‘Almost Human’ Mid-Season Premiere: All Fun, No Heart

Published 9 months ago by

almost human season 1 episode 8 simon says review Almost Human Mid Season Premiere: All Fun, No Heart

[This is a review for Almost Human season 1, episode 7. It contains SPOILERS.]

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Almost Human was one of the last new shows to premiere in the fall, so it’s only fitting that it’s one of the first back (for the next two weeks, at least). In its comeback episode, Dorian (Michael Ealy) finds a new home, and Kennex (Karl Urban) learns to keep his most important electronic device charged.

This week’s episode, “Simon Says,” written by series producer (and mid-season finale scribe) Alison Schapker, pits Kennex and Dorian against a faceless nemesis who uses live streaming remote explosives and a deadly game to systematically kill those who once wronged him. When a victim is saved and the killer’s identity is revealed, Kennex is forced to stare death in the face, alone, while Dorian finally understands humanity’s annoyance with “low battery” warnings.

‘Simon Says’ is not one of the missing episodes still yet to air, nor is it an explanation-filled adventure that helps us better understand the mysteriously missing storyline involving Kennex’s ex-girlfriend, yet it’s still an exciting return for one of Fox’s strongest shows. Though this week’s episode is pointed more toward helping viewers discover and enjoy the show in the new year, those who pay close attention will notice a nod to the ex-girlfriend storyline – perhaps a hint at what’s to come next week when Almost Human finally airs its second episode made, ‘You are here,’ which was replaced with the fifth episode, ‘Skin,’ during the two-night series premiere event.

almost human season 1 episode 8 simon says dorian kennex Almost Human Mid Season Premiere: All Fun, No Heart

Aside from the questions and/or qualms about the overall series story – which is understandable given television’s comfort in mysteries that go nowhere – this week’s episode builds up the already strong bond between Kennex and Dorian even more by allowing Ealy to step out from behind his robot character and combat Urban’s gruff demeanor with even more playfulness, which allows Kennex to lower his guard and befriend his synthetic partner even more in his time of “need”.

Now 7 episodes in – 9, including the 2 missing episodes – and Almost Human is still keeping up its end of the bargain, as far as future-themed devices are concerned. Yet still, with all of the impressive technology, visual effects and witty banter presented to audiences, there’s one big thing that’s missing, and it’s beginning to show: its heart.

Each episode puts Kennex and Dorian front and center for whatever the case is on-hand, and the series masterfully wraps the tale – even its smallest parts – around the two, which allows them (or whoever the focus of the episode is) to fully inhabit the futuristic setting which has been painstakingly (in terms of time and money) established over and over again in each new episode; however, with Dorian’s lack of true emotion and Kennex’s inability to convey his, whatever exciting – thrilling, even – story that’s put before the viewer is more or less a twist on familiar video game tropes. The journey – including any “middle bosses” or “princess” saving – serves one purpose only: to get the “boss battle” at the end.

almost human season 1 episode 8 simon says kennex Almost Human Mid Season Premiere: All Fun, No Heart

Now that’s not to say that other television series don’t do the same thing; they do – especially on basic cable. Almost Human is a different show, however, as it’s the partnership which has solely been used to sell the series. Action and excitement are two strong story elementals that can only go so far, and until Almost Humans steps out from behind its missing episodes and presents an earnest character tale for Kennex, it’s hard to disagree with viewers who feel that the series is much like Dorian’s frame of mind: mentally competent, yet emotionally stunted.

Next week, Almost Human will finally reveal its missing second episode, and Kennex’s girlfriend will likely be touched upon a great deal – if for no other reason than to help build excitement before the series takes a second hiatus, to allow The Following season 2 to premiere.

All-in-all, Almost Human has shown impressive range and depth in its short time on the air, and now that a number of obstacles will soon stand in its way of true week-to-week airings, it’ll be interesting to see if the series takes the next step and evolves, or if it simply falls away, never to be heard from again.

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Almost Human returns next Monday with ‘You Are Here’ @8pm on Monday.

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16 Comments

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  1. Great show. I love it.

  2. Great episode. Loved Dorian in this episode. The antagonist is interesting and creepy. But what I’ve found strange is the viewers who are watching the live stream. It’s insanely odd that most of the viewers that commented are like, “He/she deserve it”, “Let her die”, etc.

  3. Yay! It’s back! :)

  4. I like the show, and it definitely has potential to be like Fringe, HOWEVER ratings in the last few episodes haven’t been good, and it’s steadily decreasing. At this rate Fox might not even give it a full season (it haven’t yet, which isn’t good)

  5. Second hiatus? Well unfortunately this show is as good as cancelled.

    Running episodes out of order and TWO breaks is not a good thing. I hate when shows take breaks. When has it ever been good for any show to take long breaks?

    Otherwise, not the best episode. A good premise, but I felt the villain was a bit hammy and kind of a cartoonish haircut as well.

    • They did this as well with Firefly back in the day ! :(

    • On wiki apparently next weeks episode is production code ’2J7002′(episode 2) and the broadcasted episode 6 “Arrhythmia” was ’2J7003′ (episode 3).

      This episode is ’2J7010′ (episode 10) but broadcast as episode 7.

      I was going to wait to watch more than the pilot once I hear its renewed but now I am also going to wait for this season to end to watch it in the intended order.

  6. Well, this show is mildly entertaining and I am watching it, although it is really not anything special on my viewing list, just more of a “pass-time” show to supplement others like Arrow, Sleepy Hollow, Blacklist, Agents of Shield, etc. I will watch it until it ends, but it will not be one of those remarkable shows sorely-missed in the annals of history when it is over with.

  7. I agree that it’s entertaining, but once we’ve become accustom to the high tech aspect…It’s just a basic buddy cop show…..And some of that is getting a bit thin in the writing. I mean it’s starting to look like much of the same old stuff we usually get with nthese kind of shows.

    As comparing to Fringe….I think they’re two completely different animals. Where that had layers of stories based around the primary story, this is basically just more hunting dow bad guys only with a far better version of Robo Cop. Speaking of Robo Cop. All those other Robo Cops who are supposed to be the New And Improved models come across as being PC’s with legs rather than very effective as actual andriod cops. I understand why the lead gets all the glory, but to make the other andriods nothing more than back drop actually hurts the production in my opinion.

    • couldn’t agree more.

      i don’t think the show’s creators thought much past “a buddy copy show … in the future … where one of the buddies is a robot!” the utter lack of thought that goes into the show’s presentation of scientific & technological advances is astounding. detectives are armed with a shielding device strong enough to contain a bomb blast (last night’s episode) but they don’t deploy such a device for short-term protection while under a criminal barrage of gunfire & explosives (premiere episode)? robots show very disturbing ‘personality changes’ on 50% charge but are deployed on a daily basis into the field where they’ll almost certainly hit a 50% charge point somewhere in the working day? the ‘Darknet’ of the future is just the Internet of today substituting white text on black backgrounds?

      this isn’t ‘high-tech’; it’s ‘stupid-tech’.

      Ealy’s great & Karl Urban’s haircut is pretty tough, but the writers on this show are just dreadful.

  8. This is my favorite new series of the fall season. But what does Fox have against airing episodes in order when it comes to sci-fi shows? It sabotaged Firefly in the same way by not airing the pilot episode first. I seriously think FOX has something against science fiction shows.

    I for one won’t be fooled by another season of The Following, that’s for certain. After the ridiculously tedious dragging out of the entire premise, I see little reason to bother with that nonsense again. So it really bothers me that they’re going to preempt one of their most promising (and optimistic) new series in favor of a depressing, sadomasochistic bore of a television “drama.”

  9. I’m loving this show. This show for me is what I had expected SHIELD to be in terms of how excited I am to see “the” new sci-fi/fantasy show on this season.

    • Absolutely agree 100%!

  10. What exactly does missing episodes mean? Why didn’t they use the two episodes that are “missing” to help round out the story line with Kennex and his ex at the very beginning of the show? If anyone has any info on that, I’d love to know.

    • On wiki apparently next weeks episode is production code ’2J7002′(episode 2)…

  11. ” with Dorian’s lack of true emotion and Kennex’s inability to convey his”

    Have to disagree with you, Dorian shows a lot of emotion while it may be programmed, it is undoubtedly human. While Kennexs’ emotions on the other hand are much more like a robot. Think that’s what the writers and creators intended at least, the one with the most empathy isn’t the human.