Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Almost Human: "You Are Here" Review

January 14, 2014


Only time for a very quick review tonight, as we are in the midst of the madness of the TCA (Television Critics Association) press tour

The eighth episode aired is the second that was shot in Almost Human's freshman season, and is the one I was most concerned about. It seemed that if they'd delayed it this long, only to air the episode just before the series takes a three-week hiatus, that "You Are Here" would likely be one of the weaker offerings. As it turns out, it was one of the strongest to date.

All of the elements of the show were in balance. The "magic bullet" storyline offered an imaginative take on possible future tech that could be used by a criminal underground, which is an inherent promise in the series' premise that Almost Human hasn't always fulfilled. We want this sci-fi police drama to explore what is possible, even if it's improbable. There ought to be an element of larger-than-life ideas that we're still able to buy in these cases. We saw some of that, here.

Almost Human gets back on track with"You Are Here".

The chemistry between Dorian and Kennex was as electric as ever, but the other characters in the series were also afforded participatory roles. Everyone had a moment or two to do something other than linger or brood in the background, which added texture to the created universe and took nothing away from the primacy of the central pair. As to the partners, the dynamic was understandably slightly less developed in this episode, but the natural rapport was flavored nicely with some of darker emotions that John was wresting with.

The comedy that came out of his anger issues felt more organic than in some of the previous entries, perhaps because we were reminded of its root cause. Though I will say that it's a bit hard to believe that Kennex would get away with continued MX slaughter, and at some point I'd like to see him challenged on his callous behavior toward them.

The key to tonight's episode was that we returned to some of the threads that were presented in the pilot. This was designed as a procedural series, yet I can't help but feel that a return to the story John's fiance and her betrayal, as well as the danger hidden in their midst in the evidence storage, added a sense of weight and urgency that's been missing in some of the previous episodes.

Here's hoping that creator J.H. Wyman, who co-wrote this episode with previous co-executive producer Naren Shankar, can harmonize the procedural and serialized elements when the show returns.

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