Escalation: it’s the quintessential formula for ‘Almost Human‘ and begins early when Kennex “takes it too far” with a group of kids on a field trip to the precinct. His level of understanding on what to show and what not to show younglings still needs work as he presents them with a picture of a very unfortunate criminal, a picture that causes one kid to throw up in the middle of the floor. Other than a few classic Rudy-ism’s, the levity in “Unbound” is pretty much given in the opening scene because, after Kennex’s latest flub, a woman is senselessly gunned down by a reprogrammed service bot. After a team of MX’s take it down, the seemingly non-functional bot is placed in the evidence warehouse where it powers back up and goes directly to the android head not seen since the series premiere. It trades heads, adorning the guise of MMA’s Gina Carano before shooting its way out of the police station. When Kennex and the others watch the surveillance of the escape, they identify the new head as that of an XRN. They hypothesize on who’s behind it—Insyndicate, someone behind the Wall—while Dorian struggles to catch up but he can find no records of an XRN. Kennex fills him in on it; the XRN was Lumicorp’s answer to the discontinuation of the DRN models. More soldier than cop, the XRN malfunctioned and, over three days, a single XRN took out 26 cops and countless MX droids. The head was the only thing left.Dorian meets his creator, Dr. Nigel Vaughn
That same head is driving the shot up body of the service droid and, after killing a cabbie, goes to a factory where it trades up, adorning a newer android body. She runs into a Nigel Bernard, who calls the bot ‘Danica’. Kennex and Dorian arrive on the scene after Bernard calls in the assault but when Dorian sees the man, he realizes this is Nigel Vaughn, founder of Lumicorp and creator of both the DRN and XRN. He gives them the lowdown on Danica and her wanting to use his lab. Kennex is more than accusatory and Vaughn openly displays his disdain for continually being defined by the XRN mistake. It takes some of the steam out of Kennex’s fire and Dorian leaves the good doctor with a gem of wisdom: “It’s not our past that defines us. It’s what we do now.” The sentiment is one Vaughn needed and he suggests that, with the right tools, he could possible locate Danica.
Kennex gets Maldonado to put in a release order for Vaughn’s equipment while the XRN breaks into a lab downtown and steals some powerful looking processors. They guys bring Vaughn and his equipment to Rudy who gushes over meeting one of his biggest idols. In the process, Dorian finds Vaughn’s “greatest achievement”, the Synthetic Souls. He shares with the others his inspiration, trying to harness the intangible. “DNA; it’s the data, but the soul…that’s the story.” Dorian wants to know what he did differently with the XRN than the DRN but assures Dorian he won’t go the way of Dorian. Detective Paul rings Kennex in on Danica stealing 500 ZNA processing core—cutting edge processors to be used to create an army of androids.
At the station, Kennex and Dorian speak to Luther Estes, a robotics expert. They use him to build profile of the designer that rewired the service bot. When Dorian mentions ‘The Wall’, Estes scoffs that someone that intelligent would be on the other side of the Wall. Meanwhile, as Vaughn creates a tracing protocol for tracking Danica, the scientist unburdens himself of the heartbreak he felt after losing everything. The darkness he felt made its way into Danica. “We are an integral part of our creation.” He’s able to locate her downtown where, still using the dead cabbie’s car, Danica shows she’s not just some crazy, murderous bot when she offers a genuine smile to a little girl.Danica brings carnage to a political fundraiser
With Danica’s energy signature located, Vaughn gives Kennex an EMP spike to ram into Danica’s skull to shut her down. They track her to a downtown bar hosting a re-election fundraiser for James Hart, City Councilman. Dorian tries having the place evacuated but it’s too late as Danica arrives and begins shooting the place up. A half dozen MX’s go down in a hail of gun fire when Dorian and Kennex join the fire fight. Danica’s body armor prevents true damage to her body but, when she’s about to reload, Kennex sees his chance and hammers the EMP spike into her neck. His relieved smile is short-lived when he realizes the spike has only powered her up. She makes short work of Kennex and approaches the wounded Hart, ready to end him when Dorian shows up. He asks her why and her response is quite fanatical. “Because my sacrifice is necessary, just like yours,” is her response. And then it’s on. XRN versus DRN but the fight ends prematurely when Dorian’s impaled on a metal rod. She’s ready to finish off our friendly neighborhood DRN when Kennex tags back in and, though he does a bit better this time, is still physically overmatched. But his tactical proficiency is still there when he pulls the pin on a grenade latched to her vest and super kicks her out the window where she explodes into about a thousand XRN pieces. Crisis averted, the friends share a moment where Kennex admits to that synthetic leg “growing on” him.
Maldonado tells Kennex that Vaughn is gone and Stahl gathers why Hart was the target; he spearheaded the DRN decommission. On the streets, Vaughn is picked up by a service bot but not before he gathers the stashed ZNA processing cores and flees to the last place anyone would look for him…over the Wall.
Dorian questioning a lot of things…if Danica is capable of such things, why can’t he? Dorian understands that Vaughn needs a new lab—“What about over The Wall?” Maldonado don’t think he’d do that but that’s just what he does—goes over Wall.
More than Human
- “It must be a helluva thing to meet your maker,” Kennex says to Maldonado as he watches an introspective Dorian. The latter is concerned that if Danica can ‘malfunction’ and go on a killing spree, couldn’t Dorian do the same thing? This is an all too human question about what makes us different. We could be raised in the same environment and even have similar circumstances affect us as life goes on but nothing is there to explain how our decisions differ from one person to the other. There is no tangible why; only the intangible that falls in the category of who we are.
- For the first part of this season, Kennex’s disdain for synthetics was well known (despite FOX’s re-ordering of episodes) but his gradual acceptance of Dorian showed the hard-ass cop was slowly changing his ways. He may still deplore the Ken doll MX bots but he’s slowly accepted Dorian and, more importantly, his own synthetic leg as part of his life.
- Aside from the human ramifications on creation, experience and choices, the biggest aspect introduced in ‘Unbound’ was the mention of The Wall. What is this “Wall” and, more importantly, what does it shield the city from? With Vaughn retreating to the other side in order to build his army, one can only assume we’ll be seeing more of this wall very soon. And it won’t be hugs and puppies for our heroes.