I gave a pretty good review to the pilot episode of Fox’s Almost Human and I’m excited to say that I was not disappointed by their second episode either. Even more importantly than that I think J.J. Abrams and J.H. Wyman used this episode to say something important about sex appeal, prostitution, and the way it reverberates in our culture.
In this episode Kennex and Dorian are investigating the death of a “sex bot” manufacturer by his unscrupulous competition, and the abduction of women who we find out are being abducted so their DNA can be harvested for the sake or growing more realistic skin for the sex bots. This apparently makes for a better experience for the “user”.
In all honesty, you have to applaud the team behind “Almost Human” for dealing with the situation right away. It’s a show that deals with cyborgs that are built to be as realistic as possible, so of course the question was bound to come up about whether or not people were having sexual relationship with them or not. As icky as that sounds, you should keep in mind that the team behind Almost Human makes a very good point about the artificiality of the sex bots and the sexual relationships that people have with them, and the unseen collateral damage of the sex trade.
The sex bots may be pretty by societies conventional views of beauty but as the close up views prove they have seemingly lifeless and vacant eyes, which seems intended to be a comparison to the vacant eyes of someone on drugs as most prostitutes or porn stars are alleged to be.
We see a sex bot that has rejected the human DNA that her skin was grown from her body is disintegrated and ruined and she is carelessly thrown aside and hidden underneath a stair well with other bags of garbage. Is this intended to be a comparison to a porn star or prostitute that is no longer desirable and simply thrown aside?
The most jarring statement is the abduction of a mother while her son sits inside the family car. She is kidnapped for the sole purpose of having her DNA harvest to grow skin on the sex bots. Ultimately to be disposed of when they are done having their DNA harvested. There are children and women who are kidnapped from their homes and sold into the sex trade in this world. The destruction of families, the abuse and humiliation of the abducted, their disposability after their purpose in the sex trade is exhausted are all paralleled in this episode.
Cool elements in this episode include the “flash masks” used by the villains who killed the sex bot manufacturer, the DNA bomb to cover any traces of the villains DNA in the room the murder took place in, and the animatronic giraffe the Kennex gives to the son of a kidnap victim.
Almost Human also makes another statement about society in this episode too. Rudy Lom, the police department’s engineer responsible for maintaining the synthetics, says that he visits the sex bots, but not for sex. He visits them for companionship, and spends his time talking to them as they are willing to pay attention to him and listen to him. Are we as a society going so far along the path of the individual that we can’t maintain meaningful relationships with people anymore? Are our relationships becoming more dependent on technology? Let me ask you this: Do you find it easier to communicate with “best friends” through social media, text messages, and/or emails than you do in person?