Almost Human Review: Episode 1×03 – “Are You Receiving?”


Almost Human

And It Starts With A BOOM! – In Almost Human

Three episodes into Almost Human, and the brilliant special effects and futuristic world continue to leave a great impression with viewers. This week’s episode “Are You Receiving” is no exception as the dynamic duo of Detective Kennex and his android partner Dorian face their next big challenge: a hostage crisis.

Bed Head and Olive Oil

“Are You Receiving” starts with its best foot forward (no pun intended…okay, sort of) with Detective Kennex (Karl Urban) in bed, and waking up to the sound of his hologram alarm clock. Like most people in the morning, we see him struggle to ready for an early day’s work. He then goes about his usual regiment, and grabs his prosthetic leg. Taking Dorian’s advice from when they first met, Kennex decides to use olive oil to alleviate problems his prosthetic; he is surprised to find it really does work. It’s a simple moment, but considering the evolving partnership between Kennex and Dorian, it speaks volumes. The trust exchanged between Kennex and Dorian is a somewhat fragile one, therefore, scenes where simple nods to the continuity of their dynamic just builds upon their relationship. Plus, it gives the audience the satisfaction of knowing the creators and writers of “Almost Human” take their viewers intelligence into account; we notice the little things; it’s the sort of scrutiny which makes geekdom so delightful.

Dorian: “I know you took my advice, and used olive oil on your leg, John. And it works. You just choose to not say ‘thank-you’ but you’re welcome.”

Kennex: “I ate a salad, a Greek salad.”

Dorian: “At 10 am?”

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So Much For The Case of The Mondays

Adding to the events of the morning, the downtown offices in the Sanderson building are busy at work when a group of terrorists set off a bomb in the server room, and hold the people located on the 25th floor hostage.

Kennex and Dorian are alerted, and make their way up the building to assess the situation better by taking the stairs. Meanwhile, at the police precinct Captain Maldonado (Lili Taylor) leads her team into managing the crisis when the terrorists murder one of the hostages and throw him out the window in order to send the message that do no want any police interference or rescue.

Desperate to prevent more killings, Maldonado talks to the leader of the terrorists; who we find out is name Lucas Vincent (Damon Herriman.) Good old Lucas starts negotiating terms one would expect from an evildoer: no police intervention, airspace transportation, and finally militant grade technology; the kind of material that builds just a little fission bomb.

Still making their way upwards, Dorian raises concerns for their next move. Kennex reassures him that they’ll be able to wing it and find a solution when all of the sudden the electrical components of Dorian’s start to glow.

“What’s with the disco face?” Kennex asks, and Dorian tells him the phone lines are jammed by all the 911 calls. Kennex uses this fact as an opportunity to order Dorian to start taking calls so they can find out where the terrorists and hostages are.

When it appears the circumstance with the hostages can be more dire,  we learn the motives behind the terrorists attack at the Sanderson building are a bit more complex. After a shootout between Kennex, Dorian, and the terrorists ensue we find out that they were using “facemakers.” We also learn that all may not be well after Kennex discovers that Dorian’s circuitry and CPU were damaged during the shootout.

Kennex: “What’s wrong?”

Dorian: “My dynamic voltage scaling has been damaged by the bullet.”

Kennex: “You wanna say that a less complicated?”

Dorian: “I won’t be able to walk in 5 minutes.”

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Ever remaining the calm one, Kennex grabs whatever supplies around the bullet-ridden office to aid him in fixing Dorian. They engage in a hilarious exchange between “fifty shades of purple” and the use of a nail cutter—which apparently where Dorian nervously draws the line with Kennex’s technical skills. Ignoring Dorian’s complaints, and not much of a surprise, Kennex fails to cut the right electric chord. But like the stubborn Kennex we have grown to know, it doesn’t stop him much. And in a Macgyver worthy move, Kennex uses hum to patch up the damage.

Go Big or Go Home

In order to dupe the terrorists, Maldonado’s team create a faux fission igniter to match one of terrorists’ requests. At about this time, we discover that the attack in the Sanderson building was just a distraction—a means to divert the police from the real heist: a bank worth millions in metal ore. The Sanderson was a central spot to jam the airways and stop any communications from being intercepted while they got their hands on the metal ore.

In the end Dorian is able to save the day by preventing one of the bombings from igniting and killing everyone. At the end of the day, Kennex and Dorian gain more respect from their precinct—an issue since the start of the series, and something I’ve grown to enjoy unfold.

Final Thoughts

“Are You Receiving” is a solid episode, but doesn’t  mean it was as dynamic as the pilot. It’s great seeing the more humorous side of Kennex between his grumpy banter with Dorian, and his slow rise to redemption. Kennex is one of those anti-heroes whose gruff masks his true vulnerability to connecting with people. Ironically enough, it is his relationship with Dorian which brings out more of his humanity.

My only problem thus far is the curve from the start when we see a very detached, almost misanthropic,  Detective Kennex at the start of “Almost Human” by the second episode “Skin” he is cracking jokes and terrifying kids with his morbid sense of humor. It’s a little too much, too soon, and with someone who appears to have a lot of demons brewing beneath the surface; that being said it makes it almost uncharacteristic to see him more relaxed around Dorian.  Overall, there are plenty of good moments, and humor to make the episode worthwhile. The discovery of Kennex real name (Reginald) and finding out his father was a big Elton John fan was a funny reveal. Dorian’s further acceptance as one of the officers continues. Michael Ealy, and Karl Urban continue to have one of the best onscreen bromance of the season, and it doesn’t look like it’s gonna end anytime soon.

Almost Human Episode 1×04 “The Bends” airs Monday, Dec. 02 at 8|7c on FOX