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- Episode: PERCEPTION (Season 1 Episode 9 )
- Starring: Karl Urban, Michael Ealy, Minka Kelly, Mackenzie Crook, Michael Irby
- Written By: J.H. Wyman (creator), Sarah Goldfinger
- Directed By: Mimi Leder
- Network: FOX
- Studio: Warner Borthers
ALMOST HUMAN: PERCEPTION Review
Continues its stellar run
By Jarrett Kruse
February 12, 2014
ALMOST HUMAN: PERCEPTION Review
Almost Human continues its stellar run of episodes in its freshman season with Monday night's installment entitled “Perception.” Its super cool mix of sci-fi and dramedy has made Almost Human must-see TV on FOX Monday nights. After last week's four star episode, Almost Human continues its hot streak with an outstanding whodunnit for the future. It is not just the characters that are working but the tech of 2048 integrates perfectly into the narrative. After the mixing up of episodes in its first ten installments, it seems that things are finally correctly back on track without any jumping around to stuff that we had no idea about. The show is now cemented in a truly excellent groove that will hopefully bring more of the coveted 18-49 year old viewers and securing a second season.
The episode opens with Kennex still suffering a form of post-traumatic stress disorder while trying to sleep. He has been fighting with his memory of the ambush that led to him losing his leg and his pictures of his love Anna haunt him. Plus she was clearly in on said ambush that killed all of those cops and robbing Kennex of an important appendage. Later in the episode we see that he has become dependent on a drug called “Membliss” that helps him remember details of the incident. It opens doors and memories of just exactly what happened that fateful day and just who Anna really was. He is also seeing a “recollectionist” on the sly that is helping him piece together exactly just what happened that fateful day. Both Dorian and Captain Maldonado know Kennex well enough to know that something is off and that the grizzled detective is in need of some professional help.
But back to the core and main storyline of this weeks episode which was pretty awesome in my opinion. Two teenage girls are dead from the uber-wealthy Mendel Academy and they both overdosed on a designer drug called Vero. Both of the victims were genetically engineered kids called “Chromes” which basically means that they excel at everything they do. The majority of genetic defects in Chromes get corrected in the womb including flaws like drug addiction so it is especially strange that it appears that these girls overdosed on drugs. As it turns out, hottie Detective Stahl (Minka Kelly) is a Chrome and is assigned to interview the kids at school because she had a similar upbringing. They make it clear that you have to have major bucks to have a Chrome kid rather than a natural child. The guys find that the deceased girl from seven months earlier was not a Chrome and was found drowned despite being a strong swimmer. Hmmm.
The episode is excellently paced with excellent direction by big time director Mimi Leder (Deep Impact, The Peacemaker). I think that having a feature director at the helm of this episode speaks volumes about the quality of the program. The smarmy rich snobby kids are super secretive and really obnoxious with a sense of entitlement that most definitely reflects the kids of today. The leads follow an interesting path and it comes down to the rich versus the poor as it always seems to. Still I did not call just who in fact was the killer in the case. The mystery is weaved very well and it makes for excellent TV. Through twists and turns the narrative is structured perfectly and I particularly liked how they integrated Kennnex' breakdown into the case. It gets so bad that during a “flash” while driving, Kennex and Dorian get into a minor car wreck. It leaves Dorian with a minor ear injury that forces him to wear a bandage and Kennex profusely apologizing. The guys have mastered their dry humor in just ten short episodes and Dorian pouting about his ear is pretty damn funny.
By episodes end, Kennex has a meeting with an Internal Affairs officer that questions his misremembering of the incident surrounding his injury. Like most IA guys are played on TV, he gets under Kennex' skin making him doubt himself and his memories. Upon arriving home, a friend at the department calls to tell Kennex that there has been a bug in place and that someone has been listening to him in his apartment. Whoa! As I mentioned earlier, the tech in the episode is very clever and very relevant. My favorite had to be the futuristic Post-It notes that Kennex puts all around his apartment to insure remembering things fro his accident. There is also a pill box that can hold things but only opens with your programmed DNA. The production design of the show is its own character and it works excellently with its muted blacks and constant gray sky. It is easy to think that this is what 2048 will look like and that is no mean feat to tackle. Overall it was another outstanding chapter in the Almost Human universe and it is definitely worth repeat viewing. The interwebs seem to be abuzz that the program is improving in its ratings in the time slot so I am holding on hope of the announcement of a sophomore season. We'll see...