Alphas 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!