Almost Human recap: Eye of the Beholder

Detective Stahl is caught between two worlds when the team investigates a killer targeting "chromes"
Ep. 12 | Aired Feb 24, 2014

LET ME CLEAR MY THROAT Kindly remove your hand first, please.

Katie Yu/Fox

Stahl has found Eric, a DMV employee who was part of the nanobot trials and has undergone numerous facial surgeries. There's no record of him ever having been disfigured, so Stahl figures he has dysmorphic disorder and has become warped by all the images of beauty all around him. Way to use those criminal behavior skills, Stahl! That'll show those snooty country club chromes!

The team descends on Eric's apartment, but he's bailed. Dorian finds the correspondence with Judy, but there's no need to track her down because Kennex spots her across the street. (So these two met online and just happen to live across the street from each other? Or did Eric rent a place within earshot expressly for stalking purposes?) Anyway, Eric shows up at Judy's place to surprise her. He apologizes for the bandage, but he won't be wearing it for long. (Because he's going to kill someone for their skin? Ewww!) Judy reveals she has a secret -- SHE'S BLIND! IRONIC TWIST ALERT! NICE JOB KILLING ALL THOSE PEOPLE AND OBSESSING OVER YOUR PHYSICAL APPEARANCE FOR NOTHING, STUPID!

Yeah, so this episode just turned into The Twilight Zone, and not the classic one, either. It's a twist worthy of the early '00s Twilight Zone hosted by Forrest Whitaker.

Crazy stitch-face Eric and Judy share a touching moment before Kennex and the cops burst in and ruin everything. Kennex chases Eric to the roof and he threatens to jump. For once, Kennex attempts  to reason with him instead of just shooting. Eric asks Kennex if he has ever been loved. Yes, Kennex says. "Then you wouldn't understand. We're supposed to be loved," Eric says, before plummeting to his death. Nice job, Kennex. Another one in the "loss" column of your already storied police career.

During the wrap-up, Dorian asks Kennex if he believes that there is someone out there for everyone. Kennex, old softie that he is, does believe in love. Passing up Dorian's offer to sit and watch him drink, he asks Stahl if she'd be interested in knocking back a few after work. Enter Jake, the handsome club owner from earlier, who is taking Stahl out for drinks. CHROME BLOCKED! But don't worry, Stahl and Kennex shippers (if any of you actually exist) -- Stahl gives Kennex a wistful look as she goes to spend time with someone who is actually straightforward about his feelings for her.

After a string of strong episodes, "Beholder" was a mediocre outing with a supremely dumb twist that was mostly saved by Kennex and Dorian's reliably amusing banter. We just had a chrome episode a couple weeks ago which also attempted (and failed) to further develop Stahl's character. I can't say I care that much about Stahl being caught between the perfect chrome world and the blue collar goings on at the precinct. Outside of a few jokes made at her expense, we haven't seen her struggling all that much with being a model of perfection in a world of flaws.

It's also hard to get invested in Stahl's storyline when Dorian's increasingly human traits brings up many of the same points about the struggle to maintain humanity in an increasingly technologically advanced world. Really, would the show be all that different if Stahl was, say, a MX instead of a chrome? Or even just a human with impeccable cheekbones? I'm not convinced that the chromes have added anything to the show's world other than offering a nod to the underrated Ethan Hawke/Uma Thurman sci-fi flick Gattaca. With one episode left, I can't help but wish that the writers had delved further into other dangling plotlines (the Wall, Dr. Vaughn, Dorian's memories) rather than dipping back into the chrome well.

Next week: Season one draws to a close with a serial killer and some revelations about Kennex's dad.

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