‘Almost Human’ 1×09 Photo Recap: “Unbound”

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Football season is over, which means Fox can finally get back to its regularly scheduled programming—AKA sexy police robots instead of Cleatus the NFL robot. (I still can’t believe he has his own Twitter.) And oh, how I’ve missed Dorian and John and their undeniable sexual chemistry (and occasional crime-fighting). This week’s episode was like a futuristic Frankenstein retelling (but not in a ridiculous way…*cough* I, Frankenstein *cough*), but instead of an ugly green dude with neck bolts, Frankenstein’s monster was a hottie with an automatic weapon (played by MMA fighter/actress Gina Carano). This was all well and good, and there was plenty of fighting and blowing things up and tender emotional moments between Dorian and John (well, at least two moments), but the real highlight of the episode (other than Rudy talking about his lack of venereal diseases) was the reveal of a rather large piece of mythology: something called “the Wall.”

I’m not gonna lie, when they first started talking about “the other side,” I was seriously hoping that there was an alternate universe in play here á la Fringe. They’d break down the Wall only to come face to face with Peter and Olivia and Walter, and we’d have a surprise spin-off on our hands. (Hey, a fan can dream.) Then I thought maybe this was just a metaphorical wall, like Pink Floyd was always singing about. But, alas, when we saw John Larroquette attempting to zip up the wall to the other side, it was clear that this is a very large, very literal wall that we’re talking about. But before we start theorizing about what’s on the other side, let’s review the rest of “Unbound.”

The writers must have realized that John Kennex + small children is a winning combination (except maybe for the children) because the first scene was another instance of John being hilariously inappropriate (not like that) with kids. It was golden.

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Those kids are going to need some serious therapy. But honestly, it was totally worth it to see that impish smirk on John’s face, like he was reveling in the fact that he made a fourth-grader throw up. Kennex is like that crazy uncle who short-sheets your bed and is constantly asking you to pull his finger. Only, knowing John, his finger would actually come off, and fake blood would shoot everywhere, and the kid would have nightmares until he/she went to college. But hey, he’s our crazy uncle and we love him.

One of the best moments of the episode was the random woman who picked up a bouquet of flowers, because there was something special about those particular flowers…THEY WERE WHITE TULIPS OH MY GOD STOP EVERYTHING FRINGE IS AFOOT. (Commence jumping up and down.) I think I’ve developed a sort of Pavlovian response to white tulips wherein I immediately start crying anytime I see one. (Congratulations, Fringe—you’ve ruined flowers for me forever.) Sadly, the tulips did not mean hope and forgiveness for this lady…

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To be fair, I think she knew what she was getting into when she agreed to be in the first ten minutes of a procedural-based TV show. But her assailant wasn’t just any old thief—it was a robot thief! (Dun dun dun!) They unmasked it to reveal a scrap ‘bot that looked like something out of I, Robot. It kind of gave me the wiggins. (For the record, robots are my fifth biggest fear after heights, spiders, change, and running out of Nutella after the apocalypse.) I was even more creeped out when, after it was locked away in the evidence room, it rebooted itself and crawled out of its body bag. That is some zombie robot shenanigans right there. And if there’s one thing worse than evil robots, it’s evil zombie robots.

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It went right for the Gina Carano robot head like it was me at a birthday party and Gina Carano’s head was the cake. I mean, I guess I can’t blame it. If I was a robot, I’d definitely go for a Gina Carano ‘bot. But then the scrap droid took off its own head and replaced it with Gina’s. Weird! (Even by robot standards I feel like.) Something fishy was definitely going on. This was confirmed when Gina shot her way out of the evidence room. Which, by the way, I’m sorry but why would you give Gina Carano a gun? I mean, as a writer. She’s a freaking goddess of mixed martial arts! Let her fight her way out in hand-to-hand combat; she doesn’t need the firepower. At least she got in a good fight scene with Dorian at the end.

As the watched the surveillance footage, the humans were all sufficiently surprised when they recognized the face of the most beautiful killer robot they’d ever seen. (Except, come on guys—you really thought it was a good idea to keep her head just out in the open in the evidence room? Really?) Dorian was playing audience surrogate for a change and asked errbody who the hell she is and why they were wetting their pants over her.

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Blah blah, expository blah… Gina Carano had been an android model that was created after the DRNs were taken off the market. She/it had also been responsible for a three-day massacre. (See why I’m afraid of robots?!) All in all, it was definitely a not-good scenario having her back out on the streets. But before she went on a killing rampage, she had to find a body that was more befitting of Gina Carano than the rectangular hunk of metal she was sporting.

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Any excuse to get Gina Carano in a leather bustier I guess… I’m just glad she immediately changed into something more conducive to ass-kicking. And that’s when John Larroquette showed up. If you’re over 40, you may know him from Night Court, and if you’re under 40, you may know him from appearing on 30 Rock to reprise his role on Night Court for Kenneth.

As soon as John Larroquette saw Dorian, they did that eyes-lock-from-across-the-room-and-they-walk-towards-each-other-slowly thing that happens in rom-coms sometimes. It turns out Nigel (Larroquette) created Dorian (as well as the DRNs, and Gina Carano—oops), so it was an intense meeting between maker and creation.

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John was appropriately sketched out by the whole thing, mostly because I think he didn’t fully trust Nigel. Or he didn’t like sharing Dorian with another person.

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Nigel sensed John’s hostility (not hard to do, considering Nigel has eyes) and asked how John would like it if people judged him by his greatest failure—the one awful event that defined him. That almost got John to shut up, but not really. He knows how it feels, since everyone sees him and remembers the horrible ambush that killed the rest of his team and left him without his leg. Touché, John Larroquette! Dorian dropped some words of wisdom on him about how it’s not our past that defines us, “it’s what we do now.”

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Oh, Dorian. You are just an angel trapped in a body of metal and wires. Never stop saying beautiful things.

Nigel mentioned that if he had access to his lab equipment, he might (emphasis on “might”) be able to track Gina. But it was all they had to go on I guess? I don’t know. Maldonado seemed a little upset that this was their best plan of action. By now she knows to just grin and bear it when Dorian and John have their little plot detours. After all, they did once spend almost an entire episode in a stairwell while attempting to save a building full of hostages.

Meanwhile, Gina was getting into all kinds of shenanigans. Mostly attacking guys in parking lots (to be fair, he looked like a douchebag) and making eye-lollipops to break into labs.

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Sorry, scientists. It’s kind of true, though.

Speaking of famous scientists, Rudy started fangirling like a tween at a One Direction concert when Nigel walked into his lab.

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You can’t help but love Rudy in all his awkward glory. He and Nigel had some quality nerd-talk together about building robots and synthetic souls and life and the universe and whether *NSYNC or Backstreet Boys was the better boy band. (Yes, in the year 2048 they are still concerned with finding a scientific answer to this question…even though we all know the answer is BSB. Sorry, Mary.)

Nigel explained how he had wanted to create life with the synthetic souls—something that couldn’t be quantified through DNA. Dorian asked what he did differently between creating Danica (what Nigel calls Gina Carano) and creating him. It seemed like the two different robots were reflections of what Nigel was feeling when he created them: when he made Dorian, he was full of passion and hope; when he made Danica, it was out of “resentment and desperation.” So yeah, that definitely sounds like it would end up with a ruthless killer robot. Nigel also said he felt like the DRNs were his children, and he was like a father to them. That should have been a red flag right there that Nigel was not 100% on team Stop-Danica. Because he clearly wasn’t ready to let go of his evil daughter.

Dorian and John were interviewing some sleazy robotics expert when Dorian suggested that maybe whoever created the droid that broke in and released Danica was actually from the “other side.” (This does totally sound like something David Robert Jones would do, for the record.) Cue intrigue regarding the Wall!

Down in the lab, Nigel whipped up some kind of energy paint swatch that allowed them to track Danica. See, Maldonado! That measly lab equipment paid off! Danica was flying below the radar in a taxi until this annoying woman got in thinking it was a real cab.

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So I guess Danica does have a soul? Or some kind of feeling besides a desire to shoot things. She had her hand on her weapon, but she stopped when the little girl unleashed her adorableness on her. We’ve found Danica’s one weakness! But it’s probably better to keep trying to find a plan B.

Rudy was having some, uh, performance issues with the tracking signal.

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Nigel had designed a big syringe-looking thing that would theoretically power down Danica…if John could get close enough to insert it into the back of her neck. Easy as pie!

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John acted all put-upon, like, “Oh poor me, how will I ever pull this off?” But you could tell he was secretly really into the idea, and he was totally psyched to get to show off in front of Dorian and his “dad.”

Danica was off to crash a fancy party, for which she was not dressed. (Good job, guys. I respect that you didn’t try to use this as an opportunity for Gina Carano to wear a low-cut ball gown while murdering people.) The poor little hostess girl was understandably intimidated by Danica.

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Yeah, good call on the fleeing in terror thing, girl. You do not want to mess with Gina Carano. She had one goal in mind: f**k some s**t up. And she succeeded. Until the cavalry arrived, that is.

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It’s cool, everybody: John Kennex is on it! He’ll take out this super-strong homicidal robot. No problem. He’s got his trusty giant light saber needle.

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Oops… Nigel, you rascal! He totally screwed them over so he could make a break for it and steal his synthetic souls back. How inconsiderate. Thankfully John still had someone he could count on.

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And he did. Finally we got to see a fair fight without guns. These two did some really well choreographed punching and kicking and violent acrobatics. Kudos to Michael Ealy for keeping up with Gina Carano in this fight scene! (Also, as usual, kudos to Michael Ealy on his eyes/smile/face/body/etc.)

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Danica kept railing on Dorian until John tagged back in, and this time he brought a weapon.

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Nice one, Kennex! That was legendary. And almost as dramatic as the John/Dorian moment right after that where they stared longingly into each other’s eyes.

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Once they got back to the precinct, the gang all got together for a little mini think tank to try to guess what Nigel’s next move would be now that he had the makings for an android army. Rudy cleverly guessed that he would need a lab to work in, and Dorian once again brought up the possibility that Nigel might escape to the other side of the Wall. SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN THIS WALL TO ME ALREADY. Instead of an explanation, we got to see the Wall up close as we watched Nigel fwoosh up over it to “the other side.”

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So many questions! Most of which are some variety of, “what the hell is on the other side of the Wall?” I don’t know, but I’m excited to find out. This is one of those things that can take a show from “good” to “great.” Have you ever heard the expression “blow the hatch”? It’s something Jay Black came up with over on Clique Clack to describe the moment when a show becomes great. Essentially it’s the opposite of “jump the shark.” It’s taken from the moment in season one of Lost when Locke blows open the hatch. I think for Almost Human, the Wall might be their hatch. Whether or not this will qualify as “blowing the hatch” depends on what’s on the other side and how it affects the mythology of the show. I have high hopes, and if anyone can meet those expectations, it’s Joel Wyman.

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!

-L

*All images are property of FOX Broadcasting

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Posted on February 5, 2014, in Almost Human Photo Recaps, Photo Recaps, Television and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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