FOX‘s Almost Human Arrhythmia TV Show Review. Almost Human: Season 1, Episode 6: “Arrhythmia” took on matters of privatized healthcare, the future of black market organs, and ethics versus legality. Its primary focus, however, was in defining one’s sense of purpose, and projecting that sense unto others with whom we identify.
The dying words of a seemingly deranged heart attack victim set Kennex (Karl Urban) and Dorian (Michael Ealy) on a case involving the reselling of artificial hearts. When it was determined that a timed kill-switch function was added to the hearts, before black market reissue, the nature of the case changed. It was now a blackmail shakedown racket, with possible corruption ties to a major medical technology company.
Before the duo set off, however, Dorian encountered something unexpected at the initial crime scene: another DRN model (also Michael Ealy). Dismay, over a DRN serving as maintenance (they were only intended to serve as law enforcement), overtook his reaction to just seeing another of his kind online, and Dorian insisted on bringing model 494 along. Much to Kennex’s consternation, the duo was now a trio – squared in Dorian’s favor.
Even though the heart recipients were living on rented time, it was a price (and risk) they were willing to take to stave off death – if only for the sake of their loved ones. The issue was further complicated by the perpetrators’ conviction that it was a victimless crime, and the complete compartmentalization of their operations.
The trail’s most productive leads took them first to the biomech heart manufacturer, Vastral Industries, and its administrator, Pauline Rivera (Erica Carroll), then to the company’s contracted cremator(?), Henry Mills (Jonathan Holmes). Follow up would lead to an odd mixing of complicit and implicit involvement, from both the supply and demand sides of the operation.
While the plot, red herrings and all, seemed fairly straight forward (if not obvious) to me, I can understand how the “victimless crime” aspect could throw the detectives off their game. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions, after all. Giving a free pass to the one person ideally set to dispose of “evidence,” however, was a bit much – particularly when the break through question should have been asked from the onset of the official case. The initial victim could not have been alone.
Kennex had a fair amount to do, but this was a Dorian episode – a double dose, in fact. Beyond the hope and fear generated by both subjects and suspects of the case, most of the episode’s pathos came from Dorian’s interaction with 494, and the effect this had on Kennex ( – now in stereo!). Intent on restoring 494 to his former glory, Dorian reactivated his memories of police service. Results were mixed.
Despite some uplifting moments, such as learning about Dorian’s upgrades and one particular restored memory, from his time as a cop, 494 was rendered somewhat unserviceable. He was still unfit for police service, but now he was also too re-invested in his cop past to return to maintenance. With a new understanding for ignorance as bliss, Dorian managed a way to reconcile both of 494’s lives, before resetting him back to his new one.
The prospective “savior to all android kind” angle still seems evident, but “Arrhythmia” may have added a new perspective to Dorian’s thus far unwitting, would-be crusade. His interaction with 494 may have taught him the potential follies of his own good intentions. In some respects, the efforts to rehabilitate 494 left him in worse shape than when Dorian found him. By literally facing himself (to a degree), Dorian not only had to re-evaluate his zeal, in serving man and machine alike, but also confront the limitations of his emotional components.
It would also seem that Almost Human has taken some ownership over its derivative elements. If that is in fact the case, then its more familiar moments can be considered homages, rather than rip-offs. More subtle than the episode’s Repo Men connection, Henry’s musing to Dorian, over having all the time in the World, could have been an ironic nod to Blade Runner – specifically, replicant Roy Batty’s sentiments over not having enough time. Of course, I may be giving the show’s creators too much credit; but, to the creative team, if anybody asks: I say run with it.
“Arrhythmia” may not have been a particularly strong way for Almost Human to go into a mid-season break; but in the event there will be something of a Dorian Renaissance, it could prove to be a key point to just such an arc, if not the series as a whole.