ALMOST HUMAN 1.08 ‘You Are Here’
Episode Title: "You Are Here"
Writers: J. H. Wyman & Naren Shankar
Director: Sam Hill
Previously on "Almost Human":
“You Are Here” is the second episode of “Almost Human” that was pushed back until now. And once you know that this is the real episode two then it’s next to impossible not to think about it that context.
I have no idea if the Rudy Lom (Mackenzie Crook) scene was reshot for the episode’s new placement, but it seemed to foreshadow Rudy’s interest in going undercover and his expertise in sex-bots.
For the main characters, John Kennex (Karl Urban) and his android partner, Dorian (Michael Ealy), there’s no way to hide where they are in their professional relationship. In this episode, they simply don’t know each other that well. Can anyone picture John shooting Dorian just because he won’t stop singing a Korean pop song? The John from the pilot episode might do that, but not the John who has experienced several life and death situations with Dorian.
After ignoring the events of the pilot episode for several weeks, “Almost Human” dips back into the syndicate storyline and starts to deal with John’s underlying sense of anger and betrayal over the actions of his undercover criminal girlfriend that led to the death of his colleagues. Amusingly, John is able to mask his feelings in anger management therapy, but the first MX android to mouth off to John gets a bullet to its face.
Surprisingly, Dorian is pretty cool with John’s robocide because he assumes that John was defending his partner after the MX kept insulting Dorian by referring to him as a defective model. In Dorian’s computer mind, that means that John likes him. And Dorian is quick to say that he feels the same way about John, much to John’s annoyance.
But nobody likes Detective Richard Paul (Michael Irby), aka The Asshole. “You Are Here” does offer an early look at the animosity between John and The Asshole, but The Asshole is such a one dimensional character that it’s difficult to care about anything that he does. The one interesting thing that came out of that sequence was The Asshole’s implied threat to damage Dorian in retaliation for John shooting his MX. That angle must have been dropped completely, but it’s amusing to consider that in the context of last week’s episode; in which The Asshole was clearly afraid of Dorian and envious of his abilities.
This episode didn’t have much in the way of a story. It started out well enough, with a man named Anton Cross (Nick Hunnings) desperately attempting to outrun a bullet that could follow him anywhere. The “magic bullet” was a great futuristic detail that didn’t quite live up to its potential. It’s actually one of the more intriguing and frightening ideas that the show has produced. But we only see the magic bullet used twice in this episode. And in the final gunbattle, it wasn’t even used at all!
When Dorian was able to stop the magic bullet that was sent to kill Anton’s girlfriend, Kira Larsen (Annie Monroe); that undercut the threat that the bullet represented. That bullet seems like such a great idea that it felt like a missed opportunity when neither John or Dorian ended up as one of the intended targets of the magic bullet. This week’s villains were also incredibly generic and more devoid of personality than the MX models.
One thing that seems to have started in this episode is that Michael Ealy always gets something humorous to play with. Here, it’s damage to Dorian’s language center that leaves him only able to speak and sing in Korean. That was pretty funny, especially because it immediately annoyed John.
This episode finally addressed some of the lingering subplots from the pilot episode, including John’s criminal ex-girlfriend and the raid on the police evidence locker. This story was clearly in the aftermath of that incident. But just when it seemed like “Almost Human” was about to explore that storyline, it was suddenly dropped from the episode and not referred to again.
“Almost Human” isn’t heavily serialized and it can almost get away with dropping so many plotlines on the strength of John and Dorian’s interactions. The world in which they live is interesting, but “Almost Human” feels like a show that is spinning its wheels. It has no direction and very little story progression.
This isn’t a bad show, it just has some mediocre execution, poorly defined supporting characters and lackluster stories. Dorian and John are great characters and the futuristic world is very intriguing. But after eight episodes, it’s time for “Almost Human” to start living up to its amazing potential. So far, it hasn’t.