Alphas Review: The Unusual Suspects

 Posted by on September 21, 2011 at 1:05 pm  Alphas
Sep 212011

alphas-unusual suspects-nina-bill-rosenAlphas is showing it has a deft hand with pacing, and with the ability to present a variety of episodes. They’re focused on the action/adventure with a strong side dose of creepy, but I’m pleased that each episode feels unique. Yes, there were a couple of Alphas Du Jour, but unlike last time, the hour wasn’t spent trying to foil someone’s heretofore unknown ability. Instead, the episode played on the series’s strengths and continued following threads woven in past episodes. SPOILERS AHEAD!

The strengths, as I see them, are a deft hand with tension, the way that each character’s abilities is also his or her weakness (and this includes Dr. Rosen), and the way that superhero abilities are rooted in some kind of science. I love, at the end, how Rosen tosses off “morphogen” as if he’d seen a dozen of them. I love how it’s painful for the villain to change shape, and how it actually makes him puke. I love the continuity of alpha ability with the normal range of human neurological differences. Is Eric, who can read micro-expressions, all that different from Cal Lightman of Lie to Me?

Last week, I predicted that Bill losing his ability, and then getting it back, foreshadowed some complex character development for him. Well, I was close: It seems to have caused some physical loss of control over his ability, and now that loss of control is life-threatening. I like the character a lot; I like his constant state of tension, his frustration with the amateur pool in which he plays, and his world-weariness. I like that Bill is a regular guy in a highly irregular world.

Alphas has been playing the tension of government interference and Binghamton versus Red Flag all season, and it just got more interesting without pushing things too hard. Having each of our team held prisoner in a nasty white cell was very chilling, and having Rachel, and later Gary, freak out was even more so. Nat may have had a good reason for what he did, but the damage he did to the government’s relationship with the alphas will have consequences. It wasn’t pushed too hard, though, in that things weren’t forced to an artificial head.

I’m going to cry foul with how the villain’s plot was achieved. While I enjoy the way that the “morphogen” was established as pseudo-plausible, there’s no way he could have gotten past Rachel’s senses. Even if Morph Man was imitating DNA (as the haircut suggests), Rachel can detect scent, sound, heartrate…I just don’t buy it. (And if he mimicked DNA, why not blood type?) Too much of a stretch.

Next week is the season finale, and then we’ll be back for S2!


  One Response to “Alphas Review: The Unusual Suspects”

  1. we went the other way on Monday and dropped in on Castle (which had its own TNG cameo from the Wonderful Worf!) and finally got the opportunity to watch this ep last night.
    the show in general, and “The Unusual Suspects” in particular, weave comdey and drama in alternate doses that contributes to the deft timing of which you spoke.

    what you didn’t mention is how freaking cool these guys are when working on all cylinders. when they staged their breakout, they were just plain badass, the strong helping the weak, it was like an unstoppable tsunami; and then later, the fight in their hideaway, brute strength against finesse, and the paranoia, the sense of betrayal thrust us right in there with them. the AHA moment there was Rosen saying “I should have sent you to Binghamton”. the good Doctor would have never said that, and that was the audience reveal. well handled, well written, and deftly executed, unlike so many other shows. i don’t know if this show is really THAT good, or if it’s that there is so much crap out there this year. did anyone see “Person of Interest”? omg, talk about craptastic.

    this show is awesome, and all the more so because it’s the shiny trinket floating in this years cesspool of entertainment, through which we have to wade looking for these little gems, all the while wondering what are these other creative people eating. i’m going to stop this metaphor now, it’s getting a little gross.

    one last thing, though. Deb i don’t want to argue the minutia of superhero powers because it’s like counting those angels on the pin, but in this case i’ll forgive Rachel not spotting Dr. Fauxsen (to borrow a Fringe tic) and could even attribute it to her having to focus her ability when needed and letting the rest wash over her (like that thing about hearing only one voice at a concert), but i don’t get how she can tell blood type from her senses alone, unless she was so familiar with Rosens blood and had it memorized for the comparison later.
    but this is just nit-picking and only deducted a couple of points from their score.

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