in Television

Almost Human 1×08 “You Are Here” Recap

 

almost-human1

Before I begin, as always, I’m going to remark on the inappropriate intro to Almost Human, until I find reasons not to. The female narrator states that “not all are created equal” in reference to the androids, and then flashes to Dorian, an African-American man, seen as inferior by everyone, including the other androids. Oof.

On Mondays, I’d Almost Watch Anything Else, but this week, Almost Human at least improves – thanks to giving us some follow up on events from the pilot. I’ve been harsh, some might say overly harsh, to Almost Human since taking on these recaps, and while I stand by its many problems, this particular one is likely more a function of FOX airing Almost Human episodes out of order. While it didn’t really matter for Firefly‘s quality, it definitely hasn’t helped Almost Human. This week’s episode, “You Are Here,” was actually the SECOND planned episode of the series, and we’re getting it as the eighth. Isn’t FOX wonderful?

The murder this week involves a manic dude running through this anonymous, futuristic city, attempting to bump into as many people as possible, screaming about his impending death. This is the second time we’ve had a maniac yell at people about his death seconds before it’s about to happen (“Arrhythmia,” which was the sixth episode but was planned to be the 3rd, or the next one after this episode; confused yet?). And so it does: a bullet whizzes through the train station and manages to plunk down who we’ll come to know as Anton, in one go.

Kennex is in an anger management class, called “Coping With Anger,” which is a fitting name for how I feel about this show. The woman calls on Jim (Kirk?), the only man who can out-grimace Karl Urban. Poor Jim looks absolutely miserable, and definitely hasn’t solved his anger problems. The woman seems to egg people on, moving on to Kennex and bringing up his past, and how his girl betrayed him and worked for a top secret organization, so how can he NOT be angry? Kennex seems so forcibly cheery, that he’s clearly not over it, and deflects the conversation over to people in the class that have it worse than him. He basically turns into Matthew Perry, and for a moment, this show is Go On with a sci-fi bent. The scene ends when Kennex refers to a classmate as Anal; the man corrects him, “it’s Anil,” and all of a sudden, there’s even more evidence that this is somehow a Fringe crossover. Or a show that likes to make butt jokes (stay tuned).

Soon, Kennex and Dorian are on the scene, investigating how one bullet could do all this damage to poor Anton (Nick Hunnings). Detective Paul and his MX are also there to sour the mood, and the MX posits that the bullet ricocheted around the station before finding its target. Kennex is incredulous, refusing to believe in futuristic technology even when evidence of such is literally talking to his face. But, of course, he and Dorian are right, the bullet didn’t ricochet. The MX won’t shut up about it though, and harps upon how inferior the DRN model is. Naturally, Kennex blows his head off in a public place. ANOTHER android murdered in cold blood, and who knows how many tax dollars down the drain.

Back at the precinct, Kennex calls them “bullet catchers,” and shrugs his shoulders, even using a toaster metaphor (Battlestar Galactica alert) and Captain Maldonado pretends like she has authority over him, and then lets it slide. Again: Kennex can do anything he wants, despite getting his partner and others killed in the pilot, and for being a regular pain in the ass. Paul is pissed (rightfully so this time), and before he leaves, tells Kennex to “watch his ass.” Urban: “What does he want to do with my ass?” Oh, Almost Human.

Dorian and Kennex have their weekly car scene, and in this one, Dorian quite literally eye-$#&!’s Kennex. Or maybe eye-make love’s, that’s how tender a look he gives Kennex. Then Dorian essentially performs Sally Field’s “You really like me” Oscar bit, and Kennex is unbearably uncomfortable by all the sexual tension. They’re trying to make Kennex and Valerie a thing… but THIS is the thing.

Photo: FOX

Anywho: Kennex and Dorian track down Anton’s beautiful Mary Elizabeth Winstead-like girlfriend Kira (Annie Monroe), who cries at the news of her BF’s death, while also admitting he’s an Elder in the warriors of Grun. Impressive acting.

Essentially the case surrounds a gamer/programmer who helped create a “magic bullet” that can latch onto people’s sensors (a thing thanks to personalized advertising) and track a target. Essentially it’s a mini tracking missile, and not a handy blender. The bullet was created by a terrorist organization called “Revolution Now,” which is either a CD-version of NBC’s Revolution, or a new, impatient sect serving to differentiate themselves from “Revolution 5 Minutes From Now.” We learn that they blackmailed Anton into creating the dangerous weapon, and Kira is their next target. Kira also has an adorable daughter and a convenient best friend named Janet, who takes care of Amy when Kira goes out looking for trouble, as these people inevitably do.

The show is trying to give Minka Kelly’s Valerie an identity, as the researcher and analyst at base, or something, and she looks into the money trail to track Revolution Now, a boring exercise. We do find out that her Dad apparently is an expert at hiding money (so he’s a criminal) from a rude jab from Detective Paul (the only way he communicates). She responds by insulting him, and it took me and my roommate far too long to realize she was calling him short. Brilliant stuff.

Later in the investigation, Valerie calls Kennex, “I got something for you…” she says. Kennex becomes all flustered and flattered on the phone: “For me, you shouldn’t have…” Stop right there: “It’s about the case…” So forced, but undeniably funny.

Also, Reinhardt is back. Who? The evil guy from the pilot, played by Tim Kelleher. Apparently Maldonado has been “working nonstop” on his case, which is far more hilarious after seeing her “work” over the course of this first season than if this truly was the second episode. Reinhardt offers the location of Hannah, Kennex’s ex, in exchange for his freedom, but we know that’s not going to happen. Yet. It’s nice to see him back though, and to wonder what might have been, if this show had aired its episodes correctly.

Rudy offers his undercover services at one point, wondering if sex-bots factor into the equation. If only, Rudy. Instead, we get far more information on Kira and Anton’s life than we really need, as the show continues to inundate us with back story for guest stars we’ll never see each other again, while forcing to invent job descriptions and tics and background on the actual characters (and for me to debate whether they’re really ALL androids). Suffice to say, Dorian and Kennex save the day, though not before Dorian takes several bullets, including one magic one, that ends up severing his language circuits, so we do get a few scenes of Michael Ealy speaking Korean (and even singing a Korean pop song), and it’s wonderful.

Kennex and Dorian find the evidence to exonerate Anton, including a blackmail tape, and a bunch of torn up numbers. What is the latter? Apparently, Anton wrote his number on a piece of paper, a real old-school move in the 2040s, to which Kira responded by ripping  it up. Um, wow. Ouch. Anton didn’t give up though, until they fell in love. Aw. A couple scenes later, Valerie arrives, promising something for Kennex again. This time, it’s a red energy chew. How thoughtful and romantic. Kennex has something for her… and writes his phone number on a piece of paper, and gives it to her. Kennex uses a dead guy’s move on Valerie, and it’s kinda adorable. Plus, she doesn’t rip it up. If that had happened, I would’ve fallen off my couch.

As it is, “You Are Here” served to progress the overarching story (slightly), and also successfully makes Kennex and Valerie’s will-they or won’t they actually exist, two things I’ve been complaining about for weeks. It seems like the episodes will be in order from here on out, which hopefully points to a lot more serialized story elements, and maybe, just maybe, some character development. Unlike last week, I’m kinda hopeful.

Grade: C+