Almost Human episode 11 review: Disrupt

Review Billy Grifter 20 Feb 2014 - 07:10

Is Fox putting Almost Human in jeopardy? Billy hopes this interesting, innovative show can survive to a second run...

This review contains spoilers.

1.11 Disrupt

I’ll say it from the outset, large parts of Disrupt I didn’t care for. Specifically, the rather lame murder mystery plot that occupied most of the running time. It was entirely devoid of any great twists, interesting characters or clever reveals.

In retrospect, perhaps the light nature of this essentially standalone story was possibly intentional, as not to overshadow the rather critical bigger story arc developments. I’m glad about that, because frankly if I see another TV/Movie incarnation of how hackers are supposed to be as dumb as the one in this story, I’ll call Morpheus back and demand a third option on the whole red/blue pill deal.

Instead, I’d like to just accept that Disrupt was more of a training exercise for the viewer in the potential lethality of hacking, even if the security robots at Synturion moved slower than a three toed sloth with travel sickness.

The better, deeper and much more satisfying part where those alluding to Dorian, and the memory files that magically appeared in his head. There’s some dark stuff going on there, depending on how you interpret the memories of a hospitalized child being in a robot, with a ‘synthetic soul’.

This brings up two really interesting possibilities, neither of which place the creators of the DRN series in a wonderful light. One is that Dr. Nigel Vaughn couldn’t actually make his synthetic soul work, and decided a better option was to steal them from terminally ill patients as an alternative solution. That’s uber creepy, but not implausible.

Alternatively, these memories are so strong that they emotionally destabilize the DRN robots that have them, and they’ve been placed there specifically to make them go ‘crazy’. That’s not as disturbing, but does suggest that the DRN series were sabotaged wholesale, presumably because they represented a threat to someone or some business.

With only two more stories to tell, it’s about time that the Syndicate reappeared, and dots are joined up.

The other part of this story that worked brilliantly was the running gag about the co-worker having a ‘personal day’ that Kennex extrapolated in many imaginative ways. This underlined how well the relationship between Kennex and Dorian works in screen terms, and when they’re together exchanging views the show hums an especially upbeat tune.

Unfortunately, this isn’t being passed on to the lesser characters, that look increasingly adrift the deeper into the season we’ve gone. My wife even commented in this story that Maldonado (Lili Taylor) was presenting some of her lines like she was reading from a menu. She’s become very mechanical and devoid of emotion, poor Minka Kelly looks like she’d accepted she’s not going to get a Stahl centric episode, ever, and Michael Irby (Detective Richard Paul) has effectively disappeared. If this show is ever to reach its full potential all the characters in it need to work, not just the two that get paid the most. Please, writers, show your minor characters some love! And, while you’re at it scribes, tell Karl Urban never to use that Dick Van Dyke British accent again, it was abysmal.

On a more serious note, that Fox chose to keep this show running while the Winter Olympics was on is beginning to concern me. The low numbers it’s returning because of that seem to be forming part of a pre-designed excuse to chop the show. Or, at best offer it a second season with a budget that couldn’t afford Urban or even Mackenzie Crook. I hope I’m wrong, but even Revolution didn’t try to go toe-to-toe with Sochi.

The trailer reveals very little about the 12th story, other than John and Dorian love to bicker, which I’d guessed by now. If the viewing numbers bounce next Monday, and please let them, it might skewer Fox’s efforts to kill off this interesting and innovative show.

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

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