This review contains spoilers.
11. Original Sin
In a word, wow.
I knew there was a reason why I was watching and reviewing this show, despite some exceptionally clunky episodes in this opening season. It was obvious from the build-up that Original Sin was given that it would be a game changer for the show, but I hadn’t anticipated how different season two is likely to be, coming from where the show originally started.
The story combines a couple of running threads that early shows introduced, namely the Red Flag plotline and an exceptionally old man who goes by the name of Stanton Parish.
From the outset, things don’t add up, and when the team stumble on a clue that leads them to a Red Flag meet, Rosen starts to wonder if he’s been manipulated. He should know, because if truth be told, he’s expert at doing it himself.
The added complication, and something I’d been expecting for a while due to the curious lack of Rosen back story, was the introduction of his Alpha daughter, Danielle.
Why is it that scientists always need a child to motivate their interest in a particular branch of their chosen profession? Except Danielle is a runaway drug addict, who seems rather too old and healthy to have survived that lifestyle choice. If the story had a weakness, it was her inclusion, although I can see why they introduced her, especially at the end.
Where the show managed to really develop some better ideas was where it ultimately took us, which was to push poor old Doctor Rosen entirely over the edge, and into uncharted territory. At last, David Strathairn gets to demonstrate the acting he’s capable of, and it’s a relief to eventually see him working the scenes for maximum impact. His speech to the closed session in DC had echoes of the Jean Gray mutation speech at the start of the first X-Men movie, but it was enjoyable all the same.
Having considered the ending, I can see that it works well in respect of if the show had of ended there, and in the context of a second series. Had it stopped now, the only issue is that Stanton is delivered too late to become more than a passing nemesis, where obviously, he’ll now be the show’s Magneto to Rosen’s Dr X.
I can only assume that the first story of season two will be getting Rosen out of the legal hole he’ll undoubtedly be found in, but I’m hoping they don’t turn the Alphas into The A-Team, in this respect.
Some of the character dialogue, which has been occasionally woeful elsewhere in the series, really improved this week. Gary came out with at least three or four very funny lines, and his reaction to the death of Anna seemed incredibly natural. Some of the Alphas were slightly sidelined by the plot, but with so many to choose from, and some exposition to work through, there were limited opportunities.
What I got wrong, in my predictions last week, was that all of the main Alphas would survive to season two, despite some close calls. A number of important peripheral characters bit the dust, but I guess they’re collateral damage as such.
What we need to see in season two is more snappy dialogue, more character development, and less predictable plotting. This episode proves there’s a decent show in Alphas, and I for one would like to see it evolve into one.
Read our review of episode 10, The Usual Suspects, here.