By John Keegan
Much like the concurrent episode of "Warehouse 13", this installment of "Alphas" is more notable for all the details surrounding the main plot than the case itself. As interesting as a man burning away his life due to his "super-speed" ability might be, it's not a particularly novel concept. As befitting a show like "Alphas", it comes down to how these events affect the characters.
"Alphas" is already demonstrating a better grasp of how to tell personal stories of its metahumans than "Heroes". And unlike "Heroes", "Alphas" pulled the trigger on public disclosure of the metahumans when it actually counted: early in the run. That opens up the storytelling in a big way, because Rosen's team isn't the secretive asset that it used to be. They can act openly, just as their enemies do.
That introduces its own issues, and I'm glad the writers are exploring that side of things. Rosen's team is linked to the rest of federal law enforcement, and that's not a comfortable fit. Our favorite Alphas, after all, have serious ability-driven psychological issues. Gary's constant outbursts are pitch perfect, because they leave the viewer disturbed by the effect this forced interaction is having on his progress. The writers draw out a few well-placed chuckles, but it's never a laugh-fest.
But Nina is the one with the worst issues in this episode, and rightfully so. She is constantly criticized for using her ability to push people, especially when it's for personal gain, but the team is happy to call on that ability when it serves their purposes. Nina is not a person who enjoys being out of control, and telling her not to use her ability to protect herself in anxious situations goes against her nature. It's something Rosen is qualified to help her overcome, but as we see in this episode, she's just not willing yet. Whether or not she will return to the team soon, or switch sides, remains to be seen.
It doesn't help that Cameron is being a bit hypocritical, though it's hard to know if it's entirely his fault. If Nina pushes him while they're together, Cam will always question whether or not his reactions and choices are his own. Dani's ability is far more insidious; the positive reinforcement of massively heightened sexual pleasure leaves Cam with the impression that he is acting of his own free will. But as Dani directly stated, her ability is like a drug to her lovers. (In a different context, one could see how these three could find an interesting and mutually satisfying arrangement, but this runs on Syfy, not Starz!)
Everything is more complicated by the knowledge that Dani is one of Parrish's main devotees. One thing I enjoy is a well-crafted villain. Parrish may have a laundry list of ulterior motives, but a part of him is trying to prevent unnecessary heartache for Dani. After all, while there is some short-term benefit to having Dani close to Cam, especially if Rosen and the rest of the team come to accept the relationship, it stands to hurt her deeply if she's emotionally invested. Like so many of the Alphas, Dani's background has left her psychologically vulnerable, and it's not going to be pretty when her associations are revealed.
Meanwhile, Bill is having issues with Rosen coming back and taking charge. While it does seem that Bill is challenging Rosen a bit too much, it makes sense. Rosen did make a unilateral decision to reveal the Alphas, and it had a direct effect on the team members. For all that Rosen is driven by his previous failings with Dani to do the right thing with his patients/team members now, he's still far from perfect. His decision to attempt reinforcement of trust at the end of the episode is tragically amusing, especially in light of how many different ways that trust is already being broken.
Meanwhile, Parrish is working on his plan to turn normals into Alphas, which is reminiscent of the plot of the first "X-Men" film. Parrish's plans may be a bit more expansive than that, however, since we have only scratched the surface of his motivations. Gathering his Brotherhood of Evil Alphas had to have a purpose, and I'm looking forward to where the story takes us next.John Keegan is Editor-in-Chief for Critical Myth, a partner site of SciFi Vision.