Almost Human episode 10 review: Perception

Review Billy Grifter 12 Feb 2014 - 11:22

Billy is frustrated by the network shuffling Almost Human's episode order...

This review contains spoilers.

1.10 Perception

I’ve mentioned it before, but the order in which Almost Human was shot is entirely at odds with the one they’ve chosen to show it. In fact with the exception of the pilot, and last week’s story Unbound, none of the episodes so far have been shown in their originally intended order. That’s created some curious problems, because there are facts that we’re now being presented that might have made the audience view characters and situations a little differently, had the order been as intended.

Perception was meant to be episode four, and in it we discover that genetically altered people, ‘Chromes’, are the ultimate academics. But, more pointedly for fans of the show, we discover that Stahl is a Chrome. That explains plenty about why they picked Minka Kelly for the character, but it doesn’t really provide any comprehension as to why this fact or any reference hasn’t turned up in any other story so far. It’s one of those things like ‘the wall’, where I’m left feeling like information is being unnecessarily withheld, almost intentionally confusing the occasional viewer.

But back to Perception, which is two-thirds a basic forensic whodunnit, and one third bigger story arc development. To be honest, I liked the development in the Kennex story more than the creepy Chrome kids parts.

What annoyed me about the latter were a couple of things. The first was that having at last admitted that Stahl was a Chrome, and giving Minka her first real stab at elevating her character above being mobile wallpaper, she did relatively little. Surely this case should have been cracked by her Chrome powers? And, why did she seem adjusted to talking to normal people, where all the kids were living in their own heads?

There were issues there, and the other problem was that the continuity in this story took some major hits at various points. The first really jarring one of these came when Kennex experiences his first flashback, and his right hand starts shaking. When Maldonado viewed him taking a pill a few seconds later the scene was flipped, and it was his left hand. I can only assume that it was the surveillance footage that was show the wrong way around, because normally Kennex wears what looks like a watch on his left wrist, and in that scene it’s on his apparent right. Why?

But even more confusingly they crash the car, when Kennex blanks out, and then turn up at the next location with it totally undamaged. You’d really think that later Maldonado would have mentioned him crashing a car through drug use, but she doesn’t even refer to it. Wouldn’t we all love a boss like that?

If the whole show was as sloppy as those two examples (like say Revolution is), then I’d accept it more, but Almost Human usually flows better than this. 

What I did love in this story was some of the future technology ideas, some of which seemed genuinely innovative. Of these by far the best was the holographic post-it notes that Kennex used to work with his memories.

Given that the Russian Doll only recorded sounds, I wonder what it was in his apartment that the person spying on him hoped to hear, as he’s generally the only one there? Another neat idea was the genetically encoded pill dispensers, which seems a much better plan than those ones we have these days that almost nobody can open, even when they desperately need the contents.

Any real movement on the plot that the Pilot episode initiated has been a very long time coming, though it should have really come much earlier as I’ve already mentioned.

In terms of the story, while the build-up lacked tension on occasion, I did like the conclusion when we saw the girl walk into the ocean. It would have been easy to cut away before she disappeared entirely, but they kept it going for maximum impact.

The idea that given enhanced mental capabilities she could predict the pointlessness of her existence was a nice, if depressing, twist.

The generally good news about this show is that the viewing figures are holding up well enough for a second season to be a real possibility. Though we need to remember this is Fox, and they have a track record of trying to kill popular shows intentionally and cancelling cult hits. Because of the irrational nature of this network, there are no guarantees.

I hope after Sochi is over, Almost Human receives a ratings bounce, and secures that second season renewal.

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

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