Welcome back Alphas fans!
Well, at least she gave them the option.
In a lot of films and TV shows, the villain of the scene is often crippled by their inability to comprehend the ticking clock, shoot in a straight line, or simply stand in one spot and gloat while the hero works their way free of any trap that has befallen them. Is it a natural instinct by the writers to always do happy endings, or are bad guys really just that stupid, blinded by their obsessions, orders, or overall lack of observation?
At any rate, in the opening of this week’s action-packed episode of Syfy’s Alphas, techno-gifted Alpha Skylar Adams, (Summer Glau), took pity on the poor idiots following her and gave them a warning before blowing them off their feet.
Unfortunately the warning didn’t work, because they just kept coming. Maybe it really is stupidity.
That theory is for another time. Let’s review what we saw when we weren’t staring in utter jealousy at Summer Glau’s hair, (or maybe that was just me?) As always, MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!
Doctor Lee Rosen, (David Strathairn), and his Alphas appear to be going about business as usual, but a few kinks have been thrown into their works. Sandra Bell, (Jane Moffat), is refusing to allow Gary Bell, (Ryan Cartwright), to come to work. Jeannie Harken, (Rachael Crawford), is pushing Bill Harken, (Malik Yoba), to have children. And despite his own flirtations with their handler Kathy Sullivan, (Valerie Cruz), Doctor Rosen is concerned about Nina Theroux, (Laura Mennell), and Cameron Hicks’, (Warren Christie), ‘innnocent flirtation, (again, et tu Doctor?) These kinks are soon put aside as the arrival of the news that ‘catch and release’ Alpha Skylar Adams is in trouble.
Despite her not being any real threat to anyone unless threatened, Skylar has come under some trouble and is being followed. Over the course of the episode we learn about Skylar’s history with Rosen and Nina, and are introduced to her own opinions of herself and the world she has managed to hide from. Paranoia and trust becomes a strong issue, especially when it’s revealed that Skylar is also hiding a second-generation Alpha – her daughter Zoe, (Skyler Wexler).
With some help from Nina and ultimately Dr. Rosen, Skylar makes an escape. Of course, she’s not gone for good. Not with that little smirk being the last we see of her.
As with any group that spends a lot of time together, the Alphas themselves are beginning to splinter a little – not necessarily for the worse, but each of them has their own life to deal with, and given how closely they work together the lines between personal and professional are beginning to blur. Romance especially seems to be a subject everyone is avoiding, as Rosen tells no one of his flirtations, (and there have been a few in this series so far!), Nina and Cameron downplay their budding relationship, (but the tension between them is palpable), and Rachel Pirzad, (Azita Ghanizada), outright refuses to discuss anything with anyone. Also, as the world around them begins to open up, the Alphas’ individual opinions about their roles and their world are starting to clash. Skylar was a lovely catalyst for Nina in this episode. Bill’s motives about his life are clearly in conflict. Rosen is finally getting a clue about how he and his team are really viewed. And Gary, still under the influence of his encounter with Anna, (Liane Balaban), strongly asserts his place as an adult in one of the more emotional scenes of the episode.
Skylar Adams is this week’s Alpha, a seemingly harmless young woman with a gift for invention and a knack for trouble.
Described as the ‘typical catch-and-release’, her natural rebellious streak has landed her in some trouble. As with many government agencies, the one chasing her now, (the NSA) has elected to bring her in and have her create objects for use while ‘compensating’ her. Covered in tattoos and with a wild hairstyle, Skylar does not present the picture of one who would simply conform to whatever she is told to. She is devilishly smart, a true escape artist, sarcastic, and at her core: compassionate. She does, after all, have a daughter to whom she is devoted to and determined to protect. She also, as stated earlier, uses mostly non-lethal methods to achieve her escapes. Skylar is no threat; she is merely protective of herself and the one person she holds dear. She is also, like Cameron, a lone wolf, having turned down Doctor Rosen’s offer to join his Alphas. Whether or not she refused to join him because of her own solitary preferences or because she knew what he and his Alphas would become is unclear, but it is open for discussion. Finally, while Skylar is no threat, she is a wild card. Given her opinion about the government in general, where will she stand when the chips fall?
Skylar wastes no time with Rosen and Nina, pointing out to them immediately that they are nothing more than flunkies for the government, taking orders and doing as they’re told with little regard for consequences. Nina understands this without hesitation, but Rosen is less open to the idea, sighing that ‘we can’t always do as we please’. Up until this episode, Rosen has been comfortable to call the shots but keep everything he has done within the confines and protection of the DoD and DCIS. He is helpless against the machine, having no control over who comes in, and seemingly he likes it that way.
Yet, at the end of the episode, Rosen makes a decision, (or series of decisions), that shows he has finally broken out of that mold. Instead of allowing Skylar and her second-generation Alpha daughter to be taken to Binghamton, he allows her escape and writes a report omitting many facts. To some, Rosen has finally ‘gone rogue’. His comment to Nina about finally doing something against the grain? “You’re right, that felt good.” Perhaps the patient is now teaching the psychiatrist. We can only hope that Rosen’s ‘going rogue’ will continue through the rest of the season, because the rules may not apply when the fires finally spin out of control.
This was a strong Nina episode this week as well. Though not as expository as previous weeks, we get to really touch on what makes Nina….Nina. She is a free spirit, taking no orders, flitting wherever she wants, and doing whatever she wants. This comes from her power, but it also comes from other circumstances that we still have yet to discover about her. But she has changed from her earliest appearances on the show – she is no longer quite as twisted, and in fact appears far more fragile and far more caring than the ice queen she has previously shown the audience. While she continues to hold herself apart in general, she has warmed to the group. The most interesting change we see so far is her compassion. We know it is there, but being forced away from the role of protector and into the role of captor has brought it out full force. She is willing to turn against the group and aid someone who could be trouble because she believes it is the right thing to do. It can be argued that she is the reason Rosen ultimately turns against the DoD, because thanks to Skylar and her own suspicions, she realizes that the Alphas really are turning into government flunkies, lapdogs to chase down other Alphas and bring them in for study and exploitation, instead of mere identification and freedom.
She presents this case powerfully to Rosen more than once in the episode, finally getting through to him at the very end, and hopefully opening his eyes enough that he will continue to give his team precedence over what the government tells him to do. This, obviously, opens up a whole new can of worms. The question from this? How will this tie into what happens with Red Flag? Once Rosen realizes the government many not be so helpful with his Alphas, how long will he stand against Red Flag’s belief of offense rather than defense? Is he the only one asking himself this question now?
Suddenly, the first lines of the episode: “Run, idiots!”, takes on a whole new meaning.
We have seen our developments in the field. Coming back to the home front, we had two more large character developments swing forth this week. One of the Alphas is turning his mind far into the future, while another has solidified his present.
Jeannie Harken wants kids. On top of all the pressure Bill’s under, suddenly his wife wants kids. Well, not so suddenly, it is been a topic of discussion, but with the FBI upheaval and Bill’s ‘new’ job as an Alpha (that he finally took full-time a couple weeks ago), circumstances have changed. Jeannie does not know this, but Bill is weighing his options. Whether or not his child is an Alpha is a clear concern for him, and he gets both sides of the coin here, quietly studying Tyler Hicks, (Cameron’s kid, a non-Alpha), and Zoe Adams, (Skylar’s kid, an Alpha). The dilemma takes on a whole new turn when you add in Red Flag’s attack on the anti-Alpha drug factory a few weeks ago.
By the end of the episode Bill is clearly a little more into the whole idea, but studying a book does not guarantee a decision. It is a dangerous world to raise a child in to begin with, much less a child who could have heightened reflexes or stronger hormonal control, (using Skylar’s kid as an example, it seems second-generation Alphas may have abilities that stem from their parent’s). Plus, the long-term effect of Bill becoming an actual father will have a clear impact on his role in the Alphas. At least Bill is showing some changes from his earliest appearances too – he’s no longer quite so rude or angry. Maybe having a child will mellow him out even more?
Finally, Gary Bell stands up to his mother in the best way he can – by proving himself, coming back, and making his argument in his trademark frank way. At the start of the series, Gary’s main focus was on driving a car and trying to make sure everyone understood and recognized him. In this week’s episode, he asked for no help, and tracked down Nina and Skylar on his own in his own particular, (though admittedly not cost-effective), way.
He has grown now from someone who is taken care of to someone who is taking care of others. His regard for his coworkers is also coming into sharper focus – he doesn’t always call them coworkers anymore, but rather friends. He argues that he helps to take care of them, and indeed he does. While stuck in his room, he watches them to make sure they are all right, and chimes in whenever he can via text message. He is integrating into the group more – which frightens his mother to no end. Gary is clearly close with his mother, trusting her enough to tell her what he does when she asks, but thanks to Anna he has also found the motivation and the drive to take a stance and inform her that he ‘is an adult’, a ‘secret agent’ and that working with the team makes him happy, which is all she has wanted for him.
The emotional scene in which this point is driven home is a bit of a tearjerker, and even though we are left with a sense of pride that Gary has finally taken responsibility for himself (in words), we still know that he likely would not have done this without the help of friendly enemy Anna. It puts a bit of a dampener on the excitement.
The Alphas are growing. Next week, it looks like we get another glimpse into the power of the mind. What effects will come from experiencing “A Short Time in Paradise”?. We include the sneak peak below courtesy of Syfy. Enjoy
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2 thoughts on “Alphas: “Catch and Release” – “Run, Idiots!””
Wonderful reviews of Alphas premiere season. You really nailed the messages and theories!
Thanks for the review – very thoughtful and it added to my understanding and appreciation of the episode. I like the series and I hope they continue to explore the characters. Any thoughts on a Summer Glau re-appearance?
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