Almost Human recap: We've Got a Situation Here

Dorian and John try not to "die hard" when they're thrown into a tense hostage situation in a high-rise building.
Ep. 03 | Aired Nov 25, 2013

BUILDING A MYSTERY Do androids dream of Bruce Willis movies?

Liane Hentscher/Fox

Still somehow not on the 25th floor, Dorian finally gets the brilliant idea to climb up the elevator shaft and crawl through the air vent. (Why he didn't do this on, say, the 10th floor is anyone's guess.) Lucas then grabs Paige's sister, but she goes full-on Katniss Everdeen and is all "take me instead!" Dorian then comes down from the air shaft blasting his machine pistol like a boss, which he should've done like 15 minutes into the episode. Dorian loses his gun, and Lucas gets the drop on him and asks him his name, which is his bad guy schtick, like when Joker asked his prey if they'd ever "danced with the devil by the pale moonlight" in Batman. He says he's never killed a man he didn't know, but as the show likes to remind us every 10 minutes or so, Dorian isn't a man. Suddenly the dead thug from earlier shows up. But wait -- it's John using the hologram face maker thing! John takes out Lucas and the other thugs and tells Maldonado to stop jamming the frequencies. Jammer off, everyone's cellies blow up, and the alarm system at the building with the precious Palladium goes off, conveniently trapping the last of the thugs inside. Dorian deactivates the light bomb at the last second and everyone is saved.

Afterwards, Paige hugs John and thanks him for saving her and her sister while totally ignoring the android that did most of the work. (I was hoping it would turn out that Paige secretly hates androids, but the show hasn't really delved all that deeply into android/human tensions other than a couple of officers making fun of Dorian for having emotions which he was programmed to have. That's like yelling at a toaster for evenly toasting your frozen waffle.) Back at the station, the officers who in episode one were all suspicious of John and Dorian's partnership now applaud their efforts. (Nothing like a hostage situation to bring a squad together.) Maldonado and John exchange some awkward banter about how she told him to get out of the building, but there are zero repercussions for his insubordination because, you know, cop show. Rudy scolds John for fixing Dorian with chewing gum, but it clearly worked so shut up and go find your stapler, Gareth.

In the car, Dorian thanks John for fixing him ("Nobody messes with my coffee warmer," John says, a little too smugly) and mentions that when Lucas had him dead to rights he had the feeling that he didn't want to die even though he technically wasn't going to "die." John offers some comforting words but then tells Dorian to put on some music, as if it wasn't already clear enough that he's basically using him as a walking Siri. Dorian uses his inner version of whatever Spotify is in 2048 to bring up..."Bennie and the Jets"! Ha ha, turns out Dorian heard what John said about his middle name being Reginald despite the fact that he was deactivated at the time. Hey, Michael Ealy has a really nice singing voice! Maybe in three seasons we'll get an "all musical" episode where the cast performs songs from the 1980 sci-fi rock opera The Apple!

So, yeah, this was the weakest episode so far by a wide margin. I get that Wyman doesn't want to do a deep dive into ongoing mythology so soon, and that in essence the show is a futuristic take on a cop procedural, but at the very least the writers need to get crazier and have more fun with the many sci-fi tropes on display. (I was hoping that Dorian's injury would cause him to become erratic and give Ealy some fun stuff to play with, but nothing ever really came of it.) Episode two wasn't perfect, but the sexbot/human trafficking plotline was at least a novel spin on your average Law & Order: SVU episode while also shedding some light on the role of robots in the show's world. And again, it also gave Lili Taylor awesome lines like "We need to get information from the sexbot." I want Taylor delivering more lines that sound like they were written for Judge Dredd and not a police captain in any random Steven Seagal movie. The cast is strong (particularly Ealy and Crook), but this episode was a bit of a backslide into generic cop show-dom at a time when the show needs to hook in viewers. Also, Minka Kelly desperately needs something to do. Her character is ostensibly a criminal behavior specialist, but so far she's nothing more than an exposition delivery machine. And there are plenty of actual robots on the show that could serve that purpose.

What did you think of episode three? Do you want more mythology, or are you happy with the one-off, crime-of-the-week plotlines? Do you buy the theory that John is actually a robot? Would that be a cool twist or just another sign that this show is lifting too much from Blade Runner? When will we learn more about John's missing girlfriend? And will we ever find out if his late partner was only a few days away from retirement??

Next week: Mackenzie Crook goes undercover!

Bonus video of the week: Check out the opening theme song of Holmes & Yoyo, the short-lived 1976-1977 sitcom that featured TV's first human/robot buddy cop duo. (Hattip to Kevin Maher.)

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