Almost Human: Season 1, episode 11. Disrupt (2014)
Almost Human: Season 1, episode 11. Disrupt (2014) starts off with what seems to be a subplot with Rudy (Mackenzie Crook) covertly accessing the memory core of Dorian (Michael Ealy) without the android’s knowledge or consent. When Dorian was persuaded to recharge in Rudy’s lab, there were no signs of a hidden agenda. This means motives are supposedly suspect. When Detective John Kennex (Karl Urban) appears to take Dorian off on the early shift, Rudy returns to one of the memories he has extracted which has an error message attached to it — the video shows a child playing with a toy. With this running order, we have a conscious parallelism from the episode titled Perception in which Kennex is getting memory flashbacks about his ex-mistress and the loss of his leg.
We now get one of these annoyingly coy introductions to the main plot involving a smart house marketed by Synturion. Michael and Linda Bennett have arrived at the one year anniversary of the death of Aaron Kasdan. The boy was killed by the house when he trespassed in their back yard, and the occupants continue to get death threats. When Linda decides to go for a swim, she’s attacked by the house (cf Kate Wilhelm’s Smart House with its death in a jacuzzi). Michael’s efforts to intervene are interpreted as a threat by the house. He’s shot and his wife drowns. You can’t get a more secure house than that. When our dynamic duo go to the HQ of the company which has designed and installed the security system, they discover SAM (Matthew Kevin Anderson), the butler, has now been upgraded from a hologram to an android. In physical form, he can be your protection wherever you are. Peter Newsom (David Stuart), Synturion’s lawyer, and Kay Stinson (Suleka Mathew), the CEO, suggest the group called Disrupt is probably behind the hack which caused the Bennetts’ death. By coincidence, Dorian meeting SAM triggers the recall of the memory being probed by Rudy. As backstory, before he was recruited to the police force, Rudy was a hacker who used the handle “Aphid” — they may be small, but they’re destructive. This is the most hackneyed cliché we’ve seen in this show to date. The geek scientist was a hacker who’s been recruited to the forces for good. So we’re now supposed to think he’s a trojan idiot who’s playing both sides.
The plot, such as it is, then meanders further into terminally boring mode. Peter Newsom is killed by his own smart house using the fire suppression system to evacuate the air — can’t think where I’ve seen or read that before. A hacker called Crispin X cuts off the city’s power supply in apparent support for the Kasdan family. Conveniently, Rudy knows exactly where they can find this man and, before you can say Hack Robinson, Crispin whose real name is Nico (Reece Thompson), has been co-opted as hacker-in-chief for the good guys. He’s in cyberspace, protecting Kennex by producing distracting holograms (Rudy did that first in Blood Brothers), switching the air back on when he’s only got 5 seconds of air left (yawn), and generally being a better hacker than Rudy. Yes, that’s right. The Aphid is left sucking his sap on a distant leaf. It was the perfect opportunity for the British geek to advance his cause as protector of the just. Yet all he gets to do is lie to Dorian and make worried noises to Kennex about these memories he’s apparently found. I really can’t understand the thinking behind this show. They have one regular character missing and consequently the butt of infantile jokes. A chance to make us impressed by Rudy goes begging. Detective Valerie Stahl (Minka Kelly) avoids redundancy by talking to Mrs Kasdan for ten seconds in two scenes. Captain Sandra Maldonado (Lili Taylor) has a couple of lines to prove she’s still in the show. The cast is just too big to be able to give them all enough to do to develop their characters. Put all this in a trivial revenge story and Almost Human: Disrupt is embarrassingly bad.
According to the good people on the IMDb forum, one of the reasons this show is such a mess is that the running order of the episodes has been changed. It should be as shown in brackets:
1 Pilot (1)
2 Skin (5)
3 Are you Receiving?(6)
4 The Bends (7)
5 Blood Brothers (8)
6 Arrhythmia (3)
7 Simon Says (10)
8 You Are Here (2)
9 Unbound (9)
10 Perception (4)
11 Disrupt (11)
12 Beholder (12)
13 Straw Man (13)
I’m not convinced this running order would have made any better sense, but it would have been more interesting to make a judgement on the merits of the show by watching it in the order the creators intended.
For reviews of other episodes, see
Almost Human. Season 1, episode 1 (2013)
Almost Human: Season 1, episode 2. Skin (2013)
Almost Human: Season 1, episode 3. Are You Receiving? (2013)
Almost Human: Season 1, episode 4. The Bends (2013)
Almost Human: Season 1, episode 5. Blood Brothers (2013)
Almost Human: Season 1, episode 6. Arrhythmia (2013)
Almost Human: Season 1, episode 7. Simon Says (2014)
Almost Human: Season 1, episode 8. You Are Here (2014)
Almost Human: Season 1, Episode 9. Unbound (2014)
Almost Human: Season 1, episode 10. Perception (2014)
Almost Human: Season 1, episode 12. Beholder (2014)
Almost Human: Season 1, episode 13. Straw Man (2014).