Technology, like so many things is not inherently good or evil. It is those that wield it who ultimately paint it as one or the other, based on his or her actions. In this week’s ‘Almost Human’, a life-saving device is turned into a prison of helplessness for recipients that who, without it, would die.

Poor guy’s ticker times out…

A gun-toting man enters a free clinic, demanding that doctors put him on life support. Despite his urgency and the doctors’ eventual action to follow his commands, the man suffers a terrible heart attack. He dies on the floor, whispering “they killed me” to the doctor at hand. Kennex and Dorian get the call and investigate the scene. Dorian spots a fellow DRN doing some maintenance before taking in the dead man. His analysis confirms the victim’s identity as Leonard Lee who, based on reports, should have been dead as he had been diagnosed with congenital heart failure. But his failing heart was replaced by a Vastrel Alpha, a top of the line bio-mechanical heart, though he’s not listed on any transplant lists. After translating the man’s Cantonese exclaimation (“It’s almost 9:18”) that ended up being his time of death, Kennex and Dorian leave the scene with a plus one…DRN 494. Shortly after getting the call from Rudy about a circuit modification in the bio-mech heart, DRN 494 goes commando, attacking a suspect that causes quite the chain reaction and results in the ‘death’ of another MX model. Dorian admits to giving 494 his old case files and access to police database, though said files were a bit outdated. Kennex isn’t too happy, especially after taking quite a reaming from Maldonado but Dorian opens up about his final thoughts before being decommissioned touches the detective.

They pay a visit to Vastrel and, after Dorian guilts him into donating, Kennex and Dorian speak to Pauline Rivera. She gives them more information on the bio-mech heart process, chief of which is how the funeral home is responsible for destroying any bio-mechanical additions and sending confirmation to the company. After getting info that Lee’s heart had been originally implanted in a woman that died two years ago, the two detectives pay a visit to the home and find Henry there. After some strong-arming, he admits to selling lots of synthetic parts, working through a man named Oscar that picks them up after delivery. Based on Henry’s admission, Stahl’s digging that found Lee shelling out $5K a month for the past two years and Rudy’s analysis of the circuit mod being a timer that shuts down the heart after 30 days unless it’s reset, Kennex realizes someone’s running a very distinct and deadly extortion ring.

Kennex does a bit more arm twisting and forces Henry to give Oscar a call. While they wait for Oscar to show, Dorian gives his DRN brother the 4-1-1 on why all DRN’s were shut down. Oscar shows and the stakeout teams, one led by Paul and the other by Kennex, follows Oscar to an abandoned building where Dr. Keating prepares to implant Emilia with a new heart. When she realizes she’s been set free, Emilia is more than upset, lamenting that she needs the heart to live.

Following the raid, Henry gets a call from a woman telling him not to reset any of the dozens of hearts whose timers are on the brink of shutting down. Paul questions Oscar while Kennex goes to work on the doctor.

Dorian sharing with his DRN brethren

It doesn’t take long for the guys to realize the mastermind, who goes by the name Karen, has compartmentalized the entire op and fooled Dr. Keating into believing the mods were for remote diagnosis. Henry ends up leaving the people to die and it leads to several deaths. Kennex and Dorian are at the scene of a female victim while Stahl cases the crime scene of a second; she notices a tattoo on his forearm that confirms he had, at one point been on Vastrel’s in-house transplant list and rejected—like the others—for lack of insurance. The guys pay Pauline Rivera another visit as she was the administrator over the list. Though she denies any involvement her assistant, Jacinta, is ID’d by Dr. Keating as the one who he worked through. They get to her house only to find trace evidence of a body which gets Kennex’s gears turning. The bio-mech heart transplants were under the radar so would someone really let the potential profit go to waste if someone wasn’t able to pay the monthly fee? Dorian ends up finding 36 unsolved disappearances over the past few years who were also denied Vastrel hearts and it leads them back to Henry. They move in on Henry just as he’s about to get rid of Jacinta’s body. He tries to run but Dorian goes Terminator on the wall and nabs him. Back at the station, Stahl tells Kennex about Vastrel’s “good faith” gesture to provide hearts to everyone free of charge while Henry bitterly offers a monologue to Dorian, “Must be nice to have all the time in the world.”

Afterwards, 494 tells Dorian about a hostage situation where he broke protocol to save a little boy named Philip. The little boy’s reaction—hugging 494—“was my proudest moment as a cop”. The case over, Dorian and Kennex drops 494 back at the hospital and takes away most of his recent memories and police files though he leaves the most important one. With a smile, DRN 494 admits that he remembers the little boy. He remembers Philip.

More Than Human

  • More than anything, this episode offers commentary on the dangers of technology. The show’s intro highlights the inability to regulate tech and how criminals have taken advantage of it. But as Dorian points out, Kennex has benefited from the technology of the day, as so many other people have. The unfortunate nature of things lies in humanity and how we develop inside, not the advancements we achieve on the outside.
  • Seeing another DRN model was very interesting and the show did a good job conveying DRN 494’s own unique personality and the true masterpiece of the synthetic soul. What is the chance we see more DRN’s in the future? How about one who’s on the other side of the war—maybe an important cog in the Syndicate machine?
  • Speaking of Syndicate, once again there was no mention of this evil organization, though I have to wonder how much of that is due to FOX’s brain dead decision to air episodes out of order. Still, even with ‘Arrhythmia’ being a very solid episode, this continual lack of follow-up takes a bit away from the series as a whole.