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- Episode: Simon Says (Season 1, Episode 7)
- Starring: Karl Urban, Michael Ealy, Minka Kelly
- Written By: J.H. Wyman (creator), Alison Schapker
- Directed By: Jeannot Szwarc
- Network: FOX
- Studio: Warner Brothers
ALMOST HUMAN: Simon Says Review
My favorite new FOX show
By Jarrett Kruse
January 07, 2014
Well, its official in my mind—Almost Human is my favorite new FOX show of the 2013-2014 season. Keeping up with the momentum it has built in the first six episodes, Almost Human capitalizes on good word of mouth that powers the show into 2014 with its best episode yet. In a tip of the cap to the reality TV generation, Almost Human takes a plot line we have seen before and turns it into a taut hour long thrill ride. While I was skeptical at first to see if they could pull this off, my worries were unfounded. Not only do we get another great episode of the freshman action-drama, we go deeper into the lives of what has become one of the best tandem's in prime time.
While I am not the biggest horror fan, I greatly enjoyed the SAW film series and its cleverness in execution. Almost Human takes our voyeuristic obsession and pushes it to the extreme in the very near future. While “countdown” episodes or movies usually end the same way with the bomb or device not going off or ending with two seconds on it, “Simon Says” does a great job of giving a fresh spin on the concept. And I found it very interesting to see Simon broadcasting these countdowns on an un-patroled part of the web called “DarkNet.” The more viewers he has for each countdown are directly tied into his own self worth. It is a dramatic statement for a world that finds us Googling our own names.
The dejected misfit Simon Lynch (actor David Dastmalchian from The Dark Knight) has officially lost it when he decides to take revenge on all of those that have wronged him. His first victim is a loan officer from a bank that turned him down for a loan. The way Lynch captures his prey is interesting in that he uses the guise of a homeless window washer. After spraying some kind of aerosol-type spray that knocks his victims out, the man wakes up to a big electronic collar with a timer counting down. The loan officer then has to follow each of Lynch's instructions under penalty of death. Kennex and Dorian are able to get to Ramon after he robs his place of business but it is too late and there is no way that the DRN can disarm the bomb in time. When he realizes that Ramon is not going to make it, Dorian calls for Kennex to use “The Shield” which is another cool futuristic piece of tech that the show fits in to the story. The Shield is basically an electronic bubble that envelops the victim so that when he blows up (which he does), the mess will be contained. It is pretty graphic when he is blown to bits but it lends to the story very well and how detached Simon Lynch has become after years of crushing defeats.
Upon their investigation of Ramon's car, Kennex and Dorian find micro-cameras all over the vehicle. They find the connection between Lynch and his next victim. It turns out that the floral delivery girl that now has a collar on was an online date of Simon's. Unfortunately for him she thought he was super creepy and she became painfully aware of the perils of online dating! The countdown is super tense and I could not believe that I was falling for it even though consciously I know nothing is going to happen to our lead actors! To me that is a sign of a good show—when a plot line like this that we have seen so many times before still works. However it is when Kennex is grabbed by Lynch only to awaken chained to a park bench with an electronic countdown. Turns out that Lynch was kicked out of the Police Academy as a bomb squad reject.
Dastmalchian has mastered the way to play a psychopath and he comes off even more disturbed than he was in The Dark Knight. I genuinely enjoyed the way this episode plays out and thought that it was the best episode of the season. As much as I did not think that it was going to go smoothly the show continues to surprise me. Michael Ealy as Dorian steals pretty much every scene he is in and is the perfect other half of the acerbic and gruff Kennex. Ealy has a terrific comic side that is a welcome addition to the buddy cop drama. Dorian is as goofy as ever in this installment because he has been unable to get a good charge (the equivalent of humans getting a good night's sleep) when competing with the newer MX models. He plays the ham well and I like that they are not taking themselves too seriously on the show. If you haven't jumped on the Almost Human bandwagon, now is the time as we glide into spring. Even though it centers around a synthetic, the show manages to reveal a great deal of emotion and feeling. Throwing the SAW movies in a blender along with elements of action movies like The Last Boy Scout, “Simon Says” is the best yet from the dysfunctional Dynamic Duo.