That’s Stahl Folks.
Dear everyone involved in Almost Human:
I like your show. Really, I do. It’s visually stunning, the banter is fantastic, and there’s just enough of a secondary conspiracy plot to be interesting. You have given us an innovative police procedural both realistic and fantastical. The show is crafted around androids and tech but doesn’t sacrifice plot for the sake of device. I’m not sure about this whole “showing the episodes out of order” thing; as we learned with the still actively mourned Firefly, this can be a source of both rage and endless, redundant, meme creation that is getting old even for the most dedicated of fans. Please, all higher powers, make it stop, make it stop, make it stop.
A query, however: what the fuck is with Stahl?
One episode. One episode in which she was mistress of her own domain. One episode in which she did something besides use search engines and provide an empathetic ear to the bereaved while the men-folkstride, as always, in to danger without fear. Sort of. Because halfway through, she got captured. She had to be rescued. By the mens (Maldonado played her part but it was, quite literally, a remote one).
It makes sense for Maldonado to spend the majority of her time in the office; she’s the Captain. Captains coordinate, they oversee, they administrate, they need to have the wider view. In diametric opposition to Sahl who, as far as one has been led to believe is a detective of equal or greater ability, and significantly greater brainpower, than her male colleagues, Maldonado has strapped on a vest and a side arm several times during the season, putting herself directly into harm’s way for the sake of all New Yorkers. Even the obnoxious ones.
Stahl did put on that wig last night. It was cute. But what really got my attention was hearing Karl Urban’s real accent for what may possibly be the first time ever not Stahl’s brief proactivity. After which she was relegated to watchdog speaking into her mobile in quirky, speaker fashion.
Not so very long ago, you told us Stahl is a “Chrome.” An individual genetically engineered to be as perfect as a mortal being can.
A series of significant looks, raised eyebrows, and the utterance of the provocative, “I’ve never seen a Chrome as a police officer before,” is suggestive of a potentially interesting tale of rebellion and protagonism. All we saw, however, was an evident mastery of Goggle Chrome. Would not the department have been better served by having her actively involved rather than strapped to her desk? Or perhaps her interrogations could have revealed something more than… nothing.
This is a knock neither on Minka Kelly nor her acting abilities. I liked her in Friday Night Lights and I like her in Almost Human. And blaming the actress… that’s not fair. Acting is her job and my understanding is that, for the most part, when one gets a regular gig, one doesn’t turn it down. There’s no active abuse or exploitation of women on this show; the issue is more one of benign neglect which, while irritating, isn’t the worst thing we’ve seen on TV where potentially strong (not physically but in the sense of being well rounded and movers of their own destinies) female characters get lost in the shuffle. It is of note, though, that lack of “active” is the problem.
Those of us who enjoy the police procedural would like more. We have, in fact, had it on several occasions and are wondering where the fuck it went.
(Where have all the Kay Howards gone?)
I get that the cruxes of Almost Human are fear of our own, basically shitty natures and Asimovian angst that we, all of us, are committing suicide by tech. This post World War II back to the house thing you have going on though? It doesn’t work for me. Girls can do all kinds of things now (they could even do them back in the 80’s. See: Gotham Central). And if they can do all kinds of things now, let’s project what they will continue to do and add to the skills set in the near future. Just like — dare I say it — just like the dudes.
So maybe Dorian should go on the fritz or Kennex’s leg should malfunction. Start with a three episode arc. It won’t hurt that much.