‘Almost Human’s’ concept is a world where technology has advanced to the point of being impossible to regulate. Bots—DRN’s like Dorian or the MX models—have come on line to help combat high tech criminals. And so have smart houses.
We’re introduced early to the smart house controversy where, a year prior, a teenager by the name of Aaron Kasdan was gunned down for trespassing on the Michael and Linda Bennett’s yard. The couple gets a rude awakening when their smart house is hacked and takes them out. Though Maldonado is calling it a malfunction, the fact that it happened on the one year anniversary of Aaron Kasdan’s death, points to foul play. Kennex and Dorian question S.A.M., the centerpiece of the smart house. After speaking to the system about the hack, they pay a visit to Kay Stinson, CEO of Synturion, the company manufacturing the smart houses. S.A.M. is there as well, but this as a fully functioning security bot, one Synturion is taking to market in less than a month. Stinson brings in Peter Newsome, the company’s legal counsel, to help answer the detectives’ queries. Kennex is somewhat hostile towards the senseless murder of Aaron Kasdan but Stinson’s belief in security lies in her past experience with home invasion. She is able to point the officers towards ‘Disrupt’, the most vocal group opposing Synturion’s place in the market, perpetrating large scale denial-of-service attacks against the firm.
Meanwhile, Stahl questions Mrs. Kasdan, Aaron’s mother. Though she holds animosity towards Synturion, smart houses in general and Peter Newsome, she doesn’t have much to offer the case. One their ride back to the station, Dorian confides in Kennex on his memories of being a child. It’s not a coincidence that these are the same memories Rudy was accessing at the beginning of the episode while Dorian was charging. He needs to speak to Rudy, to get a better idea of what the scientist was doing in his head when they come across a ‘Justice for Aaron’, notice shining in the face of a city blackout, courtesy of Disrupt. They champion their cause as one against dangerous technology, Synturion at the forefront of it. The police force is able to ID the power grid hacker as Crispin X and need Rudy’s expertise to figure out the name behind hacker ID. He points them to the traditional after-hack party, one where Kennex and Stahl, the latter using Aphid, Rudy’s old handle, gain access into said party. The two detectives ask around and find Niko, aka Crispin X.
While Kennex and Stahl are taking Niko into custody, Rudy tells Dorian the memories he’s seeing is nothing more than the DRN’s neural net reinterpreting sensory data experienced through his time. He admits to having conversations with Dorian while the DRN was decommissioned, though he had to erase the files when Dorian was reinstated for active duty. His admission touches Dorian and the detective tells the aloof tech head that “we are friends…you don’t have to keep things from me.” As Dorian leaves, Rudy can’t hide the guilty expression that is a sign of keeping an even bigger secret.
Though Kennex and Stahl come down hard on Niko, he vociferously denies having anything to do with the Bennett’s murder. When Peter Newsome, Synturion’s lawyer is found dead via another smart house malfunction, Kennex finds the first true lead; it’s a photo of Aaron, one that is missing its second half and possibly pointing to the murderer. With Niko’s help, they’re able to ID Emily Wilson: a brilliant but troubled teen who was filed as a missing person less than a month ago. And who’s at it again, sending the same photo to Kay Stinson? Yep, you guessed it.
Doing a bit more digging, Niko finds info on Kay Stinson, sure signs that she’s the next target. Kennex and Dorian make their way to Stinson as Emily reprograms the company’s systems to take her out. In fact, she’s manually accessed the database, a sure sign that she’s in Synturion’s building. John and Dorian split up with the former searching the halls for Kay and the latter making his way to the server room to confront Emily. Kennex is able to save Stinson while Dorian, after taking out a S.A.M. security bot mano-y-mano, is able to speak to Emily. Holding a gun to her own head and knowing the fire suppression systems will suck out all the air from the building, she opens up to the mountain of guilt, admitting that Aaron was on his way to see her when he died. With seconds to spare, Niko finishes things up by shutting down the fire suppression systems.
Following up on the case’s end, Stahl shows Mrs. Kasdan that, despite her son seemingly living a lonely life, he touched many lives in his time on line. It may not bring her son back, but the thought is one that may help Mrs. Kasdan find some semblance of peace.
At the lab, Rudy brings Kennex in on the irregularities in Dorian’s files. Someone’s been accessing Dorian’s network for a reason and, though Kennex wants to tell his partner, Rudy shuts it down, knowing that if word were to get out, the first reaction would be shut the DRN down for good. Kennex has to be on the lookout for any sort of atypical behavior from his partner.
- Though he seems like a single episode character, it would be smart to have Niko along as a recurring character as the department’s go-to hacker. There’s a flair about him that would add a good bit of sauciness to the mix, no doubt butting heads with Kennex and maybe, just maybe, catching Stahl’s interest—not necessarily in a romantic slant but one that would bring out a bit of jealously in our favorite detective with the synthetic leg.
- From the beginning, we’ve known something was different with Dorian. Maldonado told Kennex the DRN was “special” in the pilot episode. Does this special encompass the reason someone’s been inserting memory files into him? And what was the purpose of these memory kernels? Will it lead back to his creator, Nigel Vaughn and his traversal over the Wall? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.