Last week, I discussed how I could envision Dorian taking on a leadership role among the robots, and leading an I, Robot style rebellion.
After watching the droning intro once again, as the woman tells us that not all androids “are created equal” right before John throws his freakin’ partner out of a speeding vehicle on a highway, crumbling to bits under another car’s tire, my prediction seems even more justified.
While they weren’t created equal, all robots clearly share the same “sleeping” arrangements, in some sort of stand-up stasis pod ridden hallway. You’d be forgiven for wondering if androids dream of electric sheep, as not an episode goes by without Philip K. Dick or the movie adaptation of his masterpiece, Blade Runner, coming to mind.
John Kennex is upstairs, waiting for his technobuddy, who’s running late. He apparently needs a new chest plate, a plot point that is mentioned once more to absolutely zero effect. Impatient with my recap, John goes down to investigate, happening upon the robot locker room, getting an eye full of an MX-1, who turns out, looks like a life size Ken doll… down there. Like Metatron.
From there, we get the obligatory drive and bicker scene, which frequently have romantic undertones and are the best scenes of the show, even if they have no plot to speak of. Kennex can’t get the image of the MX-1 out of his mind, and openly wonders about Dorian’s nether regions. Dorian answers the question by revealing his member, and yes, it’s apparently big. What does he do with all that? “The same thing you do with it—nothing.” Ouch.
Then the conversation turns to Minka Kelly, as conversations are wont to do. Her character name may be Valerie Stahl, but it wasn’t until about midway through this episode that that fact sunk in. Apparently we’re making Valerie and Kennex a thing, even though I think they’ve shared two lines with one another. They have shared looks though, which is like the third base of will-they-or-won’t-they couples on TV. Prepare for several more in this one.
Oh yeah, there’s a case of the week. Captain Maldonado actually gets to share part of the action this week, but still seems unimportant, even when she’s talking. Poor Lili Taylor. She’s in court, detailing the specifics of a crime scene, blah blah. Afterwards, the lawyer questioning her actually says “whomever did that must be a terrible person, doing terrible things,” something I feel like wouldn’t really be left hanging in the air in a courtroom. But it does, and apparently said lawyer is the defense attorney and points out that despite Maldonado’s insistence that her client Ethan Avery (Graham Miller) is guilty, they don’t have any evidence. Oops.
They do have two eye witnesses, who are talking nervously behind closed doors, waiting to deliver their testimony. Meet Haley Myers and Maya the Quirky. Maya asks Haley if she’s done this before, and no, reassuringly enough, Haley doesn’t make a habit of watching murders. Maya, meanwhile, is a medium-psychic, or (brace yourself) a petite psychic on her good days. Oof. While it makes me want to vomit, this scene features more personality than the entire show, save Dorian, who’s still an android.
Haley begins her testimony from a remote location, thanks to the wonders of holographic projection (it’s all 2048’s got). She’s not safe though, as someone attacks her, and kills her in the safe house, her terrified visage seen by all in the courtroom. An android’s head is also blown up, because that has to happen at least once an episode. Maya, hearing gunfire, escapes. Dorian, the only android who actually uses his special abilities, is of course the one to find her before she’s caught and killed herself.
Elsewhere, John helps clean up the murder scene, which amounts to handing Minka a dismembered eye and laying on her the ole “I got an eye for you” line un-ironically. He learns that Minka/Valerie likes the Knights, some sports team for whatever city we find ourselves stuck in, and they bat eyelashes at each other. You have yourself a Valerie love Kennex-ion.
Avery is literally smiling when Haley gets killed in front of the jury, and quite obviously had a hand in the murder. But they can’t prove it. Please. The case is personal for Maldonado, which really doesn’t change anything about the episode, other than giving us a scene between her and Avery in prison, so Avery can be a dick. Even the random villain of the week calls her out for being unimportant, even going further and assuming she’s the eternally single type and never noticed or seen. Ouch.
John and Dorian convene with Maya, who uses her petite psychic line again. Apparently she underwent a “cerebellux” procedure that supposedly increases brain activity, promises redundant jokes and boosts one’s ability to communicate with the beyond. It’s an interesting conceit for a show that bills itself as “hard” sci-fi. For a presumably one-off guest star, Maya gets more character development than ANYONE on the entire show has gotten all season, in this one episode. We learn about her parent’s death, why her parents are the only ones she can’t contact with her gifts, and more about her life than we’ll likely ever learn from John Kennex at the rate we’re going.
Well that’s not true. This week, we learn, through Maya, that Kennex has a red aura, thanks to his anger.
Maya explains to our two heroes that she’s been talking with Haley, the just-dead one, and predictably, John thinks she’s nuts, Dorian’s sympathetic, and her discussions with the dead reveal the key to the case. Dead/Invisible Haley tells Maya that it was Avery that killed her. But Avery was in court! Kennex deems the notion impossible. Two weeks ago, criminals had a face changing device, but no, this can’t happen.
But that’s not what Avery was using. Nope, he just has CLONES. No biggie. Apparently there’s an ineffective anti-replication league in the future and everything, bogged down in bureaucracy like the IRS. It’s a pretty big leap, but mostly works, even if we never learn why, or how, or anything about Avery, beyond the fact that he’s a rich, IQ-of-180, dickhead philanthropist.
BEST MOMENT OF THE EPISODE: When Detective Paul lets Maya slip when he was supposed to be watching her, John lets loose one of the roughest and more creative insults ever conceived: “Go read a how-to-be-a-cop manual.” Get it? Paul sucks. Also: where can I find such a manual?
After Kennex and Dorian retrieve Maya again, they come under siege, with Maya actually getting shot (but not seriously). They manage to take out one of their attackers… and it’s Avery. And there’s more where that came from. Clones, baby.
How have they been tracking everyone? Simple: the family ‘o clones stole the comm device from the fallen android at the beginning, corrupting the entire precinct’s communication lines. Apparently, there isn’t another line. The future’s an inconsistent place.
Valerie actually gets to go outside the precinct for this case… which means she’s doomed to be taken and turned into the damsel-in-distress. She’s the love interest after all. Sigh. When a band of clones take her hostage, she asks them why they work for a murderer. Their response is classic: “How far would you go… to save yourself?” That promo writes itself.
The Avery doppelgangers arrange a swap of the real Avery for Valerie, to which Maldonado surprisingly “agrees,” but there’s never any doubt that she has no intention of making that deal. Instead, they utilize holographic projections (those again!), making it look as if they’re releasing Avery… until it short circuits like its 2013. Bullets rain down, and clones either have poor marksmanship or Valerie is as un-hittable as she is unapproachable at a bar. Dorian goes superhero, outruns a car and flips it like Hulk, another clone killed in action. Maybe they’ll join the robots in the fight for equality, because their deaths didn’t lead to a second thought.
We end with Valerie, in red (like Kennex’s aura!), brandishing bourbon, and sharing a drink with Kennex while watching the game. Yeah, I’m in love too. It’s clear that Kennex is ready to take the next stop on the love train with Valerie, and seriously, who can blame the guy; it’s still curious based on the pilot, when he had several longing dreams for his (ex?) girlfriend (wife?) Anna (Mekia Cox). I doubt the show’s forgotten it, but it seems odd that she’s received nary a mention since the first episode, and that Kennex is so ready to move on. Considering she drinks bourbon and likes sports, I suppose that’s enough to forget past loves, especially if Anna is likely evil and works for a top secret criminal organization, which now that I think of it, has also been as invisible as an MX’s genitals.
While this episode projects feelings of romance, holograms and spirits everywhere you turn, I’m having more trouble projecting enthusiasm for Almost Human the longer the show goes on. J.H. Wyman, it’s time to turn it on.
Potential Observer Count: 2 (Bald Judge, Detective Paul)