[This is a review for Almost Human season 1, episode 5. It contains SPOILERS.]
Almost Human took a big leap with its futuristic setting and introduced psychics, mediums and ghosts into its ever-growing mythology. Though the show is still going strong after a month on the air, there’s a curious case of 3 missing episodes from the series’ start, which might hold the key to unlocking the serialized hopes and wishes of fans hanging on to its episodic installments, thus far.
In this week’s episode, “Blood Brothers,” written by Cole Maliska, Kennex (Karl Urban) and Dorian (Michael Ealy) must protect a psychic who’s the key witness in a complicated murder trial Capt. Maldonado (Lili Taylor) is attempting to bring to a close. When clones and ghosts jump from fiction to reality, and the true capabilities of the human mind are revealed, the criminal mastermind behind everything sets out to prove just how successful a one-man crime spree can be (with a little help from his “friends”).
If you’re still looking for a new, fun fall TV show to jump on board of, Almost Human is certainly one of your best picks on network television (the other is The Blacklist), and this week’s episode will absolutely back up all the praise that the series has received. “Blood Brothers” makes terrific use of the show’s eclectic cast, its futuristic setting, and its established technology – with some impressive visual effect trickery – to present a thoroughly compelling futuristic crime of seemingly epic proportions. And then there’s the psychic.
Psychikos is not exactly new theme for creator J. H. Wyman, as his first creation, Fringe, dealt with similarly-themed stories throughout its run. Almost Human is a different beast, however, and up until now, the series has never really hinted at something extraordinary or supernatural being afoot - at least in the episodes viewers have seen. The series itself, essentially, has been built upon the awe and wonder of what the future may hold for science and technology - and other than Dorian hinting at being “more than” a simple synthetic, the series has yet to really establish a solid foundation in which psychics, mediums and ghosts can comfortably exist.
That's not to say this episode wasn’t successful – as it was, in many ways. The psychic – ghosts or not – received her “powers” through an experimental procedure which can result in certain individuals gaining an extra sense, helping to ground the tale in a known element of the series; however, ghosts are a still a new, (technically) non-science-related thing. Still, no matter how supernatural – or fantastical – Almost Human gets, the series’ biggest weakness is that it still has yet to establish a real reason for it even existing, and so any story element which attempts to sidestep that glaring absence and, instead, goes about introducing weighty mythology its own way, has the potential to turn audiences off, as there’s still no real story-related reason to be excited about what comes next.
Of course, on network television, “what comes next” can mean almost anything, and that’s almost certainly the case with Almost Human. After the series premiere aired, Fox’s new series sneakily skipped episodes 2, 3, 4 and, instead, presented episode 5 as its second installment, with 6, 7 and 8 (this week’s episode) following. Next week’s episode, however, will present the first missing episode, 3, which leaves 2 and 4 to show up… sometime.
What surprises Almost Human’s missing episodes hold is anyone’s guess, but if the title of episode 3, “Arrhythmia,” is a hint at what’s to come, it’ll either be a story about Kennex’s mysterious and forgotten ex-girlfriend from the premiere, or it’ll be about someone having some kind of futuristic cardiovascular problem.
Since next week’s episode will technically be its mid-season finale, hopes are high that it’ll be about the former, rather than the latter, and that it will provide fans with a clear direction of where there series will be heading in the future. Until that happens, though, don’t be surprised if audiences - who are now more comfortable with serialized stories (thanks to cable) - find it difficult to build up enough excitement to tune in, no matter how fun, thrilling, or Karl Urban and Michael Ealy-filled the tale.
Almost Human returns next Monday with “Arrhythmia” @8pm on Fox. You can check out a preview of next week’s episode below: