FOX’s Almost Human returns from a brief hiatus with the best episode of its freshman run. Are things finally coming together for the procedural-happy series?
Let’s bitch it out…‘Unbound’ is easily the most satisfying and cohesive episode of Almost Human to date. There are a lot of contributing factors, not the least of which is that this feels like the first genuine attempt to explore not only what makes Dorian (Michael Ealy) exceptional, but also how robots came to play such a significant role in the police force of this future society.
A huge contributing factor to the episode’s success is John Larroquette as DRN creator (and likely recurring villain) Nigel Vaughn. Larroquette seamlessly meshes with the DNA of the show, delivering a series of engaging monologues about his ambitions as a robotics creator with a sizable God-complex. As usual for Almost Human, his villainy is written on the wall pretty early on so anyone paying even remotely close attention can figure out what he’s up to. Seriously, a disgraced robotics designer requests access to his old equipment and casually mentions he’s got 500 DRNs prepped and ready to go somewhere and no one figures out he might have an ulterior motive? Clearly these characters don’t have network TV in the future.
Thankfully figuring out Vaughn’s plan doesn’t detract too much from the enjoyment of watching him scheme. His distraction – a female Terminator-wannabe Danica (an underutilized Gina Carano) – keeps Kennex (Karl Urban) and Dorian pretty busy as she racks up a high body count. I would have preferred Danica escape at the end of the episode so that she could continue to contribute to Dorian’s existential crisis about his capacity for evil, but who can fault Almost Human for allowing Kennex to use his animatronic leg to kick Danica into another room after he pulls the pin on her grenade? (Side Note: Admittedly I can because it seems far too easy to dispose of Danica, who we previously learned killed nearly 30 cops over a 3 day stand-off. Moving on.)
Nitpicks aside, ‘Unbound’s narrative is more engaging than the majority of tales we’ve encountered on the series, Vaughn is a step-up from the usual villain-of-the-week, and we end on a strangely compelling WTF moment as the never-before-now-mentioned Wall allows Vaughn to escape the city. Fingers crossed he returns soon…
What did you think of Almost Human‘s return? Did you enjoy Vaughn? Was his plot too predictable? Should Danica have survived? And how long before Vaughn returns over the Wall with an army of super-emotional DRNs? Sound off below
Almost Human airs Mondays at 8pm EST on FOX. Next week looks like it may actually offer Stahl (Minka Kelly) something to do, but do’t hold your breath.