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TV Review: ‘Almost Human’ – ‘Blood Brothers’

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This week’s Almost Human episode, “Blood Brothers,” explores biotechnology gone rogue when an egotistical genius is accused of murdering a physician. The crime scene shows no evidence of the man having been there, and his excuse is rock solid. Except there are two witnesses to his crime.ALMOST-HUMAN_S1-Cast_470

One of the witnesses is a flaky young woman who claims she is a telepath able to communicate with the dead and see people’s auras. Needless to say, Kennex (Karl Urban) is more than a bit cynical. But when the safe house in which she and the other witness are held is ambushed, she is the only survivor and the only hope of a conviction.

“Blood Brothers” highlights a recurrent theme in Almost Human: the fine line between human and not human, and the fragile thread that forms both our own humanity and the connections we have with others. The episode also contrasts the ways in which we use technology itself and how those endowed with special gifts: intelligence, telepathy, physical strength, because of it wield the power it affords them.

“Blood Brothers” is a strong story, and I think, one of the best so far this season. There is quite a bit of teamwork in the episode, and all the players get their moments — even the MX androids. Captain Molonado (Lily Taylor) drives the story with her determination to see the smug, genius defeated and convicted, especially as he tries to play mind games with her. The romance between Kennex and Valerie (Minka Kelly) is pushed forward, nudged ahead by matchmaker-android Dorian (Michael Ealy), and Rudy (Mackenzie Crook, now attired rather dashingly in a three piece suit, and properly referred to as “Dr.” Rudy Lom for the first time, I think) also plays an important part once again in apprehending the bad guys (although not as dangerously — for him — as last week’s episode).

Hologram images, clones, androids, and even the dead are presented as near-human representations for us to interact with. Of course one of the series main characters, Dorian is an android, and is one of the most human of all the series regulars (including the humans). How human? In an amusing conversation, John asks a very personal question of Dorian after he goes looking for his android partner in the Droid dressing room. Seeing the MX android cops in various states of undress, he can’t help but notice they are essentially high-powered “Ken Dolls,” and wonders whether Dorian is similarly equipped (or lack thereof).

Dorian, compassionate, and understanding (perhaps too well) loneliness and isolation for being “different,” connects with the flaky, but sweet, telepathic witness and ultimately helps her attain the closure she so desperately needs by facilitating communication with her dead parents. It is the most human moment in the entire episode.

This week’s bad guy has taken cloning technology (and his own mega ego) to extremes by creating several of himself, allowing him to pull off a murder almost (but not quite) perfectly. But Molanado, with help from Rudy play the murderer perfectly (well almost perfectly) using a very realistic hologram image that has the clones fooled until the last moment, when the image is disrupted. But it is enough.

I’m really enjoying this show. I’ve always liked Karl Urban, and Michael Ealy is terrific as Dorian. I love the banter between the two characters; there is much chemistry and it provides a lovely way of exploring their connection (and for us to get to know them — and Dorian’s unique attributes) without hitting us over the head with exposition.

I have to say, though, my favorite character has become Dr. Rudy Lom. Mackenzie Crook is a real revelation in this show. He imbues Rudy with an air of real tragedy as the rather reclusive scientist that makes me want to understand what makes him tick.

Almost Human airs Monday nights at 8:00 ET on FOX.

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is publisher and executive editor of Blogcritics, as well as a noted entertainment writer. Author of Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D., her primary beat is primetime television. But Barbara writes on an everything from film to politics to technology to all things pop culture and spirituality. She is a contributor to the book called Spiritual Pregnancy (Llewellyn Worldwide, January 2014) and has a story in Riverdale Ave Press' new anthology of zombie romance, Still Hungry for your Love. She is hard at work on what she hopes will be her first published novel.