TV Recap: Almost Human, ‘Arrhythmia’

Written by Scott Clifford

AlmostHuman

Photo Credit: Justin Stephens/FOX
Photo Credit: Justin Stephens/FOX

I never thought that I would see a scene where a man points a gun at someone to tell him that they’re having a heart attack but I just did. John (Karl Urban) and Dorian (Michael Ealy) find themselves in a great episode where complex organs such as hearts can be made in a factory. Unfortunately, there’s a catch. These hearts are on a set timer to go off like a bomb in a person’s chest. Also, Dorian gets to reconnect with one of his decommissioned “brothers” a janitor who also likes to make funny mouths sounds while riding in John’s police car.

Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/FOX
Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/FOX

John and Dorian’s case leads them to a mechanic who is tasked with decommissioning the organs that are used in patients’ bodies after they die of natural causes. The mechanic confesses to selling the organs to a black market doctor named Oscar instead of destroying them. The mechanic gives them the information they need and the duo stop a woman from getting a defective heart transplant. This leads to the head of the operation commanding the mechanic to stop resetting everyone’s hearts in order to not get caught again. As more people die, John and Dorian realize that an assistant case manager of the company that manufactures the hearts, is using a list of rejected clients as patients for this black market deal. They find the manager and get the mechanic to stop more hearts from exploding. To top it off, the company that makes the hearts agrees to give all of the affected patients free hearts as a way to save their reputation and make things right with the public. Dorian’s arc with his decommissioned friend ends on a bittersweet note. Dorian deletes all of his friend’s memories except for the one where he saved a little boy named Phillip. I suppose that all robots aren’t created equal after all.

It’s nice to see Almost Human regaining its footing after last week’s rocky episode. The writers have put an interesting twist on the organ harvesting trope that avoids having the main character wake up with their kidneys cut out. Showing that sometimes doing your job endangers human lives adds a sense of realism and Dorian’s realization that not every android like him can be saved is also interesting. Unfortunately, all of the female characters are put to the side once again. Captain Maldonado (Lilli Taylor) is there to just yell at John once again and Detective Stahl (Minka Kelly) is there to look pretty as she sympathizes with victims telling her their plight. To be fair, I love female eye candy but it would be nice to have an episode to develop these two characters in an interesting way. Perhaps John and Dorian are forced to attend a seminar together for an episode while Stahl and Maldonado take on a case. FOX should give me a call and I’ll write this episode for the next season.

Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/FOX
Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/FOX

Speaking of next season, there are a few things that FOX should do next season. Stop showing episodes out of order. “Arrhymthmia” was supposed to be shown a lot earlier and I feel that they would have more viewers if they stuck to that. Stick to a single character arc over an entire season. John has emotional trauma from his former partner’s death while Dorian is acclimating having a sense of freedom and emotional depth that most androids around him don’t have. Both can be compelling if the writers make a commitment to one arc for an entire season.

This commitment has to also be made to the world of the show. Observations that are made in each episode need to create a solid picture of the universe that this show is in. Is it a future world that we would want to live in if it wasn’t so corrupt? How corrupt is it? Is there full integration between humans and androids or is a new era of Jim Crow laws stopping full equality? Answering these questions will keep the show fresh. More importantly, it will get more people reading my reviews.

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