Almost Human, Season 1, Episode 7: “Simon Says”
Written by Alison Schapker
Directed by Jeannot Szwarc
Airs Mondays at 8 P.M. ET on FOX
So far on Almost Human, we’ve navigated urban areas decked out in futuristic tech, established the main setting in the police precinct, toured the android storage facility, and seen neat gadgets used as either weapons or defenses against the ever-evolving threats of the future. All of this provides visual interest to a world wrought with crime and people who are still very much human despite their simplistic characterization.
The case of the week focuses on a mentally and emotionally unstable explosives expert who kidnaps people from his past who he believes have wronged him and equips them with bombs and cameras. The episode is structured with three individual crimes: the abduction of three people and the online broadcast of their performance as the bomber gives them commands via automated messages. What at first seems to be an unpredictable foe with the capability of doing anything, including blowing up the first victim, turns out to be a very ordinary case of ill-conceived justice. Simon Lynch- get it? Simon– simply wants payback against a world of ignorant people who can’t see past his faults. It’s a decent setup with some intense moments of detonation and deactivation of the first and second devices, but the climax fails to improve upon what has already transpired.
With Kennex targeted as the third and final victim, this has potential to provide some character-building insight using flashbacks to the explosion that caused his handicap and exploring some of the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder. However, we see none of that. Since we don’t actually have to worry about him being in any real trouble because he’s a main character and blowing him up again (see: “Pilot”) would only be cruel and redundant, there is practically no tension as we watch him struggle with the device around his neck. It’s not a matter of if he will be saved but how it will happen. With such a low-stakes plot, the episode relies heavily on humor, which is where Dorian comes in.
Michael Ealy once again gets the best of the script as Dorian deals with facing a day without a proper charge due to rolling blackouts and department power failure. Functioning with a low charge equates to sleep deprivation, which is another great addition to what we already know about his capabilities and hindrances. Without the time to recharge his batteries, he’s just like any ordinary person, complete with mood swings and outburst of anger and delirium. Unlike the position Kennex finds himself in, it’s actually exciting and entertaining to see what will happen to Dorian next and what he will do in this condition that might compromise his social etiquette.
At this point, it seems as thought we know the most about Dorian, Captain Maldonado, and Rudy. They’ve all had moments of weakness and strength on the force and in their supporting roles, but Detectives Kennex, Stahl, and Paul all require a little more work before occupational hazards pose any real threat. For now, the show continues to use Michael Ealy to define the show’s quirky brand of humor, but it is evidently lacking in a long-term arc that should hint at what the finale might bring or give meaning to the events from the pilot which still remain unconnected to the weekly proceedings.
Looking back on the show in a few months, “Simon Says” may come to be considered the low-point of the first season as far as missed opportunities for character growth and development are concerned, but it entertainingly contributes what it can to the complexities of Dorian’s existence, which is just about all it accomplishes.
What did you think of this episode? What do you think of Kennex’s solution to Dorian’s housing problem? Leave your comments below!