TV REVIEW: Almost Human, S1, Ep 7 “Simon Says”

I think this episode may be the weakest one to date. The basic plot revolves around a man putting bombs around his victims necks, and then demanding that they do certain tasks for his amusement before he blows them up. Oh, and of course he’s broadcasting all of this over the internet for people to watch, because in the future people are still obsessed with violence and the suffering of others (even though, hilariously, he can’t seem to get more than 3000 or so views). But haven’t I seen this plot somewhere before? It just seems so familiar, and it didn’t feel like there was anything new or fresh about this episode.

Poor Alessando Juliani. He was Victim #1, and he never seems to last long in his guest roles. I appreciate that the show offed Victim #1, because it does set some actual stakes. I truly worried that they wouldn’t be able to get the collar off of Victim #2 in time. Though by the time it came around to Kennex getting collared, you *knew* that he wasn’t going to be in any actual peril, because the show’s star is always going to make it out of the situation just fine. It gets kind of old when shows try to play up the “OMG, he might actually DIE” scenario, because you *know* it is never going to happen (see: Supernatural).

The side plot this time around was something to do with power problems for the AI’s, both the MX’s and Dorian. Some sun flare or something was causing brown outs, so charging had to be rationed. Seriously? This seems like a plot device shoehorned in there to give us something else to think about during the episode. It didn’t really *add* anything to the episode, in terms of either plot or character development. I mean, sure, Dorian was running low on power at the end when he had to rescue Kennex, but did anyone really think he wasn’t going to make it? Really? And the occasional out of character “glitch” due to the power problems didn’t do anything other than attempt to add some humour, in an extremely heavyhanded and obvious manner.

I have to say, the change in tone in the show is becoming very apparent. Originally, I had expected the show to be darker and grittier, given the original promotional material. The first few episodes definitely seemed to be in this vein. But now, we seem to be getting a “buddy cop” show, which I think does a disservice to the show. There are enough “buddy cop” shows on the air; simply setting it in the future doesn’t do enough to differentiate it. The premise of the show is a perfect opportunity to explore the ethics and issues surrounding the use of AI’s and their interaction with humans, but the show seems to be straying away from that. I mean, at any point in time, has anyone even mentioned the laws of robotics? I don’t recall them being brought up, unless I totally tuned out somewhere along the way. I’m guessing the change in tone might be an attempt to bring in new viewers to get those numbers up, but it might just end up alienating the existing ones.

Some little thoughts on the episode:

  • Do all police officers carry those electronic shields around as part of their standard kit? I mean, is the need to contain a bomb blast that common an occurrence?
  • The “unpatrolled” area of the internet is the Darknet? Really? They had to create a name for it? Given the crap that exists out there now on the internet, I think we already pretty much exist in that world.
  • I was having this discussion with a friend – why do the MX’s have different bodies? I mean, I can *get* the idea of having different faces to allow for some variation and to tell whose is whose… but why different bodies? They are all exactly the same, right? So why not have a standard chassis, that you pop different heads onto? Wouldn’t that make more sense from a production standpoint? And if they’re so expensive to make, shouldn’t they be, you know, a little more durable?

Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewer: Aurra

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