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Monday, January 6, 2014

Almost Human 1.7: Meets Criminal Minds

Anyone who thought Almost Human was just a retread of Isaac Asimov's robot stories received a punch in the face in the opening segment of tonight's episode 1.7, in which Dorian, contrary to Asimov's first law of robotics that a robot can never do harm to a human, punches Det. Paul smack in the kisser. And the reason was not on behalf of a loftier goal - the punch came from the short fuse Dorian has, literally and figuratively, because he was undercharged, on Paul's order.

The rest of the episode combined good out-of-control outbursts from undercharged Dorian, along with a script that could have been taken from Criminal Minds and propelled half a century into the future.  A sicko brilliant programmer - rejected from the police academy - sets up a series of bombs around the necks of people who also rejected or frustrated him.   Inevitably, someone we really care about - in this case, one of the two lead characters of the show, Kennex - gets a ticking collar around his neck, and it's up to Dorian with charge all but depleted to save him.

The other aspect of this story is a good, cynical presentation of crowd-sourcing in support of online spectacles, in this case the sicko's various attempts to get his revenge on the world.  The Internet has already given megalomania of all kinds a great boost in our current age,  including malcontents and psychos who not only are depraved but want an audience for their depravities.  Today it's videos of beatings outside schoolyards; tomorrow it could well be what we saw tonight on Almost Human.  In either case, what I call this "dark side" of  New New Media is likely here to stay.   The police in Almost Human appropriately refer to such streaming as the "dark net".

Almost Human continues to offer a top-notch mix of science fiction, social commentary,  and police procedural.

See also: Almost Human debuts: A Review ... Almost Human 1.2: Sexbots ... Almost Human 1.3: Change of Face ... Almost Human 1.4: Almost Breaking Bad ... Almost Human 1.5: Clones and Holograms ... Almost Human 1.6: The Blackmarket Heart and Double Dorian


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