ALMOST HUMAN: Unbound Review - Mania.com



Almost Human Review

Mania Grade: A

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Info:

  • 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
  • Series:

ALMOST HUMAN: Unbound Review

FOX, focus on the long term

By Jarrett Kruse     February 04, 2014
Source: Mania.com


Gina Carano on Almost Human
© FOX
**POSSIBLE SPOILERS!**

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. 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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TheSilentKiller 2/4/2014 6:50:57 PM
 The fights were MUCH better in this ep. Shows what having a real fighter in the show will do.

That said this felt like it was screened out of sequence, because the last lines of Kennex/Dorian were a definite regression in their relationship.

Fox sux.

 

 

 

makabriel 2/4/2014 7:19:39 PM

 Yeah, from what I understand they are showing the series out of sequence for some weird reason...

 

 

Wiseguy 2/5/2014 3:43:22 AM

One of these days, one of these days....POW I'll sit down and watch this show. It's just sitting on my TiVo but haven't taken the time yet

Iridan 2/5/2014 4:27:47 AM

Good episode, but I'd give it a B. The comedy in opening scene seemed pretty forced, and this was the first episode that I didn't laugh once. But that's not a bad thing. I'm glad they played it straight, but that opening scene just seemed like it was jammed into the episode to have some comedy.

As far as the twist at the end, I don't think it was much of twist. It seemed pretty obvious to me from the start. But I like that we are finally getting some story arc to the show.

I certainly hope they don't cancel it.

midwest216 2/5/2014 7:49:36 AM

Ive been a fan since the pilot epsiode. Ive followed both main characters on the big screen and enjoyed their work. If FOX dumps this show, I will follow it to whatever network picks it up.

monkeyfoot 2/5/2014 7:59:47 AM

As I've stated here before I'm not the biggest fan of this show but I think of it as good silly sci-fi fun. I enjoyed this episode. It had alot of action and an interesting story. And not only did I enjoy watching the magnificent Gina Carano in some great action scenes, the quick shots of her in the kinky S&M outfit were also enjoyable.

What the eff is this wall!?! I guess I haven't paid attention in every episode but I have no idea what this wall is. It just came out of nowhere. It seems to be something that should have come up much more often. Why aren't criminals constantly using this as a way to hide out all the time? It's obviously relatively easy to get right up to it and them get over. It's like the bomb shield that showed up out of nowhere in the last new episode. Where was it all the time?

CaptAmerica04 2/5/2014 10:18:55 AM

 Definitely the best episode of the season.  The heightened violence was definitely necessary.  And getting a Muay Thai black belt/MMA champ like Gina Carano to play the role was HUGE.  She showed what a terrifying female bot can really look like and act like, unlike some others that have been forced upon us in the past.  *cough* Kristanna Loken Terminator 3 *cough*  T.V. and movies need real fighters to mix in with the actors to help them improve the fight scenes, not only with their own moves, but by forcing the non-fighter actors to elevate their own performances.

I continue to love this show, and continue to fear the executives at FOX.

Chopsaki 2/5/2014 11:59:44 AM

I really liked Johns story about taking down the first XRN, it reminded me of Quint's tale of the USS Indianapolis from Jaws. It did a good job of setting up the danger posed by Danica. Monkeyfoot, I think they might be using "the wall" to keep out the Mexicans...I could be wrong about that though...

ElBaz13 2/5/2014 8:30:04 PM

 Enjoying this show, very fun and nothing too complex. 

Nice to see Carano as guest star and Mr Dan Fielding (Laroquette) himself.  I'm guessing he will be a re-occurring character. 

And man, that Minka Kelly is hot!

dojen1 2/6/2014 5:10:01 AM

I agree with Monkeyfoot. The shots of GC appropriating the sex bot body (and the outfit) were a highpoint. Good episode!! I see a good story arc here

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