Mania Grade: A-
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- Episode: Arrhythmia (Season 1, Episode 6)
- Starring: Karl Urban, Michael Ealy, Minka Kelly
- Written By: J.H. Wyman (creator), Alison Schapker
- Directed By: Jeff T. Thomas
- Network: FOX
- Studio: Warner Brothers
ALMOST HUMAN: Arrhythmia Review
The edge of insanity
By Jarrett Kruse
December 17, 2013
In a country where you are royally screwed if you do not have health care, this weeks episode of Almost Human is more prescient than ever. When insurance coverage in the 21st century seems to be on the edge of insanity, the bad news is that the future doesn't seem to bode any better. This week Dorian & Kennex are thrown into a very interesting case that pushes the boundaries from the opening scene and does not let up until the credits roll. The show continues to impress me with its depth and the exploration of the interpersonal relationship between the grizzled veteran cop Kennex and the super positive synthetic Dorian. They are quickly becoming the perfect match on a show that deserves to get the green light for renewal for next season.
When a man enters the emergency room with a gun demanding a new heart, the narrative takes off with a big wallop. Before the surgeons can help the panicked and drenched in sweat patient expires when his heart is literally turned off. Kennex and Dorian catch the case and immediately suspect that something is amiss when the video of the dying man has him muttering “they killed me.” Upon sending the heart back to Rudy to inspect it, he finds that the organ has been modified with a timer like a bomb and was set to explode at a specific time. Not much is turned up at the hospital but Dorian sees another DRN that has been relegated to be a handyman and decides to take android on a police ride along much to the chagrin of Kennex. A lead begins the investigation to the ominous Vastrel corporation that was the manufacturer of the hearts but they had nothing to do with the aftermarket adjustments that were made. Clearly someone is dealing these hearts on the black market but who?
The guys investigate a crematorium where the shady Brit worker confesses to selling at least a hundred refurbished hearts over the years. He figures that you cannot cremate the bodies with the artificial organs inside so why not make a buck for himself. The problem is that he is just the start of a very efficient organization where no one knows each other leaving little room for error and no one person knows too much. He explains the process to the cops and they decide to sit on the location to catch the delivery man in the act. As soon as the crematorium worker hands over the heart in the cooler to the bagman, the police spring into action and nab the goon. However once back at the station he is of little help and is clearly just a cog in a much bigger operation. The cooler was tagged with a tracker and thermal imagery leads them to a warehouse where a desperate woman is about to undergo heart surgery to save her life. But the cops break it all up before the woman's transplant leaving her despondent and angry before learning that whoever is in charge of the hearts would have turned hers off eventually.
The mysterious female that is the head of the operation orders the “cremator” to get rid of all of the evidence including the timers that reset all of the hearts. Out of all the matches that the PD are able to procure that were fitted with Vastrel hearts, they are not able to find any of the recipients bodies. So a crematorium is indispensable to the operation and is a great way to get rid of any and all evidence of those that couldn't “pay their premiums” so to speak. The organization have made a complicated network of timers on all of their transplant patients and then extort payments from them until they can't pay wherein they let the timers run out thus expiring the patients. Its a pretty lucrative racket but the cops are closing in on the case. The one lead they get is from a surgeon that works for the operation who thinks that he is genuinely helping save lives. “Karen” is the head's name and without her they have nothing to go on.
It is a terrific game of cat and mouse and I really did not want the episode to end because I was so into it. I like that they are taking real world problems and putting a futuristic twist on them because it comes off as very believable. If you love the banter between Kennex and Dorian, then you will really love the Detective trying to deal with two DRN's. It is damn funny to watch Dorian interact with his counterpart and their conversations really humanize him as a character. He genuinely wants to do good on the force and needed to have this interaction with one of his own to realize his importance to being Kennex' partner. No spoilers on just who the big bad head of the organization of black market hearts is but it definitely threw me for a loop and I did not guess correctly...but I was close! A definite must-see this week of a show that is turning into a real winner.