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- Episode: Unbound (Season 1 Episode 9)
- Starring: Karl Urban, Michael Ealy, Minka Kelly, Gina Carano
- Written By: J.H. Wyman (creator)
- Directed By: Jeffrey G. Hunt
- Network: FOX
- Studio: Warner Brothers, Bad Robot
ALMOST HUMAN: Unbound Review
FOX, focus on the long term
By Jarrett Kruse
February 04, 2014
Almost Human turns it up a notch with what may turn out to be a long-running plotline should the series make it out of its freshman season. After this episode I sincerely hope that FOX gives the show its due despite lagging ratings. If history is used as a barometer for FOX Sci-Fi shows, Almost Human will probably not be up to snuff but I am holding on hope that it does not get the ax. I hope that for once the FOX suits can focus on the long term success of their best new show and nurture this baby into a bonafide hit.
I should mention that their has been talk this season about an omnipotent “wall” in the city that sounds a lot like the wall from Game of Thrones. While I am not exactly sure what it is, I suspect that it is a part of the metropolis that does not have any advanced tech and is therefore less advanced and primitive as compared with the world of Kennex and Dorian. It sounds like a world that has refused to give into the rapid progress of mankind in the future. Again that's just my guess as I suspect we will continue to examine the world beyond the wall as long as the show continues. In fact, the wall plays a very important part in what I consider to be the series' most important episode yet. It lays the groundwork for what hopefully will be a long tenure on the network. And if it doesn't land on FOX the show deserves a look from the plethora of networks looking for original programming.
The first half of the episode cleverly has the rogue bot known as XRN's infiltrate the police evidence storage after mugging and shooting a random citizen. However this was all a ploy to swap heads and go back to becoming Danica, a bot with a taste for destruction and mayhem in the form of actress Gina Carano from Steven Soderbergh's action flick Haywire. Carano is terrific as Danica despite a lack of dialogue but she makes up for it with her seriously kick-ass nature. Her acting totally takes a back seat to her ability to fight like a hellcat. I liked that they made her into a Terminator-type character on a bloody quest to create more XRN's. In a bit of inspired casting, 80's mainstay and strong comic presence John Laroquette guests as Dr. Nigel Vaughn, the architect of both the XRN's and the DRN's and a pioneer in the field of robotics. However this is not the typical role that you would expect from Laroquette. I very much enjoyed his performance as a disavowed scientist that is desperate to clear his name and return to the upper echelon of the scientific elite. He teeters as a scientist caught in his own web of lies but I won't ruin just what happens to the good doctor. I will say that I very much enjoyed his arc in this episode and hope that this is not the last time that we see his character.
The chase for Danica is exciting and packed with action including some pretty bloody scenes that I was surprised made it past the FOX censors. I can't remember the last time I saw such blatant violence but I vehemently feel that it does indeed lend itself to the story as a necessary evil to highlight the underbelly of future tech and its dangers. The crux of the episode is the path of destruction that Danica lays in order to get her hands on five-hundred synthetic souls; the creation that made the DRN's such a landmark invention. With that many synthetic souls on hand and a ruthless streak, Danica could conceivable make a small army of XRN's determined to violently take out the cities hierarchy of political ineptitude and make way for a shoot first ask questions later society of dystopian androids.
The action is top notch in this episode and I continue to be impressed with the strong narratives that are tying into a much bigger storyline. While I think that it is most definitely an episode that is must see TV for those that have been around since the pilot, I also think that it is a good jumping on point for newbie viewers. Dorian meets his maker in Dr. Vaughn and it affects him deeply as he realizes that his creator also created the killing machine that is Danica. It is a great character study into Dorian's mind and his struggle to assimilate on the force as both a cop and a trustworthy friend and ally. How can he be trusted when his counterpart has turned into a mindless killing machine?
In the end I was very impressed with how the whole situation was handled. It is an issue that Dorian has been struggling with all season and this conundrum makes for a very interesting ongoing plot point. Although a great cop, Dorian struggles with not being human and his desire to not turn and deteriorate into a violence minded drone like Danica. All in all I think that this was my favorite episode of the season as a lot of ground is covered explaining both the past and giving us a peek into the future. Well done.