John and Dorian get some unlikely help from a psychic while chasing a team of killer clones
Welcome back to the Almost Human recaps!
This week, we’ve got clones and a futuristic twist on the ol’ “psychic who helps solve a murder” crime procedural trope. So let’s get into episode five, “Blood Brothers”!
We kick off this week with a scene that will no doubt inspire tons of creepy fan fiction: John visits the android storage facility to pick up Dorian and runs smack dab into a naked MX. As John moans to Dorian later in the car, he’ll never be able to get the image of the life-sized Ken doll out of his mind. (Neither will we.) Dorian can relate, as it’s like a robot gym locker room in there, what with all the MXs strutting around proudly displaying their lack of genitalia. It’s enough to make an “almost human” android want his own place. (Could our heroes soon be cohabitating Odd Couple 2048-style?)
John then asks Dorian if he’s “built” like the MXs, to which Dorian replies that his designer was “more thoughtful” and promptly whips out his robo-junk. (Again, this episode was an early Christmas present for authors of John/Dorian slash fiction.) “Is that all for one person?,” John exclaims, while we ignore the racial implications of that joke. The conversation then turns to John’s occasional flirtation with Det. Stahl, prompting Dorian to mimic her voice. (Minka Kelly’s voice coming out of a male android’s mouth right after he dropped trou in front of his human partner? Come to think of it, this show is already its own fan fiction.)
We jump to Captain Maldonado testifying in the case of Ethan Avery, an upstanding citizen who is on trial for the murder of a fertility doctor. While there is no physical evidence linking Avery to the murder of Dr. Fuller, Maldonado has two eyewitnesses under police protection. The witnesses, Haley Meyers and Maya Vaughn, are being held in a secure location where their testimony will be beamed into the courtroom via hologram. (Good to know the justice system has finally caught up to the technology CNN used to beam in will.i.am back on election night 2008.)
Haley (who has a noticeably Canadian accent, which explains why the future looks a lot like rainy Vancouver) is nervous, and Maya chattering on about how she’s a medium/psychic who can talk to the dead isn’t helping. Just as she begins her testimony, a gunman blows away the MX standing guard and kills Haley. Maya, who was in the bathroom at the time, escapes out the window. Avery stares daggers at Maldonado, just in case it wasn’t clear that he’s behind the hit.
NEXT: No, the other football…Later, Dorian finds Maya hiding out in the woods. At the crime scene, Stahl cleans up the MX and hopes that Rudy can reassemble it so they can get some footage of the shooter. John saunters over to her and quips, “I’ve got an eye for you” while holding a deactivated robot’s eye. Kind of insensitive considering that poor droid died in the line of duty, John. The MX assisting Stahl updates her on the latest score in the Knights soccer game, and it turns out John is a fan of the same team. Look, I’ll suspend a ton of disbelief for this show, but I just don’t buy that by 2048 soccer is so huge in the U.S. that two cops would casually discuss it over the remains of their robot coworker.
Maldonado visits Avery, who says he couldn’t possibly have hired a hitman what with the whole being in jail thing and all. He then gets all Hannibal Lecter on her and starts psychoanalyzing, guessing that her career has gotten in the way of her love life, the men in her workplace don’t respect her, etc. All of this turns out to be true, which is a sad commentary on the state of the workplace in 2048.
At the precinct, John doesn’t buy Maya’s medium psychic abilities and rightly groans when she says she’s a “petite psychic on good days.” Turns out Maya underwent a procedure that allows humans to use more of their brain, and she can now commune with the dead. (Did someone say Ghost Whisperer: 2048 spin-off?!) If Maya touches an item, she gets messages from beyond the grave. She’s been communicating with Hayley, who says Ethan Avery killed her. But how is that possible if he was in court at the time???
John thinks Maya is a crackpot, but Rudy points out that while facial replication software exists, there is no way to replicate the human voice. Based on analysis from the safe house, Rudy is 100% sure that the voice of the killer is Avery’s actual voice and not a recording. John wonders if Avery perhaps cloned himself. Stahl says Fuller was a fertility specialist, so maybe there’s a connection.
Meanwhile, Maya wanders out of the police station (sidebar — Det. Paul is reallly bad at his job) on a mission to deliver a message to Hayley’s parents. John and Dorian pick her up, and she reveals that John’s energy is very red and he tends to push people away. (You need psychic abilities to determine that?) But she also has a vision of people running away from a white light, and someone “very special” who smells of bourbon coming into his life. Suddenly some masked thugs in a van attack, and Maya gets injured. John unmasks a thug to reveal that he…looks like Avery!
NEXT: Stop cloning around, guys! In the hospital, Maya reveals to Dorian that she got the brain-enhancing procedure in the hopes of connecting with her dead parents. However, her family home burned down, and she doesn’t have any items to help her commune with her parents. While searching through Fuller’s records, Stahl finds a letter from Dr. Fuller to Avery and asks her MX to send everything to Maldonado. Avery’s clones then show up, taking out the MX and capturing Stahl.
Back at the station, John has determined that the clones used a communicator device from the safe house MX to keep tabs on Maya. Maldonado reads the letter Stahl found and determines that Dr. Fuller was the one who cloned Avery. The doctor was going to publish his findings and expose the clones, so Avery killed him. Avery’s clone calls John and demands the actual Avery in exchange for Stahl. The clones seem to have the upper hand, but Maldonado has a plan…
At the jail, Maldonado escorts Avery out while Rudy projects their holographic image at the meeting spot. The clones are fooled at first, but unfortunately the hologram image flickers. A gunfight ensues, and Stahl breaks free from her clone captor. The clones speed off, but Dorian uses his super robot speed to catch up with them and then proceeds to flip over their van, which rightly impresses Stahl. If she thinks that’s impressive, she should visit the robot locker room sometime. Goodnight, folks! Try the veal, tip your waiters. But seriously, the show would so benefit from a human/robot love triangle. It’s only a matter of time before some human falls for Dorian, right? Give the fan fiction authors what they want, show!
NEXT: One bourbon, one shot, and one robot…Later, Maya testifies that she saw Avery kill Dr. Fuller. Maldonado turns Avery’s earlier taunts against him, saying his evil deeds will outshine his upstanding reputation and eventually he’ll be forgotten. On her way out, the prosecutor flirts with her. While it’s nice to see Lili Taylor’s character driving the plot for once, does she have to be painted as a sadsack workaholic stereotype who perks up when a man finally notices her? She just caught a bad guy using holograms, for Pete’s sake. Give her some credit. At least they didn’t cut to her at home talking to her seven android cats.
Outside, Dorian gives Maya a box of evidence recovered from her house to help her communicate with her dead parents. Awww, Dorian is like a robot fairy godmother. Back at the station, John is watching soccer. Stahl joins him and offers him some…bourbon!! Wait, people running… bourbon… Maya’s vision has come true!
Overall this was a fun episode, though I’m starting to get antsy for a return to the plot points set up back in episode one. (I hoped Maya’s vision would be about John’s missing ex-girlfriend, but that didn’t pan out.) As we discussed last week, FOX is airing the episodes out of order in an effort to draw in viewers with standalone crime procedural plots. (After the pilot, we jumped to episode five. This week’s outing is actually episode eight, not five.)
Unfortunately this move may end up hurting the show in the long run. Besides the dangling story points from the pilot (so has Insyndicate just been chilling out this whole time?), we were denied the chance to see John and Dorian’s partnership grow from an uneasy union to their current level of mutual respect. Next week, Fox is airing episode three. If all of a sudden John is wary about his new android partner, that’ll be quite the odd tonal shift after three episodes that leaned heavily on the “buddy” side of the buddy cop genre. Hopefully Fox will get back on schedule as we head into 2014. (Or is that 2049??)
Next week: A timely look at the health care system in 2048. Also, exploding hearts!
Bonus video of the week: The opening theme song of the short-lived RoboCop TV series. The next time someone complains about the upcoming big screen reboot, remind them that it could be a whole lot worse.