Mania Grade: A
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- Episode: Beholder (Season 1, Episode 12)
- Starring: Karl Urban, Michael Ealy, Minka Kelly
- Written By: J.H. Wyman (created by), Chris Downey, Joe Henderson
- Directed By: Fred Toye
- Network: FOX
- Studio: Warner Bros., Bad Robot, Frequency Films
ALMOST HUMAN: Beholder Review
1 episode to go
By Jarrett Kruse
February 27, 2014
I have and continue to be a huge supporter of this show and am desperate to see it NOT go by the way of the FIREFLY. This weeks episode continues to keep the momentum moving with another stellar entry called “Beholder.” And in our beauty-centric, must-have abs world and cleanse movements everywhere, Almost Human manages to take all of that nonsense and make a social statement with a strong script by Chris Downey & Joe Henderson, Kennex and Dorian officially have the old 80's buddy cop bit down. Only this has a Sci-Fi twist with just the right dollop of comedy makes the show just that much more fun to watch. Now we just have to hope that FOX does not go all synthetic and only look at the numbers. Could the numbers be better? Sure. But this tasting sample is far too low and Almost Human-ites like myself demand more! Sci-Fi cliches aside, I think that some of the old production design is making the show that more likable. One minute you feel like you are watching Blade Runner, the next you're watching RoboCop (The Original and from what I hear—the only). So please FOX, be human and save this show!
Before we dive into this weeks adventures, I wanted to touch upon some of the MANIA feedback and episode order. I do not know anything about TV scheduling so I am not going to provide proof beyond a guess that they went up against Monday Night Football in the beginning of their run and fared better than they expected. From what I am reading around the Interwebs and the fate of Almost Human is that next week is the season 1 finale. After that it is in the hands of the TV Gods or in this case I guess that would mean Rupert Murdoch. It is a tough call but if it is on the fence, this is a show worth fighting for. Whether is be on FOX or on another network, I think that Almost Human can find a good home with the right kind of support and creative minded atmosphere that knows its not going to be a Top 10 show week in and week out, it can still build its brand and fan-base without killing creativity or payroll.
When Chrome bond trader Brian Barrow ends up dead in his high-end apartment with a micrometer prick to his neck, Kennex and Dorian catch the case but its Stahl that takes the lead. Remember, Chrome's are not engineered to die young. Well since they sorely messed up the episode guide for this awesome new shows freshman bow, we are only now realizing the importance of Chromes in future life on the series. They are now the “one percent” bought and paid for before they even come out of the womb. In fact, hottie detective Stahl is a Chrome and a cop at that—a very rare profession for someone that is literally born with everything. Chromes do not have to worry about things like money or looks or disease. The idea behind the Chromes is so basic but something that we have never really tackled before in a dystopian future setting. In the past we have only seen the good, not the bad that the greener grass has had on us.
During some new trials using Nanobyte technology to fix facial deformities from the outside from within, some of the experiments went awry causing arrhythmia causing some volunteers' hearts to stop. Amongst one of the ones that lost his one shot at physical perfection was everyday DMV worker Eric. So traumatized by the accident, Eric in Darkman-like fashion roams the streets stealing Chrome DNA and blackmailing one of the rejected doctors that worked on the project ruining their career. He uses the doctor to put his face back together using pieces of people whose appearance that he admires. He is virtually trying to create his face as his very own avatar through these men and women's physical features. I knew the future would be shallow! In essence, Eric has become a serial killer wiping out Chrome's for their DNA and then having the doctor “install” the piece of “tech.” While the narrative lays out in a very ironic fashion, it did make the small and simple point that looks aren't everything no matter what they say.
Eric's dysmorphic disorder has driven him insane to try and achieve his perfect face as promised. It is creepy and disturbed but he is also a very sympathetic character. He was just this regular 9 to 5 worker that wanted to help himself and make a few extra bucks while contributing to the study one minute and then boom—Elephant Man. Tough break but a definite loud voice as to what drives not just this country's youth but our collective desire to deter the aging process. I imagine that things would be even worth if our country already had Chromes and that was the gold standard to be reached. For ourselves and our children the ultimate gift of an extra few decades on your life would be invaluable on every market that exists. Imagine what people would do to get that piece of tech in their hands. After next week that's all she wrote for Almost Human unless FOX decides to bestow it “Chrome Status.” Let's hope that they make the right choice this time and not let the best original program they have had in years get away.