Almost Human: “You Are Here”

What can I say? Almost Human just keeps hitting them out of the park. “You Are Here” is no exception. Not only are we getting storylines that expose the humanity behind the tech, we’re getting character storylines for all three detectives (including Kennex’s love interesting, Detective Stahl), Maldonado, Rudy the technician and Dorian. We’re slowly being drawn into this futuristic world, involved in the characters’ lives and I feel like we’re getting a commentary on current societal practices.

We see Kennex at the top of “You Are Here” in a group setting dealing with his anger issues. He assures the group leader that he’s doing fine and makes a show of being a lot more cool-headed than two of his group mates. All that is put to the test, however, when he arrives on the scene of a crime and an MX attempts to point out that Dorian is inferior and that Dorian’s theory can’t be correct.

Instead of handling the MX’s annoying persistence in a professional fashion, Kennex merely shoots the MX in the face. Part of the problem is that the MX belongs to a rival detective, Richard. The bigger issue is that the MX honed in on Dorian. Whatever Kennex may say he’s attached to Dorian, a fact that delights Dorian as much as it bothers Kennex, who flatly refuses to admit that he cares about his android counterpart.

When Richard threatens to harm Dorian, Kennex gets in a tussle and demands that Richard stay away from the DRN. Captain Maldonado must step between them to prevent any real violence, and this says a lot about Kennex. He may have anger issues that he isn’t dealing with regarding his girlfriend’s abandonment and involvement with the group that was responsible for the deaths of many of Kennex’s comrades, and he may be struggling with anger about his leg and the cyborg replacement, but there’s also a component to his anger that has a positive side. He’s standing up for Dorian. He cares about someone other than himself.

There’s also an interesting side conversation in “You Are Here” that begs to be discussed. The target of the emerging tech (a self-guided bullet) wants to use a “scrubber” to erase her memories regarding a certain person in her past so that she will cease to be a target and can continue to live her life. Kennex doesn’t agree with her, and they debate the pros and cons of scrubbing.

Ultimately, the victim decides to get scrubbed but is yanked off the chair by Kennex before the procedure is complete. At first, the victim is angry. She doesn’t want these memories anymore. But when Kennex shows her proof that the person she believed to be bad was actually being taken advantage of, her gratitude knows no bounds. The person she thought had sold himself out was protecting her. She sifts through his deposit box and finds pieces of paper that he’d written on and remembers all the notes they wrote to each other.

Kennex remarks on this, seeing it as an archaic way of communicating. The victim, Kira, says the notes meant a lot. And now she gets to hold onto them forever. She presents Kennex with her pen, saying that she wouldn’t have any of her love without Kennex finding the deposit box. Kennex takes this to heart and searches his office for a piece of paper to write a note for Detective Stahl.

I think that leaves us with two interesting ideas to consider. One being the Eternal Sunshine question, about whether we would erase the painful memories of past relationships if we could, or if it’s a good thing that we can’t forget. Would I choose to erase memories of certain people because I didn’t want to rehash them? Would I get rid of painful memories because I couldn’t live with the agony of replaying those memories day after day? It’s tempting. But in the long run, aren’t we stronger for the memories we make? At the very least we have that experience to draw on when making the next decision.

The other idea is that of mementos. We put a lot online now – everything from pictures to entire scrapbooks to messages, poems, notes, and entire conversations are online. We don’t print them out and keep them in a box. On the one hand, that’s a good thing. In the event of a natural disaster, I still have a lot of my husband’s writing and photos and video online. I treasure those things.

But I have letters he wrote me, and I trace his handwriting and think about what those notes mean to me. They somehow mean more because I can touch them. They’re tangible. But they are also fragile. They mean more because they are less able to survive.

Almost Human reminds me that, in a world full of technology, sometimes the best ways of communicating are the most ancient.

K.M. Cone

K.M. Cone

K.M. Cone is a story nerd, particularly for the episodic stories told via the medium of television. When not parked in front of the TV, K.M. Cone can be found writing kooky urban fantasy on her personal site, attempting to learn German, or making a huge pot of soup for her friends, who are probably coming over to join her in her latest TV or animated film obsession.
K.M. Cone

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