‘Almost Human’ Photo Recap 1×06: “Arrhythmia”
This episode should have been called “Healthcare and the Two Michael Ealys.” The central case was a black market organ extortion racket, which brought up issues of health insurance, robot doctors, and biomechanical organs. Dorian also adopted a stray DRN he found working as a mechanic and took him on a field trip. Dorian wanted to give the droid a chance to relive his glory days as a police officer, back before The Man decided that DRNs were too “emotionally unstable” to work in the field. Sure…because it’s not like humans ever break protocol or make irrational decisions or demonstrate emotional instability. It was a big Emotion episode, but without veering too far into saccharine territory. Maybe I’m biased because I kind of worship Joel Wyman, but he has a way of examining the complexities of humanity and the way we connect with each other in such a way that’s meaningful without being cheesy. Sure, there was plenty of talk of hugging and feelings, but this episode was still less sentimental than that Kohl’s commercial where the young couple sneaks into their elderly neighbor’s apartment and decorates it for the holidays. (I cry like a tiny baby every time I see that ad.)
Sometimes I feel like a TV-addicted leprechaun, and my pot of gold can only be filled with meaningful glances and smiles between John and Dorian. Luckily this occurs several times per episode—especially when that episode involves Dorian opening up about how John was his knight in shining armor who awoke him from an endless slumber. Before this recap devolves into some strange slash fairytale makeover of Almost Human (that actually sounds awesome…can someone please write that?), maybe I should start the actual recap portion. Sound good? Good.
The opening scene was at a health clinic where dozens of sick people were standing in line to get diagnosed by a glitchy hologram doctor.
This reminded me of my experiences with the health clinic at my college. No matter what your symptoms were, their first two guesses were always either Mono or pregnancy. Granted, these were probably the two most common health issues among college-aged women, but still. At least put some effort into a diagnosis before you default to the obvious.
This guy must have been waiting in line for a really long time, because he was not having any of it. He went all John Q. on the place.
Way to be prepared, guy. Too bad he didn’t think a little further ahead, because by the time the doctors had paged the surgeon, he only had seconds left before he collapsed on the floor, dead.
Meanwhile, John and Dorian were bickering about radios, red lights, rule-breaking, and other things old married couples argue about.
Upon arriving at the crime scene, John and Dorian walked right into a rom-com of their very own when Dorian noticed another DRN performing some kind of menial maintenance task—definitely not the high-level crime fighting he was created for.
Sorry, but you had to know I was going to go there. Two Michael Ealys is a recurring fantasy of mine, and I can’t help but imagine that it’s one of John’s as well. Not wanting to jeopardize his reputation as an ornery misanthrope, John did a great job of hiding his excitement though. Instead he reverted to his default setting of hating the world.
Poor little DRN-494 was so torn up about John and Dorian’s fighting that he bolted from the car as soon as they stopped.
Turned out Dorian had uploaded the DRN’s old case files so he could go around accosting random people. It was pretty fun. John didn’t seem to think so, though. Dorian made a heartfelt confession about why he decided to take his fellow DRN out with them. He told John about his final thought before being decommissioned: the hope that someone would be there to wake him up. John was that person for him, and he wanted to be that person for DRN-494.
This was a beautiful moment between the two partners. And of course the unspoken part of it was that Dorian has been the one to wake John up as well, forcing him to get in touch with his own humanity after closing himself off. John is like a stained glass window, and Dorian is a beam of light shining through him to reveal the rainbow of color within. (Wow, I don’t know where that came from, but maybe I should be writing holiday commercials for Kohl’s.) The point is that they’re beautiful and perfect and I adore them.
Maldonado was super pissed when she heard that John had once again destroyed a ridiculously expensive piece of technology. Her blood pressure must be abnormally high thanks to John and his shenanigans.
Next we met Henry, who was immediately sketchy based on the fact that he was standing alone in the dark watching a dead body get incinerated. I mean, everyone’s entitled to their own hobbies, but really Henry…get a life.
Henry confessed that he had been saving the bio-mech organs from the bodies he cremated, but he didn’t know anything about the rest of the operation. A likely story, Henry.
Back at the precinct, Detective Stahl was doing some actual police work as she tracked the financial records of the dead guy, who had been turned down for a legitimate heart transplant because of his lack of insurance. Oh hi there, Relevant Social Issues. I almost didn’t see you there.
John and the two DRNs were enjoying some quality bonding time in an enclosed space together.
Dorian was showing off some of the upgrades they’d given the DRN models, including removable eyeballs that act as remote cameras. Fancy!
So many eyeball jokes on this show! Is it all just a big inside joke going back to Mackenzie Crook’s (Rudy’s) role in Pirates of the Caribbean as the pirate with the wooden eye that kept popping out? This seems unlikely. But still, it’s funny that there have been two eyeball gags in as many episodes.
When Oscar the organ deliveryman finally showed up, he looked like he was on his way to audition for a role in the next Hobbit movie.
After following Gimli Oscar to some typically sketchy abandoned building, the three amigos sat quietly in the car, listening in on the bug they planted and waiting for the opportune moment. DRN-494 was getting antsy and impatient.
This part made me laugh out loud because when is John ever the voice of reason? Preaching calm and patience over the loud/violent/blowing things up approach? Hilarious! It didn’t last long though.
They managed to stop the doctor before he actually started the surgery, but the lady who was about to get a shiny new robot heart was not exactly grateful for their intervention.
It was definitely not a cake and high-fives day at the precinct. They realized that the people whose organs wouldn’t be reset because of the investigation would likely die as a result of them doing their job. #moraldilemma
Henry left without resetting the organs because his boss lady told him they might be able to trace the signal back to them, so people started dropping like flies. It was super sad. Have some decency, Henry! As the angry lady who didn’t get a heart transplant told Stahl, everyone just wants more time.
Once again, Stahl picked up a clue when she noticed that all the victims with black market organs had been rejected by the same administrator. She’s basically solving this whole case by herself. Way to go, Val.
And that administrator was…this lady!
From there they figured out that Henry had to be in on it because how else would they get rid of the bodies once the organ timed out due to lack of payment? WTF Henry?! What a sastrich! (That’s an insult my grandfather made up. I think it’s a cross between a bastard and an ostrich. In this instance it means “evil person who exploits the desperation of others for profit.”) Henry was about to get his comeuppance though. (That’s a great word. People should use “comeuppance” more often.) But first…
Once John and Dorian were done making out, they took DRN-494 and went back to the morgue looking for Henry so they could explain to him the value of human life using the power of words and possibly some bullets if necessary. Dorian tried to give DRN-494 a weapon, but the other bot got really skittish and refused to take it.
Dorian went in with John to capture Henry, which was actually a pretty short chase scene since Dorian unveiled another handy new trick:
What a show of teamwork from the whole crew—Rudy, Stahl, even Detective Paul. And of course John and Dorian get the credit because, hello, it’s their show. And also they did the heavy lifting (literally). But kudos to Stahl for doing most of the actual detective work…and for not getting kidnapped this episode. She was really happy though because the bio-mech company agreed to give organ transplants to all the people targeted in the extortion operation. Hooray! Free healthcare for everyone!
Dorian went to check on DRN-494, who seemed to be having less fun than the overall population of the room at that point.
494 told Dorian about how he had saved a little boy’s life. When the boy hugged him, 494 said it was the most human connection he’s ever felt. But he confessed that he broke protocol by killing the man who wanted to hurt the boy. It was a great demonstration of the humanity that’s inherent to these DRNs, because letting emotion guide you instead of reason and “protocol” is exactly what makes humans human. We’re all just flawed and beautiful sacks of emotion spilling out into the world! Or something…
One of the best parts of the whole episode was Maldonado’s face when she saw the two DRNs. It was priceless.
Maldonado knows who to blame when she finds a pair of identically beautiful robots inexplicably in her precinct.
When Dorian dropped off his DRN friend back at the hospital, he had to wipe all the case files from his system, but when he asked, DRN-494 said he still remembered the embrace from that little boy. (Commence “awwww.”) It was obviously hard for Dorian to send 494 back to a life far less glorious than the one he was designed for, but arguably as important. (Okay, maybe not quite, but still—hospital maintenance staff is an important job.)
After watching this episode, I was overcome with a strange urge to sing “Adia” by Sarah McLachlan and hug a stranger. Personally, I think that’s a marker of a great hour of television. This may not have been the flashiest or funniest episode so far, but it was earnest and contemplative without taking itself too seriously. Plus, it had double the Michael Ealy, so it was automatically awesome.
What did you guys think of “Arrhythmia”? What’s been your favorite episode so far? Do you think we’ll see any more DRNs as the show goes on? Leave a comment below!
Happy holidays to all! As always, 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