Alphas episode 4 review: Rosetta

Alphas gives us all a dig in the ribs about assuming disabled people aren't smart…

This review contains spoilers.

4. Rosetta

After the shocking events of the third story, Alphas this week fell back into an ongoing exercise to flesh out the thinly drawn characters. This week, they try to inject some depth into Gary, and make him more than the abrupt teenager who seems to be using an invisible iPad.

To a degree, this worked, in as much that, by the end, I thought there was more to Gary. Although what that ‘more’ actually was is, as yet, undetermined.

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The story revolves around an attempt to hunt down the Alpha bad guys, Red Flag, responsible for unleashing the evil Mr Monk on our heroes in the first story.

An attempt to capture two of them comes unstuck when one of them creates a power surge that blacks out the local area, allowing them to escape from the house they occupied. In the house, they leave Anna, a severely autistic women with whom Gary forms a bond. She has the ability to understand all languages, which explains the show’s title, Rosetta, as in the key archaeological find that allowed hieroglyphics to be deciphered.   

While the two bad Alphas execute their scheme to steal a petrol tanker and use it to attack a pharmaceutical company, Gary spends time with Anna.

I can’t recall at one point I realised that Anna hadn’t been left behind, and was the Red Flag mastermind, but it was a long time before the story reveal and rather blew the twist element the writers had intended.

In the end, we had two parallel conclusions, one where Anna asks Gary to join her, and the other where the tanker reaches its destination for the rest of the Alphas to intercede. Both had their issues, not least the production budget, which didn’t actually stretch to allow for a remotely big enough explosion of the tanker.

Gary declined Anna’s offer, so she attacks him with radio transmissions, the moral of which is that, when people don’t speak, they’re probably taking the time to stitch you up.

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I was left feeling that the biggest problem Gary has is not his disability/power, but his overbearing mother. Ryan Cartwright, who plays Gary, does a fine job, though playing such an odd person might drive him crazy if this show gets a longer leash.

This wasn’t a bad episode, it just felt a little flat in comparison with the death of Don last week. Sure, you can’t dispatch a main character every week, but I was hoping for something a little more dramatic than what we got here. I also felt that the show got a little too preachy about how ‘normal’ people perceive those with disabilities, although it’s a point worth making.

What I liked most was that the objectives that Red Flag had were admirable in their own way, giving them more substance than just being the opposition. At some point, the Alphas are going to be morally compromised about which side they’re on, it’s clear.

Next week, the show brings Lindsay Wagner, aka the Bionic Woman, into play, where I’m almost certain she won’t be playing tennis against Cameron.

Read our review of episode 3, Anger Management, here.

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