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?

Beholder Review

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.

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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.