This review contains spoilers.
7. Catch And Release
It’s been a longish wait, but hints of a flipside to this show finally emerged this week. In what was essentially a perfunctory rogue element plot, the divisions between the Alphas, their leader Dr Rosen and those in government that control them became very apparent.
What I especially liked was the way that, early on in the story, we have Rosen and his boss, Kathy Sullivan, having a romantic take-away, making it appear that’s she an entirely different and more affable person than the one she replaced. But, as the story unfolded, Rosen is presented with the stark reality of their predicament, when he is instructed by her to hunt an Alpha he knows not to be a danger.
For fans of X-Men, this dilemma isn’t a new concept, but it gives Alphas a much needed undercurrent and opportunity for the unexpected. Summer Glau provides a natural choice for the focus of Catch And Release, although given her physical abilities, she’s asked to do very little of the dynamic action she’s famous for.
The them or us problem provided one element of the grit in here, and the other came from the evolution of Gary’s character, where he comes into sharp conflict with his mother, and develops a whole new level of independence. That’s a relief, because this character remaining unchanged could have been very limiting for those stories that used him.
I predict that, by the end of the season, the team will probably try to go independent, and the show could mutate into a super-powered version of The A-Team, but then that might depend on the likelihood of a second season. The show is getting stronger, but I can’t see that one is even remotely guaranteed as yet.
The plus side of this story was the progression of the bigger story arc, the character developments of both Gary and Bill. If I were to pick holes in it, I’d suggest that it was somewhat implausible to find a taxi driver who’d take anyone with any type of autism, savant or otherwise, on a road trip of more than eight-hundred bucks without first seeing a credit card. I also wasn’t very impressed by the quality of the CGI used for Skylar’s cute robotic recon bugs, which should have been better.
Alphas is still pretty formulaic, and some of the main characters aren’t especially interesting or watchable, but I’m glad I didn’t give up on it too early, as I think it has the potential to get much better. It’s also a great relief that it hasn’t descended into the wholesale silliness of other shows, such as Mutant X.
Before I talk about the next instalment, I’d like to say that in my last Alphas review I said Garret Dillahunt was supposed to be in this story, when he patently wasn’t. The information I was given had obviously been put together by someone with a rather slapdash approach to cut and paste, and as such I might have easily told you that Lena Headey and Thomas Dekker were in here too. Sorry. But I wasn’t entirely wrong, because he’s in the very next story, about an Alpha who thinks he’s an angel…