The sci-fi tropes keep rolling as Almost Human tackles the issue of cloning in this week’s episode. Unfortunately instead of exploring the implications or morals of such an issue, ‘Blood Brothers’ is content to investigate Captain Maldonado’s (Lili Taylor) self-esteem issues.
Let’s bitch it out…
Five episodes in and Almost Human remains little more than an enjoyable distraction. This week’s case initially shakes up the format a little (much like the third episode) by dropping us in the middle of what appears to be a solved crime. Confirmed douchebag and suspected murderer Ethan Avery (Alex Miller) seems destined to go down for killing a fertility doctor until one of the two eye witnesses to the crime is murdered. The other witness, in a fun twist, is a “medium psychic” named Maya (Megan Ferguson) who adds a comedic pixie element to the otherwise dour proceedings. This injection of levity is easily the best part of ‘Blood Brothers’, which staunchly refuses to do anything remotely interesting with the concept of a billionaire whose clones (played by Alex’s twin, Graham) are running around killing.
There are fringe* elements that get dropped in along the way. Cloning was legal until the moment it wasn’t, but the implication is that it remains a problem that the system is having difficulty tracking. But these kinds of comments are nothing more than asides, glimpses of a larger worlldbuilding initiative than the show is willing to explore at this time. Perhaps if it survives long enough we’ll learn about the rights of clones, or black market body parts and other issues that always make cloning such a fascinating, complicated subject. But for now, cloning is nothing more than an excuse to have four or five shooters all have the same face.
*Just typing this makes me wish this show was more like Fringe because that show would have handled these elements with the appropriate complexity they deserve.
If anything, ‘Blood Brothers’ is more interested in jettisoning the cloning angle to investigate Captain Maldonado. This is an action I would welcome if the analysis weren’t so shallow: Ethan Avery is meant to be some kind of genius simply because he understands that Maldonado is lonely and doesn’t attract men’s attention. The suggestion that this man – someone that she actively hates – would have any effect on her is disingenuous, contradicting the performance that Taylor has delivered in the last four episodes of a smart, strong, capable woman in charge. I kept waiting for Maldonado to punch Avery in the face, but instead she’s defeated. Worse still is the “sore winner” speech she delivers after Maya’s testimony; the attack on Avery’s ego feels petty and beneath her.
So all in all, ‘Blood Brothers’ has a few intriguing elements and a repeat-worthy performance by Maya, but other than that, we’re still stuck in really generic “cop drama” meets “occasional sci-fi” territory – a combination that’s not delivering on the best qualities of either.
- Ask and you shall receive answers. Last week I wondered where Dorian (Michael Ealy) spends his nights and this week we learn the answer. He and the bland robots spend their evenings getting powered up in what looks like a sterile version of Big Brother. Very Surrogates BTW
- Since Almost Human knows you want to know: naturally Dorian has a large penis
- Just in case we’ve forgotten that Dorian could flip out and go crazy at any moment, he flips over the getaway van like it’s a toy. It gets an eye raise from Kennex (Karl Urban) and Stahl…and is then promptly never spoken of again
- Almost Human would do well to rely less on the narrative formula that sees elements from act one becoming instrumental in the third act. Two cases of this appear in ‘Blood Brothers’: 1) The use of holograms for eyewitness proceedings is clever, but then it predictably comes back into play for Stahl’s (Minka Kelly) hostage negotiation. 2) Maya references not having an item of her parents to touch so naturally Dorian finds her one by episode’s end. Too saccharine, especially when poor guest actress Ferguson is forced to emote to an empty car
- As Allison Keene notes in her review on Collider, in the future Americans apparently cares about soccer. This is probably the least probable forecast in a show that has featured cloning, sexbots, facial recognition obstruction and lots of other tech goodies
- Finally, did anyone see Stahl drink the bourbon? No? I’m telling you, folks, the girl is a bot!
Your turn: what did you think of the episode? Did Maya save things for you? Do you wish that the cases of the week were more intriguing? Is Dorian “dangerous”? Is Stahl a robot? What do you want to see in next week’s fall finale? Sound off below
Almost Human airs Mondays at 8pm EST on FOX