Almost Human Review: Hackers

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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?

Disrupt Review

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

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