Tonight's episode of Almost Human goes down as one of the better of the fledgling series so far, and it's all because of Dorian. (Really, it's always because of Dorian, isn't it?)
Almost Human Season 1 Episode 6 took us into the mind - and heart - of the DRNs.
We're nearing the end of the out-of-order episodes with "Arrhythmia" being the last in this set. Originally, tonight's installment would have aired as the third of the season, and, once again, it was better suited to its original spot on the schedule than this one.
Because it explained the DRNs and why they were decommissioned, at least in part. A test was administered to all of the DRNs, the Luger Test, and some of them failed. Instead of relying on the test results and only decommissioning those DRNs who failed the exam, scientists decided to take all of them out of the work force and replace them with the cold and calculated MX machines.
While Dorian was relaying this information to a fellow DRN, he was also sharing his history with John, who didn't seem to know. That exchange made Dorian's later explanation as to why he brought the DRN on the ride-along more poignant.
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.
John: Well, we all make mistakes.
Dorian: I want to be that person for him.
When setting up a series, information such as this is critical in billing the characters as people - or in this case machines - viewers pull for. Three weeks ago, we were given the hostage situation wherein Dorian was damaged and it wasn't clear how he would fare.
Knowing that the problem with the DRNs was that some of them had a tendency toward being overly emotional and were considered crazy would have made the fact that he was damaged more dramatic. What if the trauma to his machine-brain had caused him to go off the rails?
Am I making sense here? I hate to belabor the point about the episode ordering, but at least for now, it's having an impact on my viewing in that I can't help but think about how out of sync the storytelling is and how it could be better.
Not that tonight was bad, by any means. Any episode where we get to learn more about Dorian and watch Kennex react to him is great, so in that regard, tonight was pretty great.
I loved watching Dorian see the DRN fixing the hologram doctor and marvel at how odd it was to see himself, or a machine like himself, in a role for which it wasn't created. DRNs were created to be cops, but they were also created to have souls. They were designed to feel. That makes them unpredictable and is part of what makes this show interesting.
These machines are almost human. Almost, but not quite.
If we look at the first six episodes as a whole, what we see is how John views Dorian less and less like a machine with each passing day. Dorian views himself less and less like a machine as well. The lines between those who can create and those who are created are getting blurred.
The other line getting blurred on Almost Human is the one between the fantasy and reality of the show.
One of the things I love about science-fiction is when the fiction is just real enough for the science to seem possible.
Tonight's case dealt with the black market selling of bio-mechanical human organs. The group responsible for selling the organs gave all recipients an expiration date. To extend the life of their organs, all recipients had to do was continue to pay larger and larger sums of money.
From an ethical and current-day standpoint, it was interesting. One day we may well be in the position to create bio-mechanical organs, so how do we go about determining who'll get them? Those who can afford to pay? Those who cannot at all? Those whose need is greatest independent of whether or not they can pay?
It was interesting and it made me think. That's a pretty high compliment to pay to a TV show, you know?
No matter what, please don't mistake my continued frustration with the ordering for disdain for the series at large. We should get back around to the storyline laid out in the pilot soon, hopefully, and will (again, hopefully) watch Almost Human finish out it's first season on a high note.
I'm still cautiously endorsing this series, and while the majority of the reason for my endorsement comes from the Kennex-Dorian partnership, part of it also comes from the technology we get to see each week.
What did you think of Almost Human Season 1 Episode 6? Do you enjoy the episodes where we get to see more of Dorian? Is there another character about which you'd like to know more? What hopes do you have for the series when it returns in three weeks?
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.