“The Bends” opens in media res, showing a quick scene of Rudy Lom, his eyes darting around a lab before he takes off trying to escape and is shot. Then we return to 24 hours earlier where the episode starts proper. Opening scenes like this are a bit of a mixed bag to me. Sometimes they work to great effect, other times they seem a little unnecessary. This one didn’t do a lot for me, but it did give a positive indication of something this latest episode of Almost Human would be doing: giving us a better look at a member of the supporting cast. The show has largely shined so far based on the strength of its core duo of John Kennex and Dorian, but has largely ignored the rest of the cast only giving them brief moments here and there to tell us something about them. So it was nice to see an episode really give some focus to one of these characters.
After the brief flashforward-style opening, we are shown a drug exchange. A man has brought a cook of a new designer drug, the titular Bends, to a meet with a distributor looking for someone to make the drug for them. When they realize the man has a subcutaneous wire in his stomach, this back alley conference comes to a bloody end with both the man and cook shot dead. It turns out the man was a cop friend of Kennex named Cooper. Then comes the age-old debate of whether Cooper was a dirty cop. John doesn’t believe it (and of course Detective Paul does) and this leads to John looking into the matter. A recording of the meet leads the LAPD to a man they’ve been looking for, The Bishop, a bigshot in the drug trade who is apparently looking for a cook. John comes up with the swell idea of putting Rudy into an undercover operation as a potential cook. Rudy seems a little weary at first, but soon relishes the chance to take on an alter-ego. This leads to some funny moments, particularly Lom’s ideas for his new identity’s wardrobe. His continued effort to don his fedora and glasses throughout despite the sticks-in-the-mud that are Kennex and Paul is pretty great as is his desire to get into a bar fight in their post-investigation celebration.
With Rudy sent in undercover, we are also given another big action sequence. When we return to the opening sequence with Rudy running off, John, Dorian and company come to the rescue. Dorian is matched up against The Bishop’s own robot for a fun Android vs. Android battle. The ending is vicious leaving Dorian’s opposition’s head and spine hanging from a hook. Not to be outdone, John chases down The Bishop and shoots him in cold blood. It turns out that The Bishop was actually Cooper’s Captain, Alexio Barros. I can’t say I found this too surprising. Years of watching cop and procedural TV shows has taught me that random characters introduced early in episodes are usually introduced for a reason. And the Captain turning out to be the villain of the piece really did make sense. John broke the rules a few times throughout the episode, but him shooting Barros in the head still did catch me off guard a bit. It worked for me though. Fit the character and I look forward to them exploring his rule-bending and vigilante justice and the consequences thereof more in the future.
A few more things worth noting:
- Something about John running out of ammo in the sewers bugged me. He seemed ill-prepared. Or perhaps they just really wanted a fistfight to break out.
- Tiny Roach cameras, weird umbrellas… the future!
- Rudy whipped up some 95% pure Bends, almost Heisenberg-level stuff. Much better than that chump at the beginning.
- Dorian a little harsh in this sequence: John – “If I lived in a cabin, I’d kill myself.” Dorian – “You should buy a cabin John.”
- More in good fun: John – “Cooper was the only one in my class that could outrun me, outshoot me.” Dorian – “So there were only two people in your class?” The slug bit at the beginning of the ep was funny too.
Almost Human continues to be a cop show with a twist. Futuristic flourishes help liven things up, but I’d still like cases to be a bit more unique.”Skin” (the sexbot episode) was probably the best in that regard so far. I do love the characters though and I was happy to see Rudy get some of the spotlight here. Hopefully at some point this season, some of the other supporting characters will get a similarly focused episode to help develop them because this one really worked for Rudy Lom.