in Television

Almost Human 1×10 “Perception”

 

almost-human2

Admittedly, I’m running out of ways to make fun of the intro, but as long as this show is alive, I’m going to keep at it. Luckily for us, that might not be for much longer.

“Police are not prepared” for the forever altered criminal landscape; so what’s their solution? Create the DRN model, which is designed “to be as human as possible.” No wonder they were scrapped immediately. Police are failing? Okay, we’ll make multi-million dollar copies of them. That’ll solve everything.

This episode proves to be better than the last couple of clunkers, upgrading from awful to merely boring. But don’t worry: the dialogue is still truly awful.

“Perception” has a promising start, with two teenagers seeing the world in a whole different spectrum, like Sherlock. Or Andy Dick. One wanders around the woods and hangs out with a bustling beehive, while another conducts her own symphony to give us a building crescendo of music…until both girls collapse, dead. For once, it’s a good feeling to not know what’s going on on Almost Human. For about a minute.

There’s no way these episodes are in order, even though J.H. Wyman claimed that when the show returned from the holidays, they would all build upon each other. Last week, we learned that this nameless city has a Wall protecting its citizens from poor and stupid people. Or something equally sinister. Of course, the Wall is never mentioned in “Perception,” but there are several rural and wooded vistas, as Kennex and company travel to what seems like the Olympic Peninsula. No wall or Jon Snow in sight.

But we do have a new what the ^&*! plot development: the two women who died were genetically engineered, known as Chrome’s. Google really will do everything in the future. So apparently there’s this schism in the population between Chrome’s and Natural’s, which serves as the genesis for this episode, where Natural students trying to compete with Chrome’s really don’t stand a chance. Also, once we know that these perfect human’s are a thing, it’s not much of a mental leap to figure Minka Kelly is genetically engineered, but we already knew that.

Meanwhile, John chooses now to have flashes back to the events of the pilot, bringing back that long dormant plot with vigor. He’s in rough shape; we learn that these girls OD’d on a funky, futuristic designer drug, yet Kennex is popping pills of his own during the investigation. Both Dorian and Captain Maldonado are concerned, but Karl Urban could give two $#*!s. He also has literal sticky notes scattered across his apartment (cool tech alert!) when he gets new snippets of his duplicitous girlfriend and the Syndicate. I’d care if more than 3 of the 10 episodes even mentioned the damn organization. My roommate brought up what would be an intriguing plot twist: what if John was in on it, and he simply doesn’t remember being the bad guy? Or what if he WAS the bad guy and just doesn’t know it yet? Do it.

For like one scene, Kennex and Stahl were working separately, examining each body. It took them about that long to figure out how obviously related the deaths were, and that no one besides Kennex is allowed to do police work on Almost Human. Even if you’re a genetically engineered human. Stahl, in regards to the massively dilated pupils of the victim: “They’re huge…I’ve never seen anything like it.” Really? Nothing?

We soon learn that these two Chrome’s weren’t the first to die from this mysterious drug. 7 months previous, a normal girl named Lila (Sarah Grey) drowned. She went to the same hoity toity Mendel Academy as Eleanor and Scarlett, the two Chrome’s.  Dorian and John track down Lila’s mother, who was convinced that the drowning wasn’t an accident. She hired a PI and learned that both Eleanor and Scarlett were there the night of Lila’s death…but the records were erased and nothing came of it. It all sounds too weird and suspicious, and I pegged her as the murderer in about 13 seconds.

Since Stahl “knows the world” of Chrome’s, she’s sent to the school academy to interview some kids. Valerie talks with a couple pale and creepy kids who seem menacing and threatening, but turn out just to be dicks. It seems that a Chrome playing detective is a rarity, and it’s clear that Valerie doesn’t like her fellow brethren. Hard to blame her based on every single Chrome we come into contact with sucks. The “twist” that Valerie is a Chrome would play a lot better if we knew that there were genetically engineered people longer than the 3 minutes before learning that Valerie was one.

Kennex has a flash (who is he, Chuck?) while driving. Dorian asks to take the wheel, but Kennex refuses like an ass, and within moments, nearly kills them both, driving through a construction site, and nearly taking off Dorian’s head with a massive metal pole. You think you can let someone else drive now?

You know how I said the kids OD’d on a designer drug? Yeah, that’s literally what it was: the drug was linked to someone’s specific DNA. Dorian quickly tracks down the Chem Printer who 3-D printed the drugs (nice)…to find the Chem guy’s wacked out son Julian (Iain Belcher), who’s the best part of this episode. They assume he’s the dealer and that he upped the gals’ doses to lethal levels. Julian knows how the conversation is going to end before it even happens (“You wouldn’t understand”), because he’s on this drug that unlocks your potential. I’d be more impressed if this show wasn’t so predictable.

Stahl, the social media expert, finds out that Scarlett and her father had a falling out. There’s nothing to these scenes either, except for the fact that Scarlett’s Dad brings in his holographic lawyer for the discussion with the cops. Love it. Oh, he also made those tapes disappear, for whatever reason. It doesn’t matter.

Another scene that’s band-aided in randomly: Captain Maldonado invites Kennex out for a drink to express her concern. What do you do when your worried your employee has a drug problem? Get him out to a bar! Ugh. Naturally, Kennex goes to the Recollectionist (Hiro Kanagawa) right after, for apparently the 5th day in a row, to unlock more memories. He’s not the only one who needs a Recollectionist. I saw the pilot back at Comic-Con in July, and NOW we’re moving the plot forward.

I’d be remiss not to mention that we do in fact see Detective Paul for about 6 seconds total. A good week’s work for Michael Kirby.

Julian held the truth the whole time: he didn’t want Lila to take the drug…and he had held onto a recording that features her last words. The drug opened her mind to all her faults and failures, unable to take the pressure put on her by her Mom…so she walked into the water, a la The Awakening. Kennex and company show the footage to her Mother, which is an awful punishment, but it’s deserved: not only did she push her daughter to suicide, but SHE was the one who upped the dose 1,000 times to kill Scarlett and Eleanor.

Oh, and some Russian nesting doll at Kennex’s apartment was a listening device…and it’s been uploaded in the past seven hours. SPOOKY. What a *snore* cliffhanger.

Like the wall before it, I like the idea of genetically engineered humans, and both of those plots could be an entire show. Instead, they’re thrown out haphazardly like we all know everything about it. I don’t know how much of this show was wrecked by FOX’s meddling with episode order, but sheesh, it’s truly all over the place and nonsensical…and it’s not like the case of the week’s have been gripping. Right now, Almost Human might be the most perplexing show on TV. And not in the good way.

GRADE: C-