TV Recap: “Almost Human” S01 E03 “Are You Receiving?”

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almost human are you receiving

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  • Air Date: 11/25/2013
  • Written By: Justin Doble
  • Directed By: Larry Teng
  • Starring: Karl Urban, Michael Ealy, Minka Kelly, Mackenzie Crook, Lili Taylor, Michael Irby
  • Guest Stars: Damon Herriman

TV Recap: “Almost Human” S01 E03 “Are You Receiving?”

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This week on ALMOST HUMAN, John Kennex and Dorian struggle with… stairs. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

What’s the solution to a squeaky synthetic leg? John Kennex discovers olive oil isn’t just great on bread and your skin; olive oil also can grease up a squeaky wheel, as he applies the oil to his prosthetic leg attachment. I hope he brings a tin can along on missions, so everyone gets the Tin Man allegory, and in case he freezes up on a case.

In a typical swanky office building you would find in any city, the security guard/doorman, James, flirts casually with a woman who describes herself as kinda funny. It’s semi-adorable, but you know this tiny moment of happiness will be ruined in moments, and lo and behold, Dewey Crowe (actor Damon Herriman of JUSTIFIED) arrives with a group of criminals. He asks James his name, and then he puts a bullet in his chest. Then, his team sets up some sort of bomb and we cut to our bickering partners fighting crime.

Karl Urban and Michael Ealy’s back and forth is what makes the show work at this point, because there’s not a helluva lot intriguing about this typical procedural hostage story. Kennex has Dorian heat up his coffee, Dorian puts his finger in it and states that its the right temperature, to which Kennex bristles, and Dorian suggests putting his finger somewhere else. Um, what?! Yeah, they’re getting along swimmingly.

When the two of them arrive, it’s clear Lucas Vincent (the aforementioned leader) and his gun toting brood are still in the building. Captain Maldonado (Lili Taylor, clinging for something to do) orders hostage protocol, and for Kennex and Dorian to clear the building. But, because Kennex is a keen rule breaker, the two of them instead make their slow, plodding way up to the 25th floor, where Vincent has taken the remaining workers hostage. Kennex even feigns his phone call with the Captain is breaking up, which apparently is still hilarious in 2048.

You’d be forgiven for thinking you walked in on DIE HARD in the future (sorta). Or, hey, DREDD.

Maldonado shuts down all communications in and out of the building, as per police procedure, but it’s obvious that’s exactly what Vincent and company are counting on. It turns out the entire hostage situation is just a diversion to a heist of Palladium across the street (thanks to communications being locked down, alarms are also shut off). The upside is that all of the emergency calls are relayed to Dorian, who we learn can talk in any voice or language he so chooses, whether that’s Portuguese or Kennex-ian. It seems like an odd time to joke, but it’s still funny, until Paige, a terrified woman who has managed to elude captors on the 25th floor, phones in. From there, Kennex tries to comfort Paige, while simultaneously pumping her for information.

Maldonado starts a dialogue with Vincent by sending a bot up to the floor and shooting out a comm device. Couldn’t the robot just have shot out gas or something to knock them all out? Sure, the hostages will be knocked out, but that beats being dead. But no, Kennex and Dorian have embarked on a quest unrivaled by any, as their sojourn to the 25th floor amounts to their own Mount Doom. All sorts of action happens… and we cut back, and they’re merely a floor or two higher up.

In the same time it takes Kennex and Dorian to go up three flights of stairs, tech geek Rudy (PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN’s Mackenzie Crook, rocking it) makes a replica of a fission igniter, some sort of megaton activator that Vincent asks Maldonado for.

It takes them nearly 43 minutes (the time Vincent gives until he throws the next hostage from the top floor to the unforgiving concrete) to get to the top, but it feels like an eternity. There are some sweet bits along the way, like when John fixes Dorian’s bullet wound and malfunction with a cotton swap and chewing gum. He had to chew someone else’s gum to do it, showcasing far more determination in a crisis than many would exhibit. There’s some intriguing futuristic tech in this episode, including the “facemaker,” a cool device Vincent and his crew are using to disguise their identities, as they can cloak their true faces with those they meet (thus, asking for the names of their victims). The other is a point-to-point communicator, essentially a laser pointer that can send text messages.

It already seems like the show is an old hat, and has established a short hand with viewers thanks to the enigmatic Kennex and hilarious Dorian. It’s essentially standard procedural fare so far, tinged with a few random “sci-fi” tech, when everything else suspiciously looks like 2013. I’m eagerly waiting for when J.H. Wyman and J.J. Abrams unleash the crazy.

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