Almost Human – Recap: Meet Your Maker
Almost Human returned tonight after several weeks off with an episode that introduced us to the yang to Dorian’s yin. No, not John. We’ve already known John for a while now. Tonight we met our first, the only, XRN.
Episode 9 of Season 1 of Almost Human, “Unbound,” featured a female android cut from the same techno-cloth as Dorian (Michael Ealy). Of course, this new bot seemed to be nothing like the DRN lead. Instead, she turned out to be a super-weapon so powerful that all records of her had previously been erased in an effort to alleviate some of the police force’s past embarrassment. Tonight’s episode opened with her revival and closed on a note that left the door open for a whole lot more trouble to come. Did Dorian, John (Karl Urban), and the rest of the team finally meet their ultimate match? Here is the Recap and Review of Season 1 Episode 9 of Almost Human, “Unbound”!
To open the recap, I have to admit that I don’t think I previously picked up on the concept that this dystopian city was kept safe from the “other side” via a gargantuan wall. What is this, Game of Thrones? Little has been uttered regarding the primitive world free of androids, but I’m guess we’ll get there soon.
The first half of Episode 4 focused on the XRN’s escape from the evidence storage warehouse of the police force. Masquerading as a common bot performing an armed robbery, the android was initially easily taken down, mistakenly scanned as deactivated, and zipped up in a new evidence bag. Inside, a backup power system reactivated the robot’s body before prompting it to begin locating the head of the true XRN that had been locked away safely. What do you know? After swapping out craniums, we were clued in to the fact that Dorian’s dangerous double was actually a female soldier with somewhat of a vixen side to her. Before we knew it, she was on her murderous rampage with a hidden agenda that John and Dorian were short on time to figure out.
The XRN was originally the work of Dr. Nigel Vaughn (John Larroquette), who was also, needless to say, the scientist who created the DRN model we’re more familiar with in Dorian. The DRNs were highly emotional and, it seems, also highly unpredictable. Dorian seems to be the exception. He has emotions and a synthetic soul, which we’d later come to learn more about, but he’s not a truly loose cannon. When the police force was demanded to halt the purchase of any future emotional models post-deactivation, Vaughn, in all his anger, created Danica, the first XRN. In her three days of life, she managed to pull off a massive killing spree through targeting key political figures of power in the city. This second time around, it was clear that someone had reactivated her as part of a greater scheme. All of this was, allegedly, not Vaughn’s doing at all.
Realizing that the XRN was running on a backup power supply, Dorian and John managed to track her to another warehouse housing several deactivated bots. We’d watched her choose a new sexy body just moments prior, but the scene mainly served to introduce Dorian to his maker, Dr. Vaughn. It was a touching moment for both, though the looming threat of a seemingly sadistic killing machine on the loose sort of tainted the meeting. Vaughn seemed to be of great use to the team. Back at the lab, Rudy (Mackenzie Crook) admitted to idolizing the man for his genius work in innovative robotics, gushing in his signature fashion. With access to equipment confiscated by the police during his past trials, Vaughn claimed to have a possible means of tracking the XRN. Danica has a synthetic soul, like Dorian, and that is truly what Vaughn considers his life’s work. The soul is catered to each individual bot, and if Vaughn could find Danica’s, he could couple the information with the police’s computer system for tracking.
Meanwhile, Danica continued her killing spree in an effort to collect even more synthetic souls from a nearby lab. Was she working for someone looking to build an army or XRNs? It certainly seemed that way. Vaughn, on the other hand, was downright embarrassed and ashamed that he corrupted his own project with anger and bitterness that started all of this to begin with. Dorian, for what it’s worth, is a total success to us.
With Vaughn’s help, the crew managed to trace Danica to a local bar, an event location for a politician looking for reelection. This political figure, we’d come to learn later, was the man responsible for heading the movement to have the DRNs deactivated, the decision that essentially prevented Vaughn from ever working again. It seemed to be nothing more than a repeat situation of the prior Danica debacle, but this time, Kennex was prepared. Thanks again to Vaughn, an energy syringe programmed to Danica’s particular wavelength could serve as an adequate means of deactivating her… if John could manage to poke it straight in her skull. From afar, Maldonado (Lili Taylor), Valerie (Minka Kelly), Vaughn, and the others watched from the safety of headquarters as Danica decimated most of the party. In his one moment of hope, John made the proper contact and activated the syringe; however, it only served to tickle Danica’s funny bone. John was promptly rendered unconscious, leaving Dorian to attempt to battle with his XRN counterpart. The fight sequences this week were action packed. The hand-to-hand combat was great. The best part, however, was when John came to and managed to snap the pin from the grenade on Danica’s chest in a flash before kicking her well out of the bar with his super synthetic leg. The massive explosion from outside indicated their victory.
Still, the most important part of Episode 9 is that it finally set up another long-term plot for us to watch unfold. While Danica made her “sacrifice,” which was essentially a distraction, Vaughn snuck away from headquarters and headed for a rendezvous point. He’d previously swiped the synthetic souls from Rudy’s lab, much to his admirer’s dismay, and later picked up the stash Danica had stolen and subsequently hidden. The end of Episode 9 centered on Dr. Nigel Vaughn’s escape beyond the wall, where it has been made totally clear that he’s building an army of XRNs to exact his revenge, though the team has yet to fully realize this. Dorian, meanwhile, suddenly had a troubling thought. If he and Danica were truly very much alike, at least where it counts in the soul department, could he do end up “malfunctioning” and becoming a terrible killing machine? John certainly doesn’t believe so.
What did you think of Almost Human, Season 1 Episode 9, “Unbound”? Will we ever witness a dark side to Dorian? Will we see Vaughn again in the future? Are you happy that Almost Human is establishing more long-term storylines for us to look forward to?
Thanks for reading my Recap and Review of Almost Human, Season 1 Episode 9, “Unbound”!