Rosen and his team look for an Alpha with a vendetta, but the hunter becomes the prey when the Alpha comes after them.
Alphas airs Monday nights at 10 on Syfy.
"The Quick and the Dead" brings us back to the more familiar episode structure from the first season, as our heroes are back in business tracking down and capturing rogue Alphas. But not everything is back to normal. The NSA has moved in with a large group of agents who are now sharing office space with the Alphas and things are not going smoothly; particularly for Gary (Ryan Cartwright), whose routines are not being respected by the new officemates.
The A Plot this week involves guest-star C. Thomas Howell as Eli Aquino, an Alpha whose hyperfast metabolism keeps him moving at ten times the speed of a normal person. Unfortunately it's also causing him to age at an accelerated rate – which provides the creative team with a clever opportunity to use a picture of Young C. Thomas (from around his Outsiders days) and claim that Old C. Thomas is really 22.
As far as typical Alphas plots go, it's fairly pedestrian, leaning more toward the sort of story you'd see on Fringe, as Eli, since breaking out of Binghamton, is kidnapping and murdering the doctors who experimented on him a few years earlier. It doesn't break a lot of new ground; however, it does provide a link to Dr. Rosen's (David Strathairn) hunt for Stanton Parish (John Pyper-Ferguson) – who was apparently in charge of the lab that did the tests on Eli, amping his powers up to deadly levels.
But as one might expect, Eli is killed, shot by an unknown NSA agent.
We can assume then, as Rosen does, that Parish has agents in the NSA who quieted Eli before he could spill the beans. This is a very effective way of upping the ante and becomes the trigger event to really get the season moving as our Alphas cut themselves off from the NSA, forming a "Circle of Trust" – or a rebel cell – inside the offices.
I like this a lot, as it sets up a nice status quo of conflict that allows the creative teams to really start building the tension toward what can only be an explosive confrontation down the line. Hell, Gary's already acting out aggressively against the NSA "jerkasses" sharing their workspace and stealing his pudding.
That's a nice change in Gary's behavior and helps to comfort my anxieties about this season rebooting all of the gang's development. He's much more assertive this season, although it's usually expressed in light violence and throwing things. But, as he says, it works – the guy who ate his pudding fears him now.
If anything, while there are some superficial cracks in the ranks (Bill's (Malik Yoba) tension with Dr. Rosen was believable and quickly dealt with), everybody seems to be back on task – especially Rachel (Azita Ghanizada), who is demanding a more active role in the field team assignments.
The B Plot involves the startling revelation that Hicks (Warren Christie) is sleeping with Dani (Kathleen Munroe), Rosen's daughter. Not only does this make for an awkward situation with the team, remember, Dani is a double-agent working for Parish, so this is more dangerous for her than awkward. As for our other Alphas, Gary, as usual, provides a humorous highlight when he is tickled to realize that he broke Hicks' "sex code," figuring out that "breakfast" meant "sex" in a text he intercepted between Dani and Hicks. However, the revelation that Hicks isn't pining away for her sends Nina (Laura Mennell) spiraling off away from the team.
While that's a little soap opera, it actually works very well. Nina is a much more interesting character when she's acting out and hopefully this will lead to some major character moments in the coming weeks. The closing moments, where she reveals to Rosen that Hicks is sleeping with his daughter and orders him to leave her alone, was startling and a little disturbing. Rosen didn't wake up from the order until hours later and gave us a hint as to just how powerful Nina really is. If she ever goes totally rogue, rather than just using her power to live extravagantly, she could be a major threat.
Also, with Nina going off-reservation, that means that next week we get a new recurring character introduced, Kat (Erin Way), an Alpha with the ability to duplicate any skill she sees – kind of a Taskmaster-lite. So, all in all, this was another solid, if not spectacular, episode of Alphas, and it looks like things are about to start getting very interesting with our heroes working secretly to stop Parish right under the nose of the NSA.
Paul Brian McCoy is the writer of Mondo Marvel and a regular contributor to Shot for Shot, Streaming Pile O' Wha?, and Classic Film/New Blu, all here at Comics Bulletin. His first novel, The Unraveling: Damaged Inc. Book One is on sale now for Kindle US, Kindle UK, and Nook. You can also purchase his collection of short stories, Coffee, Sex, & Creation at Amazon US and UK. He is unnaturally preoccupied with zombie films, Asian cult cinema, and sci-fi television. He can also be found babbling on Twitter at @PBMcCoy and blogging occasionally at Infernal Desire Machines.