Almost Human Recap: Murder by Death by Heart Attack
This guest recap is really late because of national holidays and personal laziness. None of my normal screen cap websites had any shots from this episode. So instead you get a series of pictures of my corgi-mix, Polly, that vaguely resemble stuff from the show. Or don’t.
The opening scene starts with a Doc in a Box. Not the “cutesy term for an Urgent Care clinic” kind. A literal doctor behind glass diagnosing a some random guy we never see again. It’s a crowded lobby full of people lined up in front of holographic images diagnosing them from descriptions of their illness. So basically in the future WebMD takes over the hospitals. A man with a gun demands to see a surgeon and busts his way into the middle of an operation. All the medical staff are wearing black scrubs and masks because everything in the future has to be slightly different or we’ll think it’s just today. He demands to be put on life support and hooked up to a specific machine or he’ll have a heart attack. Before they can help he has it and dies, gasping out “They killed me!” with his last breath.
John and Dorian are driving down the street doing their Odd Couple schtick. I read that this episode was supposed to #3 but got pushed back. It shows, they don’t seem to know each other that well yet. John runs a red light so Dorian issues him a traffic ticket. With his brain. You wouldn’t think that was sexy but that would mean you have never seen Michael Ealy. Dude makes everything sexy. Dorian gives a little lecture about following rules and John counters that Dorian should break some. They get the call and head to the hospital.
In the lobby they see another Dorian unit fixing the doc box. Dorian thinks it’s weird to see another one of him fixing things as they were designed to be cops. They go see the body and discover the man died of a heart attack. When they ask why they are there they find out he had a bio-mech heart transplant that was never registered. He also knew exactly what time he was going to die.
Back in the car Dorian has brought DRN-549, aka Dorian the Fixer, to join them. It goes without saying that John is totally against that plan. Both Dorians smile adorably, talk in unison, and basically make the very air around them sexier. John insists the car isn’t going anywhere with the Fixer in it. So Dorian starts driving the car with his brain. He does a lot of things with his brain. (Bow chicka wow wow.) John insists he can’t come but Dorian throws his words back in his face, encouraging him to break the rules. John petulantly gives in.
John makes snarky comments about the Fixers’s observational skills so Dorian explains that John is morose on the outside and a malcontent on the inside. John looks pretty proud of that description. The British hacker dude, Rudy, calls to them there’s something weird in the heart but he doesn’t know what it is. Well that was spectacularly pointless. The car stops suddenly and the Fixer jumps out. He runs up the street and tackles a guy to arrest him. This causes a Rube Goldberg series of events that ends with one of the regular police robots destroyed by a hubcap. The Fixer recognized the man as an armed robbery suspect. But because Dorian gave him outdated case files (and portions of the police database) he didn’t know the guy had beaten the charges years ago.
John’s like, “Dorian, what is your damage?’ Dorian explains that when he was decommissioned his last thought was “I hope someone wakes me up.” He just wanted to be a cop again and he wants to help the Fixer be a cop again. John gives in but threatens to throw the Fixer off a wall if he screws up again.
Boring brunette detective is interviewing the dead guy’s mother. She finds out the heart was black market and the building they used is abandoned. She speaks quietly and nods a lot because she’s a pointless character that has no chemistry with John who exists solely because prime time tv refuses to let John fall for the age appropriate and inherently more awesome Lily Taylor.
John and Dorian are waiting to talk to someone at the heart manufacturer. Dorian takes this chance to harass John about his synthetic leg and bully him into donating money to children who need organ transplants. That was weird. The heart lady says it is their heart but she doesn’t know how the dead guy got it. She gives them info that shows the heart was put in a woman who died two years ago. The info is on transparent plastic instead of paper or an iPad because why? All together: things in the future are different for no logical reason. Transparent documents may look cool but are difficult to read. The funeral home is supposed to destroy the heart and provide proof to the company. But that proof is just a (presumably transparent) document that doesn’t actually mean anything.
A doctor meets with a woman in a gross parking lot, promising to find her a heart. Seems legit. When I’m in the market for a new organ I also meet up with some Craigslist guy in a parking lot.
Our favorite cop duo at a funeral home. The funeral home worker shoves a dead body, in a clear plastic body bag, into a metal tube. It looks like it previously was used to create Leeloo Dallas (Multipass) from the stub of an alien arm. Funeral guy pushes a few buttons and the body instantly incinerates into a cloud of ash that gets sucked away. Now that’s future technology I buy. Dead people are a growth industry and eventually you run of out places to bury them.
John and Dorian tell funeral guy they are there to investigate the death of the lady with the bio-mech heart that died two years ago. He looks busted, then blank, then smiles insincerely and claims he can’t remember everyone he processes. Might as well tattoo “criminal” on your forehead, dude. Dorian produces the letter the guy sent claiming the heart was destroyed. HA! It is on transparent paper. He says they always remove non-organic parts or it messes up the machine. Is he saying they remove every boob job, every knee replacement, every screw, everything not human? Because that seems like a lot of corpse surgery. John’s tells him they found the heart and want to know what he did. He says he sold it, one of hundreds he’s sold. All he can tell them is he calls a guy called Oscar every time there’s a bio-mech heart. Because it will help people. Plus Oscar pays him.
Boring brunette cop calls John with news that the dead guy was making $5K payments for the last 25 months to an unknown party. (Which would predate when the lady died buy, hey, let’s not worry about continuity when there are pretty boys around.) Then he talks to Rudy who has figured out that the extra thing in the heart is a timer that will shut down the heart in 30 days unless it’s restarted remotely before the time runs out. John realizes that it’s a blackmail scheme and there are hundreds of possible victims. He gets funeral guy to call Oscar for a pick up.
The dynamic duo and the Fixer sit in their car, staking out the funeral home. The Fixer wants to know why he was decommissioned and Dorian gently informs him that some of the models were unstable and considered crazy. They devised a test to determine which ones were unstable. But instead of fixing the flawed ones all of them were decommissioned and replaced with the new model. Dorian muses that he’s not sure the test was accurate and John gives him epic side eye.
Oh, the grouchy cop is on stake out too in another car with his boring android cop. Everyone is bored so Dorian removes his eye and shows Fixer all the improvements. When John gets snarky about it he drops it in John’s coffee with a fake, “Ooops!” Heh. Dorian messing with John will never get old. Oscar, who appears to have wandered off the Duck Dynasty set, shows up finally. Funeral guy seems to give away what is happening.
The cops follow Oscar in their cars but also have a drone (properly known as UAV – unmanned aerial vehicle) following his car. That’s another piece of believable future tech. Dayton recently tried to put UAVs on the streets for a test of how they could help. There was a big public hearing and the city council eventually shot it down (heh) but I’d say in less than five years several city police departments will be using UAVs.
ANYWAY, Oscar goes into a warehouse but it’s shielded so Dorian can’t get anything on his thermal scan. They do have audio inside and SWAT on standby to go in. Inside the doctor inserts the timer thing into the heart then goes to start the operation. Oscar creepily asks to watch while he cuts the woman and John calls for the take down. The Fixer wants to go but John orders him to stay in the car. They storm the operating room and arrest everyone. Some random SWAT girl turns off the breathing machine and just yanks the tube out of the woman’s throat. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? No cop in their right mind would do that, they’d call for an ambulance. But if they’d done that they wouldn’t get to hear the woman (who wakes immediately because that’s how anesthesia works) ask, “What have you done? I need that heart to live! What have you done? :sob:”
Back at the station Dorian has brought the Fixer in to hang out while they interrogate the suspects. That’s a spectacular idea, Dorian. I’m sure Lily Taylor won’t notice the extra you wandering about the place.
Funeral guy gets a call from a woman. She says the cops are closing in and instructs him to shut down all the remote timers, destroy everything, and get out.
Grouchy cop interrogates Oscar about who is behind it all. Grouchy calls him Rasputin which seems like an awfully literary reference for him. Boring brunette is interviewing the patient, who is pretty pissed off about it all and insists they killed her. Boring tells her they would have ramped up the payments until she couldn’t afford them then killed her but the lady just wanted some more time. John interrogates the Craigslist doctor. We are jumping all over and are back with Grouchy. Oscar tells him he just carries what people pay him too, he doesn’t care if it’s meth or hearts or puppies or puke, he just wants the money. The begging to see the surgery rather contradicts that claim.
Funeral guy wants to keep it going because people are offering money but the lady on the phone insists they shut it down because the timer signal could be traced back to him. He asks if she’s at home and says he’ll be there soon in a way that would have me double bolting the doors and finding a shot gun before he arrived.
Craigslist doctor insists he’s helping people. John nods, yep, that’s true, except for the part where you put timers on them so you can shut them down. Craigslist is all stammery, “No those are for remote diagnostics!” then slumps in defeat when he realizes he’s Doctor Death. He immediately flips on the phone lady. The cops gather in the Fishbowl and realize that phone lady, Karen, has compartmentalized everything so that no one knows enough for them to find her. As they realize she’s going to shut it down and they are going to be responsible for all the people dying Funeral guy walks away from the control panel without resetting any of the timers. A woman hugs her husband as they realize they can’t make the payment and he’s going to die.
After the commercial John and Dorian are on the scene of a lady who died on the street, another heart patient. John finds a Bit Coin device, untraceable, with a balance left because she couldn’t make the payment. Boring brunette is on the scene where the guy from the previous paragraph died on the street. He has a Medic Alert interactive tattoo that she scans with her phone. Boring traces the info and discovers that all the victims tried to get a heart through the manufacturer’s in-house program to help people who couldn’t afford the transplant. They were all turned down by the same woman.
The Dynamic Duo go back to the manufacturer. The same woman they met with before was the woman who turned them all down but Craigslist doctor doesn’t recognize her picture. The woman says no one else has access to the list but Dorian notices her assistant is missing. Craigslist identifies her as the head of it all, Karen. The Dynamic Duo storm her house, guns pulled, but she’s not there. Dorian finds a heat signature on the floor and evidence that someone cleaned blood up. John realizes there should have been more bodies of people who couldn’t pay before the one that started the episode. Dorian matches the list of people who were turned down for transplants with missing persons and finds 36 cases. As John realizes that someone was getting rid of the bodies when people couldn’t pay Funeral guy is putting Karen into the Ash Maker 3000.
They go back to the funeral home and John heads inside. Dorian lingers, telling the Fixer to keep watch outside and follow protocol if anyone shows up. He offers the Fixer a gun and tells him to link with Dorian to get the correct protocol. The Fixer doesn’t want to take the gun because he’s scared. Dorian apologizes and leaves him in the car. Inside they creep around and find Karen in the Ash Maker 3000 then start chasing Funeral guy through the building. As John chases Dorian reads the floor plan in his brain, breaks through a wall and knocks Funeral guy on his ass. That was awesome and very Terminator.
At the station Boring tells John that the manufacturer is going to replace all the timed hearts with good ones. They smile at each other with no chemistry at all. Man, she sucks.
The Fixer tells Dorian about a case he worked where a man was holding his girlfriend’s son hostage at gunpoint. The boy was hiding under the sink and the Fixer found him with thermal imaging. The Fixer knew the man would find him eventually. So he broke protocol, went into the house and killed the man. The little boy, Phillip, hugged him when he was rescued. The Fixer says it was his most human connection and his proudest moment as a cop. He thanks Dorian for letting him be a cop again. Unfortunately that’s the moment Lily Taylor sees him and yells for John. They take the Fixer back to the hospital where Dorian erases his cop memories again. But he leaves him the memory of Phillip. Aw, brodroid love is sweet. Dorian is a bit sad when he gets back in the car and tells John that driving would make him feel better. John chuckles and drives away because John is not a chump.