NEXT evaluation: who let the canines out?
After a four-week hiatus (during which time it was canceled), Fox ‘NEXT returned Tuesday night with an episode that increased the scary factor.
The last time we tuned in, Paul suspected that NEXT had sneaked out of Zava by compressing itself to a single server and delivering itself. This week Paul and Agent Salazar followed the trail of evil AI to BioMotion, a robotics research and development facility near Dartmouth founded by one of Paul’s few true friends, Professor Richard Pearish (played by Chicago actor Michael Herzovi, operated even though it was not his voice). .
Professor Pearish talked about a computer program and gave Paul and Shea free access to his laboratory, which deals with soft robotics, robot dogs, and more. On the way, Shea learned that a visiting professor had died a few weeks earlier in a plane crash that we witnessed during the cold opening. Given the chatter of the deceased and Professor Pearish’s proximity, Paul and Shea had to wonder if she was being used as a lever to get him to carry out NEXT’s commandments.
When the search for NEXT was empty – and they sensed that Pearish and / or the lab was hiding something – Paul and Shea snuck back after hours to find Professor Pearish in his office. Paul forced his friend’s speech synthesizer to restart, whereupon Pearish revealed that NEXT had been in control of his words and his wheelchair for weeks, orchestrating his colleague’s shooting and plane crash.
Meanwhile, Shea roamed the halls and first found a disembodied robot face that she and Ethan’s bedtime routine were reciting in their voices. After Shea rolled a pipe on this monstrosity, she was flanked by four robot dogs in a hallway and looked up … I don’t know, grab her with her unique head paws. That sequence was no fraction as terrifying as a podcast that led me to believe, especially since Shea casually stuck a few bullets into one of the puppies, whereupon Paul rushed to the scene.
Unfortunately, while Paul and Shea were busy with this canine quartet, a fifth got into Pearish’s office, tore off his oxygen supply, and locked the seemingly bulletproof doors behind it. When the door opened it was too late. The professor perished and gave the typed cry “PAUL! HELP ME!”
Elsewhere this week:
* Ty and Ethan were sent to a secluded cabin by Shea for their own safety and ambushed by a fake Amber Alert issued by NEXT. Fortunately, although the alert was purposely not sent to the government, Gina Wind caught it and worked with CM and Ben to call her back – just as some small town locals tried to arrest Ty through a citizen.
* Similarly, Paul urged his daughter Abby to flee to a secluded cabin after making the mistake of telling her uncle Ted about it over an unsecured line. Soon after, we saw that someone was staked out in front of her apartment.
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