ALMOST HUMAN: Disrupt Review (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Almost Human cements its spot as my Monday go-to show with a downright awesome episode that I gladly stick by my “A” rating. While it may be derivative in some sense in that Sci-Fi always has the possibility of falling into parody that we have seen before. But this time, it is welcome as the fear of the machines rising up is realized. Who cares that we have seen it so many times before when its this much fun?? It is a fun and exciting episode with lots of layers that lay some solid bricks for the future of the series. Please don't cancel this show FOX! I'm in too deep and dig the characters and techie goodness of it all. One more episode and it will tie Firefly for episodes but lets pray that we see episode number thirteen.
Now back to this episode appropriately titled “Disrupt” after the cyber-tech group that is vigilant in keeping the memory of slain teen Aaron Kasden alive. The one year anniversary of his death has brought a ton of media attention because Aaron didn't just die; he was killed by what they call “Smart Houses.” Yup. Just like we have Smart Phones, the future holds Smart Homes for us complete with holographic butlers. Pretty damn cool but there is that constant worry that they will become self-aware and you know, cause crazy havoc on your life and try to kill you. Aaron Kasden was cutting through the yard of yuppies Michael and Linda Bennett when the house's security forces killed the 16-year old. It caused an outcry for Smart Houses to be monitored and the bereaved mother of Aaron lost a court case suing the Bennett's for presumed negligence. When both Bennett's are killed by the house on the one-year anniversary of Aaron's death, the incident is treated like a homicide. I have to add that it was pretty crazy to see Mr. Bennett try and save his wife from a pool's lid shutting while he gets shot by his own house. See that's why you get insurance. But seriously, a technological house that kills! Awesome.
The mystery deepens and takes Kennex and Dorian to Synturion where they are just as concerned about the incident but have a new product to roll out and cannot stand this kind of bad press. After pressing Synturion's in-house lawyer Peter Newson and CEO Ms. Stenson, the guys do not leave with many answers except that the ones responsible for many of the threats and cyber-attacks that they have received have been claimed by a rogue group called DISRUPT. While the lawyer is super shady, the lady CEO seems on the level having gotten into the home security business after being victim of a home invasion at 15. The fact is someone is using the death of Aaron's death to exact revenge on the people that they believed to be responsible.
Dorian is having some serious issues this episode as Rudy had been doing some tinkering around in his head and finding an actual organic, human memory. The DRN is shaken by this and does not know what to do with this information save for talking more with Rudy. It is revealed at the end when Rudy and Kennex speak that the techie needs more time to sort out just what exactly Dorian is carrying in his head. Dorian believes that he was a child at some point but Kennex tries his best to put the kibosh on that. I thought that this was an important point to cover for possible future episodes. But back to the main storyline now as a blackout sweeps the city followed by the murder of Synturion's legal bigwig Peter Newson.
With the bodies piling up and no solid leads, the squad decides to go undercover in the digital world. Its worth watching the episode just to see Minka Kelly in a purple wig and Karl Urban acting and looking like Billy Idol. After they finally find hacker “CrispinX”, a legendary digital rogue who is really just a regular twenty-something that looks a hell of a lot like Judd Nelson. Realizing that he is not behind the “accidents' that have been happening, Kennex and company use his cyber-skills to figure just who is behind the revenge kills in the name of Aaron Kasdan. The narrative plays very well and I it was most enjoyable without any clues as to who the real killer was. The final takedown between Dorian and one of Synturion's SAM-bots is pretty epic.
In the end, good triumphs over evil. Well as much as it can on TV I suppose. Although this was majorly misplaced anger the killer's reason was that of very misguided love for Aaron and I will leave it at that. My main concern is that memory that Dorian is having of the little train and its meaning. Rudy admits to waking Dorian in the past to have conversations and play Holo-chess and the android is quick to tell him that he is his friend and would like those memories to be reinserted into his memory. All in all an outstanding episode that really sees all of the actors have their time to shine. And malfunctioning androids just does not get old. Great work FOX now don't eff up the landing!
Mania Grade: A
Episode: Disrupt (Season 1 Episode 11)
Starring: Karl Urban, Michael Ealy, Minka Kelly
Written By: J.H. Wyman (created by), Sarah Goldfinger
Directed By: Tom Yatsko
Studio: Warner Brothers