‘Almost Human’ Photo Recap 1×01: “Pilot”
Joel Wyman (one of the brilliant minds behind Fringe) has a new show on Fox, which means my life finally has meaning again! At least until this one gets canceled. (Just kidding…I hope.) Almost Human puts a futuristic spin on the buddy cop genre by pairing a surly detective with an android partner who has been programmed to be as close to human as possible—complete with a sense of humor, a temper, and all kinds of other fun side effects of humanity. Karl Urban (Star Trek) plays John Kennex, the robo-phobic cop who wears his scowl like it’s part of his uniform. His android partner Dorian is played by Michael Ealy (The Good Wife), who might actually be the most beautiful person to ever live. If any of you watched Ealy’s buddy cop series Common Law on USA last year, this is pretty much the same premise, but one of them is a robot. Of course, no one watched Common Law, which is why it was canceled. But enough about my poor track record with TV shows…
Before we dive into this recap, let’s get a few things straight: 1) Michael Ealy has the face of an angel and the body of a Britney Spears backup dancer, and I will be commenting on his unearthly beauty with extreme frequency. Get used to it. 2) There’s a pretty good chance that I will be operating under the assumption that John and Dorian should be/are in a romantic relationship. (Don’t blame me for their sizzling onscreen chemistry.) Lastly, 3) Please be advised that approximately 80% of the content of my recaps is sheer nonsense. The other 20% is probably stray observations that no one cares about, references to Fringe or Lost, and shameless appreciation of Michael Ealy.
Well, you can’t say I didn’t warn you. Let’s get started!
Of course the opening scene was a super intense action scene with lots of cool special effects, because HELLO YES WE HAVE LOTS OF SHOOTING & ‘SPLOSIONS PLEASE DON’T CHANGE THE CHANNEL. (CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT & PLOT TO COME.)
Thanks for your help there, Robo-Officer Buzzkill. What good is a robot that watches your friend get shot, then callously points out that he has no hope for survival and that you should just leave him behind? I’ll take Wall-E dancing to Hello Dolly over this jerk any day.
This was all just a flashback to the ambush that John is trying to remember, with the help of a black market “recollectionist.” In addition to losing some of his memories, John also lost his leg, which was replaced with a fancy robo-leg that keeps malfunctioning.
Shouldn’t have updated to iTunes 11, buddy. It’ll get you every time. We also found out that John was in a coma, which explains his anger at the world. I’d be pissed too if I missed four seasons of The Voice. It’s easy to see why this kind of stress could drive a man to seek some pharmaceutical assistance. Either that, or this show is actually a Matrix spin-off.
Can’t say that I blame John for dumping ol’ Nuts & Bolts. We met John’s boss Maldonado, played by Lili Taylor, whom I may never be able to take seriously because I keep hearing her sing “Joe Lies” from Say Anything over and over in my head. She seems pretty cool though. After John was done whining about how he’s a lone wolf and doesn’t want a silly synthetic partner, she basically told him that due to his fun and exciting cocktail of emotional problems, he shouldn’t even be in the field, let alone working without supervision.
Rather than waste millions of dollars on synthetics that John is just going to push out of a car, Maldonado assigned an older model to be John’s partner—a “DRN,” programmed to be as close to human as possible. This is like when the teacher pairs up the kid with behavioral issues and the weird kid that eats paste in the hopes that they’ll distract each other enough to keep them out of trouble. I don’t think that actually works on students, but in this case it might actually succeed.
The twitchy lab tech (who was playing with a synthetic blue butterfly! Fringe glyph alert!) let John have the honor of waking up his new partner by way of true love’s kiss poking him with a metal thing.
Hopefully these two can bond over their shared experiences being unconscious for extended periods of time.
It didn’t take long for John and Dorian to fall into an adorable rapport of old-married-couple bickering. Plus, I think we can all agree that John could use some serious therapy, and no human being would have the patience to deal with him. Dorian certainly has a talent for psychoanalysis, so really they’re perfect for each other.
Meanwhile, some sketchy dudes in masks were attacking an innocent Starbucks patron with some Fringe-like weapon that shot a big wad of Silly Putty at his face.
Do you think criminals raid the sales rack the day after Halloween and buy all kinds of creepy masks at half price for their evil schemes?
They captured one of the masked guys for interrogation, which in John’s world is a hand-to-hand sport. (Or hand-to-face.) Lucky for him, Dorian isn’t like those annoying stick-in-the-mud MX bots, so he just pulled down the digital blinds on the room instead of tattling on John. Dorian did point out, “You just violated the crap out of that guy’s civil rights.”
Nothing brings partners together like police brutality. All John and Dorian need is some quality time in the field together and they’ll be swapping friendship bracelets before you know it. When they were called to check out a possible explosive, Dorian proved that he lacks the by-the-book caution of the other synthetics by approaching the device against the MX’s warning that it could be dangerous.
They carefully investigated the mysterious cylinder, only to discover that it was just a trash compactor or something—a distraction while the prisoner guy totally escaped. (Oops.)
Also, some nefarious entity known as “the Syndicate” that was responsible for the ambush that killed John’s partner (and cost him his leg) was possibly involved with this string of crimes as well. John went back to his recollectionist friend to try to jog his memory. But first…
I’m no expert, but it seems like John might still have some residual guilt over the whole ambush thing that may or may not have been all his fault. I guess we’ll find out. Round 2 with the recollectionist was a fruitful endeavor with no unfortunate side effects at all.
Fortunately Dorian tracked John down and arrived just in time to zap some life back into his fried synapses. What a team these two make.
It was sort of worth the seizing and all to discover that the beloved girlfriend John had been mooning over was actually a member of the Syndicate. DUN DUN DUN! (As if John wasn’t screwed up enough already.)
Commence climactic fight scene! The MX ‘bots were all taken out by some radio frequency-targeting weapon, so it was just Dorian and the humans vs. Evil Dudes. Maldonado and Lyla Garrity Valerie Stahl (Minka Kelly) joined in for the shootout. I kind of liked how the two men spent the whole episode talking about their feelings, and then the women just showed up at the end to kick some ass. Well done, writers.
Just as Head Evil Dude was about to attack Stahl with their killer serum, John stepped in just in time to save the day. (So I guess some gender roles will be upheld today after all…like the emotionally crippled white knight saving the competent-but-endangered damsel.)
Good team work, everyone! Same time next week? To wrap things up, we got to see a nice moment where John and Dorian told each other how much they valued their partnership, and how they’re so grateful for how they’ve each helped the other one grow and become a better version of themselves, and that they complete each other, and…okay, so it was more like a mutual, “Hey, I don’t hate you,” but it was pretty obvious what they really meant. Still, John had to ask Maldonado what she was thinking putting the two of them together.
Oh, Lili Taylor. I didn’t think you could make me like you or forget about your role in an iconic 80s movie, but so far I’m impressed. I’m still not sure about the other satellite characters (dweeby lab tech, Minka Kelly, etc.), but who cares? It’s only the pilot. All that matters is that John and Dorian are basically each other’s only friends. I’m already picturing them doing trust falls and taking cooking classes together.
THIS IS GOING TO BE AWESOME YOU GUYS. And I’m not just saying that because, a) series creator Joel Wyman is a beautiful genius, or, b) I love any show with a codependent workplace bromance at the center of it. I think this show could really be great if Fox doesn’t cancel it before New Year’s it gets the chance to come into its own. On the plus side, I’ve been pretty impressed with how much Fox has been promoting Almost Human. I heard ads for it on my Pandora station all day yesterday, and there were so many plugs for it during the football game on Sunday that I think even Cleatus the robot (the mascot for the NFL on Fox) was sick of hearing about it. Good job, Fox! Keep it up!
So what did you guys think? There’s so much to discuss! Who are the Syndicate and where is John’s ex? What’s with his red Matrix pills? Does that olive oil trick really work? Aren’t you proud of me for only mentioning Michael Ealy’s exquisite jawline once?
A few lingering questions/stray observations:
- Does anyone else think it’s strange that the main characters are named John and Dorian, which is J.D.’s full name on Scrubs?
- OH HEY THERE EVIL GUY, YOU WERE ON FRINGE. Tim Kelleher, who played the head evil dude this week, was also in “Welcome to Westfield,” which you may recall was a rather special episode of Fringe. (Aren’t they all?) Now please excuse me while I go watch clips of “Welcome to Westfield” on YouTube and weep openly.
- Speaking of Fringe, did anyone else see “600B” on one of the police station walls and immediately think of “6B,” yet another momentous Fringe episode? WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO ME, JOEL WYMAN? YOU BRILLIANT BASTARD. My heart hurts.
Thank you to screencapped.net for providing the screencaps of this episode, and thanks to TV.com’s brilliant Price Peterson, whose hilarious Vampire Diaries photo recaps were the inspiration for mine. And thank you for reading!
*All images are property of FOX Broadcasting