Not Quite Human
Between robot dogs and Piper’s AI origins, Emergence really kicked into high gear last week and that continues through for its fourth episode too, despite some glaring plot holes and some illogical character decisions. With more drama and a tantalizing, drip-fed amount of answers to the big questions, Emergence continues to pick up steam as we approach the halfway point of its first season. Whether this one will leave things open for a second or not remains to be seen but right now, ABC’s latest mystery drama is doing everything right to go that way.
The episode itself begins with Jo uneasy around Piper before meeting Benny and telling him the computer chip successfully cured Piper. Determined to find answers, Jo storms into Emily’s house where she learns she only worked on a small portion of Piper’s code. The girl happens to be completely AI but with few answers to go on Emily refuses to play ball. Thankfully, quick-thinking from Benny steals an important piece of tech from Emily’s apartment and aside from it frying his laptop, he believes he’ll be able to crack the code.
Torn over what to do, Jo heads home and after speaking to Piper, finds someone across the street taking photos of her. It turns out the lady is from social services. Despite having concerns for her safety, in order to make the situation with Piper official they’ll have to go through the normal channels of adoption. Before she can continue though, Kindred phones her and advises to get in the car to a safe location.
After some small talk, Jo and Kindred get down to business and discuss Piper’s origins. Before she leaves, he casually mentions about the facility being broken into the night before but Jo keeps a straight face and plays dumb. While she leaves, Benny heads to a reliable source where they discuss Kindred and the stolen tech. Frantically typing away, April gets to work while Ed talks to the lady from child services. As she turns her attention to Piper herself, the social worker inadvertently stresses her out, causing the girl to fry her phone.
Emily arrives at Jo’s work and reluctantly decides to cooperate with police proceedings. When she heads home, she learns about the fried phone and takes it out on Piper. While she stews in her room, Jo learns that the radio scanner signal has been cracked, leading to an unknown location which she intends to follow. Relaying the news on to Benny, he heads off while April calls on more experts to help crack the code.
As a montage segment begins, Jo and Benny learn that the radio scanner leads to a runway which in turn leads to a whole row of empty houses. On her way out the door, Piper is talked out of running away while Emily is escorted to a safe-house, much to her reluctance, while Benny and Jo continue to search around for clues.
Midway through searching, April sends Benny a video she managed to decrypt of Piper making a birthday wish. Defiantly telling the shady characters she wants to leave, the room shakes before all the metallic objects start flying toward the camera. Shocked over what they’ve just witnessed, they keep searching before coming across a ruined kitchen with bent metal and a hole blown in the side of the house. Could this be where Piper escaped?
Despite Benny’s pleas to listen to reason, Jo defiantly refuses to believe Piper is dangerous and heads home. After some deliberation, she takes a stand and tells Piper to pack her things and follow her out for a drive where she asks if she wants to know who she is. It’s a touching moment and one that culminates in Piper suddenly stopping the car as she notices a turtle in the road. Heading out to save it, this simple act of compassion is enough to convince Jo she’s not dangerous and keep quiet about the truth.
Back home, Jo tells the social worker she’s not afraid any more and decides to follow through with adopting Piper. As the episode closes out, April decides not to go forward with cracking the code and pleads with Benny to do the same. He refuses, telling her that this discovery could change the world. Suddenly, a man appears infront of them and shoots up the car, prompting him to reverse back and crash where we leave the episode.
Although some of the character decisions, including Jo’s inability to report everything about Piper and Kindred being in charge of a shady tech company, defy belief at times, Emergence has enough intrigue about it to be a show worth sticking with for the long-haul. Whether this one will tip the scales and fall into the realm of incredulous fantasy or not remains to be seen but right not, Emergence is certainly picking up steam with its storyline. While not quite as exciting as last week’s episode, there’s enough here to keep you coming back for more.