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- Episode: Are You Receiving? (Season 1, Episode 3)
- Starring: Karl Urban, Michael Ealy, Minka Kelly
- Written By: J.H. Wyman (creator), Justin Doble
- Directed By: Larry Teng
- Network: FOX
- Studio: Warner Brothers
ALMOST HUMAN: Are You Receiving? Review
By Jarrett Kruse
November 26, 2013
ALMOST HUMAN: Are You Receiving?
© Warner Bros.
This show is so damn cool that other networks with freshman shows only wish they had a breakout hit like this on their hands. I can already see the line for the Almost Human panel at SDCC next summer. And this time the show does something that I did not think could be done. In just the third episode of the production takes a big risk putting Kennex and Dorian in a real life Die Hard scenario. I honestly never thought that in the twenty-five years since the original Die Hard, their would never be a faithful homage to it especially on a TV show! But man does Almost Human hit it on all cylinders with some nice tips of the hat to the John McTiernan action classic. It is one thing to have Die Hard on a plane (Passenger 57) or Die Hard on a bus (Speed) but to make the best homage in years in just a 40-plus minute TV show? Unthinkable. Until Almost Human came along that is.
The terrorists that have taken over the building on the 25th floor are of the Holy Reclamation Army and are well-funded and well-prepared for any contingencies. Along with twenty-five or so hostages the HRA have a stronghold but just exactly are they after? Certainly something more high-tech than the negotiable barer bonds that Hans Gruber went after back in '88. What is so great about the show that is it has had such a quick impact on me as a viewer that I am actually psyched when Kennex & Dorian get a call on a case. As opposed to say Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D where I am waiting with boredom for something to actually happen every week and ending consistently disappointed.
Against Captain Maldonado's orders, Kennex & Dorian ascend the building to the 25th floor while everyone else evacuates. You can already say “classic Kennex” because he is that likable a character and he really is a hybrid of Bones & Dredd. It actually reminded me a lot of Dredd's rise to the top of the Peach Tree's complex in last year's movie of the same name. When law enforcement pulses the buildings communications, all of the outgoing calls for help are routed through Dorian and Kennex is able to locate a hostage hiding in a utility closet named Paige. Just as they are getting some intel from her, the cadre of baddies shoot a hostage and toss him out the 25th floor with the sign “No Cops Stay Out.” Naturally I was reminded of Die Hard yet again when he sends the terrorist downstairs in the elevator with the now famous sign that says, “Now I have a machine gun too. Ho-Ho-Ho.”
When Maldonado realizes that she has to step in to avoid any further casualties, the leader of the gang wants her to call off the dogs, the snipers and also requests an Army-grade fission ignitor trigger mechanism—something that can cause an explosion at the megaton level. What is remarkable about this sequence as Dorian & Kennex go up flight by flight is John's compassion for Paige as he stays on the line with her. Kennex somehow manages to open up to her and tell a story from his childhood to calm her. Fiction or not, it helps the frantic girl.
By the time the guys get to the 15th there is a terrific shootout when Dorian takes a ricochet to the head and without aid will be unable to walk within five minutes. As for the perp that was taken down he was wearing an awesome piece of tech called a “facemaker” and a strange red dot that says “start” on his person. What the hell is really going on here? Kennex has to step up and fix Dorian with just a Q-Tip and a nail clipper MacGyver-style and while fighting like an old married couple he eventually fixes the synthetic with a piece of gum. To continue to soothe Paige, Kennex goes as far as sharing his embarrassing middle name with the worker that bites him in the ass later on.
As far as what the heist is really all about, I do not want to ruin it but man what a terrific action packed ending. Plus we get a chance to see what Dorian can do in his battle mode. It is nice to see a show really taking chances in this genre which a lot of folks are calling “cyberpunk.” Whatever it is, it is seriously kicking ass. I kinda wish they had done a NETFLIX “binge season” where all of the episodes are readily available. Then again its nice to have something on the new schedule that I can look forward to every week. The supporting cast is solid including the vet Lili Taylor but particularly the police techie Rudy Lom (Mackenzie Crook) does a terrific job. As far as Minka Kelly goes she still has not been given much to do except look drop dead gorgeous. The production design is again to be commended for the look and feel of the not too distant future. What Kennex' middle name is, you'll have to wait and watch until the hysterical final scene when I was seriously LOL'ing and I never use that term because I loathe it. Almost Human is officially on my weekly must-see TV list. Well done guys; keep it coming.