TV Recap: Almost Human, ‘Simon Says’

Written by Scott Clifford

AlmostHuman

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

The writers of this show really enjoy using bombs as a plot device. “Arrhymthmia” had bombs exploding the hearts of people who couldn’t pay up in time. This time, “Simon Says” has people’s heads exploding if they don’t disarm a bomb wrapped around their neck… in time… on a seedy Internet show that is struggling to get ratings. Also, Dorian (Michael Ealy) acts more erratic than usual due to having power issues. What could possibly go wrong?

Photo Credit: Katie Yu / FOX
Photo Credit: Katie Yu / FOX

After finding out that the police station’s power generator is down, John (Karl Urban) has to keep Dorian from punching fellow officers before they start their shift. It has been decided that Dorian, who is supposed to be defective, does not need to be recharged as much as the normal MX robots. This premise baffles me. Wouldn’t an organization that is concerned with the safety of the city want to make sure that the robot that might go crazy is always fully charged? I imagine that the writer of this episode trapped in a dark, dingy basement while completing this script with no windows and a pack of cigarettes. The Writer’s eyes tear up as a well-dressed Producer finally opens the door; causing light to fill the room. The Producer eyes the Writer, whose hand is shaking while trying to light a cigarette. The Producer sighs before reading the script at an unnaturally fast pace. He looks back at the Writer.

“So you have the police refuse to charge their most advanced robot even though Dorian might go crazy and hurt people? Would a police station really do that?”

“Uhhh.”

“Never mind. Write another script and I’ll let you out of here. Maybe.”

The Writer screams as the Producer closes the door, realizing that a screenwriter’s primary role in Hollywood isn’t to write screenplays — it’s to get metaphorically punched in the face by everyone else.

Photo Credit: Katie Yu / FOX
Photo Credit: Katie Yu / FOX

Where was I? Oh, right, John and Dorian run into a banker who is the first victim to have a bomb strapped around his neck. Dorian struggles with his low battery as he tries to save the banker. Unfortunately, he is unable to do so and John is forced to place a protective shield around the banker as he explodes. John promises the victim to find who did this to him. The show then cuts to a stereotypical pale-faced guy with dark hair who laughs while looking at comments such as “all bankers should die!!!”. We’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel here. The next victim better not be an attractive woman who refused to date the guy that is making these bombs. Oh wait that’ exactly what happens.

John is able to help Dorian save the next victim from blowing up. She tells them that the man behind this is named Simon. He is able to circumvent the normal, monitored Internet by using an unmonitored section of the Internet called the “Darknet” in order to stream a show that kills people as viewers comment in real-time. Maldonado then explains that Simon was rejected from becoming a member of the police bomb squad because of a bad psychological evaluation. This exposition would be a lot more interesting if the woman would have died or if something else went wrong at the same time. Instead, we feel that the show is just going through the emotions until end. At least John isn’t get kidnapped by Simon. That would be terrible.

Photo Credit: Katie Yu / FOX
Photo Credit: Katie Yu / FOX

Wait…yeah, Simon kidnaps John and forces him to play his game while Dorian attempts to climb up the building that Simon is using to watch John. Dorian is able to stun the psychopath right as his battery runs out of power. Coincidentally, John is able to disarm his own bomb just before the timer runs out. The day is saved and John is able to fix Dorian’s charging problem by convincing Rudy to let Dorian be his roommate. It’s not what Dorian really wanted but it’s better than being tied to a police department that is dumber than a bag of hammers.

It’s fairly obvious that I’m not a fan of this episode but there are some good things to keep an eye on. The use of a shield to protect innocents from bomb explosions is an intriguing premise and the banter between the lead actors is always fun to see. Also, Michael Ealy’s interpretation of Dorian “losing it” due to not having enough power was funny and unique when it could have easily been cringe-inducing. The cinematography is still top notch and the action was as good as it could be considering the terrible plot line.

The bad plot kills the episode though. Dorian’s battery life problem is illogical and the villain is clichéd. Let’s not forget the vapid subtext of the episode. Apparently the show’s writers assume that every person who doesn’t want to be monitored by the government while surfing the Internet is a sadistic monster who needs to see innocent people explode. It’s wrong and irresponsible considering that the public is learning about how the United States government is spying on people all the time for no legal reason. Politics aside, it’s not even executed correctly. A sadistic mad man wouldn’t be happy to see only 3,000 people watching his show about killing people that wronged him. Has the writer used a computer since 1996? Almost Human may be a show set in the future, but this plot line was written ten years ago and filed under “G” for garbage.

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