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Almost-human

Almost Human Review: Hackers

by at .  Updated at . Comments

As Almost Human Season 1 winds down, the drama and intensity of the stories told each week heats up.

As only the third episode all season to air in its correct place, the urgency of  Almost Human Season 1 Episode 11 felt earned. 

These are characters in which we can invest ourselves if only we're given a proper chance.

These characters are invested in each other, and tonight, as Kennex and Rudy dealt with Dorian's memory flash and Stahl cast a long glance in John's direction, that became clear.

One of the things that Almost Human is getting very, very right week to week is answering the question of what happens when seemingly good technology goes bad. To a certain extent Fringe did the same, but much of the technology in Fringe was intended to harm from the outset. 

That's not so on Almost Human but harm is often the result. In a world which grows increasingly more dependent on the technologies which are created to make our lives "simpler," looking forward feels a bit like staring down the barrel of a Bradbury or Asimov story.

But behind it all there's always the lingering message that what causes the downfall isn't the technology itself but the people behind it. No matter how advanced our world gets, human urges--greed, desire, revenge--remain the same. The methods just alter to the moment.

Tonight, a "smart house" killed its owners. It would have been easy, and somewhat interesting, to reveal that the house, having become self-aware, to borrow from Terminator, had killed the Bennetts.

They could have been criminals, or just not remorseful enough for Aaron Kasden's death on their property. Or the machine, Sam, which operated their house, could have turned on them, tired of being told what to do all the time.

The theme of machines becoming self-aware wouldn't be far off the mark considering the title of the series refers to the ways in which Dorian is almost human.

That the real murderer would be a teenage girl on a vendetta against those she saw responsible for the death of her friend wasn't expected. (Though it wasn't not expected either.) 

The hacker angle gave us a few great things:

  • Minka Kelly in a purple wig.
  • Karl Urban's real New Zealander accent.

Okay, so it gave us two great things. But they're really great things??

Oh wait! The third thing:

  • the idea that what we do online and the connections we make here matter.

One of the best parts of the episode came when Dorian talked the girl out of shooting herself. She'd spent much of her life in physical isolation from others, relying on the Internet for friendship and camaraderie, much the same way that Aaron Kasden did.

Much like many of us probably do as well.

While we (probably) wouldn't revenge-kill for the people we're connected with online, those connections matter to many of us. They make a difference in our lives in the way that Aaron did in Emily's.

It was sad to watch her break down with Dorian as she came to realize that what she'd done didn't change things. Killing people didn't return her friend and make her less lonely.

As an aside, Dorian's skills at negotiating far surpass those of any human cops. Why they don't let him do all of the talking is beyond me.

While the message that cultivating face to face relationships is valuable was certainly apparent throughout the episode, Stahl's presentation to Aaron's mother drove the point home about the importance of seeing the online world as an extension of the real, 3D world. Aaron's life mattered in a way his mother was unaware.

In giving her those pictures, Stahl gave the mother her son back, even if only virtually.

Finally, in keeping with the theme of hackers, someone hacked into Dorian's machine-brain, though it's technically not hacking if it's there from the beginning, right?

Dorian is having flashes of memories of himself as a child but he and Rudy and Kennex know those flashes aren't possible. He didn't have a childhood. Yet there they are. 

Is he really just integrating flashes of memories in a way that makes him even more human? Are these images related to his creator experimenting with the idea of a synthetic soul?

Are they somehow related to the DRNs malfunctioning and being decommissioned? 

Were they planted there as some sort of trigger to weaponize the DRNs when the time is right?

We only have two more episodes left to find out. 

What did you think of Almost Human Season 1 Episode 11? What do you think Dorian's memories mean? Finally, which was your favorite part of tonight's episode?

 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
  • 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (32 Votes)

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

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Love this show! I hope they give it the time it needs to build a following.

Avatar

I'm worried this show isn't really getting the exposure it deserves. It's still not aired here in the UK and I really want to recommend it to more people. :/ I hope it still gets a season 2 and doesn't get cut short. It's the best Sci-fi show we've had in years!

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I was surprised to read that this show hasn't got a fan base on Fox. I really like the main characters and their relationship as well as the big ethical questions about what it means to be human. I hope the network doesn't pull the plug prematurely.

Dreamrose

Here's a thought regarding Dorian's mysterious memories: We know that his creator is experimenting and likely trying to perfect the synthetic soul technology. What if he's trying to create an android that thinks it's human? And what's more human than having a childhood? They'd be the perfect infiltrators, believing their own cover story. I'm not sure how likely it is they'll go this route, but it's worth considering.

Phxcowbot
@ Dreamrose

I thought the same thing - Like Blade Runner did.

Avatar

Very good episode. Liked every bit of it. But I still can't warm up to Stahl. IMHO the actress is quite bad, the character not interesting. So to me she's just some eye candy, especially when you compare her to the other, better written characters.

Marissa

This was a great episode. I think it just proved that you can't trust smart houses no matter how cool they are whether they're being hacked, doing there job, or just malfunction they always do somthing terrible. The house killed Aaron because he was a stranger on there property and he was just cutting through the yard and then his friend hacked the house and had it kill it's owners. The whole hacker storyline was great I always love an episode when it has to do with a hacker because they're always so interesting. Kennex and Stahl undercover was great and they should do it more often. The story of Dorian being hacked was interesting and I can't wait to see where that goes. I can't believe there are only 2 episode left I can't wait for the next one.

Phxcowbot
@ marissa

the real sin was programming the smart house to KILL intruders - there are approved levels of force response for police/law enforcement to use, with each level of subject offensive force matched by a corresponding level of officer response. You don't shoot someone for giving you the finger, or climbing a wall.
see use of force continuum

Dreamrose

I practically laughed my socks off when Kennex busted out that Kiwi accent. I wonder if anyone's ever going to ask how he can do a Kiwi accent in the first place, or whether they just think he's doing a bad Australian accent... In any case, it was fantastic to hear Karl Urban's real accent for once!