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 6

Out of order. But it just got put up!

This episode begins in a hospital. A holograph is giving medical advice. It freezes up. The man, being told he’s likely having a neurological issue with 13 percent of …something, is understandably upset and grabs the first human hospital worker that he can find.

But he’s not the villain or the victim here. There’s another man. A man with a gun. He holds the woman hostage and insists that he needs a heart surgeon and life support. He yells in Cantonese that it’s almost 9:18. And at 9:18, he dies of a heart attack. Apologizing to the doctor and saying, “They killed me. They killed me.”

Kennex and Dorian respond. Along the way Dorian see a DRN model working in the hospital. They were designed to be Police Officers, but that one has been repurposed. Dorian is unsettled and insists on taking the other DRN on a ride along. ..He also gives him his case files back… and access to the police data base. It comes to light when the DRN tackles a man on the street (a criminal who had already served his time but shows as wanted on the DRNs outdated case files.) during this an MX gets crushed into an SUV by a police drone, a truck rolls over a hydrant and other unfortunate events. Maldonado flips.

Kennex is bothered. But Dorian explains that when he was decommissioned, the moment before, all he thought was, “I hope someone wakes me up.” And Kennex did.

The other DRN tags along for the rest of the episode. A memorable highlight is when Dorian is showing off his new mods, including a long range camera in his eye that he drops in Kennex’s coffee.

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Through Rudy they track the origins of the Chinese man’s black market heart. And they find a manufacturer. Part of it isn’t theirs. The woman representing the company says it “voids the warranty.”

But the heart wasn’t for this man. It was implanted in a woman who died. Kennex goes and sees the man at the crematorium where the synthetic heart should have been destroyed. That worker, Henry, easily confesses that inorganic parts have to be removed (“they mess up the machine”) but that he gives the hearts to someone who refurbishes them, he calls himself Oscar. They arrange for Oscar to make a pickup. The container has a tracking device and transmitter. They follow the heart to a warehouse where the Doctor has already began a transplant on a woman named Amelia. 

They save Amelia (Kennex always saves the ladies).She is not pleased. She needs they heart to live, but she doesn’t know they have been modified of course. But even is that were the case, she still would have paid. How can you put a price on your life? On time with your family?

Under interrogation: The courier knows nothing. The doctor didn’t know that the modifiers were timers. He thought they ran remote diagnostics. The organizer, Karen, calls Henry and tell him to shut everyone down. The patients call in, they try to make their payments. But no one answers. 2 others die.

the 4 victims were all denied transplants for lack of insurance and denied by the same person.

The same woman they spoke with earlier. The doctor says she wasn’t the one who approached him. Dorian notices that her assistant is missing, Jacinta. They show the doctor a photo of Jacinta… sure enough, it’s her.

Through a series of inferences. Kennex realizes that this has been going on for 3 years, but they hadn’t been finding any bodies. And who do they know who gets rid of bodies? Henry. (who has killed Jacinta) After that it’s just a matter of chasing him down and it’s over.

This was a good episode all around. Dorian adopting the other DRN. Dorian and Kennex’s buddy cop quibbling about who will drive.The uses of real and imagined technology. Technology that could be used for good but that is manipulated to keep people rich. The doctor who though he was really helping people while they were being extorted. Maldonado flipping her lid over the extra DRN was pretty rad, too.

Getting to be a bore, though? Stahl having no part in the action.. Although, she did make a connection between the patients. Once again putting together a crucial piece of the puzzle. And then being a smiley do-gooder over the fact that the makers of the synthetic hearts was going to give anyone who received hearts with the illegal mods free transplants. She smiles about how happy she is for Amelia and her family ..during the investigation another man and woman died when they couldn’t get through to make a payment. I would say that’s far from a fairytale ending.

Almost Human: Episode 5

John gets startled by an MX’s lack of genitalia. Dorian assures him he was made more realistically

An RN and a “petite psychic” are testifying against a suspected murderer: Ethan Avery… as is Captain Maldonado. Fearing for the girls’ safety, Maldonado is present in the court room but the other two are testifying by hollogram from a safe house. While testifying the RN, Hayley Jolene, is suddenly startled, Maldonado realizes that the safe house has been compromised. She’s right. Hitmen bust in and splatter poor Hayley, our “petite psychic” jumps out a window and makes a run for it. They find a clue leading to Ethan Avery as the culprit.

Maldonado confronts him. He tries to get in her head. 

The psychic, Maya, says that she’s in communication with Hayley’s spirit. “Real Cop” Kennex doesn’t buy in. Turns out she had the Cerrebellex procedure a procedure that makes people more intuitive and sensitive to spiritual anomalies. Or something. But anyway she says that Hayley is speaking to her and that she says that Ethan Avery killed her.

But Ethan Avery was in jail.

But wait! Rudy shows up with some gadgets and plays a recording of the murder. The machine interprets that the sounds are made by vocal chords… not a recording. And that those vocal chords belong to Ethan Avery.

But how can this be?!

It’s 16 minutes in and I know how this ends. Clones.

Stahl thinks it’s an identical twin.*facepalm*

Then Stahl puts 2 and 2 together and remembers that the Doctor Fuller that Avery was on trial for killing was a reproductive doctor. And cloning is reproductive.

Maya flies the coop from the station to speak with Hayley’s parents.

While transporting Maya, Kennex, Dorian and Maya get shot up by masked men in a van. Maya gets shot. John takes down one of the hitmen. Sure enough: It’s Ethan Avery. Only 10 years younger.

Maya winds up with a broken collar bone and possible internal bleeding. Without her there is no one to connect Avery to Fuller. Dorian goes with Maya to the hospital and they have a heart to heart. She had the Cerrebellex procedure to reconnect with her parents who died right before her 19th birthday. But while she was recovering from the procedure her house burnt to the ground. Without anything of theirs to touch she was never able to reach them. 

Meanwhile Stahl goes to look for files at Fuller’s home. Records that Avery was one of his subjects/patients/lab rats. (Because she doesn’t know that Kennex already proved Avery had clones) And John figures out how Avery tracked Maya, but doesn’t communicate with Stahl in time. So the clones show up at Fuller’s house and take down her MX.

And now she is a hostage.

Stahl tells them to call Kennex. She says that he won’t negotiate, even for her. Stahl tries to convince the clones that the real Avery has been holding them hostage. Clone Avery thinks Stahl is special to Kennex and that he will negotiate.

Maldonado agrees to fork over Avery. 

But through elaborate and cool technological trickery they con the clones. Stahl also gets to flex her muscles. Dorian flips the van and the last of the clones go up in flames. Maldonado givens Ethan Avery and epic smackdown speech and then a sexy male lawyer gives her a compliment. Dorian gives Maya a box from evidence, from the investigation into the fire at Maya’s home. She touches a door knob and both smiles and cries and greets her parents at long last.

Earlier in the episode Maya gave Kennex advice about his angry red aura that repells everyone except one person and bourbon. Stahl walks in with a bottle of Bourbon from her desk, pours drinks for both of them and keeps him company.

Stahl and Kennex get a little bit closer!

Did Stahl really have to get held hostage the first time we see her out in the field alone? Especially since she “found the connection” but John had it proved already because he shot one down. So the brute stuff appears more effective than the brain stuff. Awesome… right…

Maldonado continues to be a bad ass. I like that even though Avery got under her skin it didn’t lead to some whirlwind of self-doubt. Maldonado proved herself effective, smart and willing to go the extra mile for those she considers friends and those who work for her.

Dorian gets to show how human he is. Not because of …ahem… physical features, but because he is caring and intuitive.

The Movement #7

Tremor and Katharsis put their trouble behind them as they tend to Mouse. 

The Graveyard Faction follows Virtue who, while making haste to come to Mouse’s aid, leads the villains right to the warehouse.

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Vengeance Moth, left in charge, vows not to let the Faction in. We also get a little more backstory. She has muscular dystrophy and is a recovering addict, while she has super powers she gets tired really easily. But we get a taste of how powerful she is. 

Whitt and Pena, the butthead cops who harassed young Kristen and landed themselves on trial and imprisoned by the Movement are free and they try to rally fellow officers- without the Captain’s knowledge. Officer Yee (the one who was sleeping with the Cap’s wife) stands up to Whitt, saying that he owes the Captain this. 

The Captain comes to meet Virtue at the hospital where she is with a comatose and critical Mouse. He gives her a file: everything he has on the Graveyard Faction. Mercenaries hired by the shadow government. Captain Meers is an honest cop, somehow, and doesn’t like this anymore than Virtue, but he knows that as a man of the law with his force deep inside the government’s pockets… he is powerless.

After Ven flies, blinds and rains fire on the Faction she is shot down with a raygun. The newly exorcised Christopher AKA Burden tries to save his new crush, Ven. But without “his curse”, he is helpless against them. 

So Vengeance Moth does something she doesn’t want to. Because what she wants is to help people. But what she needs to do is save everyone. She tells christopher that the exorcism was fake and that he needs to let the devil back inside of him.

And then he turns into a big charcoal demon with a Venom tongue and tentacles coming out of his abdomen/genital region. IT’S NUTS  

Up next is a showdown which will end the Graveyard Faction, with any luck. I hope Katharsis makes it back in time to kick in some more teeth. I just love seeing how busted up Whitt is, that would be a good look for the Cornea Killer or Anguish. OOOooh, or you know what? I hope Rainmaker comes back to help!

I liked getting more backstory on Vengeance Moth and seeing her use her skills. She’s sweet and savvy. It’s interesting to read Gail Simone writing another character in a wheelchair (Batgirl Barbara Gordon is currently written by Simone, who wrote Babs as Oracle back in Barbara’s Birds of Prey days). There was some blowback with making Batgirl able-bodied again -thanks to the help of an electrical chip implanted in her spine. But Batgirl has the luxury of privilege, something Ven does not. Vengeance also snarked at Whitt for assuming that she rigged up the tech at the warehouse, saying that not every person in a wheelchair is Stephen Hawking, interesting dig by Simone since Oracle was a hacker, ruling countries and vanquishing bad guys from behind a computer screen. But that’s one of the great things about this series. The Movement is using everything they have got to get out from under an oppressive system. Out from under corrupt cops, weird mercs and the crushing weight of class warfare. 

The Movement #5

After panicking and flailing my arms because I could decide what to read first:

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I settled on the Movement #5-

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Channel M/the Movement still has officers Pena and Whitt hostage. They have Katharsis back and they are planning a trial for the two cops.

Captain Meers meets up with Virtue to make a deal. (That cops can patrol the ‘tweens but can be monitored by the Movement. A civilian board of claims for complaints against police. He needs the cops back. He warns her that professional hitmen are coming to stop the Movement.

They meet at a diner called Calvins and dunk donuts in their milkshakes. Virtue doesn’t wear her mask. “Oh no, you might see the skin around my eyes!” (I know, right?)

At the trial in the abandoned warehouse: The officers are being charged with sexual harassment of a minor. Speaking for the defense is Tremor, who we just found out had been the mole in the last issue. Her conscience got the better of her and she truly aligned herself with the Movement. Or that was the idea, anyway.

Whitt refuses to participate. Pena pleads guilty. (Whitt’s still missing a ton of teeth, BTW).

Captain Meers is trying to track down Virtue, guessing at clues about where she might work.

Tremor, defending the officers brings up how Whitt saved an infant from a fire, risking his life. Katharsis angrily points out that it’s no excuse for scaring 16 year olds and attempting to assault them (true again. When charges of rape/abuse/harassment come out- especially when perpetrators are men in authority leads back to “but he’s such a nice guy” “oh I can’t believe he’d do that” Well, he did. and if you do that, you are a bad person. It’s nice to think it’s only evil men…). The victim herself steps up to say how scared and threatened she was and that Pena’s apology means nothing. (And frankly, it doesn’t. they both abused their authority). Whitt says that they don’t know what it’s like for cops, to be in the line of fire, to be helping people but to be disrespected and called “pigs.” (Oh, boo hoo). The officers try to bust out as the Cornea Killer shows up to claim another victim nearby.

Tremor quits?! & Mouse attacks the Cornea Killer until the stalker is backed up by the THE GRAVEYARD FACTION.

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(possibly) Unintentional unanswered question:

Our girl Vengeance Moth was about to get her violence on. Katharsis, who can’t resist a fight… or knocking more teeth out of Whitt’s head… jumps in. Tremor sets of a quake. Katharsis (touching the ground) was hurt and Tremor orders the men out. But Ven was in the air… sooo… why did she let them go?

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The last pages are Calendarman underground reporting for Channel 52, and of course: the big story is Superwoman unmasking Nightwing as Richard Grayson! LOOK YOU CAN SEE THE SKIN AROUND HIS EYES! OMG haha, love it.

This series continues to be great. The Movement is fighting against society’s everyday evils and a very weird killer and now they’re about to face some Super Villains on top of in-fighting as each member tries to figure out what justice really means to them.