Fox’s Almost Human Perception TV Show Review. Almost Human, season 1, episode 10, ‘Perception’ was a procedural episode, revolving around the future of substance abuse. The abusers, in this case, were genetically modified wunderkinder of the future, dubbed “Chromes.” The abused substance, a performance enhancing drug, tailor made for each Chrome. When a pair of Chrome school girls (both under the influence, but at separate locations) simultaneously fell dead, the subculture came under investigation.
At least, that was the set up. The actual plot was less about designer drugs and designer people, than it was about the pressures of being the token mortal at Mount Olympus. The investigation led to a third, previous fatality, only this girl was no Chrome. Her death, however, would become the key to the whole case. Det. Valerie Stahl (Minka Kelly), as the token Chrome at the precinct (almost mentioned in passing), was put on point for the investigation; but at the academy all three girls were enrolled at, she deferred to a Chrome wall of silence.
Further distraction came from (and to) Det. Kennex (Karl Urban). His sessions with the Recollectionist (Hiro Kanagawa) had begun to pay off, in the form of memory flashes, and it was starting to affect his work. Dorian (Michael Ealy), of course, was on top of this, but it appears that Capt. Maldonado (Lili Taylor) had been keeping a close eye on Kennex. She was upfront about it; the real problem being that Internal Affairs now had a reason to re-litigate Kennex’s relationship with Syndicate operative Anna (Mekia Cox). Kennex’s obsession, with Anna’s betrayal, ran parallel to the obsessive drives that framed the theme of the episode. It also overshadowed them. Ultimately, the extremities borne of one such obsession forced Kennex to re-evaluate his.
‘Perception’ felt like a lost opportunity. It was nice to see some progression to Kennex’s pursuit of Anna, and his lost memories; but it seems like a choice was made, between building on one of the leads, and developing a supporting character, and the supporting character lost out. The impression I had, going into this episode, was that Stahl’s Chrome background would be something of an issue – if not an opening for some spotlight time. Given that the character has been maligned, online, as vapid eye-candy, I was hoping that the episode title would somehow extend to her. Unfortunately, she pretty much recoiled, at being called out as a Chrome cop; so however exceptional that fact might make her, it will have to wait. Assuming there are any actual plans to expand her character beyond current perceptions.
It was also a genuine shame that neither the Chromes nor their designer drug were examined further. As if the idea of an academy full of kids, genetically modified to outperform all natural born competition, wasn’t intriguing enough, the notion of such kids further enhancing themselves just whets the appetite. Genius juice aside, what little glimpse we did get, into a possible Chrome-magnon age of the future, spoke much more of Stahl than the series has. Here’s to hoping that her special talents can be articulated, at some point.