Almost Human Review: Episode 1×06 “Arrhythmia”
Great performances from the entire cast.
Dorian and DRN494 comparing notes.
Wonderful character development for Dorian.
Great props and special effects! Those bio-mech parts looked cool!
Six episodes in and we haven't gotten too far in Kennex's backstory. It feels like we should know more about his life by now.
Double Dorians, ‘Nuff Said – In Almost Human
Let it be known that when Almost Human latches onto something good, it doesn’t let go for anything! “Arrhythmia” marks the last episode before the winter hiatus, and man was it worthwhile. It’s got everything from evil corporations, black market bio-mech organs, and double the DRNs. Most importantly, it sheds light on Dorian’s story which at this rate is one of the best elements of the series.
It seems that even in the future health care service still sucks. “Arrhythmia” starts in hospital clinic full of sick patients waiting for diagnoses, and treatment from virtual nurses. It’s a bit disturbing how impersonal technology has become in helping people with their medical care; that being said, it’s also fascinating seeing how informative these same holographic staff analyzes people.
The drama kicks up fast and quick when we’re faced with a man who busts into an operating room seeking an emergency operation for his heart; practically holding the entire room hostage. As is the case with all things in Almost Human this sort of crazy scenario doesn’t go too well, and the man collapses on the spot from a heart attack. It’s an intriguing beginning, and begs the question if he’s just a victim of a very imperfect health care system or if there are more sinister things at work. I like how this premise just sets in motion a lot of the major events of “Arrhythmia” because it lends itself to a lot of emotional issues and circumstances.
Kennex and Dorian are on the case, and what’s an episode of Almost Human without their morning banter? Empty, that’s what. It’s almost a weekly ritual watching these two just take jabs at each other. Dorian cautioning Kennex on things like his driving, and safety is becoming endearing since it gets the best reactions from him. Karl Urban, ever the classic action hero type, really plays up Kennex’s gruff mannerism.
Kennex: “You know what, you should break a rule or two now and then, it’d look good on you.”
Famous last words, my friend, as their stop at the hospital crime scene lead them to find another DRN! Kennex muses aloud on the freakish nature of seeing a second self while Dorian is perplexed by the DRN’s assigned job. At this point we need to take a pause because witnessing two Dorians onscreen deserves just that; a pause at the warm and fuzzies of seeing so much awesome.
It’s also at this time we learn some new things that add to Dorian’s background. For example, Dorian tells Kennex that the DRN models were created to be officers not handymen or janitors. This initial scene at the hospital where Dorian looks at what really is a mirror of himself becomes significant. Every episode where Dorian connects with other robots and humans, you can see he’s pondering his own fate. We know from the very beginning that Dorian feels things as intensely as humans; it’s a fact could be to his benefit or demise down the line.
Dorian: “When I was decommissioned, the second before it happened I just kept thinking ‘I really hope there’s someone there to wake me up again.’ I just want to be a cop, man. I just want to be here. And then you woke me up. It was you. You were that person for me, John.”
Remember that little thing in the beginning about breaking the rules? Well, Dorian wastes no time in taking Kennex up on that suggestion. As it turns out Dorian decides to take his Doublemint twin (DRN494) for a ride along with them. The looks exchanged between Dorian and DRN494 are hilarious, and you know that this is Kennex’s worse nightmare. For once, it’s nice seeing Kennex being the responsible one, especially since he’s the one getting an earful about Dorian instead of the other way around from Maldonado when they wreck a vehicle and an MX.
When there are medical advancements like bio-mech body parts like hearts, it reminds us how science has evolved over such a short span from 2013. The search for the people behind the illegal trade of transplant hearts kicks up more drama when the police learn the hearts have been modified to have a timer. People who had the illegal surgery are living on borrowed time, unless they pay some major cash to add time to their ticker. There’s also the unsavory funeral home cremator, Henry Mills, that hits at the heart of the episode:
Henry Mills: “Just because something is used doesn’t mean it’s got no value.”
Although the main plot of “Arrhythmia” is busting illegal organ traffickers where the bad guys get their comeuppance, it falls behind the underlying story of Dorian interaction with DRN494. There are a lot of strong moments between them namely when DRN494 tells him about how going against his orders to save a boy (Philip) decommissioned him as an officer. It’s frightening knowing that under the wrong circumstances Dorian’s defiant behavior could send him to a similar fate as DRN494.
When Dorian talks about the MX models and their current status to DRN494, you can see how it creates a small window of clarity for Kennex. They may not be human, but not even Dorian—who has shown more capacity at being human—deserve to be reduced to cleaning toilets when they are capable of doing more for the greater good.
Dorian: “They designed a test, it’s called The Luger Test, to weed out faulty DRNs. But the powers that be got nervous…gave up on fixing the flawed DRNs, decommissioned us all and replaced us with the MXes. Truthfully, I don’t know if the Luger Test was accurate at all.”
It’s pretty clear I thought Dorian stole the episode, but not just because of his growing popularity or Michael Ealy’s scene stealing moments. It’s because there’s some mystery behind DRN models, and Dorian’s story provides a lot of possibilities for future episodes. The constant allure of Almost Human remains in its ability to take what is a very complicated topic (the human condition) and explores it in an imaginative way that has real foundations. It forces you to think, and these days not many shows on television take up that challenge. The supporting cast was not often onscreen, but when they were, they really made it count. Watching Valerie Stahl get her flirt on with Kennex was definitely a “Hey now!” moment. Kennex seriously needs to get locked in an interrogation room with her somewhere because their sexual tension is getting a bit much.
In the end, I loved Almost Human‘s “Arrhythmia.” It gave us a lot of insight to the characters, but also the world. How some things change, and don’t in the future.