Alphas season 2 episode 12 review: Need To Know

The penultimate episode of Alphas' second season is here, but Billy is unsure what to make of much of it...

This review contains spoilers.

2.12 Need To Know

My review for this Alphas episode is a day late at least, because I’ve been mulling over it in an attempt to better appreciate exactly how I felt about it. Unfortunately, the extra time didn’t actually make this rather disjointed piece of the Alphas jigsaw seem any more wonderful.

At the centre of my problem is the way the characters have now so radically altered that some are almost unrecognisable, specifically Dr Rosen. 

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I accept that Rosen’s character has always been somewhat divisive, but he’s now plotting against his own team purely on the basis that he’s unsure if he can trust them. That’s classic paranoia, and as the professional he supposedly is, even he should be able to see that. But where he really goes out of the comfort zone is the torture scene in which he’s determined to get the information out of Scipio, even if it kills him. What’s interesting about this is that even other characters actually mention how out of character this is for Rosen. Kat is heard to say, “The glasses, the cardigan, the messy hair – he seems like such a nice old dude!” The argument can be made that we don’t really know him until now, but it’s a major change that the script is even acknowledging.

I understand that characters are meant to develop and evolve, but Rosen’s transformation into a completely ruthless character seems slightly unbelievable, even if he has lost his daughter. Where Cameron has always been somewhat unstable, what are Nina and Rachel doing involved in all this? Are they so easily led? That would suggest that they’re just like Parish’s minions in the greater scheme of things.

What actually pulled this story out of the fire a little for this reviewer were the parts with Skylar, in which we’re led to believe that she’s working for Parish of her own free will, but then discovered that she’s trapped in an illusion. This seemed remarkably similar to what went on with Matt Parkman’s father in Heroes, as I recall, except the odd bit here is how the Alphas use both Skylar and her daughter to create a more believable imaginary world. Just how do they communicate when Vince isn’t there?

What I also didn’t follow – and maybe somebody in talk-back can explain – was how the designs for the equipment she was creating made it out of the illusion and into the very low-grade accommodation in which they were actually living? Skylar was drugged and asleep, so they must have been created by Vince from what he saw? I’m not sure those dots join up well, if at all. But at least they injected some excellent dialogue into those scenes, especially when Gary offered to do the violent take-down, and Zoe asked her mother if she was a Terminator. Loved that.

All that went on – and there was plenty more I’ve not mentioned that involved running around with a decent pyrotechnic budget – was essentially staging for the season finale, God’s Eye. Rosen is shot in the stomach, half of the Alphas team would happily shoot him somewhere else, and Stanton Parish is ready to unleash chaos on an unnamed city to further his plans for mankind.

I’m really hoping that the finale is better than the borrowed-from-X-Men plot that it seems, because otherwise all the reasonable work that the show did earlier in the season will have been entirely blown. It will probably come down to a Rosen/Parish verbal punch-up, with the winner being the one who can monologue longest, I suspect.

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Read Billy’s review of last week’s episode, If Memory Serves, here.

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