After the pilot and the rather weird second episode of Almost Human I was ready for a run-of-the-mill story that would allow me to get an idea of what to expect. This week’s episode is entitled ‘Are You Receiving?’ and deals with Kennex and Dorian responding to a hostage situation. The story follows a familiar ‘Die Hard’ style episode structure whereby the protagonists steadily wear down the terrorists in what culminates in a ‘boss’ fight that includes a twist. In the movie ‘Die Hard’ Hans Gruber is revealed not to be a freedom fighter but a dirty thief. In this episode the antagonist Lucas and his gang are impersonating terrorists but are in reality providing a diversion for a another gang to steal precious minerals.
Dorian (Michael Ealy) and Kennex (Karl Urban) manage to get trapped in the same building along with the hostage takers (which explains my Die Hard reference). Through wit and bravado they make their way to the terrorists while dealing with interpersonal issues. The episode establishes Dorian’s traits and strengths rather well while Kennex’s dislike for technology is not mentioned. Kennex and Dorian are helped by one woman who has not been captured as a hostage and with her help they deduce that the hostage takers never intend to release the hostages. The race is on for Dorian and Kennex to save them but not before Kennex fixes damage Dorian got from a headshot with a piece of bubblegum. This at least establishes that Dorian is not superman, something fans have been worried would act like a deus ex machine if he was. Dorian’s near death experience at least references the show’s title ‘Almost Human’ when he says that he also fears death but it is not quite the same as for humans.
Outside the building Rudy, Captain Maldonado, Detective Stahl and even Paul all do their bit to help but are effectively sidelined in what at times feels a bit like a bottle show. The technology shown in the episode is impressive and so are the special effects vista’s but these days they are cheap to produce. The fact that the episode is limited to Dorian and Kennex running up and down a stairwell reveals its blandness. The twist near the end saves the episode but there are simply not enough character moments that would make this episode interesting to watch for a second time.
Score; 8 / 10. The fringe feel is strong and it has funny moments but otherwise it is a cheap rehash of Die Hard.