Thursday, February 27, 2014

'Almost Human' GifTweetCap: Creep Be-Holding Beautiful Eyes

Part 1 of these gifs are available in this Tumblr post, and part 2 is on this post. Scroll to the bottom for more into on next week's season finale tweetfest, and ways to help the show get a Season 2. "Beholder" contains everything an Almost Human fan could want. It has a good dose of Fringiness (as in, similar to the much-loved sci-fi show, Fringe), Kennex-Dorian car-ride banter, and a bit of unexpected hilarity in what seemed to be a nod to Total Recall. In fact, the entire episode was a nod to one of the best episodes of one of the best sci-fi shows of all time: the "The Eye of the Beholder" episode of The Twilight Zone.

The episode "knocks it out of the park" right at the beginning with some awesome holo-golf. I don't even like golf, but this is pretty cool!
Unfortunately, a creeper (Michael Eklund) is spying on the golfer (Tommy Douglas), and quickly tases him when he notices something is up. Then, the bad guy shoots him up with something that causes a very "Fringie" wavering of the man's lip.
Next up: Kennex (Karl Urban) eats a doughnut, and it's somehow way more awesome than any other doughnut-eating cop, ever.
As Kennex enjoys doughnut heaven, Dorian (Michael Ealy) decides to slap him out of bliss by answering his phone, after Kennex insists that he leave it alone. Dorian then proceeds to tell "Samantha" just how much Kennex doesn't want to talk to her. Afterward, Kennex admits that Samantha "holo-blocked" him at dinner by inviting everyone she knows, and taking every call.
Kennex prepares to teach Dorian a few things about the bro-code, when Stahl (Minka Kelly) interrupts with an urgent matter: a Chrome (someone genetically engineered, the way she is), and 2036 Detroit Olympics participant, has died of apparently natural causes. When Kennex appears confused, Stahl explains that the man must have been murdered, because Chroming costs big money, and most of that goes toward not dying of natural causes.
Dorian confirms that the golfer was murdered when he shoots himself up with a little Chrome-DNA. The DNA suggests he was murdered by seven people, but it turns out they were all murdered in the same way. Apparently, our bad guy figures the needle doesn't need to be clean if he's just killing them anyway.
Then we see what the killer, whom we later learn is named as Eric, is doing: taking the victims' DNA, and having a doctor (John Shaw) create some sort of serum out of it, so he can become the Frankenstein of beauty. That sounds like an oxymoron, but apparently, the disgusting phase is supposed to be temporary.
The murder is leaked to the press because Chromes are a tight-knit group. Stahl goes it alone when visiting the Chrome club that noticed its missing member, but a bitch-faced Chrome (Emilie Ullerup) is uncooperative, because she cares more about the purity of her club that about catching a murderer.
Stahl finally gets somewhere when Jake (Jesse Hutch), a cute Chrome guy, notices what's going on. He also gets her some surveillance video so she can see whether the dead Chrome was being followed.
Rudy (Mackenzie Crook) proves that seven other people died from the same drug. He lifts up one of the holo-bodies for better viewing.
The others weren't Chromes, but were all good-looking people. In fact, they never would have known about the murders if it hadn't been for the death of a Chrome. As such, Rudy is quite perturbed that he was not notified of this "Beauty Killer," as he is clearly a beautiful man.
Rudy discovers what is happening: the man is stealing facial parts using a drug that had been tested but never released to the public. Dorian and Kennex visit one of the doctors (Matthew Harrison) who performed the drug trials. He explains how the drug works with an example: Kennex could have asked to have Dorian's perfect nose, then they would have performed nanobot-surgery to give Kennex the same nose. The only problem? The donors die, and the recipients become disfigured.
Later, Eric comes across his new eyes -- is this another nod to "The Eye of the Beholder"? He seems so friendly with his new victim (Alex Duncan), but of course, he's only being friendly with his new body parts, not the human beings behind them. He seems to think that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" means that you have to have beauty in your eyes, with which you behold the objects from which you will steal those eyes.
... and now he's got perfect, beautiful green eyes to go with his nasty face.
Eric needs a specific tool to perform the procedure, so Kennex seeks out Dicarlo (Tony Cox), a man who may know more about it. He finds Dicarlo hiding inside an odd choice of bots.
Using Dicarlo's information, they find the location of the doctor who has been injecting Eric with his new face, and had formerly been involved in the trials. He takes a large dose of adrenaline in the hopes of fighting off Kennex and Dorian, but this results in his death -- after giving Kennex a good choke. Dorian attempts to revive him, but fails. Good riddance!
They find the final victim using facial recognition on the last feature Eric wants to steal: cheek bones. They base the search on a photo of the goal features found at the doctor's secret lab. Unfortunately, Eric will still be able to find a new victim with similar cheek bones.
Through some clever detective work, Kennex realizes that all the victims have new 3D DMV photos, which Kennex was unable to get, even after waiting for hours. He speculates whether the killer works for the DMV, and is correct in his assessment.
Meanwhile, Eric sits at home, creepily eyeing Judy (Rhonda Dent), a woman across the way, as "Crimson and Clover" plays. She turns out to be a woman he met online, and fell in love with. He's trying to look perfect for her, and she's anxious to meet him. With the cops closing in, Eric decides to pay her an early visit. Guess what? She's blind! Queue The Twilight Zone music...
Kennex is clever a second time when he notices the well-worn spot where Eric has been spying on his Internet soul-mate, and breaks into her apartment to chase him up to the roof of her building.
Kennex is a bit depressed after seeing the lonely Eric commit suicide, so Dorian offers to watch him drink. That got "a little weird last time," so Kennex has a better idea: stop being lonely by going for the girl he really wants. Unfortunately, he's late to the party. Jake got there first.
If only Kennex had experienced that heart-broken feeling before trying to talk Eric off the ledge. Maybe he would have known what to say. The blind girl went with her heart. The funny thing is that Stahl went with her heart after realizing that perfect Chromes can be human too. Not all of them are asshats.
See that? "Beholder" has many parallels with The Twilight Zone episode. Beauty is not only in the eye of the beholder -- "ugly" people can actually be ugly on the inside, and perfect people can be beautiful on the inside, and vice versa. You just never know what a person is really like, whether they appear to you to be beautiful or ugly, until you get to know them.

Want Almost Human Season 2?

Almost Human is by no means "certain to be canceled," but it is "on the bubble." It could go either way. So, next week is our last chance to make a good showing for our favorite show. Let's do this!

1. Tell your friends to watch, and live tweet. You never know when you may be quoted in my next article, or elsewhere! Networks are beginning to look more and more at live discussion events, especially since it indicates that people are watching live.

2. Next week, we will most likely be tweeting #AlmostHumanLives to push for renewal (for this episode, it was #RenewAlmostHuman). I'll update this if that changes. Join the Almost Humaniacs Facebook group, and the Almost Human Task Force for more information, and for more Almost Human fun!

3. In addition, RewardTV is a Nielsen site that gives away prizes for taking TV trivia quizzes. Pay attention to the commercials during the finale, then take the quiz. You can only take the quiz the day after the show, and then it goes away... but they love when you get the questions about the ads correct. That means the advertisements are working, and that everyone is making money off the show. That's the whole reason they want people to watch live... to make advertising money.

4. By all means, if you have a Nielsen box, you should definitely be watching live so that you'll count in the ratings.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

'Almost Human' GifTweetCap: Is Dorian the 'Victim' of Transhumanism?

Most of the gifs from this recap can be found on this Tumblr post. "Disrupt" introduces a major new story arc for Almost Human. There are also some other fun things going on in this episode, so I sort of separated them so they would stand out.

The episode opens with Rudy violating Dorian... violating his AI computer brain, anyway. He roots around as Dorian "sleeps," leaving Dorian a bit freaked out.


Throughout the episode, Kennex tells humorous lies (or jokes, depending on how you look at it) about the reason for Det. Paul's absence during the case. His first lie (to Rudy) is that Paul is out with an infected piercing, "down there."

After Kennex takes Dorian to work, we see that Rudy is working on the contents of Dorian's brain, which contains a sick child with a toy train, and a fatal error. Ohhh... can't wait to see where this is going!
Meanwhile, a couple is killed by their own computerized security system, and SAM (Matthew Kevin Anderson), their holo-butler. The wife (Karen Holness) is trapped by the pool cover, then the husband (Dalias Blake) is shot while trying to save her.
The couple had been receiving thousands of threatening emails just before their deaths, because a young kid named Aaron had been killed by the couple's security system at almost the exact same time a year ago. Dorian finds that SAM was hacked, but the hacker left no traces of who they are.


Kennex's second lie (to a fellow cop, played by Daniel Mallinson) is that Paul is out with internal and external hemorrhoids, and that the department should chip in for a donut pillow.

Dorian and Kennex meet with Kay Stenson (Suleka Mathew), the CEO, and Peter Newsom (David Stuart), the lawyer for Synturion, the security company that made the killer system. Stenson seems to have entirely noble reasons for creating the system, as she had been assaulted by several men in her own home before such security systems existed. Kennex gets it, but clearly disagrees with how far she took the system... a kid jumping over a fence used to be met with a yell rather than "laser-guided gunfire."
"Disrupt" is one of the many groups who most vocally agree with Kennex's sentiment. They are an "anonymous" group of hackers (Get it? They make that connection to Anonymous themselves... I didn't add that in). There are also many parallels with the Zimmerman case, which many tweeps noted while live-tweeting.
Kennex has his Paul-lies dotting the episode, but Dorian scatters the episode with visions of his... er... childhood? Actually, Dorian sees the same visions that Rudy had been snooping in on at the beginning of the episode -- the same ones that seemed to be causing a "fatal error." Dorian finally tells Kennex what's going on.
The important thing here is that we finally get a car-ride discussion! No banter, but we do have plenty of banter elsewhere throughout the episode, so fans can still be satisfied after two episodes devoid of the much-loved Dorian-Kennex-car-ride hilarity. That seems to have become the show's trademark.
As they discuss Dorian's growing meltdown, a blackout hits the city. The only lights to come back on are large banners that declare, "Justice for Aaron."
The blackout is tracked to a hacker known as Crispin X. The gang originally believes that he's part of Disrupt, but Rudy sets them straight: he's a hacker for hire. Rudy knows how to get an invite to a party attended by the hacker, so Stahl asks what she needs to know in order to have hacker street cred: her hacker handle (Rudy's, back when he was a hacker) is Aphid, and she'll have to take Rudy's hacker tablet, which he has trouble parting with.
Rudy also warns Stahl that the hackers are very dangerous, and that she'll have to look the part by wearing lots of makeup and a wig. Kennex goes in as her backup, also looking the part. When they go in, Kennex realizes that there's no danger: it's just a bunch of "VR geeks," experiencing fake danger in a virtual reality party. The first guy they come across  (Zack Lavoie) tells them to check the back for Crispin X.
... and he tells them that after Kennex offers up Rudy's beloved tablet.
By the way, this is not the first time Karl Urban has worn guyliner. Except in Chronicles of Riddick, he was also dead:
Still searching for Crispin X, the next guy they find (Tyree Alleyne) enjoys the ridiculous sight of cops in makeup.
When they finally locate Crispin X, he is immediately drawn to Stahl's fake Aphid handle -- I'm sure it has nothing to do with her hotness. As he extends a hand to shake hers, his wrist is met with cuffs.
Crispin X's real name is Nico (Reece Thompson). As they question him, another body turns up dead. Newsom has been killed by the fire suppression module of his security system. The module sucks all the oxygen out of the room. Gah!


Nothing to do with the story, but awesome tech: neon fish!


Kennex's third lie is the best one if all. He tells a female cop that Paul got an infection from a sex bot. Her reaction -- and his reaction to her reaction -- is priceless. I was laughing so hard, I scared my kitties.
Nico agrees to help the gang find the real killer in order to receive immunity. Nico helps them find the rest of the photo of Aaron being sent to victims, and it shows a girl named Emily Wilson (Laine MacNeil). She's a disturbed 18-year-old whom Aaron had been helping when he was killed. She has been lashing out at all those she sees as responsible, on the one-year anniversary of his death. Gee, I'd bet he'd be so proud.
Emily's next target is Stenson, and Nico quickly finds that Emily is in Synturion's headquarters, preparing to enact fire suppression, while also siccing the company's new android version of SAM on her -- a real android, rather than a hologram. Kennex gets some help from Nico by getting him to hack the building's system to create holographic copies of himself that can confuse SAM.
Dorian makes short work of a SAM that is protecting Emily.
John "kills" an android SAM that is strangling Stenson, with the help of two holo-friends.
Dorian is able to talk down Emily, and she finally gives up. With a couple of seconds remaining, Nico is able to disable the fire suppression system.


When the cop whom Kennex told about fake hemorrhoids presents Maldonado with Bitcoins for Paul's brand new donut pillow, she gets rather snippy. She seems more upset that everyone believed Kennex's lies than about the lying itself. Then she tells the cop what really happened. Paul took his mom to Mexico for his birthday! --I think I like the sex-bot-infection story better.
Aaron's mom had always thought that her son was a loner, but he had helped hundreds of people online, all over the globe. In reality, he had many friends. Emily just happened to be the most disturbed among them, and he died when she was still vulnerable.
Later, Rudy has a private conversation with Kennex in which he tells him something rather ominous: Dorian's fake childhood memories were covertly implanted in his bot-brain. Rudy erased the images and closed the insertion point, but they will have to watch him closely to make he doesn't "flip out," the way the other DRNs did.
They also can't tell anyone, or risk Dorian being decommissioned immediately. DUN DUN DUNNNNNNN!!! Could this be an attempt at "transhumanism," as in, a real person living forever in the body of a robot? That's my theory, but I can't wait to find out!