ALMOST HUMAN Recap: “Skin”

     November 18, 2013

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After a great premiere last night, Almost Human stayed on form in its second hour (and in its regular timeslot now).  It’s not that the procedural aspects or even the relationships between and among the characters are new, but they are performed with such gusto that it feels like something different.  And while the premiere episode was really strong, “Skin” managed to incorporate some emotional aspects that really, surprisingly, resonated.  Hit the jump for more.

As I mentioned yesterday, the thing with a buddy cop show is that we have to like the buddy cops — Dorian and Kennex’s relationship is essential to the success of the show.  No matter the other world building and ancillary characters, if Dorian and Kennex don’t grab us, forget it.  Luckily, the two are fantastic together.  Karl Urban and Michael Ealy have a natural camaraderie that helps solidify their characters’ relationship even so early on in the season.  When Dorian puts up a dating profile for Kennex, it’s both funny and strangely believable.

almost human skin karl urban michael ealyThe show is also smartly used its case of the week to help world-build. The sex bot storyline not only helped illustrate the technology at play (DNA breathalyzers, for a start), but it also showed some of what the black market looks like (something that Battlestar Galactica never managed to play out, even though they did a fair job of expressing its existence).  Most importantly, it gave Dorian the opportunity to face his own bot mortality, confront Kennex’s bot prejudice and also have an emotional scene towards the end where he attempted to connect with another bot before her decommissioning.

Almost Human’s commitment to addressing the ethical and philosophical issues of the androids is what elevates it beyond a police procedural or a buddy cop story.  Kennex as a character is fairly rote (even though he’s enjoyable and a strong lead), but Dorian is the key to wanting to stick with the show week to week and not miss any of his reveals and personal development.

Of course, not everything works.  But, for instance, the relationship being pushed between Kennex and Stahl is oddly commendable for its blatant obviousness.  And yet, that doesn’t make it an irritant because the show already makes the most cynical of viewers kinda, y’know, ship it.  And like Sleepy Hollow, the show doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously.  There’s plenty of humor to lighten the dystopian load.

almost human skin karl urban michael ealyAlmost Human has proved to be a pleasant surprise on the TV landscape so far.  Let’s hope things stay that way.

Episode Rating: A-

Musings and Miscellanea:

– 35 years into the future, though … still, the tech is neat, even though it is once again often shown in a nefarious light (except for what Dorian can do), such as the DNA bomb.

– It’s kind of nice when shows can still casually shock viewers, not with violence, but with gross stuff like those skinless bots or the skin farm.  Creepy to the max!

– Did the dudes with the lightbub “flash masks” remind anyone else of the Garbage video for “Push It”?

– “A scan showed your testicles at full capacity. You’re backed up” – Dorian.

– Mackenzie Crook’s character Rudy is kind of a caricature, but I still love him, because of Mackenzie Crook.

– Nice moment with Kennex visited his partner’s son.

– “I haven’t even been a child, and I know that kids wouldn’t like that” – Dorian when Kennex stabs his leg as a party trick.

– “He’s not good with kids.  Or cats.” – Dorian.

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