This review contains spoilers.
This story started so well, and then it ended up reworking a plot that we’ve all seen at least a dozen times if not more. The plot is this: person goes to find someone who is now part of a group/cult/settlement, find that the situation is not as they assumed, trouble ends the Nirvana of their existence there. Yawn.
The first sign of trouble is when Skylar Adams appears (the wonderful Summer Glau) and is less than welcoming to Doctor Rosen, but then he must be getting used to it, because everyone hates him unreservedly. In fact the subliminal subject of Alphaville is ‘we hate Rosen’, because apparently him admitting that Alphas existed has ruined all their lives. This seems something of a leap, because I don’t recall Rosen made any of these people reveal their powers to others, or go and live in the woods.
Doctor Rosen’s character seems destined to suffer, as if one of the showrunners had an especially bad experience with a therapist and using him as a surrogate voodoo doll is their way of dealing with that. IN this episode, almost everyone he meets wants to be abusive or hurt him, and nobody much wants to be cooperative, even if their help is important. Even those people trying to help him aren’t much use. What the purpose of bringing Nina along was I’ve no idea, because she contributed nothing, like the stay-at-home Kat who didn’t even appear this week.
The mystery of the light therapy box was eventually revealed as a booster for Alpha powers, although it did seem a rather short-sighted choice of Doctor Rosen to use it on one of Stanton’s goons, making him even more dangerous in the process. Him turning into ‘Pyro’ was underlined by his arm movements, which were a homage to the equivalent character in the X-Men universe.
Will everyone now become Super-Alphas? I hope not, because I can’t see the effects budget being boosted to support that level of activity, and I don’t want this show to become X-Men lite.
The climatic sequence is again marred by sloppy writing, as it takes Bill a grand total of 70 seconds for him to react to the sound of gunfire inside the house and come through the wall. What was he doing? I suspect the purchasing of donuts was involved. Every week they mess up the action sequence in this way, and I’m beginning to wonder if it is some sort of signature for the show where in the script they write ‘poorly considered action sequence occurs’ on that page of the script.
In the end Stanton turns up to try and turn Skylar to his master plan, and we’re left to ponder if she can be convinced to help the world burn or not. I can’t see it, but then I’m not writing the show and she has a scary power for technophobes.
When Alphas is good, it’s great, and when it’s bad it’s like No Ordinary Family without the children. The trailer for the next story, which isn’t next week but the one after reveals the return of Jason Miller. He’s the kid whose power is to control the minds of others while not answering direct questions that Dr Rosen puts to him. His appearance initiates a showdown between Rosen and Parish, I’m told, though given that the doctor isn’t an Alpha and Stanton is immortal this doesn’t have the elements of very even fight. We can find out who prevails on September 10th.
Read Billy’s review of last week’s episode, Gaslight, here.
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