ALMOST HUMAN Recap: “The Bends”

     December 2, 2013


After three strong weeks establishing its world and the relationship between its two leads, Almost Human took some time in this hour to further introduce one of its secondary characters.  “The Bends” was Rudy’s time to shine, and since Rudy (Mackenzie Crook) is typically brought around for comic relief, it was a pretty punchy episode.  Humor is something that Almost Human balances very well, and it elevates it from a standard procedural to something a little better than expected (much like the show it leads in, Sleepy Hollow … though Almost Human is much better).  Hit the jump for why it’s important to remember not to soil yourself during an undercover operation.

almost-human-castOne of the best things about Almost Human is that (so far) its weekly cases serve to expand the show’s world.  As Dave mentioned last week in his review, the palladium heist seems like something that could ultimately be more far-reaching, perhaps politically, than a regular robbery.  There was also the inclusion of the seemingly religious, kind of jihad-esque organization of terrorists (even though that was just the cover the robbers were using).  In “The Bends,” the drug world is touched upon, with a note about synthetics causing a potential for a pandemic of overdoses.  For all of its humor, Almost Human‘s world is very dark, and we’re only seeing the very edges of it.

As for the humor though, the banter and rapport between Kennex and Dorian is still top-notch (the sushi scene was the epitome of that).  But what happened to Dorian being one of the “crazy” androids?  He hasn’t exhibited anything but the most logical and easy-going attitude so far.  Because of the broadcast network’s long seasons, it makes sense to draw these kinds of things out; but still, some kind of glitch or tremor in his make-up — considering his whole line was deactivated — would also help with some of the established continuity.

There’s not much to say about the Case of the Week, which had some shades of Breaking Bad to it (the undercover cop reminded me a lot of Jesse Pinkman, with Rudy stepping in as a kind of Gale character with his 95% purity thing and general geekdom).  It was entertaining, but could have packed more of a punch if we had known the cop who was killed (who Kennex had to defend) a little better.  At the very least, the idea of a mole inside the police department could have been dragged out for much longer.  We meet a guy in the office, and then he turns out to be the Bishop, a drug kingpin?  That narrative could have been ripe for further story lines.

almost-human-castThese are quibbles, though.  The bottom line is that Almost Human has been the surprise of the season, being much more interesting and entertaining week to week than certain super-hyped shows (which someone mentioned in the comments last week … cough … Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. …).  Unfortunately, the ratings are not particularly healthy, and Fox does not usually let underperforming series remain for long.  Fingers crossed Almost Human doesn’t get deactivated before its time.  It’s world is being revealed slowly, and that could bode really well for future seasons, if it’s allowed to get there.

Episode Rating: B+

Musings and Miscellanea:

— Kennex and Valerie haven’t flirted for two weeks now, but since next week’s episode is devoted to her being in danger, I sense more of that to come.

— “Do you prefer the queen on the bed or on the board?  And he said, ‘depends on the position!’  It’s funny, you see.” – Rudy

— Nice recurring joke about the fedora.

— Sick/awesome spinal cord pull out with that android Dorian fought!

— Rarely seen fart humor used to such good effect as here, especially the fact that everyone basically ignored it.

— Using roaches for tech is such a good idea.  Also, I love how the show has all of this crazy futuristic stuff, yet cars are the same as they always have been.

— Kennex: “What do you need to remember?” Rudy: “Don’t soil myself.”

— Not 100% sure I’ll keep recapping since there’s not a lot to unpack.  I really like it though, and plan to keep watching regardless!