Watch "The Bends" and tell me I'm wrong. None of the cops tell any criminal to stand down, lower their weapons, put their hands over their heads, or even bother to identify themselves as police officers. What they do is shoot everyone until they are fucking dead.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. This is the verrry traditional/cliché episode where a cop has been wrongly accused, but the hero knows the officer would never commit any wrongdoing and has to prove his innocence, along with the episode where the series' misfit must go undercover with no real training or skills. Almost Human does not embellish upon these two most basic of crime procedural storylines in the slightest bit.


One of John's old cop buddies is gunned down in a drug deal for wearing a wire in his stomach (because THE FUTURE). Paul, the cop whose sole role on the show is to be an asshole, believes the guy turned, since he wasn't on any sanctioned undercover missions, but Kennex knows better. While Maldonado brings in the dead cop's commander, Barros, in an incredibly conspicuous way despite him seemingly having nothing really to add to to the plot, Kennex asks the cop's wife using all the interview technique he learned at Cop Show 101: "Was their anything different about him lately?" The wife says the guy mentioned something about fixing the fireplace in their cabin, so of course Kennex and Dorian head up there and find the device the guys' wire was transmitted to in the chimney, because that all makes total sense.

But the recording doesn't clear the guy, it only indicates he was meeting with The Bishop, a shadowy drug lord who no one has ever seen, and who has eluded the cops for 10 years. (This is important to note, because The Bishop's operations will be completely destroyed in the next 3-4 hours.) The Bishop needs a cook for a new drug called The Bends — made from undersea algae, so Kennex has the bright idea to send in Mackenzie Crook in undercover, as The Bishop's new potential cook. There's also some nonsense about a flood of The Bends hitting the street, but I don't know how that's possible if The Bishop still needs a cook for his shipment, and I suspect Almost Human doesn't really care either.

So Rudy displays his complete ineptness during a series of tests to get him ready for this ridiculously dangerous mission, and then they send him in anyways. And then he immediately fucks up, and Dorian enters as his "reclaimed DRN" model/bodyguard, prompting the question as to why the cops didn't do that in the first fucking place.


Rudy makes some amazing The Bends, and is transported by the bald guy everybody things is The Bishop to a new lab, while Kennex and the team burst in, kill all the bad guys without giving them any chance to give themselves up, and then torture one of the few wounded but living "suspects" to discover the bad guy they think is The Bishop isn't actually The Bishop because no one meets The Bishop.

That's when Rudy meets the Bishop. Seriously. And of course it's Barros, the one character who was introduced earlier for no apparent reason. My goodness! What a tweest! The cops figure this out too because the bald guy skated on some charge, in the past and Barros was the officer who handled the case, so obviously it's him.

Then we get a real mystery by wondering how the hell The Bishop managed to elude the cops for 10 full years, because The Bishop is an idiot. Despite introducing himself to Rudy's fake drugmaker after 10 years of apparent isolation, and besides not recognizing his fellow police officer or at the very least having some way to identify potential undercover police officers, when Maldonado calls him to "update him on the case," Barros picks up the phone and talks long enough to be traced even though he is at his giant drug operation warehouse doing a massive drug deal.


Barros' other men discover the first group of men aren't answering their cellphones, and realize something's up. Rudy throws open a suspiciously handy steam vent and runs away to hide, although not before getting winged in the shoulder.

And that's when the cavalry arrives, an when I say "cavalry" I mean "murderers in police uniforms." They just run in and shoot everybody, regardless of whether they or anyone else is being threatened. They still don't identify themselves as police. If they come up behind someone, they don't yell "Freeze!" or "Drop it!", they shoot them in the goddamn back.

But it gets worse. Kennex chases after Barros through the basement-y tunnels of wherever the hell they're at, and eventually runs out of bullets while trying to kill Barros (Kennex does plenty of shooting without Barros firing back). So what's a futuristic police officer without a gun to do? Grab a lead pipe and repeatedly beat the assailant with it. Which Kennex does.


And, once Barros is down and clearly no longer a threat, our hero shoots this unarmed man right in the face.

I probably don't need to tell you why this is so fucked uo, but please let me tell you why this is so fucked up anyways: This isn't a good cop letting his emotions get the better of him; this is not a cop crossing the line that will have this moment etched into his brain to haunt him for years; John Kennex doesn't even think about it. Neither does the show. The show doesn't even try to present Kennex murdering an unarmed, downed foe with any moral ambiguity, or a pivotal moment, of even any kind of moment at all. Kennex shoots the guy, and then everyone goes out to drinks to celebrate capturing The Bishop.

Look, I'm not opposing to stories about cops who walk fine lines or fall off them, but Kennex can't even see the line. He doesn't even know the line was ever there. And clearly neither does the show. Not only is that terrible, it's boring. Kennex isn't a man grappling with a complex moral dilemma, he's just an asshole. Look, if Almost Human can't be bothered to take even that much effort in its show, I don't know why should be bothered to watch it.*


Assorted Musings

• * Other than, you know, being paid partially to write weekly recaps of it.

• So in the future, Japanese people eat living, extremely lively slugs? That's... that seems wrong.


• "Hey, hon. I'm going to go out to our cabin to fix the fireplace. Even though I have no fireplace repair skills. And you won't ever actually notice any improvement. Also, you can never light a fire in there because I have… reasons. In the chimney. Just don't do it, okay?

• I understand the underwater aspect, but a drug would have to be pretty goddamn good for me to take something named after a condition that makes you shit yourself to death.

• Even ignoring the whole "cops get to murder people without consequence" thing, there weren't nearly enough John and Dorian making fun of each other bits. Remember, Almost Human, if we aren't being entertained by Karl Urban and Michael Ealy bantering with each other, we have more time to contemplate how dumb, rote and pitifully basic your plots are.


• Even if it wasn't apparent police procedure to kill all suspects on sight, isn't Kennex kind of a moron for charging into a gunfight with only a single clip

• You know what's even more fucked up than all the murder? Barros was the best chance to clear his friend's name. Sure, they have a ton of evidence against Barros, but that's not to say Kennex's friend couldn't have also been in on it. Barros was the best chance to prove his friend wasn't a drug-dealing scumbag, and Kennex murdered him without missing a beat.

  • On the other hand, if Almost Human is going to be a prequel to Judge Dredd, it's actually pretty good.