Perception: often said to be reality, it affects the way we see things, whether it’s how we look at others or ourselves. Yes, perception can strengthen, distract, or tear us down. This week’s ‘Almost Human’ is the embodiment of its namesake.

Kennex awakens from a dream; his memories of Anna are starting to rise from the depths of his unconsciousness. He throws a virtual Post-It onto a shelf, notating the slowly returning memories. Maldonado interrupts him and directs him to a dead body, the second such and both young women that attend Mendel Academy. He arrives on scene and berates Dorian for ratting on him to Maldonado but they inspect the body as Stahl goes over the other victim in the morgue. Both seem to have died of cardiac arrest and have empty biometric containers on their persons. Maldonado tells Stahl that both girls were Chromes—genetically modified kids—like Stahl. As they go deeper into examining the bodies, they find drugs in both girls’ blood. Dorian finds connection to a third girl—Lilah Davis—that died seven months ago and exhibited the same trace drug residue in her blood stream.

Chromes–genetically engineered kids, something Stahl knows well

Knowing his partner isn’t quite right, Dorian confronts Kennex about taking the memex pills. He’s using them to “open up memory clusters” to help him with Anna and the Insyndicate ambush. The discussion is tabled for the moment as they visit Mrs. Hoving, Lilah’s mom. She admits to doing some digging on Lilah’s death, hiring a PI to investigate two of Lilah’s friends, Eleanor Church and Scarlett Davis, the two most recent victims of the apparent overdose. She’s surprised at the news though Kennex’s not quite sold on her or the detective that was in charge of the case. While Dorian and Kennex are chatting with Mrs. Hoving, Stahl begins questioning some of Mendel’s students. She gets a bit more on Lilah from the deceased girl’s friend, the only other natural (non-Chrome) at the academy. She tells Stahl about Lilah’s aspirations to be great as well as to fit in. Kennex rejoins Stahl and together they question Marshall, a douche-cocky Chrome who smugly tells the duo that drugs would not be found there and when Kennex asks why, he replies “you wouldn’t understand.”

When Dorian finds another vial in Scarlett’s dorm room that contains a silver pill, it leads the investigation to an ultra-designer drug. Rudy points the finger at Parmaceutical Grade Chem Printer. They narrow things down to Chemulon-6 and the Wollenburg family. On the visit, Dorian’s able to pinpoint the machine that made the designer drugs but Kennex has an extreme flashback that nearly gets he and Dorian killed. They finally get to the Wollenburg’s and speak with Julian, Chemulon-6’s deceased owner’s son who was, coincidentally expelled from Mendel the previous year. He tells them a bit more about Verum, the designer drug, the same one he’s high on already. “it expands the mind,” he tells them “…enables you to realize  your full potential.” He tells them the machine was hacked and, while it’s a bit farfetched, Kennex can’t shake the fact that there’s more to the story. Taking into account Julian’s story, they dig a bit deeper into Marshall but Stahl’s findings on an exchange between Scarlett and her father has the investigation veering in a different direction.

After his shift is up, Kennex meets with Maldonado who asks if he’s using any “alternative therapies” to remember. He admits that things from the ambush are starting the peek their way through the fog of his traumas. Despite her words to allow the memories to return naturally, he makes a beeline back to the Recollectionist and gets into the chair…

..Anna’s voice, her face—“I hope you like it…”

“I’ve got something for you…it’s just something small…”

Dorian and Kennex pay a visit to Julian Wollenburg, suspect in the case

He returns home and takes apart the kewpie doll he remembers Anna giving to him, dropping it off to McGuiness in forensics to analyze it on the down low. He and Dorian make it out to Mr. Davis who admits to knowing about the girls taking the drugs and his part in covering things up. When he tells them Mrs. Hoving promised they would all pay for it and Detective Paul finds an encrypted vial inside Julian’s room, things are reaching their climax. Julian admits that he loved Lilah and that “When you’re surrounded by perfect things, you learn to appreciate the beauty and flaws.” The vial contains Lilah’s goodbye and suicide note, depressed that the drug helped her understand her own limitations. When they show it to her mother, she refuses to acknowledge guilt in the matter, nor remorse for having a hand in Elenor and Scarlett’s death. Her final monologue parallels what Kennex is feeling about Anna and the ambush; it’s an all-consuming feeling, an obsession that makes you “stop living.”

Though the case may be wrapped up, Kennex has to speak to Officer Reynolds from Internal Affairs about the burgeoning memories. Though he’s an ass, Reynolds is doing his job, though he goes a bit far when he makes mention of Kennex’s father in a less than admirable light. Fresh off the IA  interrogation, Maldonado’s words and Mrs. Hoving driving obsession, Kennex starts tearing down all his virtual Post-Its at his apartment when McGuiness calls him on her analysis on the doll. It’s a listening device…someone’s been spying on him with the last upload seven hours ago.

Curiouser and Curiouser…

More Than Human

  • Whether we admit it or not, we are often times our own worst enemies. Our obsession with things—both in and beyond our control, despite our motivations, can prove most destructive to us. Mrs. Hoving wanted justice for her daughter but her obsessions perverted her cause and grief into something ugly, something that needlessly cost two girls their lives. In his need to find out more about the ambush and his Anna, Kennex is putting his health in danger as he tries forcing his memories to return. After seeing what obsession has done to Mrs. Hoving and sobering reality of nearly getting himself and Dorian killed, he knows he’ll have to let things go and, as Maldonado suggested, return naturally.
  • Though it was mentioned in a previous episode, Stahl’s origin as a Chrome was again touched on but, sadly, we were not given a lot of meat on her or her brethren as they fit in throughout this future world. It may be my own impatience but this seemed to be a perfect episode to have delved deeper into her past; if not all the way, at least added some more umph to her character.
  • It was a very interesting line Officer Reynolds spat out about Kennex’s dad. Based on the detective’s reaction I’m sure this won’t be the last time we hear about Papa Kennex.