Almost Human Review: Beauty Is

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If ever there were a case for airing Almost Human episodes out of order, tonight's "Beholder" would be it.

All season we've lamented the uneven and out of sequence order of events and wondered why such decisions were made when they didn't seem to make any sense.

It does make sense that one of the series' strongest episodes would come toward the end of its first season, and while Almost Human Season 1 Episode 12 was certainly a strong episode, it didn't do much to develop the momentum necessary to be heading into next week's season finale.

Tonight's episode gave insight into the Chromes, people genetically engineered to be perfect before they're born, and Detective Stahl. We should've gotten an episode about her weeks ago.

Facial Reconstruction

If there's one thing that's plagued Almost Human season 1 consistently, it's been this weird storytelling the editors have managed to cobble together. And truly, "cobbled together" is as good a descriptor as any for Almost Human's freshman outing.

Tonight felt bizarrely out of place because we got back story on Detective Stahl which was both necessary and unnecessary while also further discussing the theme of the harmful intrusion of technology into the lives of humans. On their own, both of those are fine, but when viewed in light of the entire first season, everything just continues to feel disjointed--right on the cusp of being really great storytelling but afraid to take another step further for fear of face-planting over a cliff.

We've known for weeks now that Detective Stahl is a Chrome and that her choice of profession is an odd one for someone of her genetic make-up. Chromes simply do not become police detectives. What we should have gotten tonight was the WHY.

WHY did she become a police officer? What is it about being a Chrome does she not like? 

Instead we got "it's a long story," a comment made to another Chrome introduced solely to serve as a weak wall between Stahl and Kennex's relationship potential. By adding in this third party, somehow pairing the detectives becomes a more desirable option. 

It's Love Triangle 101.

Love triangles are hackneyed and television shows would do well to stop using them as a dramatic crutch to create often unnecessary tension between their characters. 

Stahl and Kennex, if they're supposed to be together, don't need a third party to complicate things. 

They're both officers. Their job, and the fact that they work together, complicates things enough. Add in the fact that she's genetically modified and he has a problem with technology altering people's lives (despite that fancy leg of his) and BAM! Dramatic tension in a relationship. No love triangle needed.

Kennex' conversations with Dorian about how poorly his date had gone created the sort of tension that made it seem like Kennex was taking a huge personal risk in asking Stahl out for drinks. Let whatever keeps them apart be something inside Kennex. 

He has enough latent issues with the fact that his previous girlfriend tried to kill him to keep the drama going for at least a few episodes, you know? That's what's keeping him from being successful at dating, so show us that instead of telling us, and let Stahl be the one with whom he finally works things out.

As of right now, I know I'm supposed to want Kennex and Stahl to be together because that's what the writers are telegraphing, but I don't feel it because the writing hasn't been there to make me feel it.

I get the sense that Stahl doesn't value herself or see herself as special, independent of being a Chrome. Perhaps she thinks that being a Chrome is supposed to be the thing that makes her special and feels that without that genetic altering, she wouldn't be...beautiful? smart? worthy? 

The theme of tonight's episode would support my theory, but who knows. Not me, because we didn't get an explanation. 

Tonight's case was a very, very interesting one. There was weird science but also heart behind the man's reasoning for altering his face to be the face he thought the woman he loved would want to see. 

That she turned out to be blind was the perfect sort of irony that made the story work even more and felt incredibly Fringe-like. It might have made this my favorite case so far on Almost Human. It was just twisted enough that it was actually sort of sad, and any time I can be made to feel sad for a murderer, I know the writers are doing something right. 

Next week, on the Almost Human season finale, we'll learn about Kennex' father and the robots in evidence. Hopefully, we'll get a few more answers about Insyndicate before the season closes.

What did you think of tonight's Almost Human? Why do you think Stahl became a police officer? Are you excited for the Almost Human season 1 finale?


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (23 Votes)

Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.


She is amazing!


I love this show to death and I really want to see a Season 2, I know Fox had messed it up by putting the episodes out of order and they need to stop that right now. Nothing can be as great as The X-files we know but come on you ruined Firefly for the fans please don't do this to Almost Human. I know there are a lot of other shows out there but I love this one, the characters and concept are original. For the love of all that is Sci-Fi and Nerdy I want to know what is on the other side of the wall. I was already into the show on day one, you peaked my interest more when you talked about the wall and that no one willingly goes over it and then we see Dorian's creator go over it. Atleast Give it till Season 2 to unravel the plot and show us whats on the other side of the wall. I know this show can be great and If Fox does not see it then move to a different network, Fox is failing any way, I can totally see another network getting on board with this show. Please don't cancel the show.


I like this show but did not watch it from the beginning. I have a question. Since, to my utter amazement, Stahl turns out to be a Chrome, does she have a real-life version? If yes, where is that? And what does it do when Chrome Stahl is busy doing or not doing things?

@ Onkar Pandit

Is chrome synonymous with clone?

@ Onkar Pandit

I think your understanding of "Chromes" is muddled. Stahl (and others like her) is a Chrome in the sense that her chromosomes (DNA) were modified before she was born so that she would be particularly smart, beautiful, healthy, etc. She is fully human, not to be confused with the androids on the show, like Dorian and the MXs.


I want to stress how much I LOVE Dorian's and John's banterings :) Guess I could watch an entire episode of those two sitting in the car, teasing each other. Urban and Ealy really make this work, but thankfully the writers give them very good dialogues, too. Again, loved the background this week. But I have to agree Stahl's part of the story didn't fit at all. There should have been much more information at this point.
I'm actually hoping Stahl will have a relationship with that other Chrome. During their little dialogue I saw a lot more chemistry than she ever had with Kennex.


Great write up. I think you hit the nail on the head with the storytelling being disjointed. Almost Human isn't bad, but it could be soo much better even. All the elements are there! What I really loved about the episode though was the soundtracks!
Crimson and Clover (Tommy James & The Shondells) and Worlds Away (Strange Advance) at the beginning and end, terrific choices.


How can a person be genetically perfect, ever? Perfection is different for everyone. I think, for instance, that she is too short to be perfect. Therefore the genes that gave her her height are wrong. It's kind of a nonsense idea.

@ Fudgefase

I think that you have hit the proverbial nail on the head. What is perfect? Personally I think perfect is non- existent, and I think that is possibly what Stahl thinks too, despite being a Chrome and being told she is has been created perfect.

Miranda wicker
@ Fudgefase

I agree with you in general, but since it's a sci-fi show, I can handwave that they've created standards of perfection for each Chrome. It's not that they're all perfect, it's just that they're genetically engineered according to their parents' specifications of perfection. The guy with Stahl even said that it wasn't a flawless process since his brother becamse a sculptor.

@ Miranda Wicker

The parents decide what is perfect for them. They take their perfect view of themselves and put them in a child, with an amazing ability to learn, no genetic defect, illness etc.

@ Miranda Wicker

I laughed at that, because all it proved was that everyones' idea of perfect is different. Maybe mum and dad wanted a child who would think outside the box, and create new things to help people, and to be dedicated etc - all things many artists are, but it didn't really work out the way mum and dad expected!

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Almost Human Season 1 Episode 12 Quotes

Maldonado: Sometimes it's nice to connect with people who are like you, who understand you.
Stahl: Is that why you keep Kennex around?
Maldonado: No. I lost a bet.

John: Do you know how many murders there are in this town every year?
Dorian: 756.
John: Yeah. A lot.