Almost Human Review 1×12 “Beholder”
Great plot driven episode that is not just action but has a lot of heart. Minka Kelly and Karl Urban do a great job onscreen, and continue to show the chemistry Valerie and John have together. A great soundtrack which contributes to the sentimental tone of the episode. Dorian calling Kennex out on being "boring" which is kind of true, to be honest.
This episode doesn't have any serious negative sides to it, it could improve on being a little more consistent. As good as an episode, it doesn't mesh well with the others. Last week we saw Kennex unravel due to his memories of his ex-girlfriend. Suddenly, he's going on dates this week? It feels misplaced and would have been better last week as a kind of sort of Valentine like episode instead of "Distrupt." If they swapped them, it would have felt more cohesive.
A Crazy Kinda of Love in this Weeks Almost Human
There’s not a lot of episodes in Almost Human where you are left with some food for thought. This week “Beholder” stands apart in its rather sentimental look into the case Dorian (Michael Ealy) and Detective John Kennex (Karl Urban) must solve. There is a little less focus on crime and more into the character development of Detective Valerie Stahl (Minka Kelly) as well as Kennex. It’s a nice departure from what some might expect from the series which is mostly action, humor, and loads of eye candy. Although those elements are still present, which is all well and good, it takes a backseat towards approaching the bigger theme of love and relationships.
Kennex: ” Whatever happened to two people sharing a meal together, and connecting, you know?”
Tale As Old As Time
Love, it’s what makes the world go round; it’s also what brings out the crazy in some people. What starts off as a sinister murder evolves into the search for a serial whose obsession with looking “perfect” puts the city into high alert. “Beholder” makes a pretty big statement about the way our society values its citizens when it delves further into the world of Chromes— genetically enhanced people. It’s the 2048 idea of human perfection, and are treated as a superior class. What really makes this crime hit close to home is how it impacts Stahl, a character who viewers recently learned is a chrome too! As a police officer, a profession considered basically low class for their kind, Stahl is an anomaly since we don’t know the real cause for her choice of work.
Kennex: “Technology, in this case Chromes, are driving a wedge between people making it us versus them.”
Meanwhile, Kennex and Dorian are sharing more of their usual banter but this time it revolves around Kennex’s failure of a love life. Apparently one of his recent dates, Samantha, is a bust which gets Dorian to reveal what he thinks is the real problem: Kennex is boring. It’s interesting because I thought he just PTSD from his ex-girlfriend trying to blow him to bits. Either way, Kennex isn’t an expert in love, and for a while the series just made it seem like he was just bitter. What’s great is we see that there is more depth to him. Kennex’s attempt in trying to move forward and connect with Stahl, on a romantic level is pretty sweet. Yes, I can’t believe it too, but seeing how this case effects Kennex opens up more sides to his personality. This is such a big turning point for his character because he’s going beyond his comfort zone. Despite not achieving his own end game with Stahl, you can’t help but appreciate his efforts.
The Beautiful People
Ok, if you thought today’s standard of beauty and plastic surgery is crazy, it gets worse in the future, or so Almost Human would have you believe in this episode. The first half of “Beholder” takes you into the high life of a chrome; the elite clubs where the velvet rope isn’t some list, it’s a genetic scanner. You literally are banned for not being perfect. It’s crazy, but it’s also disturbing considering how close we are as society to playing God with our whole biological makeup.
Our serial killer, Eric Lathem (Michael Eklund) has a real complex about his appearance. And I have to give writers Chris Downey & Joe Henderson credit for making it seem like vanity alone motivated him.
Sure, the experimental procedure to use micro nanobots has nasty side effects, but as it turns out, Lathem has an ulterior motive. Aside from sharing the name Eric, he has a Phantom of the Opera complex where his obsession with appearance is heightened by his romantic pursuit of his neighbor, a girl living literally across the street. Lathem’s twist of a storyline really pushes Kennex’s buttons. We see they’re not so different, and it is in that moment which makes Kennex’s character evolve for viewers.
Lathem: “Have you ever been loved, John?”
Kennex: “I have.”
Lathem: “Then you wouldn’t understand. We’re supposed to be loved.”
In the end, this episode wasn’t about the murders as much the reason behind the crime. By having the attention on the alarming lengths people will go for perfection, we see that although technology can evolve, it doesn’t mean we as humans will do the same in the future.
There was a lot I loved about “Beholder” but at the same time there was something so out of place. It wasn’t the episode itself as much as the tone. It’s definitely a worthwhile stand alone which allows us to see more about Stahl. It’s amazing, and really a benefit for the series, to continue exploring its supporting cast. I wanted to really know more about Stahl after learning she is a chrome, and although she doesn’t really reveal anything new about herself, she does shed light into her world. Then there’s Kennex, whose sense of humor, and striking end scene that is like the icing on the cake.
And yet, despite all those great moments and revelations, “Beholder” spends most of its time on the emotional motivations from a less technical side which shifts this action series into a real drama.
If there’s one thing you can’t avoid missing in this episode is the remarkable music. Whoever chose the tracks from “Crimson and Clover” to “World’s Apart” did a stellar job in adding that extra undertone lending itself to feel almost like a John Hughes movie.
When Kennex builds up the courage to ask Stahl out for a drink, and we learn that she’s on a date. The parting glances between them has me thinking of Pretty In Pink except I think Kennex is a far cry from Ducky.