And back down to earth we come. Last week’s episode was basically the perfect model of what Almost Human can achieve, with every element working well. On that basis, it would be hard for this week or any of the remaining episodes to match that level of quality, given how inconsistent the series has been so far. However, there’s no need to worry about that dilemma, because Perception didn’t even come close.
The core plot this week felt even more derivative than usual, as overdosed teens from a prestigious school were found dead on an illegal but practically unknown drug, before a larger ‘conspiracy’, if it can be called that, was exposed. Cue archetypal ‘high school’ characters all over the place: the straight-A student who ‘fell in with the wrong crowd’ because ‘they didn’t want to be different’. The cool, smart jock who ‘everyone knows’. The misguided kid in love with the straight-A student. The straight-A’s mother who, at least on the surface, thinks butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth. The list could go on until it encompassed just about every supporting character this week.
There was a degree of variety, compared to the archetype in the finer details of the plot, involving the various parents and their scheming, and also in the ‘sci-fi twist of the week’ surrounding the ‘chromes’ – the term used in this world for genetically modified people who are perfect in every way. But really, it was clear that the bare minimum effort went into providing a fresh plot. The fact that the episode was slightly reminiscent of the film 21 Jump Street surely speaks volumes for the authenticity on show.
In terms of the character development, we’re back to square one, as this episode was 4th in the production order. Having covered it enough in previous reviews, there isn’t any need to complain about the effect this has on Dorian & Kennex anymore, especially as it created even more issues than usual this time around.
Issue number one arose as the promise of last week’s dramatic cliffhanger was stamped out. From the opening sequence it was clear this episode had a completely different focus. What’s more, we know that the cliffhanger isn’t likely to ever be revisited due to the episode order shuffle.
Issue two was the revelation that Valerie, or Det. Stahl, is a ‘chrome’ herself. As much as this is an interesting part of a character’s backstory, it completely conflicts with most of the show so far. Chromes are, in the mythology, perfect in terms of health, beauty and intellect. Now, whilst Valerie seems in perfect health, and is clearly good-looking, she’s made plenty of mistakes. The supporting ‘chromes’ displayed precognition – knowing the answers to questions they hadn’t actually been asked – but Valerie has shown none of these abilities. That’s yet another ‘important development’ that will go on to have no impact upon the rest of the show.
Overall, this was an episode that was hampered by so much that it could only flop and fail. As we enter the final stretch of the last three episodes, once again Almost Human has been ‘almost good’.