in Television

Almost Human 1×13 “Straw Man”



Our journey (does anyone else still watch this crap?) with Almost Human has come to an end. Considering this “finale” received the show’s lowest ratings of its entire first season, there’s little hope or reason for a second season.

For once with a FOX show, that’s a good thing. Here are 17 fake show titles that would’ve yielded a better outcome than Almost Human.

In my last examination of the embarrassing intro, I’ll tackle this unfortunate line again: “Dangerous advancements have forever altered the criminal landscape.” YET, crimes are exactly the same, or at least, they’re solved the same way, and each crime seems to be the exact same crime, with a slight twist of technology. Later, Kennex says, “That’s one of the crazy ones” in regards to Dorian, and then immediately follows Dorian’s lead into impending gunfire. Who’s the crazy one?

Before the intro, we get the case of the week, because it’d feel wrong if Almost Human progressed the plot in any way for its last episode. We’re introduced to Abby (Christie Burke, kind of a hot version of Moaning Myrtle), one of the many homeless and bedraggled citizens in line for personalized pills. Are we beyond the wall? Who knows, but apparently there’s a bed problem in 2048, with many citizens not having one. Abby is almost accosted by a couple horny bastards, and saved by a nice man in a wheelchair, played by Shaun Smyth of FRINGE fame (Anil!!), who of course, isn’t a nice man in a wheelchair at all. He leads her to a new shelter that may have beds and foods…which is to say, the back of his van after he pricks her hand with some nefarious substance. The wheelchair is just a way to make people overlook or feel sorry for him; our boy can totally walk.

At the station, the Internal Affairs board interviews Maldonado, Rudy and Kennex in regards to Dorian, and how he’s acclimated to the field. Maldonado gives us a wealth of information: “He’s good for Kennex, that’s all I’ll say.” That’s literally all she can say, probably, since by comparison she makes Jon Snow know…a lot more than nothing. They also meet with Dorian, who tells him that his reinstatement is the best thing that’s ever happened to him, and it’s pretty adorable, since Michael Ealy is and will always be the only good thing to come of this show.

We get a couple Almost Human patented squad car buddy-buddy banter between Dorian and Kennex this week, with Kennex giving Dorian a hard time about the investigation. He lies, saying he told them how Dorian scanned his balls, exposed himself in the police vehicle, kidnapped another Dorian, or the only interesting things about the show’s previous 12 episodes.

Abby’s body is soon found during a routine sweep of the wall (lol). Her body is stuffed with straw…and now we know why the episode is called “Straw Man.” Apparently 10 years previous, the Straw Man (clever name) was a serial killer who stuffed his victims with straw. But Kennex’s Dad (precisely the right time to introduce a new, important character) was the arresting officer, and Michael Costa (William “Bigsleeps” Stewart, name of the week, none-Adele Nazeem division) was found guilty and sits in prison. Do we have a copycat on our hands?

It seems so, as Maldonado, Val, Kennex and Dorian each explain what a copycat is (to someone who’s never watched a cop show, Almost Human‘s target audience), what happened to the victim, and what happened to the case, in a lesson in repetition. Kennex’s father’s case notes are sealed, and it likely has something to do with the fact that he was accused of stealing robotics before he was killed. He goes to Maldonado to help…and it definitely seems like they’re pointing to Maldonado as a turncoat/dirty cop/villain. But she can’t even pull that off.

Because absolutely no one demanded it, Detective Paul is back from his gonorrhea scare. While Almost Human is likely dead, Michael Irby’s spinoff show is alive and well.

Kennex and Dorian visit Costa in a circular prison that kind of looks like what Bender from Futurama sleeps in on the outside. The circular part is confusing, since the prisons were called the Tubes earlier in the season. Wanting consistency on Almost Human is a tall order. Apparently Costa believes fervently that he’s innocent, that he’s a schizophrenic who suffers from blackouts, and is also a scary black guy, so of course everyone believed he did it when he was framed. Kennex’s Dad would come to believe him, despite being the arresting officer. Twist.

When it’s discovered that the technique used to cut open and stuff Abby is the absolute same, it’s about time to start believing Costa’s story. Kennex gets the reopened case file, thanks to Maldonado (the most she’s ever done on the show), and it regurgitates everything we already knew, and finishes with the wonderful line “more information on the next file.” Of course, there isn’t a next file, so no answers. But he did circle the feet of the victim in his notes. BUT WHY?!

Turns out, thanks to Rudy, that these victims aren’t bodies at all. They’re replications, copies of the original kidnapped person, created from a 3-D bioprinter. But, because of the killer’s using an older model, every victim’s feet are flat, not retaining their arches. This means the victims may very well still be alive. But again, why? Why is the Straw Man doing this? What makes it better to be thought of as a serial killer than just a dude who copies bodies or takes people (that would remain missing if he didn’t leave a fake body behind) like a human hoarder? We hardly get any sufficient answers. Like always, this episode clearly came out of a brainstorm in the writer’s room that sounded awesome, but was never fleshed out beyond the concept.

To flush him out, Maldonado stations MX’s at almost all of the shelters, hoping to direct him to a shelter without cops. We even get a quick scene where this exact thing happens, as the Straw Man starts talking it up with a girl, then “Oh shit’s” away when he sees an MX. Considering there are like 34 shelters, he seemed to find the right one fairly quickly. Detective Paul is undercover as a homeless dude, and actually proves to be a nice guy for once, giving some cash (transferring it to his bitcoin account) to a fellow hobo with night vision goggles. Aw. This poor sap is of course the Straw Man’s next victim.

Throughout the episode, I was expecting Kennex’s Dad to be apart of it. You don’t introduce the main character’s Dad in a shady investigation without some big twist, at least normally. Perhaps he’s never dead, and in one of the Straw Man’s tubs, and was just replicated? What if he really is involved with the Wall or the shadowy Syndicate (I had to Google that to even remember it) or with John Larroquette’s character. Nope. It turns out that he wasn’t a dirty cop after all, that he just got in too deep, and couldn’t burrow his way out before getting murdered by some guy named Silas who worked in records at the time and was illegally dealing robotics. We do find out that Kennex’s Dad was the reason he became a cop, just like every other cop on the force in every other TV show. Lame.

Kennex and Dorian track down the Straw Man to his Dark Lab™, which again, looks like the same set as every single other villain on the series. Dorian finds the Straw Man’s body on the ground, but it’s obviously a copy, and it has an explosive device in it. There’s never a follow up on whether it gets diffused or why it never blows up, but Kennex manages to kill the Straw Man anyway. He turns out to be a human/biotech fusion, or what we like to call a cyborg, who needed to remake his body, because it was deteriorating, which is another familiar trope on the show. That explains why he’s kidnapping people, but not why he copied them and alerted the police to his presence with the whole Straw thing. Whatever.

I’d be remiss not to mention Minka Kelly, who does hardly anything, but doesn’t wear brown this week. She wears white, which likely indicates she’s had Chrome dome with Love Interest from last week.

Then, we get some closure and a happy ending with Kennex and Dorian, as the IA have ruled that Dorian’s term as a cop should be extended (but again, probably not the show along with it, unless FOX likes to renew the shows they shouldn’t). Kennex apparently gave a glowing review, including saying that Dorian’s the reason he’s still a cop. Aw. Dorian surprises Kennex at his Blade Runner noodle shop, with a new leg, with 20% more power, as a gift. You’d think it’d be heavy, but they toss it around like it’s a taco. Kennex is about to get that elusive bite of noodles, when his phone goes off; there’s a robbery in progress, and you can bet your ass there aren’t any other cops in 2048 capable of catching the bad guys. They race off, with Kennex ALMOST forgetting his leg, but Karl Urban’s there, one last time, to give his trademark smirk/grimace to the camera, Dorian and Kennex on the beat for infinity and beyond. For a show set in 2048, it ends like a show written in the 1970’s, which is about right.

Grade: B