Almost Human, Ep. 1.04, “The Bends” works as a whole but moves in an unfortunate direction

Almost Human S01E04 promo pic 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Almost Human, Season 1, Episode 4: “The Bends”
Written by Daniel Grindlinger
Directed by Kenneth Fink
Airs Mondays at 8 P.M. ET on FOX

“If you approach your work with reverence and pour your very soul into it, it starts to get a life of its own.”

In one of the best moments from this week’s episode, Mackenzie Crook’s Rudy Lom gains the trust of a drug-dealing dirty cop with an insightful, self-empowering speech detailing a philosophy that the writers seem to be making a conscious effort to learn from.

Seeing Rudy work undercover is a treat since Mackenzie Crook has a reason to stick around for longer than a minute and take on some material that shows off his ability to play unsure and awkward. Rudy is a fun and quirky character to feature, and his presence here doesn’t go to waste. Supported by some spot-on scoring, an element the show has incorporated splendidly up to this point, the undercover operation-gone-awry gives Rudy some comedic moments (which include some hit-and-miss flatulence humor) and sets up a fight sequence pitting Dorian against another android and Kennex against the drug cartel’s leader and inside man to the police investigation, resulting in an unfortunate turn for Kennex.

The choreographed violence between the two androids is exciting to watch since we’re not fully aware of their limitations and weaknesses nor any tricks or special abilities they may have yet to reveal. It’s interesting to see how well Dorian holds his own against other robots on a level playing field, despite the lower stakes of repairable or replaceable robots duking it out instead of humans. The special effects are once again top-notch as the two androids brawl, the eventual dismemberment of one looking especially well-animated.

The unsettling nature of Kennex’s fight once again contrasts his morality with Dorian’s synthetic yet solid ethics. We’ve seen variations of the same situation time and time again: the anti-hero doing the wrong things for the right reasons. But the offhanded way the episode concludes without any repercussions for Kennex’ final shot nor any hint of an internal investigation down the road could ultimately lead to Kennex taking on even more of a power complex, becoming the good guy whose abominable actions are justified by the mere fact that he is the show’s frontman and therefore untouchable by consequences that normally destroy careers. In the TV universe, it would appear that the “right” thing to do is save the perpetrator’s reputation by sweeping any and all crimes under the rug, a strategy long-supported by procedurals in the past. A looming question is whether or not this unfortunate trend will be corrected and if Kennex will be made accountable for his actions here and whatever else transpires before then.

With every passing episode, the absence of an appearance from the band of criminals from the pilot becomes even more concerning, making it seem like a piece that will never fit in with the original puzzle. Besides bringing some of the other characters to the forefront, Michael Irby especially, the plot here is mostly insubstantial, providing some moments for character interaction without much growth- we’re still just beginning to know who these people are, for better or for worse.

How did you like this episode? On a scale of “unphased” to “completely grossed out”, how traumatizing was that opening diner scene? Would Kennex stand a chance against Dorian in a fist-fight? Will things between the two ever get rocky enough that we’ll have a chance to find out? Leave your thoughts on the “The Bends” in a comment below!

-Amanda Williams

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By Amanda Williams

Amanda is an avid reader and occasional writer of film and television commentary. When not transfixed with the world of entertainment, her daily life serves as a "down to earth" look at the humor in living with disabilities, best expressed through tweets that she hopes either inspire or amuse. Her love of serialized mysteries began with "House M.D." and continues to this day with the countless network procedurals that enable her binge-watching habit, but anything Whovian, Conan Doyle, and Edgar Wright is fair game for a marathon of its own. Her favorite movies change by the hour. The book is always better.

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3 Responses to Almost Human, Ep. 1.04, “The Bends” works as a whole but moves in an unfortunate direction

  1. tmack December 7, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    I wish I could ask the writers why they had Kennex execute the captain? Yes, we know he is a flawed human as compared to the built-to order ethics of the android, but this is more than a flaw. The survival of the Bishop might have led to exposure of more police corruption and more criminal networks. It was very shortsighted revenge.

    Dorian, we know from a past episode, would not have approved. He mildly objected to the “abusing” of a prisoner’s civil rights in a previous episode and he does have feelings that he is strong enough to acknowledge, even be proud of.

    This is the locus of intrigue & conflict in this series and I hope they explore it. Here we have a droid who has all the Right Stuff and a Human who is pretty effed up with a drive to achieve the right thing but often by doing the wrong thing. The Human is Dorian’s burden. If he doesn’t back him up, however, he could end up pushed onto the highway under the tires of a mack truck.

    I like this series, but I must admit, it’s really for one reason and that’s Dorian’s character, who I view as the portal into this world and the source of all drama. Kennex, thus far, is a lagging stereotype who hasn’t yet been confronted with his challenge.

    What does Dorian do when Humans are sleeping? Where does he live? Does he go home and watch television until his shift? Does he listen to music? Go to bars?

    Reply
    • Deepayan Sengupta December 7, 2013 at 2:29 pm

      You raise some very valid points, and I agree that they need to be addressed, but at the same time, the show’s only on Episode 4 at this point. I think it’s fair to give them some time to find their legs, so to speak, before we start examining whether they’re properly working towards answering the questions they’ve raised. They do, after all, have a fair bit of world-building to do on top of all this.

      Reply
    • Amanda Williams December 7, 2013 at 2:40 pm

      I completely agree about Kennex and Dorian. Kennex has his moments and I think the banter between the two can be pretty comical; but ultimately, Dorian is the more complex character whose perspective makes him a better choice to consider the “main character”, since this world is obviously a lot more challenging for him than it is for Kennex.

      Also, another good point about Dorian. It would be nice to get a look at his “personal life” or at least where he is stored during off-duty hours. They’ve stated that he has to wait for Kennex, so what exactly does that waiting time amount to in the life of an android?

      Reply

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