Male Objectification Monday: Michael Ealy

Best known for his roles in Barbershop and Seven Pounds, Michael Ealy came to my attention in the STILL NOT OFFICIALLY RENEWED SERIES “ALMOST HUMAN”… sorry for the caps, I’m panicking a little bit. He also had recurring roles on “The Good Wife” and “Californication” 

But, like I said, he caught my eye as the “disco-faced” sometimes unstable DRN police robot, Dorian.

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Although the plot revolved largely around Karl Urban’s character, John Kennex, Dorian added much needed humor -usually at John’s expense. He also had some deep plotlines himself, compassion for other DRN models, increasing aggravation that he’s the only DRN in the field and can’t relate to MXs, evolving to be a better police officer, a better partner..

But we aren’t here to talk about what a great character Dorian is, or what Michael Ealy added to the role (great delivery, sometimes a musical interlude, acting like a robot that acts like a human)… we’re here to look at Michael Ealy:

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And just for good measure, suited up:

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Ealy is appearing next in Think Like A Man, Too and then hopefully reprising his role as Dorian! Because I neeed him on my TV screen. 

Funfact: He also played a detective in 2012’s Underworld:Awakening

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And I don’t know why exactly, but this picture is so cute

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Almost Human- Episode 13

The episode begins with a woman at a homeless shelter being harassed by a man, a seemingly nice guy in a wheelchair comes to her defense and offers to help her out, he pricks her hand, drugging her.. then he pulls a Lucky Number Slevin and stands up out of the wheelchair and put the victim in it. Nothing looks amiss as they continue up the street. The next day they find her dead and stuffed with straw and stitched back up.

It’s identical to a case that Kennex’s father worked shortly before his death. And I was baffled because the plot was about how Kennex’s father was framed, threatened by dirty cops, thought he put the wrong man away for the Straw Man killings and we didn’t get back to Anna, Syndicate, his crush on Stahl or anything.

It goes on and Kennex gets to clear his father’s name, Michael Ealy sings Lionel Richie (actor says it was improv BTW) And successfully made it through his first review the conclusion being that this DRN is fit for duty.

Which lead FOX to tweet this:

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Which… what does that mean? Is the show renewed?! Quit messing with me!

Anyway, in a major plot twist, it is found that the dead bodies are not dead bodies and that they are 3D printed with bio-organic engineered skin and such. There was some interesting technological/futuristic implications -such as the homeless getting blood analyzed and receiving vitamins specific to their missing nutrients- but this one felt more like a traditional cop show than a lot of the episodes. They touched on the class struggle, homeless youth being the target of this person, a man who took the fall for the crime being easily convicted because of a history of mental illness. It was fairly well done, and I was glad to see the poor depicted less Fight Club/Mad Max destructive.

Quotes; Rudy trying to say something nice about Dorian for his review “If I had a child, I would want Dorian to raise it instead of me” or Kennex: “He flipped a van once. That was cool. I didn’t know he could do that” And later, messing with him, “I told them you have no concept of privacy. You scanned my balls, you exposed yourself..” And Dorians reply “I apologized for scanning your balls.” And then as a gift to his partner, Dorian buys John a gift. Kennex: “I wonder what it is.” Dorian: “It’s a leg!”

Baha, and it totally concluded at that place where Deckard ate noodles.

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FOX had better not let me down. For some reason it was acceptable for them to let X-Files run itself into the ground, but any other sci-fi show is beyond doomed. Don’t let this be the last case for Kennex and Dorian!

Almost Human- Episode 12

Episode recap + review! + bonus Science and Tech side notes and links!

In the first scenes we see a wealthy chrome in his natural habitat: Virtual Reality golfing in his large house, when a badly disfigured man jumps up behind him. He administers a syringe that gives the man a seizure and then he sucks fluid out of the man’s body with another syringe.

At the station, Kennex receives a call from a woman he’s seeing, Samantha. He had a bad date, she kept taking phone calls and ignoring him. Dorian answers the phone and says, “Kennex can’t talk right now. He’s waving his arms and mouthing ‘no’.” Then Dorian tells Kennex that he’s boring. Stahl comes up and says that she’s been tipped about a possible homicide. EMTs said it was a heart attack, but he was a Chrome and Chrome’s don’t have congenital defects. Curiously, the body is still at the scene even though there are no crime scene techs and Stahl was tipped off by another Chrome, which means someone should have been there or the body should have been removed from the scene before it started to decay and stink up the place. Anyway, Dorian finds the injection point. The wound was contaminated by DNA of 7 different people. Who all died of the same “natural causes.”

Stahl runs down leads and pays a visit to a Chrome Club looking to obtain surveillance footage. She faces off with a snarky blonde and a handsome man asks her about her decision to be a cop. Which apparently is a long story. Anyway, he gives her the footage. She brings it back to the station and she and Maldonado look it over while talking about Stahl’s recent experience with Chromes. Stahl, usually resentful of her upbringing tries to avoid Chromes and she says that she forgot that they’re people, too. Maldonado says it’s important to be around people who are like you and understand you. To which point, Stahl says, “Is that why you keep John around.” Maldonado: “Nah, lost a bet.”

Stahl sends footage to John

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Facial recognition is reading him as 2 of the 8 victims. They also look up his Bitcoin exchange- Almost Human loves Bitcoin, however, virtual currency hit snags this week as Mt. Gox, an exchange site for Bitcoin, got hacked and lost possibly 6% of the total money invested in Bitcoin. This was due to the malleability of transaction numbers and history. Back to the plot; Rudy figures out that he’s stealing parts of people’s faces, he’s using nanobot plastic surgery. Face lifts at an atomic level. A doctor involved in the trials is questioned. The trials didn’t go well. Donors experienced arrhythmia and died, recipients were horribly disfigured. There seemed to be a lot of them. Why did they keep doing this? Kennex and Dorian find out that the person performing the surgery will need “an actuator.”

Back with the killer, he’s blackmailing his doctor into continuing the procedures. Turns out he volunteered for the original trials. He gets some new eyes at the expense of a barista.

Dorian is antagonizing John again, “They more flaws you have the more human you are. You’re very human, John.”  They’re on their way to meet an informant, “Di Carlo” (who turns out to be a little person- Bad Santa actor Tony Cox, in an exo-suit of an overweight woman). They’re at some kind of trash burning, Mad Max, punk rock Fight Club. Anyway, Di Carlo gives up the location of the actuator. They find out the man wants 10 procedures and there have been only 9 victims. They extrapolate who the next victim will be. Stahl and some others keep an eye on him, the murderer knows he’s been discovered and heads out to search for another victim.

After some leaps in logic, Kennex figures out that the killer is a DMV employee, Eric Latham. Stahl surmises that he has Body Dysmorphic Disorder and that’s why he is consumed by this need for perfection. She says he’s inundated with images of perfection and unable to cope. Which for this world means not just media but being designed from birth to look beautiful. He’s trying to speed up the procedures so that he can meet a woman, Judy, who he met online and is scheduled to meet face to face. With irony that hits like a brick, she’s blind. He meets her briefly,before the police arrive. Eric kills himself in front of John.

Kennex is thinking about Eric Latham and he decides to take a chance and ask Stahl to go have a drink. But she’s already heading out with the man from the Chrome Club, and we’re treated to a “brooding and staring off at happy people in the night while 80s music plays in the background” closing sequence. I don’t mind 30 seconds of angst.

I was really happy with this episode, there was a good balance between all the characters. Stahl, Kennex and Dorian all got to show their particular talents. Stahl got to show her investigative skills instead of somehow landing on tips and watching TV. And it addressed privilege and class. Stahl is a Chrome and having this privilege doesn’t make her a bad person, it also doesn’t make her a better person, either. Right now there is debate about using DNA of 3 people (male female and an extra donor woman) to replace mutated mitochondrial DNA and prevent birth defects. But there’s a question of “where does it stop?” and opening the floodgates for “designer babies”.  And on the surface you might say, “who wouldn’t want this? I don’t want my children to have degenerating vision/predisposition to kidney disease/go bald when they’re 17.” But what we end up with is what you saw in this episode, technology used to further divide a class line as well as race lines (all white people, dark haired males, mostly light haired females. Episode before last followed the same pattern, with the exception of one family), engineered to look perfect, have no physical failings and be geniuses. They look down on Stahl for being too blue collar, they’re meant for industry. They are meant for preserving a superior way of life for themselves. Well, that’s terrifying.

But on a smaller scale, aren’t we doing that already? People partner with someone “like them” in some capacity, if they choose to breed the child will be a product of the coupling with whatever benefits and negatives that comes with. And what’s seen by negative to some is not always the case, such as the instance of Deaf couples selecting embryos that are more likely to be Deaf. Sitcoms joke about superior cells used to make babies, such as Caroline Channing donating her “Ivy League eggs” on CBS’s Two Broke Girls while Max’s low rent genes are a dime a dozen. How far is the next step, really? The Chinese are already trying to crack the genetic code for genius by analyzing samples from individuals with IQs over 160. And if you can get it, will you be considered a bad parent if you don’t?

Anyway, a 45 minute sci-fi drama just made me think about the implications of designer genetics. I wish they would officially renew it, because it’s really good. Well, most of the time. And Kennex and Stahl are still dancing around each other, we still don’t know what’s going on “over the wall” and we don’t know where Anna is. Next week is the finale and I can’t imagine this will all be wrapped up neatly. I would miss Rudy and Dorian the most.

Almost Human -Episode 11

Since the episodes were rearranged, making last week’s super heavy drama and Kennex internal struggle and the Anna situation and this one… seemingly nothing about that. We got interesting background plot cookies about Dorian. Dorian received some implanted memories that he tries to make sense of. Rudy puts the kibosh on that, but there’s still the matter of who planted them and why. 

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But the central part begins with a family. Their very secure smart-house wrongly identified an innocent teen as a threat and murdered him. Thankfully we don’t spend too many precious seconds that I could by ogling Karl Urban listening to ramblings about the family’s “right to own a smart-house.” If you think this sound like a supertech adaptation of stand-your-ground-laws gone awry: you would be very very right. With Zimmerman never shutting the fuck up, and the recent Dunn trial it’s not hard to see how a terrifying and heartbreaking sci-fi plot could be birthed from these tragedies. But Almost Human made the *interesting decision* to make the teen white and the family black. I think TECHNICALLY the house was still the vigilante/cowboy/wannabe Batman/asshat/murderer. But I’m not on board with the racial switcheroo that happened here. They didn’t lean heavy on it, racism has never been addressed (classism has frequently) and I think we are to believe that 2048 is “post-racial” the episode focussed more largely on flaws in technology that we trust with our lives.  Which is good. People still don’t understand why the “race swap” is bad? Let me take a moment: Families of PoC children have to worry about their children getting shot at for walking down a street and then victims get blamed for what time it was/how they were dressed/crimes someone else committed/other people’s racism and frankly fucking no one has to worry about being murdered by a house, AND people who programmed the house and crunched the data probably would have been skewed to NOT address a white teen cutting through the lawn a threat. That’s why it’s bullshit.

On the positive -background characters are very diverse. A few tropes were apparent (hackers that dress like they are in the matrix, the aforementioned “ironic” race role reversal) but we have brown female CEOs, female hacktivists and EOE for villains all around, every episode. Gender equality for the bad guys.

Oh, and Stahl got out of the station! She went undercover as a hacker! She went with Kennex, “Aussie?” accent +eyeliner. Weirrrrd. But cool.

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More cliches survive. Kennex saves the babes and has got jokes. The jokes this time were at Detective Paul’s expense. He was out and Kennex spread increasingly embarrassing rumors about why he was absent.

Maldonado’s reaction was so rad. I love her as a character. 

The early scenes of the house turning against the family were flat out terrifying. 

This show NEEDS to be renewed. NEEDS TO BE. So far no new eps ordered. Makes me nervous. How can FOX cancel so much good Sci-Fi but still air American Dad. Get it together.

Live tweet with me next week! 

Almost Human- Episode 10

And 9 episodes later, we start to get back to Kennex’s major internal dilemma: Anna.

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His GF who betrayed him and gave case files to Syndicate leading to an ambush which killed his partner and left Kennex with a synthetic leg. He’s taking something to help him remember. And he starts to.. he remembers that Anna had something for him.

Then Kennex gets a call that two girls have OD’d at separate locations (one’s at the morgue, one’s still on scene). Kennex takes one, Stahl takes the other -the one on scene is investigated of course by Kennex since Stahl’s not allowed outside ever. Rawr. Anyway, when he’s getting called in he says he’s en route, but Maldonado says Dorian already told her he was still at home. He’s been turning off his locator and Kennex starts having flashbacks while driving putting Dorian in an awkward situation -and getting his ear ripped off.

The main case follows “chromes” -GMO humans (Stahl has modified genes. this has been briefly touched on before, Paul called her out on it a couple episodes ago when she made fun off him for being short). Chromes are enhanced and the drugs that killed the two girls were specific for their DNA and created by and advanced chemical printer. The ideas for tech on this show are awesome because they capitalize on many recent developments taking the a step further and playing up some of the public’s major fears -in this case; teens on designer drugs and 3D printing. Rad.

7 months previous a girl named Lila died on the drug, but she wasn’t a “chrome” she was regular. She had been friends with the recently deceased Ellinor and Scarlett (ick, these WASPy “chrome” names) but their parent’s influence and money bought their way out of the eyes of investigators. Lila’s mother targeted the other girls for what she presumed to be “their role” only it wasn’t, Lila’s BF begged her not to take the drug (for “chromes” it opens a world of possibilities, but for Lila she saw limits) but he still made the drug for her and she committed suicide.

Bullying + teens desperate to fit in + GMO DNA + chemical printing + designer drugs + uneven class structures leading to corruption

AND all this on top of Kennex obsessing and drugging himself, being investigated by internal affairs and finding out that Syndicate is still spying on him with a Russian nesting doll (the Cold War never ever really died).

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But there was something that really bugged me, the “gorgeous +smart +ambitious” Stahl was privileged to have wealthy family who gave her the best damn genes money could buy, we’re meant to see that she took a “common” job and was a disappointment. But Stahl hasn’t proven exceptional in anyway, the only time she went investigating outside the precinct on her own, she was kidnapped. So we’re meant to believe she’s MORE capable but last episode she “helped” by watching TV. Dislike. Why couldn’t Det. Paul have special snowflake DNA? Though, it wouldn’t be Valerie’s *fault* that she had special DNA, people are born with advantages and privileges it’s necessary to acknowledge them not necessary to resent them.

Almost Human episode 9

This awesome episode begins with a repurposed service bot purse snatching. The bot is “destroyed” and put into the evidence locker. It reawakens and finds a head. Attaches the head onto it’s body and walks out of the evidence locker.

Cop: “How’d you get in there?”

Hot android: “Oh, I’ve been in there a long time.”

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Turns out the “brain” is that of the homicidal XRN model. Took out 26 cops, waves of MXs before being “destroyed.” All due to ONE XRN. Kennex freaks out, and Dorian was decommissioned before it happened. They rush to find the XRN before she can wreak too much havoc. She finds Dr. Vaughn’s “repair shop”  where she switched bodies, leaving that of the service bot in favor of a smoking hot sexbot. Dr. Vaughn turns out to be the mind behind both the DRN model and the XRN. Dr. Vaughn says that everyone looks at him as a monster, that he misses science. “Dannika” the XRN is steal processors, presumably to create more XRN models. Dr. Vaughn says he’ll help, set things right, restore his reputation. He makes something that -if stabbed directly into the base of her neck- will take her out.

While Dannika targets an event for Councilman Hart, people get killed mercilessly and Kennex arrives, goes all out action hero, stabs the juice into the back of her neck and …nothing. it’s bunk.

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Dr. Vaughn, back at the station is no where to be found.

Dorian fights Dannika, it’s personal for him since they have the same creator, she’s walking proof that he could go bonkers and kill everyone. A great fight scene ensues which ends with Dorian impaled by rebar. Kennex jumps back in, whacks her with a pipe, pulls the pin on her grenade and kicks her with his synthetic leg into an elevator shaft.

Dannika’s done, but Vaughn is still on the loose, the final scenes revealing that the attack on Councilman Hart was not random, he ordered that Vaughn’s license to practice robotics be revoked and that his bots be decommissioned and that Vaughn was the one who programed the service bot who freed Dannika.

Stahl shows her face 3/4 the way through the episode, and contributed by watching youtube. She is only around to drop cookies for the main characters, I kind of hate her.

But Kennex did that awesome thing where they save each other’s butts and then crack jokes, but still get a little sentimental while Dorian wonders if he’s a ticking time bomb… something the less than stable Kennex knows about. There was also some more world building and meta plot about “The Wall” on the other side it’s anarchy (think Peachtree in Dredd).

This episode featured John Laroquette as Dr. Vaughn and Fast and the Furious 6’s Gina Carano as fatal XRN.

Almost Human episode 8

You are here.

We get *some* insight to John and his issues he’s attending group therapy/anger management class with what I can say is a very poor counsellor who seems to purposefully be antagonizing him and the other attendees. Dorian is waiting for him after the session and says, “Hey Mr. Friendly, How was angry class?” adorable. 

A man is running through the streets and a transit cop asks him what his problem is, he says “please, no. They’re going to kill me.” and out of nowhere he is struck by a bullet and falls dead. No one saw the shooter. His name is Anton. Det. Paul’s MX comprises a theory about the shot, Dorian has another. The MX describes -at length- that Dorian is inferior, compromised and recalled… Kennex shoots the MX’s face off. Richard Paul is not amused and neither is Maldonado. Paul and Kennex get in a slapfight after Paul threatens Dorian. Dorian teases Kennex with a shower of “You like me” ‘s. I LOVE Dorian.

Anyway,the reason they didn’t see the shooter is because some Eastern Europeans are demoing a weapon, a magic bullet that can target anyone and shoot around corners anticipating obstacles. Intense. The buddy cops question Anton’s girlfriend. She claims she doesn’t know anything. They have theorized that Anton sold tech from his dayjob to these criminals. But when they ask Keira more questions, Dorian senses that the bullet is coming and he takes it for her. How heroic! It also throws his system out of whack and he only communicates in Korean for a while. I LOVE Michael Ealy.

Keira wants to scrub her mind, thinking that if she gets rid of memories of Anton no one will have reason to come after her.Then they find evidence that Anton was being blackmailed/extorted and that the bad guys sent him a video threatening Keira and Amy.And they realize that the criminals are making an infomercial to sell the tech and that Keira will be taken out either way. Keira escapes from the safe house and Kennex finds her before the mind eraser. Dorian and Kennex make short work of the arms dealers and they saved the girl again. And she has a heartfelt moment going through Anton’s effects when she finds a pen, reminisces about how they used to write love notes (it’s 2048… apparently pens are over, not unreasonable). But the whole thing was gawky and weird.

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Lloyd Dobbler “I gave her my heart and she gave me a pen.” awkward.

Then we get another dose of flirty cuteness when Det. Stahl gives John an energy chew… he writes her a note. What does it say?! 

Once again I really like seeing the concepts for tech and ideals, but it followed it’s typical “1st victim is male: dead. 2nd victim: female, alive.” Basically if there’s a woman and Kennex talks to her… she’s gonna live. The beginning of the ep reminded us that Kennex has been through tough times and has issues, and then it was quickly dismissed with tough guy one liners and quirky jokes. At some point I want to know what’s up with his missing girlfriend and why she set up his squad and left him for dead. Metaplot, please!