This weeks episode of Almost Human is entitled ‘Arrhythmia’. It deals with a blackmail operation undertaken by a group of people who have access to artificial hearts. As there are citizens who can’t get insured in the future they buy such a ‘second-hand’ heart on the black market. They must pay a regular fee or otherwise their heart will be made to stop. That is what happened in the opening scene to a man who couldn’t pay anymore. While investigation this unusual homicide Dorian and Kennex meet up with another DRN android that looks just like Dorian. Kennex is not pleased with this ride along especially as the DRN has outdated criminal files after working as a janitor for three years. This obsolescence of data files culminates when DRN-494 arrests somebody already convicted. Dorian is unwilling to give up on his brother and tries to figure out why it stopped working as a detective. This gives us valuable insight into the background of the DRN’s and also why Kennex referred to them as the ‘crazy’ ones in the pilot episode.
Meanwhile, Kennex and Dorian investigate the company that originally made the artificial hearts, Vastrel. Interrogating Mrs. Pauline Revera Kennex discovers that artificial hearts have to be destroyed after a person dies. Kennex and Dorian are quickly on trail of a worker named Henry Mills at a funeral home who tasks it is to cremate the bodies. Mills admits to re-selling the hearts but denies being involved in the blackmail of the recipients. Kennex and Dorian organize a stake-out of the doctor performing the transplant. They catch the doctor performing such a transplant but he also denies being involved in the blackmail. After the doctor’s practice has been shutdown the number of people whose artificial hearts ‘expire’ rapidly increase.
The real perpetrators behind the blackmail try to eliminate all ties to their crimes. Only the courier for the hearts and the doctor offer any help. Kennex and Dorian discover that it was the assistant of Mrs. Revera at Vastrel that uncovered the people in need for surgery and where surplus artificial hearts could be harvested. As Kennex and Dorian try to arrest her they discover that her home has been cleaned and that her probable body was removed. They can only think of Mr. Mills as being the one who can get rid of bodies that easily, something he would have to do for all those persons who were unwilling to pay the fees for the artificial hearts. Mr. Mills is arrested before he can pull the plug on all of his ‘patients’.
Dorian continues to persuade DRN-494 to become a police detective again. However, DRN-494 doesn’t seem able to trust himself after he broke the rules three years before to save the life of a boy. This revelation shows that unlike the other androids in the ‘Almost Human’ universe the DRN’s are too some degree unique from other. They have separate experiences and each can fail a psyche test depending on what seem to be random factors. The episode ends with Kennex and Dorian returning DRN-494 back to his quarters and his life as a janitor. Dorian removes the DRN’s memory as a detective except for the boy whose life he saved.
The acting on the part of Michael Ealy continues to be stellar on Almost Human. The dead-pan face is perfect for the humor of this series yet his face can exude emotion more effective than Karl Urban can at times. In ‘Arrhythmia’ he had to play two roles, that of Dorian and DRN-494. He manages to play each in such away that there are emotional distinctions behind the otherwise identical masks. The only shame is that the DRN-494 is mostly shown during the first half of the episode.
So far the series has shun away from placing detective Stahl (Minka Kelly) in the spotlight. During this episode as well as the previous one we saw more of her during the actual hunt for the culprits of whatever crime committed, but her personage remains a mystery. Viewers will comment that in both episodes that were scenes at the end in which Stahl and Kennex seem to bond more closely but I think this is not the case for the viewer and Stahl. Stahl’s on-off relationship with Kennex feels too forced.
The character of John Kennex feels a bit wooden this week. For some time we have seen little character development. As such any growth in his character will have to wait until the series is willing to continue the mythology storyline with its main villain ‘The Syndicate’ and Kennex’s mysterious former girlfriend.
Almost Human is suffering from steadily declining ratings. Similarities to Fringe are already being made as ratings seem to dip to levels seen on that other show during its third season. At this rate it would appear that the show won’t get another season after this. What is it that doesn’t draw a larger audience to this show? The special effects are good, the humor is good and the thriller aspects often reaches the level seen on Fringe and The X-files. The Almost Human producers have however made a mistake with showing episodes out-of-order and wandering aimlessly with its mythology story arc.
Score; 8.2 / 10. A good procedural episode that falters during the second half.