Almost Human continues to impress me with its depth. I was not expecting this much philosophy or exploration of the human condition from a procedural sci-fi cop show, although I’m glad that this sci-fi show has got it right: it uses technology to explore humanity but doesn’t depend on the technology to wow the audience. It runs in the background and serves its purpose, but what we’re really getting is an inside look at what makes us human.
In “Blood Brothers,” the technology explored is cloning and an experimental medical procedure that allows a human to tap into their sixth sense and in essence become a psychic. There’s a little bit of magic in it. While the man who clones himself does so for selfish reasons, the psychic wants to use her ability to connect with her parents. There’s a bit of humanity in each choice, however. The man who clones himself isn’t so different from some of us. Would we clone ourselves in an attempt to extend our lives a bit longer? Use their organs to keep our bodies going after their expiration date? Or use our intelligence to help even more people than we alone are capable of? What if a doctor cloned himself and taught his clones to be brain surgeons? Wouldn’t that be a good thing?
And what about the psychic, attempting to connect with her lost loved ones? Wouldn’t all of us like to have one more chance to talk to the ones we loved who are now gone? I would. I’d give almost anything to be able to hear my husband’s voice one more time. Or to hear him laugh. I’d like a chance to say I’m sorry, or to tell him that I miss him. I’d also like to reconnect with my baby brother. I still miss him and it has been over twenty years since I last saw him.
Of course, there are downsides to both of these. The man who cloned himself became a criminal. He used his clones to escape capture and avoid jail time. The psychic got the surgery and while it was successful, she didn’t have any of her parents’ belongings to aid her in reconnecting with them. All their possessions burned in a fire, leaving her just as she was before the surgery.
The agony of the psychic is heartbreaking. She can help connect other people to their lost loved ones, but she can’t find her own.
In “Arrythmia”, the human condition is explored with an underground surgical unit that provides biotech hearts to those who are rejected by the legal avenues because of a lack of insurance (I’m sure many of us can tragically identify with this situation. I am young but in need of medical care and I don’t have insurance so I either have to pay out of pocket or go without, and there’s no guarantee that with the new insurance regulations I’ll be able to get the help I need since some of it is out of the ordinary).
One woman interviewed by Detective Stahl explains that she got the heart because she wanted to spend more time with her family. “Wouldn’t you?” she asks. All of these people just wanted more time, and there was someone willing to give that time to them. The legality and illegality of such an issue seems to fall to the side when you consider the human element.
Of course, then there are people willing to exploit that. All of the illegal heart recipients are being forced to pay out the nose for their biotech hearts, and when they can’t cough up the money their timer isn’t re-set and they die. There are always people willing to take profit wherever they find it without a second thought about the people involved.
I also thought it was interesting in “Arrythmia” when Dorian found another DRN model who had become a technician for a medical office. The DRNs were built to be cops, and Dorian feels as if he has a responsibility to provide the DRN with the ability to be a cop just one more time. He tells Kennex that when he was decommissioned, he hoped that someone would wake him back up. He loved being a cop, and Kennex was the one who brought him back to life. He wanted to return the favor, even if just for a little while.
Dorian and the other DRN have a conversation later about the DRN’s old cases, one in particular. There was a little boy hiding from a man, and the DRN knew the man was going to shoot the little boy, so he killed the man. He broke protocol. But when he found the little boy, the boy hugged him. “That was the most human interaction I’ve ever had,” confesses the DRN. Dorian allows him to remember that even when he has to take away the DRN’s access to the police files and return him back to his day job.
There’s a human element to all of this that brings this show from a flashy sci-fi show to a philosophical one, expanding my thoughts on humanity as well as technology. I’m curious to see how Dorian will evolve. He’s different from the MRX’s and humans, being a bit of both. But he’s the one that shows us what it’s like to be human.