Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for the July 25th episode of Alphas.
As Alphas settles into its first season it seems to get better and better. Last week’s episode was a step down from the pilot, but this week certainly proved that the show is headed in the right direction.
The cold open featured an Alpha who can apparently trigger riots through one means or another, and after an emotionally heated encounter, everyone stuck with that Alpha on the subway was caught up in a brutal brawl that left a couple people dead.
This show does not shy away from casualties (as was poignantly illustrated later in the episode), and although it takes the show to a darker place, it lends it more realism than series that show devastating events that everyone is somehow able to walk away from.
The team is brought in to investigate, and Agent Wilson is riding everyone pretty hard. The DOD and Dr. Rosen’s team both want to keep the existence of Alphas off the proverbial radar for the time being, and Wilson clearly doesn’t think the team is ready, willing, or able.
In searching the subway car, Rachel discovers a small plush monkey that is saturated with pheromones, and after Gary has a chance to review the subway surveillance footage (despite the constant humming of the microwave dish across the street), the team identifies their first suspect.
The team tracks their suspect to a youth hostel but is unable to catch her before she goes in. After a moment, shouting can be heard inside the building and before long the brawl going on inside bursts out onto the streets. The girl escapes, but they manage to grab a boy who says that she’s his sister.
The brother is brought back to the team’s headquarters for questioning, and Rosen seems to be making progress until Don Wilson and his team show up. The boy had alleged that his sister may have caused their father to beat their mother to death, and that he somehow has an immunity to his sister’s powers. However, just as Wilson shows up, Bill discovers that the girl is not his sister, and Rosen guesses correctly, although too late, that the boy is actually the one who releases the pheromones.
Wilson keeps pressing the kid, and when he sees that Rosen has figured him out, he uses his ability to escape. The resulting scene was intense, crazy, and extremely well done. Everyone at HQ, with the exception of Bill (who can control his flight or fight response), is affected by the pheromones, and a massive melee ensues. While most people only suffer a black eye or broken nose, Wilson is pummeled to death by a fellow agent.
Wilson’s death was certainly a shock as it seemed like his character would be a mainstay of the series, but it also showed that everyone is vulnerable, as well as driving home the point that each Alpha has the potential to be a very serious threat.
After the team takes a moment to recuperate, Rosen comes up with a strategy that will allow Hicks to help Bill nab their target. Figuring that serotonin can act as an inhibitor to the boy’s pheromones, Rosen doses Hicks before sending him off with Bill to intercept the Alpha at the train station where Gary says his “girlfriend” has purchased a ticket.
Bill and Hicks arrive just in time to see the Alpha’s lady friend refuse his advances yet again, and once he notices the team he does his Alpha thing. Bills chases after the boy while Hicks gets the girl to safety. The boy puts a few more roadblocks in Bill’s way, but eventually he gets cornered on a bus and Bill knocks him down for the count.
The boy is sent to Binghamton, and after a terse conversation with Agent Cley, Rosen is seen putting his taped conversation with the boy in a box and into his safe. The box is labeled “Binghamton,” and clearly even before Marcus showed up and planted the seed that something might not be right with Binghamton, Rosen had his suspicions and had been keeping tabs on the Alphas who are sent to the facility.
The episode wraps up with Rosen commenting how Wilson didn’t trust them enough, and that if he had let them handle the Alpha instead of bursting onto the scene and demanding answers, he might still be alive. He says that the team needs to look out for each other, and he reiterates that they are without a doubt the best people for this job.
In the spirit of looking out for one another, Hicks has Gary show him where the troublesome microwave dish is located, and with a well-placed toss of a baseball he manages to take it out. Nina observes the encounter, appearing both smitten with Hicks and pleased that he’s finally warming to the group. She and Rachel will be rooming together after Rachel’s pheromone-induced outburst at her mother, so we’ll see if that will hinder the Hicks/Nina relationship or not. (Judging from the previews it seems unlikely.)
This was a solid outing, with a cool case, intense imagery, and well-done special effects, although Hicks’s visualizations could still use a little work. The tone of the show is very police procedural without crossing into X-Files or Fringe territory, and the music adds a lot to the show, as well.
Next week’s episode, “Rosetta,” looks to give us our first glimpse at the elusive Red Flag organization, so don’t miss it!
Alphas airs in Boston Mondays at 10 p.m. on Syfy.
What are your thoughts on the series so far? Let us know in the comments section.