TV Show Review

TV Review: ALMOST HUMAN: Season 1, Episode 8: You Are Here [FOX]

Tatyana Forrest Almost Human You are Here

FOX’s Almost Human You Are Here TV Show Review. Almost Human: Season 1, Episode 8: ‘You are Here,’  brought things back to the beginning for the series; but more on that later. The case revolved around the shooting, seemingly out-of-the-blue, and by a genius shot, of Anton Cross (Nick Hunnings), a software developer for an advertising firm. When his work turned out to be at the center of a gun runner black marketing campaign, for a guided bullet, witness protection became the order of the day.

The unwitting witness, in this case, was Anton’s co-worker girlfriend, Kira (Annie Monroe). Real-time tracking, individually targeted, personal advertising was the futurist issue of the week. Not just in terms of the evils of commercialism (never mind broadcasting Anton’s death as a sales pitch by Death Merchants, I worked in advertising – it’s all evil), but in how it may one day fit into the Doom Bringer scenario (currently, it involves lazing targets for “death from above” by satelite and GPS weapon systems). The workplace lead pieced together the leg work done by Dorian and Kennex (Michael Ealy, Karl Urban), thus far, and even allowed Dorian to anticipate another hit. Keeping Kira safe, however (which meant literally going underground), was complicated by her feelings over Anton’s apparent selling out to his killers. For the sake of her daughter, she thought it best to scrub her memories of him (most casual shout-out to Eternal Sunshine ever).

I appreciated the effort put into the rationale behind Kira breaking cover; but I find the whole thankless business of trying to save people from themselves truly annoying. If it was her understanding that they had no reason to kill her, but were intent on doing so anyway, then why would them seeing her “make amends” change their minds? Points to Kennex for not just sitting on her, and I suppose redeeming her memory of Anton could be considered thanks enough.

Since nothing says cold-blooded persistence like Slavic underworld/ mercenary types, the episode’s antagonists made for an effective threat (magic bullet, or no); but only because I understood them to be ex-operatives from the former Soviet block. There really wasn’t any attempt to present them as characters; they were this week’s face of black market technology. Even so, their showdown with Dorian and Kennex was somewhat anti-climactic. With the pilot as indication, I would’ve expected some account being taken for androids becoming standard issue law enforcement. Anyone that can bring a rail-gun and a magic bullet to a fight should have some know-how in dealing with military grade synthetics – let alone robocops.

‘You are here’ was actually meant to be the second episode of the series and that should count for something. The shift in tone, from previous episodes, was quite noticeable. There was a palpable novelty to the Kennex/ Dorian interaction that was at odds with the chemistry that had already been established. There was also the matter of Kennex’s anger issues. As addressed in ‘You are Here,’ the matter would have made more sense in the wake of his destroying of Dorian’s immediate predecessor (back in the pilot), as a lead in to the destruction of Det. Paul’s (Michael Irby) MX, this time around (on a side note: I still don’t know how wanton destruction of very expensive police property – at least once in plain view – and the reckless discharging of his weapon in public, doesn’t land Kennex in some serious trouble). Kennex had mellowed quite a bit, over the course of the season’s filler episodes; making the whole anger thing, for this episode, seem more than just a little erratic, taken out of context as it has been.

I can only assume that the showrunners thought that the series’ running plot needed some breathing room; that viewers needed to spend more time getting a feel for the cast and their setting. If that were the case, I would say they were mistaken. Picking up where the pilot left off, regarding Reinhardt (Tim Kelleher) attempting to leverage intel on the Syndicate and Anna, hardly seems like over-saturation. As it stands,  they risk having the trail going cold, for some viewers. In any case, putting the need to establish the story at odds with the need to establish the characters just seems like an unnecessary choice.

All that aside, ‘You are Here’ did a decent job of conveying just how paranoid-inducingly invasive surveillance, whether for matters of security or marketing, will become (if not already). Personally, I think the show routinely sells itself short by introducing technology, methods, and measures that should be well established by its setting. Given our current technological landscape, guided bullets should be old news, and direct personal marketing subject to opt-out regulation, by the time of this episode. Then again, the electric car was developed back in the 1960s, I am still waiting for my personal air-mobility device, and current Libertarian views, on personal data collection by the NSA, does not extend to private corporations.

The episode also did a better job of moving some of the interpersonal elements along than some of the fillers (sort of making the prioritizing of filler episodes moot). Making pen and paper communication something novel and sentimental was a nice touch (I was half-expecting origami), and Dorian’s charm offensive (offensive to Kennex, just yet) was back in step with his introduction. Kennex was grumpy with a purpose; his warming up to Dorian (and people, in general), over the course of the series, placed in better context (along with his office feud with Det. Paul).

More importantly, the shadow of the Syndicate gave me a reason to keep watching – beyond Urban and Ealy’s entertaining Road Show schtick, anyway. Keep the mythology rolling, showrunners.

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About the author

Sam Joseph

Sam is an Avid consumer/observer of Geek culture, and collector of Fanboy media from earliest memory. Armchair sociologist and futurist. Honest critic with satirical if not absurdist­­ wit with some experience in comics/ animation production.

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