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Almost Human - 1.05 "Blood Brothers" Review & Speculation


After testifying and presenting her case to the court that the defendant Ethan Avery murdered a fertility specialist Dr. Fuller  in a parking garage, Captain Maldonado leaves the stand as they wait for one of the two witnesses to appear via holographic astral projecting technology.

Elsewhere Haley Myers prepares for her appearance in court while she talks to the other witness Maya Vaughn, an eccentric woman and an alleged clairvoyant. Maya goes into the bathroom, while Haley projects in front of the court, but before she can get her testimony in does someone come and take out there protective decal. The court witness Myers' murder, but luckily Maya Vaughn was able to escape out a bathroom window.

Captain Maldonado threatens Ethan Avery, but he tries to get under her skin for being more of a naturalist and not caving into the culture's obsession with youth, attempting to make her feel unattractive. 

The police were able to locate Maya Vaughn and bring her in for questioning. Soon she reveals her talents to the police, including that she can now hear Haley, who insists that Ethan Avery is her killer. At first DRN is the only one to take her seriously, as she seems to get Richard Paul's back story about his ex-wife wrong (although I still suspect there is something "wrong" with Paul). 

They are able to test voice recognition and in both places Ethan Avery's voice has not been manipulated and this leads Detective John Kennex to believe that maybe Avery had cloned himself.
Valerie Stahl follows up on leads, since she makes the connection that Dr. Fueller was a fertility specialist, while John and DRN realize that Kaya walked out of the station and onto Main St. 

DRN and Kennex catch up to Maya and get her to get in the car, explaining she's in protective custody for her own safety, she also tells John about his "red" energy and a vision she has of him in the dark, facing the light, with people running towards him and the smell of burbon. He kind of shrugs it off, while DRN feeds into her intuition and foresight, but good times are interrupted when they're ambushed and attacked. Maya gets shot!!

Awaking at the hospital, Maya survives the attack, as DRN comments that she was lucky. Maya considers the prospect of DRN's choice of word, but explains to him how unlucky she actually feels, She tells him way she participated in a experiment that made her clairvoyant, because she lost her parents when she was 19 in house fire and she thought if she could get this procedure, she would be able to talk to them again, but unfortunately her ability to communicate often relies on touching objects of the deceased and there was nothing left from the fire. She was never able to talk to them again. John tries to figure out how they were able to locate them and comes to conclude they have been steeling MX com-devices!

In the meantime Valerie Stahl takes an MX and investigates Dr. Fuller's mothers house. The MX goes upstairs while she checks the ground floor. She finds photos and documents proving that clones of Avery were in fact made! The MX rejoins her, as she asks him to send some of the information back to the station and proceeds to check out the basement. She finds four empty beds before she hears a noise and runs back upstairs. She finds the MX enabled and is then taken captive by the Avery clones!

The clones seeing that John's number was her primary emergency backup number calls him and much like Avery himself makes intimate assumptions. They are willing to make an exchange detective Stahl for Ethan Avery. Maldonado agrees, but has a plan...


At the exchange location it does appear at first that Maldonado is releasing Avery to his blood-brothers, but running out of space to walk, along with some [other] birds, make reality more apparent, as it's revealed that Avery is being astral projected through holographic technology! Valerie is able to take advantage of the chaos and fight her way loose and the Avery clones get into their van and attempt to escape! DRN in Terminator-like fashion runs after them and when he catches up, he flips the van over and the clones are killed!!

Later DRN catches up with Maya Vaughn before she leaves the hospital. He hands her box and explains that this is the remaining evidence from her parent's house-fire crime scene and hopes there is something in there she can use to make contact. DRN leaves and she takes a moment to look through the box. She find a door knob attached to it's plate and is able to talk to her parents.

Late at night John finds Valerie still at work, both just finishing up on assignments. Valerie offers him some bourbon and to watch the game with her. It dawns on John that Maya's vision was true, as he sits in the dark, watches the bright light of the soccer players on screen, as they run towards them, and he takes a sip of his drink. 

Beyond the Fringe
What I have been hoping for, which is something I think makes a science fiction series more interesting and emotionally resonating, is when a series takes it's sci-fi into the realm of the paranormal. Because of the way it had been advertised I had thought Almost Human might shy away from it's Bad Robot predecessors like LOST and Fringe, which are both series that get into those kinds of things, and that the series would rather stick with a more realistic or grounded science fiction like Person of Interest, but after a few episodes that include death and afterlife as subject matter and now having a seemingly genuine psychic/clairvoyant/medium, I have much more optimism it will continue to cross these lines into the unknown.

Below the Surface
On the previous review I had commented a couple of times that we may have been seeing some darker sides of John Kennex and DRN, as in "The Bends" both characters succumb to killing their opponents, but DRN, partially because of his laid back and seemingly empathetic nature, and partially because we see him have super strength (climbs up the elevator cables, runs fast and is able to flip over the Avery clones vehicle) makes DRN's discretion and actions seem at times more extreme and point out a rather vivid duality. I can't hep but think we could see DRN go really wrong or become much more dangerous.

The Day They Died
Some of my favorite scenes were John and DRN comparing certain body parts (absolutely hysterical), to the MXs contentiously being disposable in almost every episode. I also like the way the series is taking it's time to work toward's Valerie and John's relationship. It was cute the way Maya's visions related to John and Valerie having a moment at the end of the episode. -But my favorite scene was DRN giving Maya the evidence and Maya finding the door knob of all things, which is surely symbolic of being able to go "home" again by connecting to the spirits of her parents, and that it also represents the doorway between corporeal reality and the spiritual one.

Not Alone in the World
I also liked how Maldonado was complimented for her appearance at the end of the episode, supporting a more 'naturally' getting older theme and proved Ethan Avery's comments wrong.


Other points of interest might be that DRN resides among the MX models in what seems to be recharging pods build into a hallway. The architecture is reminiscent to Fringe's Liberty Island bridges and we have seen Shapeshifters and Observers in pods before, but the specifics of this scene reminds me also of The Borg in Star Trek's various series.








Bad Robot Factor:
Each week after my review I will bring this section relating to many things Bad Robot in relationship to the episode, as I feel certain Bad Robot often makes a point to reference themselves with similar characters, subject matter, riffs, easter eggs, aesthetics, contrasting situations, & occasionally shared pop cultural references. So this section is to explore the possibility of those things, which may provide some and insight speculation and at the very least food for thought and/or trivia. I also think it's just fun to be able to reminisce!

See You On The Other Side
"See You On the Other Side" was made most iconic by LOST character Benjamin Linus before going into surgery ("I Do"), implying that he hopes to come back to the land of living so to speak, but more over it became thematic to LOST's many ways of showing multiple timelines, including the ethereal plane between life and rebirth referred to as The Flash Sideways.

But the phrase 'other side' is also generalized and used elsewhere in LOST and other series. It's similar to the idea of Fringe's 'Over There' phrase, again pointing out multiple timelines, universes, and comparative incarnations of people, places, and events.

Fringe, LOST, and briefly Alias gave instances of life beyond death with spirits returning one way or another or characters crossing over into some other kind of after life reality


Additionally Maya Vaughn seemed to have visions and her abilities weren't exclusive to talking with the dead. Many characters in Fringe are the byproducts of Walter Bishop's, William Bell's, and other people's (ZFT, Walternate, ect) continuations of such experiments, including Olivia Dunham.

Some Fringe characters with the gift of sight:
Simone - "The Oracle" ("The Human Kind")
Emily Mallum ("Forced Perspective")
 Milo Stanfield ("The Plateau")

 Note: Some Observers, such as The Child Observer may have psychic/ESP abilities. Additionally in "The Ghost Network" Roy McComb wasn't exactly psychic, but he could see things unfolding in real time. Roy McComb was played by Zack Orth, who's Revolution character Aaron Pittman, also has a similar ability, as the nanites allow him to see things happening elsewhere (two places at once) and Pittman via nanites can cause people to catch on fire!!

Some Lost characters with the gift of sight:
Eloise Hawking ("Flashes Before Your Eyes")
Desmond David Hume ("Flashes Before Your Eyes", "Catch 22", ect)

Note: Charlotte Malkin had drowned and allegedly come back to life. Her father, Richard Malkin, whose profession was a psychic (and to this day LOST fans can argue about his credibility). When Charlotte was "between" places, she tells Mr. Eko that she saw Eko's brother Yemi and give Mr. Eko's Yemi's message.




Name Game: In Need of Assistance
Maya's surname Vaughn is the surname of main character form Alias, Michael Vaughn. And as mentioned in other reviews, Fringe I think owes a great deal of it's origins from Alias episode "Conscience" which includes fringe scientist Dr. Brezzel and his eccentric possibly drug induced assistant Kaya, whom try and help Sydney retrieve her forgotten memories. Interestingly in Fringe the episode "Momentum Deferred" we meet one of Walter's subjects from the 1970's Rebecca Kibner. Rebecca, although not labeled an assistant, definitely has Kaya's trippy vibes  and there are undertones of a interment relationship. Rebecca could see the parallel red universe.

But speaking of assistants, The house fire, and similar visual similarity with the actresses (not to be confused with personality or personal aesthetic) did Kaya remind me of Walter's assistant Carla Warren, who died in fire in Walter's lab. Carla tended to be the thing that stood with Walter's guilty conscience and was featured in a drug induced vision in the episode "Black Blotter".

Note: There is also minor character in Person of Interest named Christopher Vaughn. Person of Interest tends to reference Alias a great deal, as two of it's current leads are Alias alumni.



Kurt Fuller is an actor who played NCS Direcoter Robert Lindsay. He is one of the many Felicity actors that came on board to appear in Alias. His Felicity role, Paul Korsakoff, which is quite opposite to Lindsay, is more in line with the paranormal aspect of many Bad Robot works, since it was his book (Mystical Incantations Pt 2---and who's cover has "The Eye of Province" symbol upon it, which is also the symbol of Revolution's Patriots) and time travel spell that sent Felicity back in time. It's he who personally helps her get home by making a tree of objects that she and her friends had made representing her life (and in the process creates a time line where Elana lives)

Note: Another well known fertility specialist is Dr. Juliet Burke (LOST).





Ethan Avery - Briefly mentioned in the "Pilot" review Rudy Lom's name is very similar to Lost's Ethan Rom. Avery is the first name of a minor character in Felicity, Avery Swanson (Ben saves her life and brings her back from the dead.), and in Person of Interest the recently killed character Mike Laskey was originally called "Avery" in the casting call.








Seeing Red (and Blue/Blonde) all Over There Again
The show continues with Bad Robot's, but most notorious and over exposed contrast in Fringe, with the colors red and blue. The computer screens Valerie notices at the house had blue and red images contrasting each other.



Additionally Haley Myers hair style and wardrobe-color scheme (navy and black) are reminiscent to the red sided Olivia Dunhams, which in themselves are also aesthetically similar to Nina Sharps. We could also say in terms of personality, disposition, and professions (psychic-eccentric-outgoing vs Nurse-serious-introverted) that the blonde Maya Vaughn was opposite to red headed Haley Myers and that they are opposite to the respective hair-colored paired Dunhams.


Blood Rose Brothers
Although Ethan Avery's counterparts in this episode are clones, I was reminded of the Fringe episode "Amber 31422", about twin brothers in that Mathew Rose had freed his brother Joshua from an amber quarantine. Similar to Avery and his clones the story revolves around an identity switch, in which one brother takes the fall to spare the family of the other brother from the truth about whom he was (a criminal). Interesting in this episode John tries to talk Avery-clones out of continuing to help Avery, explaining how corrupt he is. They insist, much brothers would, that they had to help him simply because they are him. The episode also tried to frown on cloning and clones, which I think is strange when we consider we have multiple models of certain models of near identical androids running around and because argumentively, a clone could be like a twin!


Being in Two Places at Once
The holographic astral projecting technology uses in this episode both with Haley projecting from a room onto the court room and from Maldonado and Avery projecting from inside the prison onto outside at the meeting place is near identical to technology we have seen in Fringe, such as in the (previous and semi-repeating) blue 2026 that a 2011 Peter consciously time travels (again two places at once) to in the episode "The Day We Died", as Walternate projects to Peter at Walter's former house.


The Universe Has A Way of Working Itself Out
So we basically got some clarity from the writers through Maya's ability and words that like with many Bad Robot works, we're in a fate oriented universe. IMO it helps the story by giving these people a sense of purpose and right of passage. We don't have to worry about the show ever becoming overly nihilistic, but rather pro humanism (and what ever that's going to mean in this specific situation will be interesting) and gives the series a sense of eventually working towards some kind of hopeful future through these characters.







So what did you think of "Blood Brothers"? Do you think Val and John make a good couple? Do you think Maya was genuine? Will we be seeing Maya again? Do you think there's a difference between a clone and several models of an android and should they be considered any less human? Do like the technology shown so far? Does DRN have a dark side? Or any theories about anything you want to share, let us know in the comments below?



LAURA BECKER (DARTHLOCKE4) is a long time commentator, TV addict, and aspiring writer participating with other fans on SpoilerTV. She writes reviews and analytic type articles. Some of her other interests include philosophy, cultural anthropology, reading, drawing, and working with animals, as she grew up and continues to work on her family's horse farm.

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