A new drug causes the death of three girls who all attend the same school. Kennex is obsessed with retrieving his lost memories of Anna and the ambush, causing Maldonado and Dorian to grow concerned about him.
Two girls in two different locations, Scarlett and Eleanor, are having intense visual and interactive experiences. One composes music out of thin air and the other walks through the woods, seeing the chemical and biological compounds that make up nature. At the height of their experiences, they both collapse and die.
Kennex has a jumbled dream about Anna and the ambush and remembers that Anna had given him something. Maldonado calls him to work to investigate the death of the two girls. Kennex says he’s on his way, but Maldonado tells him Dorian says he’s still at home.
Kennex arrives at the crime scene in the woods and tells Dorian to stop checking up on him. Kennex coordinates with Stahl at the precinct. Both the girls went to the same school, were both genetically engineered children (called Chromes), and both had empty DNA locked vials in their possession. Kennex suspects drugs are involved. Maldonado asks Stahl, a Chrome herself, to liaison with the parents.
Dorian discovers another girl, Lila, who died seven months earlier with the same drug in her system, who also went to the same school and was friends with the same girls, expect she was a naturally born child. Stahl goes to check out the school while Kennex talks to Lila’s mother. Kennex has memory flashes and takes an unsanctioned medication to stimulate his memory. Maldonado can see this on the precinct security cameras. Dorian is also concerned, but Kennex brushes him off.
Lila’s mother talks about how the dead girls were with Lila on the night she died but that they denied even knowing her after the fact. She hired a private detective who obtained recordings proving it, but when she handed them over to the police they turned out to be blank. The official explanation was that some kind of magnetic surge erased them, but Kennex thinks it’s unlikely.
Stahl talks with the only other “natural” at the school, who talks about how hard it is to handle the pressure of keeping up with the Chromes. Stahl and Kennex talk to an arrogant young student named Marshall who refuses to engage with them, saying only that they wouldn’t understand. Dorian finds another vial in Scarlett’s dorm room, this time with some of the drug actually inside. When they analyze it they find that the drug is designed specifically for the individual and has some hallucinatory elements. Rudy recognizes the drug pattern as originating from a specific type of chemical printer. They search the printer registry and find one registered to a man who lives three miles from the school and who has a son, Julian, who attends it.
On the way to check it out, Kennex has a memory flash and crashes the car. When they arrive at the house, Julian answers the door. He says that they’ve already had the conversation they’re hearing, that the words are hanging in the air. Dorian checks his pupils and determines that he is on the drug. He admits to designing and selling the drug, but says that his printer was hacked at that the stronger doses that killed Scarlett and Eleanor.
Stahl discovers a series of texts between Scarlett and her father alluding to a situation that he has “taken care of”. Kennex shares a drink with Maldonado and she asks him how he is. He admits to being overwhelmed with feelings of guilt and confusion about Anna and the ambush. Maldonado tells him that thoughts of revenge will consume him and to take it easy. Afterwards, Kennex decides to go back to the Recollectionist anyway and have a memory treatment. He remembers that Anna gave him a Russian nesting doll. He goes home to check it out, but finds nothing out of the ordinary. His walls are plastered with photos and notes relating to the ambush. He takes the doll to the forensic analyst at the precinct and has her check it out for him, off the record.
Kennex an Dorian go to confront Scarlett’s father, who admits that Scarlett and Eleanor were with Lila the night she died and that he paid to have the private investigator and the recordings disappear to protect his daughter. Turns out that Lila’s mother knew about his involvement all along, which gives her the strongest motive for killing the girls. Detective Paul finds another vial in Julian’s bedroom, but containing a data rod.
Kennex talks Julian into decrypting the data rod. Julian says that he loved Lila, even more for being a “normal” and imperfect, but that she was under so much pressure from her mother to be better that she couldn’t handle it. When she took the drug what she saw was the “truth” about herself, that she was less than everyone else and would never be good enough. The data rod his her message to Julian admitting this before she drowns herself. Kennex and Dorian show Lila’s mother the video, but she still insists it was the drug that killed Lila – that she wouldn’t have done it otherwise. Lila’s mother hired a hacker to alter the drug doses and kill the girls as revenge for all those who refused to acknowledge her daughter after she died.
Lila’s mother has a wall very much like Kennex’s, covered with notes and photos. Kennex recognizes the obsessive behavior in himself so he goes home and takes down all his stuff. He gets a call from the forensic analyst who tells him that the doll was a sophisticated surveillance device that last uploaded data less than seven hours earlier.
This episode was incredibly disappointing after how cool and game changing last week’s episode was – and made all the more frustrating because of how obvious it was that this episode belonged much earlier in the season. Everything we had come to accept about Kennex and Dorian, their relationship, the progress that had been made both in the storyline and in character development, felt like it took a major step backwards – mostly because it had. This episode was the fourth in production and was aired as the tenth, so if you felt like you missed something toward the beginning of the season – if you felt like the ambush wasn’t being handled enough, or if you felt like Kennex and Dorian’s relationship fluctuated wildly – this would be why.
Apparently J.H. Wyman doesn’t feel too bothered by the early episodes being aired out of order, feeling that the later episodes are the important ones to air in sequence. However, I think the disjointed and inconsistent development of the early episodes is extremely off-putting and frustrating. Certainly it doesn’t matter in the sense that most of these early episodes have been episodic in nature and don’t reference in any significant way to the building mythology of the show – but it does make for a very uneven flow to events and characters that probably cause some viewers to lose interest. It makes you feel like the series isn’t going anywhere – or that when it does go somewhere that it just undoes everything it just built.
This is especially visible in both Kennex’s attitude and his relationship with Dorian. In those earlier episodes, we saw Kennex change radically from a man on the verge of self-destruction who deeply resents his android partner to a man who seems to be stabilizing and who can trust and confide in his android partner. It is a major shift from the first episode to the second (which is actually episode 01.05), but one we come to accept. But because we accept that change, it makes it all the more difficult to see the characters shift from one extreme to the other.
How J.H. Wyman actually thinks the episode order doesn’t make a difference is beyond me, but chances are he’s putting on a good face for the network. Here’s hoping there are actually some later episodes that have the chance to be aired in order – but my hopes are not high for a series renewal.