‘Almost Human’ Photo Recap 1×12: “Beholder”

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Ask and you shall receive! After eleven episodes of blank stares and droll expository dialogue, we finally unlocked the mystery of Valerie Stahl! (Or at least we found the key.) I was so excited to see Stahl get to be an actual person in this episode, even if we didn’t find out why she became a police officer. ”Beholder” (as in “eye of the”) was a great example of Joel Wyman doing what he does best: telling stories about human connection while also making you laugh and grossing you out a little bit. Part of the reason I enjoyed this episode so much was because it had a very Fringe feel to it (even more so than usual), not to mention the perfect balance of action, humor, emotion, character development, and Michael Ealy’s face.

Just to let you know, this week’s recap is going to be an abbreviated version since I’ve got some family stuff going on this week. I’ll try to hit the highlights, the most important of which of course is the fact that DORIAN TALKS TO JOHN’S BED OH MY GOD. I don’t even have words for that. My hat’s off to you, writers. I couldn’t have written that scene better if it was my own fanfic.

Kennex and Dorian’s banter was so on point this week. From the bed comment, to Dorian’s systematic listing of John’s flaws…it was just a whole lot of them flirt-fighting like an old married couple. I loved when Dorian picked up John’s phone and started talking to the woman he’d gone on a date with the night before, and he was actually taking her side.

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CONGRATULATIONS, STAHL!!! I’m so proud. This was exactly what I wanted for her: a well-written plot line that ties into the whole episode but also reveals some personal aspects of her character. We learned that she’s very conflicted about her chrome origins, and she tends to stay away from other chromes (because a lot of them are douchebags). But after meeting hottie Jake at the Electus Club, Valerie started to rethink her self-imposed isolation from her own kind.

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If this guy was a Pokémon, he would be Charmander. (Get it? Because he’s charming? You know what, Pokémon puns are hard, OK?) Not only that, but he actually wanted to get to know Stahl! What a concept! Thank you, Jake, for finally helping us unwrap the Fruit-By-the-Foot that is Valerie Stahl.

I was really intrigued by the idea of chromes when they were introduced in “Perception,” so I’m glad we got to see more of that world. It coalesced well with the villain this week and his pursuit of “perfection.” The whole body image concept was really well done, if you ask me—especially since it’s such a huge issue in our culture. Plastic surgery, Photoshopped magazine covers, rail-thin models…it’s easy to feel like a troll when society seems intent on favoring people who look like chromes. Watching this episode just made me want to hug everyone and sing Christina Aguilera. “YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SINGLE WAY…WORDS CAN’T BRING YOU DOOOOOOWN…” Wow…even after ten years, that music video still gets me choked up. You tell ‘em, X-tina!

Dorian was contemplating this very topic with John in the car, and he proceeded to point out all of John’s imperfections.

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Get a room, you two!

Rudy wasn’t on screen a whole lot in this episode, but that was OK because his few scenes were hilarious. When Kennex and Dorian went to ask him about the autopsies, Rudy was legitimately upset that they hadn’t warned him about the “Beauty Killer,” since he was sure he’d be targeted.

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I’m glad to see Rudy doesn’t have any body image issues. I mean, with a Rothschild nose, how could he?

Even Maldonado got a few good jokes in this week, despite having to share screen time with Stahl in her breakout episode. My favorite was when she was talking to Valerie after her run-in with Jake at the chrome club, and Maldonado told her how sometimes it’s nice to spend time with people like you, who understand you. Stahl asked if that’s why Maldonado keeps Kennex around, and the captain responded: “No. I lost a bet.” HA! That actually would explain a lot. This episode was just so well written! It was like one part Gattaca, one part You’ve Got Mail, and one part Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic.” Who cares about rain on your wedding day? How about “it’s like when you kill nine people to give yourself the perfect face, only to find out that the lady you’ve been wooing over the Internet can’t see”?

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Ouch. I felt so bad for Eric, even though he was a psychologically disturbed murderer. His final words to John before jumping to his death were heartbreaking. “We’re supposed to be loved,” he said before plummeting to the ground, falling past the window of his would-be girlfriend’s apartment. His actions may have been misguided, but no one can fault Eric for trying to find what all humans want: to be loved. Even Kennex the lone wolf felt Eric’s pain, especially after he asked Stahl to go out for a drink only to find some other guy had beaten him to it—and that guy was a stunningly handsome chrome. Looks like it’s just you and your smartbed tonight, John.

Did I mention I loved this episode? At times it freaked me out to hear my own words coming out of John’s mouth. Like when he was ranting about his date taking phone calls during their dinner. This is my number one pet peeve: people being on their phones when they’re spending time with other people. So when John asked Dorian, “Whatever happened to two people just sharing a meal and connecting?” it was like he was in my head. I’m so impressed by how this show manages to keep the human (or robot-human) connections at the forefront, even when the entire show revolves around technology. It gives me hope for the future, and I’m so glad that there are writers out there like Joel Wyman who continue to tell stories about what it means to be human and how we relate to one another.

OK, I’m sorry to just keep gushing about Joel Wyman, but a big pat on the back for this episode. Here are a few more quick notes about “Beholder”:

  • The music was really great this week. “Crimson & Clover” added some swagger to an otherwise super-creepy scene (Eric watching his lady friend through her window), and the ending song, “Worlds Away” by Strange Advance was the perfect way to close the episode.
  • I loved meeting DeCarlo. I hope we get to see more of him.
  • Lastly, high five for another Fringe reference with the opening shot of a field of white tulips. (OK, they look a little yellow on the screen, but we all know they’re supposed to be white.)

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What did you all think of “Beholder”? Why do you think Stahl became a cop? What was your favorite line of the night? What do you think makes a “smartbed” smart? Leave a comment!

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!

-L

*All images are property of FOX Broadcasting

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Posted on February 26, 2014, in Almost Human Photo Recaps, Photo Recaps, Television and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. okay but what about when at the end dorian asked john if he wanted him to keep him company at the bar and watch him drink and john said “no, it’s okay, it got a little weird last time” and then dorian smiled one of those “we totally had no homo gay sex but we don’t talk about it” smiles and they kinda stared knowingly at each other for a few seconds and i got very upset???

    • As giddy as I am about the budding relationship between John and Dorian. The “it got weird” line is quite open to ones imagination, so to instantly associate it with a sexual event is being rather narrow. Even though I have no issue with it being as such, because that would be awesome to see John so comfortable with Dorian in any kind of way.

      • do you know what is rather narrow? telling people how they should see and interpret something that, as you said yourself, is open to one’s imagination!
        don’t tell me how to live my life.

  2. yeahhh that smartbed thing is like fanfic fuel. As is the “it got a little weird last time” *giggle giggle* *grins*

    Good lord this show gives me life.

  3. Hello. Could I know why my previous comment to ‘brfaedo’ was deleted? I was giving my view and support of John and Dorian, based on their being ‘upset’, when I saw no reason to be upset because these two characters have grown close and comfortable with one another.

  4. Love this show! Please let it be renewed!

  5. omg dudes, worlds away is a fringe reference too, THAT’S THE SONG FROM THE ”PETER” EPISODE WHEN SEPTEMBER RESCUES PETER AND WALTER FROM THE LAKE.

  6. And a follow up, I so love your recaps since you started with Fringe, and the Wyman love, yes that man deserves his genius to be celebrated. Thank your for this work, it adds something to every week’s episode.

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