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REVIEW: Almost Human 1×02 “Skin”

Almost Human - Episode 2
Written by Scott Swartz

Oh yeah did we forget to mention the “sex-bots” that everyone is totally cool with and that prostitution is legal. It’s like Vegas only with robots and awkward conversations about what it means to have a soul. Yes, Almost Human is not afraid to touch the boundaries that are often a little tableau for sci-fi early on in a series by confronting one of the most out there tropes. Yes the idea of having sex with robots is not exactly unheard of sci-fi, but Almost Human took an interesting route in exploring the human condition known as love. “Skin” managed to build upon an already strong base and expand the universe in some interesting ways. By choosing to explore the interpersonal relationships of the characters right off the bat we are able to better grasp who these characters are and how their lives work. Decisions and moral systems are often left ambiguously gray in sci-fi, but with a cop show everything has to be some element of black or white. Almost Human is clearly building up this path so lets dive in and explore.

I have to ask, where do they get all these wonderful toys? Within the opening few minutes we are introduced to some really unique ideas and toys for the bad guys to have. Absorption rounds, DNA bombs, flash masks, I have never seen concepts like that before and they are really interesting progressions of how a criminal would attempt to remain anonymous. It seems like the only part of the future who is not getting a ton of fun unique abilities is Dorian, who I guess is just Cyborg on steroids and sans sonic cannon. It seems rather odd that the good guys  are the only ones with out truly fantastical tech, also that the bad guys would drive a sedan. That car is suspicious now I can only imagine how suspicious it would be in the future. The big stars of the episode were the sexbots and I have to say I was really underwhelmed by them as a plot device. They did not seem as unique as Dorian or even the Amex’s, and believe me there was room for the character to play around with the idea of the sexbots for companionship rather than sexual gratification. Sometimes you have to be even more daring when one of your leads is an empathic android.

On the relationship side I feel like John and Dorian are progressing very nicely and that they are developing a natural rapport. Their side conversations and back and forths do really expand on the over development of the characters. Especially during scenes like the interrogation where we were visibly shown Dorian’s reaction to certain words. The idea that Dorian and the other androids were “born” rather then created opens up a new world of possibilities. If Dorian is born does than mean he believes himself to have a mother and father, what would be their connection to their “son”, how does Dorian view the world that views him as a second class citizen? These are all avenues that can alter the way in which the story is told to us and even when we get those moments of conflict, Dorian does appear to enjoy being an android, at least when it means showing off to little kids. On the reverse we saw that John is really not that much of people person, which was not all that surprising but still disappointing. It feels like John, our main character, is just meant to be filler for the more interesting Dorian, even though he has just as much potential to be an excellent character.

As far as an overarching narrative it was satisfying to see John see his former partner’s kid and talk to him. It is slightly hard to believe that in the two plus years since his coma that he never even made the vaguest attempt at contacting them. John did have slightly stronger material especially in the scene with Victor which I felt was one of the standouts along with all of the actual comedic material that went down. I hope to see the comedy continue at a consistent clip because it seems that the writers have a clear idea of what is fun and just how far they will be able to push that line.

Overall a solid second episode

 

Final Grade B

 

+Really fun and interesting tech

+Solid conversations between the mains

+Dorian’s understanding of human beings

 

-Sexbots kind of underwhelming

-Bad guys real cut and paste

 

Extra Thoughts

+The entire “stop scanning my balls” conversation had me rolling. I am apparently a seventh grader.

+John cool trick is to stab his prosthetic knee. I would say that is mean to the kids but I am sure someone with a prosthetic has done that before.

+I want that tiny robotic giraffe, that was a cool bit.

About the author

Scott Swartz