Written by Scott Clifford
Almost Human is back after taking a short hiatus in order to recharge and save its ratings. The sci-fi police procedural has had a lot of ups and downs in the last eight episodes but there is still a lot of potential for the show if the fans and the network will give them more time. The production value is amazing, and the camaraderie between John Kennex (Karl Urban) and Dorian (Michael Ealy) fits like a glove. The gaping hole that threatens to destroy the show is the lack of any explanation of the world around them. One would think that showing how the world of Almost Human is different would be the top priority but it hasn’t been. It’s as if the writers are film students lucky enough to be given millions of dollars for their first project. “Unbound” addresses problem. It’s not perfect but it’s a step in the right direction.
A masked man steals a woman’s purse in the middle of the night. An army of droid police officers decides to shoot the man while in pursuit. They discover that the man is really a droid. Officers put him in a body bag and send him to the police station. Things go wrong as the droid reboots, replaces its head with the head of another droid (Gina Carano) and shoots its way out of the police station. Kennex and the gang realize that the droid is an illegal XRN model. It has enough firepower to blow up a section of “The Wall”. The Wall is a structure that separates the city from the dangerous world around them. Perhaps we’re going to learn something about the world of Almost Human.
The XRN, named Danica, hijacks a cab while Rudy figures she will need to find a different body as a new power source. She goes into an abandoned warehouse in order to find the sexier body that she needs. She installs her head on the new body while wearing fishnets. Awesome. She turns around and recognizes an old man who is sneaking up on her.
Dorian and Kennex find the warehouse. Dorian recognizes the old man who touches his face in a loving way. He is Dr. Nigel Vaughn (John Laroquette), Dorian’s creator. We then quickly cut to Danica removing a man’s eye before going back into necessary exposition. The doctor explains that Danica has bothered him before. Her ability to kill has destroyed his reputation forever. Vaughn theorizes that he could trace her if they gave him his old equipment back.
John decides to accept Vaughn’s offer even though Maldonado is understandably concerned. Gatica continues her Terminator routine and kills a scientist while stealing computer chips. Rudy shows his affection for Vaughn before helping him find a box full of “synthetic souls”, a program routine that gives robots a “story” so they can laugh and love like normal human beings. Dorian starts to worry that he may end up like the XRN since she has the same synthetic soul inside her. They are told that Danica robbed the processors and think she is using them in order to create more robots like her.
Time passes, Vaughn admits that he was filled with resentment when making Danica in order to get out of debt. He traces her location and creates an EMP spike that Kennex has stab in the back of the XRN’s skull. Dorian and Kennex move out as Danica acquires her target and arms herself. The target is attending a high-profile political fundraising party. Danica enters and starts shooting everyone. An MX-led diversion team tries to stop her as she continues to mow down her inferior robotic counterparts. John successfully injects the EMP device in her skull but it’s not enough. She throws John away like a piece of paper while Dorian asks her why she’s doing this. She explains that her sacrifice is necessary for some unknown purpose before they get into an intense robot fight.
Dr. Vaughn disappears, as the XRN is about to destroy Dorian. John is able to stop her from doing so and plant a grenade on her. He laughs, kicks her away from him and she blows up. Dorian wonders if John is still anti-synthetic. John says that the idea of synthetics being good is “growing on him”. The happy ending is quickly subverted to a tragic one when they realize that Vaughn was the bad guy all along. The whole plot was a distraction in order to get the resources he needed. John tries to assure Dorian that he won’t end up like the XRN when they realize that Vaughn wants to build a new lab. The final shot focuses on Vaughn as he flies over the Wall.
“Unbound” introduces so much new information that it feels like a second attempt at a pilot for the entire series. Finally, the show has a concrete villain besides the faceless “Insyndicate”. I don’t know how I feel about Gina Carano’s performance as a female terminator. It doesn’t have any of the nuances that Dr. Vaughn described when talking about her. Also, the writers continue to introduce new elements without explaining them in any detail. I still believe that it’s a step in the right direction. We’ll find out if that’s true in next week’s episode.