A hacker programs home security systems to kill their owners as revenge for the accidental death of a young boy. Dorian’s memories begin to malfunction, causing concern.
Rudy runs diagnostics on Dorian while he sleeps in the lab. Dorian wakes up and is irritated by the invasion of privacy and asks him not to do it again. Kennex comes to pick up Dorian for work. They’re covering Detective Paul’s shift, who Kennex says is out for surgery regarding an infected genital piercing. As they leave, Rudy continues sifting through Dorian’s data, uncovering a fatal error.
A man named Michael Bennett arrives home to his “smart house”, a house with a holographic interface and security system responsible for killing a boy, Aaron Kasdan, who trespassed on the property a year earlier. There was a whole controversy and trial, resulting in an acquittal and a number of threats against the Bennetts. His wife, Linda, goes to take a swim while Michael relaxes on the couch. Their security system, SAM, begins malfunctioning, trapping Linda in the pool and shooting Michael as he tries to save her.
Kennex and Dorian investigate the scene. Maldonado believes that the Bennetts deaths are suspicious. Kennex tells an officer that Paul is having surgery for hemorrhoids and that he’s taking up a collection to get Paul a donut pillow. Dorian disapproves of Kennex spreading rumors. They discover that the house had been hacked, that someone remotely killed the Bennetts in retaliation for Aaron’s death.
Kennex and Dorian visit Centurion Security, the company that produces the home security system that killed Aaron and the Bennetts. The company wants to get to the bottom of the deaths, partly because they are releasing android versions of their security system and need to clear up public doubt. Dorian has a glitch where he remembers the same images that Rudy found during his diagnostics – a boy in a bed, playing with a toy train.
Stahl interviews Mrs. Kasdan, who attended a candlelight vigil in memory of her son at the time the Bennetts were being killed. She says that Aaron didn’t have any friends, that he spent all his time on the computer, and that she wished the world had gotten to know him like she had. She never knew why Aaron was on the Bennett’s property that night.
As they drive, Dorian is preoccupied by his glitch and Kennex is concerned. Dorian says that the images he experienced are memories he could not possibly have, because they are of him as a child. Suddenly, the city experiences a blackout, except for large screens displaying Aaron’s photo with the words “Justice for Aaron”. They find out that the hacker responsible goes by the name Crispin X. They get Rudy to tell them about the hacker community. He says they’ll be having a big party to celebrate and that they could infiltrate. Stahl goes by Rudy’s hacker name, “Aphid” while Kennex dresses up in black with lots of eyeliner and using a British accent. All the hackers are at the party in virtual reality. They eventually find Crispin X and arrest him.
Dorian goes to see Rudy about his glitch. Rudy explains it away, saying that its not a big problem and that he’ll remove the files. Rudy tells Dorian that before he was recommissioned that he used to wake him up every now and again to have long chats, but that he erased the memories once he was put back on the force. Dorian says that he would like the memories back if Rudy can find them. Dorian tells Rudy that they’re friends and that he doesn’t have to hide things from him. It is obvious that Rudy is hiding something he finds very disturbing from Dorian.
Crispin X says that he caused the blackout, but that he didn’t kill the Bennetts. There is another death while Crispin X is in custody, clearing him of involvement. The lawyer for Centurion Security was found suffocated to death by his house’s fire security system. The same distinctive threat is found in his mail as was in the Bennetts’ mail. It includes a candid photo of Aaron, suggesting that the person is someone that Aaron knew personally. There is more to the photo that they can’t access. Kennex tells an officer that Paul is having surgery for an infection from a sexbot.
Crispin X agrees to help the police in exchange for immunity. He hacks the photo and finds that the missing half is of a girl named Emily. Her personal files indicate that the founder of Centurion Security, Kay Stenson, is the next target. Dorian and Kennex drive to intercept and warn her by phone. Meanwhile, Emily hacks the systems and the SAM bots mobilize against Kay. Crispin works at counter-hacking Emily while Dorian and Kennex try to save Kay. Kennex takes down the SAM bots and saves Kay, while Dorian convinces Emily to give up. Emily was in love with Aaron and he was on his way to see her the night he died.
One of the officers brings a collection to Maldonado for Detective Paul’s Hemorrhoids. Maldonado says that Paul took his mother to New Mexico for her birthday and shoos him out of her office. Stahl tells Mrs. Kasdan about Aaron and Emily and shows her a collage of thousands of people who knew Aaron online and remembered him fondly – telling her that he had a lot of friends and touched a lot of lives. Rudy tells Kennex that someone implanted the files in Dorian’s mind for some unknown reason and that its very troubling. Kennex wants to tell Dorian, but Rudy is afraid that they’ll decommission him again and that they have to keep it a secret until they can find the source and the reason behind the implants.
While this week’s mystery felt tight and suspenseful, it also left a lot of room for characters and subplots to be explored satisfactorily. That rushed quality is something very particular to the early episodes (the actual early episodes, not the later episodes that were aired earlier), where the case of the week crowds out character development and mythology building plot points. I know that not every case can be significant for the series, and there is definitely a charm to that kind episodic respite, but I feel like something is missing when it’s all case and no fun. Even the monster of the week episodes from The X-files or Fringe tended to have some significance to character development or relationship building, that is sometimes lacking in this series. It feels like some of these one-off cases are pointless fillers that bog down the rhythm of the series.
That being said, this week’s episode is an exception (as seems to be the case with many of the more recent episodes), where we had plenty of case to engage with, but also a tense and important subplot regarding Dorian personally, a secret being kept from him by his friends, and possible mythology building groundwork. It certainly didn’t bog down the case any – in fact, one plot seemed to enhance and feed the other. While you’re wondering what’s going on with the case, you watch Dorian’s story unfold, and then while you’re watching the case, you keep watching to see what happens to Dorian, etc.
This episode would naturally come in order directly after what was aired as episode 1.09 (“Unbound”), and really seems to fit within that order exceptionally well. Seeing as how this episode is actually episode 1.11, hopefully after this the rest of the series will be airing in the order intended – which is likely, considering that all the earlier episodes have already been aired. There’s no where to go now but up, and I’m looking forward to the series evening out in tone and rhythm.
I would also just like to mention here that Mackenzie Crook’s Rudy is really coming along fabulously. He’s really got so much heart beneath all that sweaty, nervous, awkwardness and I would love to see more of his story be revealed and his role and character evolve within the show and its character’s dynamics.