[This is a review for Almost Human season 1, episode 8. It contains SPOILERS.]
It’s the second episode made and the eighth to air, but Almost Human has finally started talking about Kennex’s girlfriend Anna again, albeit briefly, in its final episode leading before a 3-week hiatus. Though Fox’s new future series is on-point and a thoroughly enjoyable watch, it’ll be “to each his own” when the series returns February 10, as it’s still a bit difficult to get a sense of this series’ direction.
In this week’s missing episode, 'You Are Here,' written by creator J.H. Wyman & former executive producer Naren Shankar, technology takes over and an assassin no mark could ever hide from is created. As Kennex and Dorian attempt to track down its source before more lives are taken, Maldonado looks deeper into the incident that cost Kennex his leg (not to mention his partner), revealing a much larger mystery that could ultimately take down the entire precinct.
Like last week’s episode (and most, really), 'Simon Says,' this week’s is a fun and compelling looking into the future of technology and, in the case of “You Are Here,” assassinations, which are now able to be completed with bullets meant to track the location of their intended target, no matter where they are. What’s most impressive, though, is the fact that this is the second episode made and, barring a few out of context scenes, reveals the true strength of the series’ foundation.
More so, a few questions that fans have been looking for answers to – like Kennex not making use of other synthetics while in the field or Richard’s general feelings toward the famed duo – were legitimately addressed, proving that, though the series has been aired out of order (thanks to scheduling), an earnest intent was made to fully develop the series early-on in its existence.
Unfortunately, Almost Human has been muddied by shifting schedules and a second-helping of hiatus, and this episode (as well as others) – no matter how thoroughly enjoyable – never truly develop into anything more complex than its 8pm timeslot will allow – which isn’t much, but it sure is more than most.
This, in addition to the weak and generally sparse storyline involving Kennex’s ex, or even Dorian’s desire for mortality to make sense, makes it difficult for much of the series’ hard-earned appeal to ingrain itself in the minds of those watching. The show is entertaining, and the cast is honestly too good for network television; however, outside of a few truly brilliant moments, there’s still no reason to care about what’s going on – and network television isn’t superficial enough to survive on potential alone, no matter who is in the cast.
Still, at its core, Almost Human provides for an enjoyable watch; it just doesn’t tempt you to tune in again. If you do, however, you will be entertained. But at this time when television is evolving and true storytelling is occurring in the medium, shouldn’t audiences ask for more? Should they require more?
This, it seems, is where Almost Human is having a difficult time defining itself, and it’s going to be what will make or break the series in the future (if that time hasn’t already come, unbeknownst to fans). Though a show so full of potential like Almost Human can simply be a 8pm series with no real drive (e.g., CSI), the modern viewer should demand more - or else the cast should go their own way, as everyone could be out making films which easily fulfill those wishes.
J.H. Wyman has done a spectacular job with creating a follow-up to the cult-loved Fringe, and in almost every way Almost Human is better. It’s the “almost” which is key here, and it’s truly one element which feels missing from this wonderful exploration into the future. Whatever that element may be – or who may be the cause of it (or its absence) – Almost Human needs to find it, because while Wyman’s new series truly is the show Terra Nova attempted to be (and at a fraction of the cost), there’s still an empty soul currently inhabiting it. But the potential – it’s palpable!
Almost Human returns Monday, February 10 @8pm on Fox.
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