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TV REVIEW: In Almost Human Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beholder

By on February 25, 2014

Det. John Kennex (Karl Urban). Co. Cr: Katie Yu / FOX

This week’s episode of Almost Human continued in the same vein as last week’s offering plenty of humor between our two leads and surprisingly emotional scenes when we least expected it.

Did it offer any explanations to the burning questions of the season? Of course not, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.  I’ve come to the realization that if you go into Almost Human with no expectations of a running theme, no longing for a deeper meaning, then you’ll come out a much happier human.

“Beholder” begins with a guy in an expensive looking apartment practicing his golf swing before a futuristic virtual reality screen. More shocking than the futuristic Matrix room is that apparently 80s music has made a comeback.  It’s blaring in the background while an intruder with a bandaged face comes out from the shadows to attack his victim with some taser on steroids.  Mummy man kills our Tiger Woods in training, then injects something into his neck.

Meanwhile, back at the station, Samantha is calling John Kennex (Karl Urban).  You know, Samantha, the one John had a date with just the night before?  Dorian (Michael Ealy) asks, “Do you want me to answer that?”  Such a helpful little droid.  John signals no in every way known to mankind.  But Dorian, unaware of man code, answers anyway and says that John doesn’t want to talk to her.  Ouch.

Valerie Stahl (Minka Kelly). Co. Cr: Katie Yu / FOX

Valerie Stahl (Minka Kelly). Co. Cr: Katie Yu / FOX

John explains that while on their date, Samantha took every call she received, so the date ended up with her, and holograms of everyone from granny to 6th grade piano teacher.  “She holo blocked you,” deadpans Dorian.  That’s a new one.  Then Dorian suggests that John might be a little boring. Dorian, you may be showing signs of DRN crazy. Tread lightly my favorite droid.  Kennex does not equal boring!

Before they get too deep into the boring meter of John, they’re off to the new case of the man killed by mummy face. The coroner is citing natural causes via heart attack but Detective Stahl (Minka Kelly) calls B.S. on that theory. The victim was a Chrome, and “we don’t die young.” according to Stahl. Dorian sees the puncture wound on the victim’s neck and is thinking murder.  He finds the residual DNA of seven dead people in that wound. Hmmm, serial killer?

It turns out that mummy face is stealing DNA from good looking people, taking the samples to a doctor in an underground lab, and having his face reconstructed to look like his victims.

Resident nerd Rudy Lom discovers that the killer is using the DNA for Nanobot facial reconstruction – plastic surgery from the inside out.  It turns out that there was a study involving the nanobot surgery.  The recipients were horribly disfigured, the donors dropped dead of heart attacks.  Not the kind of study I’d be volunteering for anytime soon.

Eric Lathem (guest star Michael Eckland) receives facial reconstruction. Co. Cr: Katie Yu / FOX

Eric Lathem (guest star Michael Eckland) receives facial reconstruction. Co. Cr: Katie Yu / FOX

Meanwhile, Stahl meets with her people at a Chrome bar where the victim was the night of his murder.  The owner notices Stahl (surprise, surprise) and shows a definite interest in the perfect cop. Please tell me John hasn’t waited too long.

Kennex and Dorian don’t let the case interfere with their banter, moving from John’s dullness to the evils of technology. John professes that, “Technology is driving a wedge between people. Us vs them.”  Dorian says he’s overreacting.  He says that if technology’s so bad then, “Let’s replace your robotic leg with a tree limb or something useful like a shovel.”  John says he wishes he had a shovel.  I’m guessing to bury a particular DRN.

In a hilarious scene with nerd boy, Rudy discovers that the guys are on the trail of a beauty killer.  He’s appalled that no one has given him the 411 or sent him a 911.  Don’t they know that he was a child model?!  He feels like he just barely escaped death.

The dynamic mandroid duo uncover that their killer is Eric Lathem (excellent guest star Michael Eklund), an ex-DMV employee who is picking his victims from their driver’s license pictures.  Genius!  God knows that if you look good in that pic you have to be drop dead gorgeous.

The final scenes show Eric watching a lady in another building directly across from his.  He’s communicating via computer setting up a meeting time with her.  Our cops are closing in, finding his empty apartment. Eric creeps into the woman’s apartment not to kill her, but to profess his love.  Hard to believe she’s not freaked out.  She’s blind!  She says, “I don’t care about your face or what you look like.”  Irony anyone?  His beholder doesn’t care about his looks. All that murder for nothing. In a surprisingly touching scene, he cries and they kiss. Of course, this is when our cops rush in.  Yes, Eric, you’ve just been cop blocked.

Cut to Eric on the roof.  John’s got a gun on him and tries to talk him down. He asks the detective if he’s ever been loved.  Kennex says he has.  Eric says, “You wouldn’t understand.  We’re supposed to be loved.”  He jumps to his death. It was a pretty emotional scene for the sci-fi series – a testament to the writing and the acting.  We actually care about this serial killer and feel for him.

John’s not taking the death very well.  He’s looking at the guy’s picture at the end when Dorian asks if he’s okay.  He also asks John if he thinks there’s someone out there for everyone. “I do,” replies Kennex.  Dorian calls him old fashioned. This is one time John can’t argue. He agrees, saying that “even my robot’s discontinued.”

John decides it’s time to make his move.  He asks Detective Stahl if she’s heard of a bar called Leo’s. She has!  She’s going there tonight!  Yes!  We will finally get our Stahlex connection.  Quicker than you can say, “Way to go, John,” pretty boy Chrome club owner sweeps in to take Valerie to Leo’s.

The final scene is of John watching happy couples walk by on the street with that 80s music blaring again in a scene worthy of the most angsty John Hughes moment.  Well, you’ve got one week to get it together, Kennex.

Next week is the season, hopefully not series, finale.  It’s been teased as introducing a little about Papa Kennex.  Just what we need – another mystery of the season.  Fox HAS to renew this series. The network can’t leave us hanging with all those loose ends introduced.  That pins all my hopes and dreams on a season two.  C’mon Fox, don’t disappoint.  Who’s with me?

Random Notes

The robobromoments were hilarious all episode long.  Dorian lectures John offering his psychobabble analysis saying, “It’s okay to have flaws.  The more flaws the more human. You’re VERY human.”  Dorian continues to point out John’s flaws… one millimeter off on the nose, the mouth, apparently, something wrong with the brows. I’m saying Dorian is malfunctioning and may need to be decommissioned.  Soon.  John looks Chrome-perfect to me.

I’m afraid to even mention the ridiculous, out of nowhere scene when John punches a large woman at a robot fight. She falls to the ground and out of her back pops a real life little person. Enough said.

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