This review contains spoilers.
2.13 God’s Eye
Alphas was running uphill a little before the final episode of season two even started. In the previous story, they’d set out the idea that you could kill people with flashing lights. Which, depending how you interpret that, is either a pretty silly notion or a major concern for the profitability of the firearms industry. I’m on the silly side, but given that the story starts well enough, I suspended my incredulity initially.
The idea of having Rosen guided by the ghost of his daughter works well, as he stumbles around New York bleeding to death from the gunshot he received at the closing scene of episode twelve. Switching back to the Alphas office, there’s enough friction to light a small campfire, and the pressure of stopping Parish is telling on the team, who aren’t even actually that cohesive.
This all builds up the tension nicely, and then we have our first really dumb scene, the one where the electrical engineers set off the first device accidentally by hitting it with a hammer! A hammer. I don’t know any electrical engineers that wield a rubber mallet, probably because being that stupid would probably be fatal within weeks, if not hours. Okay, it’s the clue they’ve been waiting for, but it was a truly head-slapping moment.
Then the story gets back on course with Gary and his stroke-damaged mother, and some character interaction, before Rosen is back on the Stanton Parish trail. At this point I was enjoying the pace and momentum that the story was developing, and then they put in two connected scenes that stood like a double road block in the narrative path, and contributed almost nothing to events.
The first was Nina kissing Cameron, and clearly confusing the hell out of him, and then straight from that they segued into the Rachel and John relationship, which hasn’t worked once this entire season. Why? The episode never actually recovered from these abysmal diversions, as all the momentum that they’d built was lost there and then.
It started a chain reaction in this reviewer’s head where I started to notice that they couldn’t really agree on what the generator in Grand Central Station could actually power, how small it seemed to achieve anything meaningful, why ‘old tech’ is hard, and why Nina can’t run elegantly in high heels.
This was disappointing, because at one point I thought they might top the excellent series finale of the previous year, where in fact this fell rather short on reflection.
The very final scene where the light emitters go off turned out to be excessively long, with the confused Gary picking his way through Parish’s numerous victims. As it went on, and I understood that this was a rather desperate plea for another season, my reaction became much less positive. If they don’t get that third season, and Syfy hasn’t commissioned one yet, this is a horrible way to end the show. If they do, then they can do what they like, as the continuation of any character with the exception of Gary isn’t defined. And what happened to the ‘Anna Lives’ subplot?
In many respects God’s Eye encapsulated pretty much the best and worst aspects of what season two has brought to Alphas, where it delivered some interesting build-up and then blew the critical scene. The writers’ insistence with pursuing plots and characters that weren’t working became rather annoying, and Rosen’s descent into a hell only for final redemption was depressingly predictable.
If they’d convinced Summer Glau to become a main character then perhaps it might have been better, but I think that it’s a bit much to ask David Strathairn to carry the show in the fashion he has been doing for any longer is unrealistic.If Alphas does come back it needs a major revamp, and if it doesn’t then we’ll all be left to wonder what actually happened, and why?
Read Billy’s review of the previous episode, Need To Know, here.
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