structure. Well, Nigel is, but beyond that the episode ran the references like we’d all been briefed before on the subject, which I just don’t recall. There are definite references to both Judge Dredd (ironically), and possibly Escape From New York, in the concept and presentation of the Wall.

What I am really curious about is what happened to Danica to make her a killer, given that we’re told she’s identical in many respects to Dorian? There’s a story here to tell, and I’m also curious about the DRN Series 2 bots. Do they look like Dorian, or Danica? What was the sacrifice that Danica need to make, and is this the start of a robot revolution, as per I, Robot?

I guess those, and a dozen other questions that this story threw up will be answered shortly, one can only hope.

In terms of laughs, this episode was pretty light this week, though it packed in a decent amount of narrative, and was the first proper attempt to build a multi-episode story arc. Almost Human is evolving, which is good and timely. I can’t wait to see where it takes us next.

But, almost to throw a spanner in that works, I know for a fact that the next story, Perception was shot fourth in the shooting order. That would suggest it’s a standalone narrative, before the show starts its three-episode arc to conclude the season.

That hints we may only get some of those answers this season with the majority being held out for a potential second. That’s not guaranteed yet, which is a concern.

Read Billy's review of the previous episode, You Are Here, here.

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