By John Keegan
The first season finale of "Alphas" brought a game-changing moment with the public announcement by Dr. Rosen that Alphas exist. It was the kind of plot twist that the writers simply couldn't take back, and the question was how the series would be able to move forward. The second season premiere handles that question perfectly well, while maintaining the grounded nature of the series in the process.
As one would expect, Dr. Rosen's announcement is quickly squashed by the government, and he is imprisoned. It leaves the public with a lot of open questions, including whether or not the announcement was even factual. Rosen's team is broken up, and everyone is under suspicion. They handle this in various yet consistent ways. Cam and Bill try to work within the system to put away rogue Alphas, if only to keep themselves out of Binghamton. Rachel returns home and isolates herself from the effects of her abilities. Nina gives in to her bad habits, and starts "pushing" people on a whim, even as she hides in plain sight.
Worst of all, Gary is lumped in with the rogue Alphas in the general population of Binghamton. That's bad enough, but it gets progressively worse when Stanton Parrish decides to make his inevitable move. In keeping with the "X-Men"-esque nature of the series thus far, Parrish forms his own Brotherhood of Evil Alphas and executes a plan to break out the rogues and bring Binghamton down. Rosen's team (along with Rosen himself) manages to mitigate the damage, but the net effect is the same: Parrish and his people are escalating beyond Red Flag to a more visible war.
This episode leaves Rosen and his team with more government cooperation than ever, but it's not as though the team is suddenly afforded absolute trust. The government is making an alliance of convenience, and it's clear that Rosen's team is going to have to deal with the consequences of being "collaborators". And thanks to Rosen, they are hardly secret operatives; with Parrish on the warpath, Alphas will only become more and more exposed. And humanity is rarely kind in such situations.
The premiere also reinforced one of the structural strengths of the series: all of the team members are damaged in some way, and on their own, they simply cannot cope for long. Rosen is the lynchpin; he gets them to function well enough to operate as both individuals and team members. And given that Parrish knows this, Rosen's daughter is likely to have a big part to play whenever Parrish moves to remove Rosen in the future.
Overall, this episode made the case that the first season was essentially prologue and proof of concept, introducing the characters and laying the foundation for what is to come in the second season. I have no idea if that was the actual intention, but I think that's a logical way to think about it, if only to make one anticipate what is to come as the season unfolds.John Keegan is Editor-in-Chief for Critical Myth, a partner site of SciFi Vision.