TV Review: Almost Human Season One Episode Four "The Bends"

The Bends finds John and Dorian investigating a double homicide. Not just any double homicide, but a double homicide where one of the victims was a potentially shady police officer with a large amount of a drug nicknamed "The Bends".

This set up the central conflict - was the cop undercover or dirty? The episode certainly gave us clues and theories. For one, we saw the scene play out where the android found a hidden wire, which lead to their death. This (along with the fact that he knew him previously) made John question the dirty cop theory after he and Dorian discovered that he wore a wire. The episode certainly gave the other side of the argument a lot of ammunition as well. Cooper, the cop in question, had disciplinary marks on his record as well as a bank account in his dead father's name that had a lot of activity.

Sandra for one thought this alone made him guilty. The head of the dead cop's precinct came by and explained that he had gone off book because his investigation didn't yield any arrests.

There was certainly Richard (the cop who hates/is jealous of John) who kept going on about Cooper being there so he could leverage the dealers to get a bigger cut of the profit.

He looked potentially dirty. But John didn't believe it, so neither did we!

After getting audio of the exchange with Cooper and the mysterious dealer, the rest of the episode involved taking down "Bishop" a mysterious Bends drug dealer who takes out the competition who can cook pure stuff (very Breaking Bad), creates a shortage, then drives the price up. Bishop was a dealer they couldn't even get a picture of before - so you could say it was definitely the department's White Whale.

The plan involved having Rudy pose as a new cook for Bishop, and nab a low level dealer to make an introduction.

A lot of the humor in the episode came from Rudy the eccentric weirdo wanting to dress up in lavish costumes for his cover identity.

However my favorite line of the night came from John explaining to Dorian why the low level dealer will agree to help them: "Because he hates jail."

The show did a good job giving us reasons to worry about Rudy messing up (forgetting ingredients during the test cook, giving his real name during the meet, etc). He eventually came off as the right kind of weirdo type by going on a rant about what he knows - androids. It also helps that his cook was 95% pure. Unfortunately, it maybe was too good in retrospect - the bad guys kidnapped Rudy and destroyed his invisible GPS beacon. Not even Dorian - who had infiltrated without his communications up to hide the cop signal, could save him. Through this counter agent Rudy was forced to drink, the department (specifically John and Dorian) were able to pin Bishop as law enforcement based on the fact the GPS agent was only developed weeks ago by the force.

After looking up who signed off on the release of one of the newly caught bad guys they figured it out: Bishop was Alexio Barros, the precinct leader from earlier. After Sandra calls and stalls Bishop long enough to get a new location, Rudy hits a gas valve and tries to escape. After Rudy gets shot in the arm, the team rushes in.

Dorian ends up having to hang the big android by a hook, decapitating him quite gruesomely for network TV. I guess he wasn't human so the FCC didn't care.

John ends up shooting Alexio/Bishop, and then killing him after he started to threaten getting off on technicalities. John really is shoot first ask questions later.

This was my least favorite episode by far. Too many things popped up for me. In the beginning, the episode used the flash forward method of showing you a pivotal scene in the beginning that happens 24 hours later. In this case, it was Rudy hitting the gas valve and running. Narrative wise, it served no purpose being here. It wasn't shocking enough to warrant a move there - something like Rudy shooting John perhaps I could maybe see. It also ruined the reveal that Rudy would play a bigger role this episode as well. Personally, I wasn't a fan of that.

The Bishop enemy himself I had troubles with as well. First, his true identity was the main twist - which is fine. However he isn't revealed until the last act and we knew his character as someone else previously. Therefore in order to be convincing we need some quick character motivation.

Something other than him asking Rudy how he likes his set up. With no motivations, he comes off as quite generic.

Does he want money? Power? Give me something there.

I also found it hard to believe that after learning John's precinct was investigating Cooper's death he wouldn't look up all the employees and have his team aware in the event some sting were to happen.

It wasn't all bad though. There was enough uniqueness from the show to make the double homicide interesting. What I find much more interesting though is the possible super subtle rift forming between Dorian and John. So far their relationship is Dorian says something he thinks two people in his position say to each other (in this episode it was "you're welcome, friend.") and John says something sarcastic back ("great, now we're 'friends'"). Couple that with Dorian following John's demands - dropping charges for CI's which risks Dorian's job, going into a sting operation with no exit strategy which risks his life - and you got a recipe for a huge rift.

John may have to show more affection (as much as a character like him would) to Dorian and tell him that he's more than just another android, or Dorian may start refusing these orders. Now is that a complete extrapolation on very little so far? Yes.

But the seeds seem to be there, and it is the logical tension that would arise in a complex relationship like this. I'm very invested in how they decide to play it out.

So all in all - pretty good, could be better. However it makes me as excited as ever for future episodes.

Photo Credit: LA Times