A black market group is selling second hand bio-mechanical hearts and extort money from the owners with the threat to turn them off if payment is not made. Dorian and Kennex run into another DRN model who is a maintenance worker at a hospital and he comes for a ride along with them.
A man is consulting an automated holographic doctor at a busy free clinic. The doctor glitches just before giving an important diagnosis and the man freaks out a little, desperate to know what’s wrong with him. Before any progress can be made, another man bursts into the room with a gun and demands to see a surgeon. He is taken to an operating theater where a surgery is in progress. He claims that he is going to go into cardiac arrest at any moment and demands attention. The surgeon tries to calm him down, but he man gets more agitated and eventually does go into cardiac arrest and die.
Dorian and Kennex are cruising through town. Kennex tries to fix the radio by hitting it and distractedly runs a red light. Dorian writes him a traffic ticket. Kennex says that Dorian should break a rule once in a while. They get a call to go to the clinic, where Dorian and Kennex encounter another DRN who is working maintenance. Dorian feels strange seeing another one of his model doing anything but police work. They investigate the scene and discover that the dead man, Leonard Lee, had an unregistered bio-mechanic heart. They watch the security footage and the man apparently knew the exact time of his death and said that someone killed him.
Dorian invites DRN-494 from the hospital on a ride along with him and Kennex. 494 was a highly decorated police officer before his decommissioning and reassignment. Kennex refuses at first, but when Dorian quotes Kennex from earlier saying he should break some rules, Kennex reluctantly agrees. Rudy discovers that the biomech heart has unusual modifications and runs some tests. Kennex is being driven crazy by two Dorians and decides that one has to leave. 494 impulsively gets out of the car and tackles a guy. Dorian and Kennex watch helplessly as this puts into action a chaotic chain of cause and effect that eventually leads to the destruction of a police drone and an MX unit. 494 had tried to arrest the man based on his out of date case files, when in fact the man had already done his time. Maldonado yells at Kennex over the phone when he calls to explain the situation.
Kennex wants to know why Dorian wants to take 494 on a ride along, and Dorian explains that the DRNs are made for policework and that when he was being decommissioned he just hoped that someone would eventually be there to wake him up. Kennex was that person for Dorian and Dorian wants to be that person for 494. Kennex allows 494 to continue on the ride along, with the condition that he stay in the car at all times.
Stahl talks to Lee’s mother, and she explains that Leonard had a deadly heart issue but that they were rejected for a transplant because of insurance issues. They turned to the black market and Leonard got his heart. Dorian and Kennex go to Vastral, the transplant center. Dorian harasses Kennex into donating money toward kids who need prosthetics. They talk to the director of Vastral, Pauline Rivera, and find out who the biomech heart belonged to previously to its illegal implantation.
They go to the processing center where that person’s body was disposed of and talk to the processing attendant, Henry Mills. He confesses that he’s been selling biomechanical equipment to a second party. They set up a meeting with a guy named Oscar who picks up the hearts when Henry calls him. Turns out that the special modifications to the biomech heart works as a remote timer to turn off the heart. If the person who possesses the heart doesn’t pay up each month, no one resets the heart and the client dies.
While Dorian and Kennex wait for Oscar to pick up the heart, Dorian tells 494 why the DRNs were shut down. Some of them were deemed emotionally unstable and a test was devised to test their field worthiness. However, the powers that be got nervous and instead of relying on the test, had the whole line decommissioned. Oscar shows up to get the heart and they follow him to the drop location. They storm the place just as a surgeon is about to perform a transplant.
Later, Henry Mills is on the phone with a woman who tells him to destroy everything and not to reset the timers. Mills is more involved than he let on and is actually in charge of resetting the heart timers once payment is made. They know the police are closing in on them, so they prepare to abandon the operation. It turns out Oscar is a simple currier, and the surgeon just wanted to help people in need and was misled about the nature of the heart modifications. No one knows who the ringleader actually is, except that she’s a woman who calls herself Karen.
Meanwhile, a couple people drop dead from expired timers. Turns out that all the victims were people rejected for legal transplants due to insurance issues. Kennex and Dorian go back to Vastral to talk to Pauline Rivera. Maldonado shows a picture of Rivera to the blackmarket surgeon and he doesn’t recognize her. She shows him a picture of Rivera’s assistant and he identifies her as Karen. Kennex and Dorian check out Karen’s house and find that she’s probably been killed. Kennex realizes that no bodies with missing hearts or bodies with failed biomech hearts had been found when there should be a lot due to missed payment. They make the connection between Mills being a body processor and the disappearance of bodies. They catch him at the processing facility and arrest him.
Vastral offers to replace all the black market customer’s hearts at no cost. 494 tells Dorian about a little boy he saved and how it was the most human connection he’s ever had. Kennex and Dorian take 494 back to the hospital. Dorian takes away his memories of his case files but leaves him with the memory of the little boy he saved. Kennex asks Dorian if he’s okay, and Dorian says he’d feel better if Kennex let him drive. For a minute, it looks as if Kennex is going to give in, but in the end says no.
While this week’s episode lacked something of the weird and wildness of previous episodes, there is something about its conceivability that makes it extra creepy. Organ harvesting and black market sales are by no means a new thing, and it is interesting to see the future of it here in the form of resale bio-mechanics. Throw in a little hands-off Repo Man and you have a pretty disturbing scenario, and not just for the obvious reasons. It’s a pretty disturbing commentary on the destructiveness of extremist capitalism – when the greed of a powerful corporation is actively harmful to the wellbeing of the people. Not only is Vastral fueling the market for illegal transplants and extortion – both by rejecting uninsured customers and by making the sale of second hand biomech parts illegal so as to limit the market availability – but by the initial rejection of uninsured customers, they are effectively sentencing those people to death. That’s a pretty extreme stance to take, just to make some money.
On a side note, Dorian opened up an interesting potential storyline for his character and the original reason behind his decommissioning. Assuming he was subjected to the DRN test, it is questionable whether he passed or not. Was he one of the emotionally unstable ones? Was he perhaps the original emotionally unstable DRN that doomed the others to be decommissioned? His tone as he expressed doubt as to the reliability of this DRN test suggests that he perhaps failed it and disagreed with the outcome. It would certainly explain his connection with 494 and his desire to help him. Perhaps he feels responsible for the reassignment of his line.