Almost Human Review 1×07 “Simon Says”



Even Androids Get The Blues

Almost Human 107 KennexReturning from its hiatus, FOX’s Almost Human delivers another solid episode in “Simon Says” as Detective John Kennex and Dorian (his android partner) search for a cyber terrorist whose viral videos make the movie Saw look like child’s play.

One of These Things Is Not Like the Others

If you’ve watched the show for a while now, it’s pretty evident Dorian doesn’t like rooming with the MX androids. To quote him from the Pilot episode, the MXs are quite “intimidating” looking, and emotionless. Well “Simon Says” brings the tension to its breaking point when a batch of solar flares force the precinct to conserve more energy with their androids. And guess who gets the least amount of energy charge? Yes, our poor Dorian.

Making matters worse, Detective Paul (Michael Irby) is the Energy Marshall, so he’s not about to bend over backwards for the DRN models. He’s got an ax to grind, and well, he’s not doing Kennex or Dorian any favors. Luckily for us, Kennex still finds the humor in it all.

Kennex: “The good news is the dounut machine is fully charged, but we are out of chocolate sprinkles.”

But that’s not where it ends, as quickly as Kennex is to give Paul some grief Dorian storms in and gives Paul one helluva suckerpunch in front of the entire squad. It’s jarring at first, and well inevitable considering Paul is a douchbag half the time. Turns out, low energy and having a synthetic soul makes DRNs very moody.

After the initial shock, Dorian takes a step back and apologies to a stunned Paul.

Dorian: “You don’t understand, I barely got half a charge, and it messes me up emotionally, man. Are we cool? Say we’re cool.”

It’s a great scene. Michael Ealy has some great facial expressions and gives Dorian these little ticks throughout the episode. It’s another emotional ride for Dorian, but it feels like this first act sets up the stage for what’s to come in the episode.

Pop! Goes the World

Almost Human 107 Simon SaysMeanwhile in another part of town, something sinister is brewing when a banker, Ramon, is captured by an unknown assailant. Waking up later, Ramon discovers he has a bomb strapped around his neck . As if that isn’t crazy enough, it’s all being recorded live for an online audience. Yes, this is like Saw but for a viral audience. I don’t know what’s more disturbing that some sick twist would do such a thing or that viewers online actually enjoy it.

It’s All About The Disco Face

It’s a race against time, and one that feels more urgent than the episode “Arrhythmia” where you have bio-mech hearts shutting down inside their host. Maybe it’s because in addition to disarming the bombs, we must also deal with Dorian’s low energy.  Also, seeing Kennex’s life on the line and Dorian being the only person capable of saving him adds to the drama. So, there’s a lot more at stake this time around than ever before.

Kennex: “You get cranky when you don’t get enough sleep, huh.”

Dorian: “My personality interface is the first thing that suffers, then all my other systems gradually shut down to save energy.”

Besides fighting crime, Dorian’s mission to have his own place apart from the other MXs comes up again. One of the great side effects in Dorian’s low batt level is the way it steps up his emotions. What isn’t cool is that it doesn’t seem to change Kennex’s reaction to him. It’s a bit of frustration because while we have Dorian growing as a character, Kennex remains the same and this is one of the best times to show it. Of course Kennex isn’t a bleeding heart, but his ego in this episode seems to regress his character than move it along forward.

The car scene where Dorian explains his frustration could have been handled differently, but instead we get some sordid stories about Kennex’s former life as a football star. It is great information, but really unnecessary. It just felt random even though Kennex is the “White Cheetah.

Dorian: “I’m talking about a social injustice here, and you’re talking about tiny bathrooms. I need my own space, John.”

That being said, things do progress in the latter half of “Simon Says.” The teamwork Kennex and Dorian share during the most critical moments of the episode make up for it. Despite all of Kennex’s sarcasm, he does have a great sense of loyalty towards anyone he cares about, Dorian included. When we see Kennex create a viable solution for Dorian’s housing issues, it becomes the bright spot of the episode; considering his new roomie will be Rudy, expect a lot of laughs along the way.

Final Thoughts

“Simon Says” is another stand-alone episode, there still isn’t a reference to Kennex’s deceptive ex-girlfriend or Insyndicate which is starting to make the series feel slow. The kind of mythology Almost Human created in its pilot seems lost in the fray of all the cool technologies. Despite the great talent and concepts for each episode, as a fan we need a bit of clarity. There was no doubt that the Insyndicate and Kennex’s past are the foundations for the series. Why wait more than five episodes to add some more info? Although I love the humor and the bond Dorian and Kennex are sharing, it doesn’t make up for the fact that some very important questions need to be answered for the characters to evolve this season. Even though Dorian is a scene-stealing character, his story is linked with Kennex who still feels almost like a stranger.

Yet “Simon Says” wasn’t a complete loss with some great one liners from Rudy to Dorian, “What happens in the lab, stays in the lab.” As well as Kennex irritation with Dorian’s mood swings,

Kennex: “Dorian will you stop punching things!”

Dorian: “Sorry, low charge.”

Overall, the episode was solid despite the evolution of Kennex’s storyline. Sure, we learn little tidbits, but it doesn’t serve the bigger picture. I don’t mind Dorian’s dynamic and often memorable scenes; Kennex still needs some lovin’ too from time to time.