Alphas "Gods and Monsters" Review: Know Your Enemy

By Tim Surette

Sep 11, 2012

Alphas S02E07: "Gods and Monsters"

Sometimes I think Alphas has an Alpha power of its own: the ability to read my mind. It wasn't long ago that I wondered when Season 2's "super villain" (and the quotation marks are important to note) would sharpen his claws and give us a reason to truly to fear him.

While Rosen had taken a major interest in Mr. Parish and learned some important details about him—like the fact that shooting him in the head is a waste of a bullet—Parish has still been lurking around on the periphery, showing up to Rosen's solo pool parties or encouraging Danny Rosen to pursue her art career through brainwashing and manipulation. We've gotten the idea that he is a bad man, but one with a sense of purpose. And sometimes when we listen to him talk, we think he might not be bad at all, he's just ahead of the curve and a freedom fighter for his pro-Alpha cause. And while we're at it, we all admire his fashion sense, right?

But no matter how many doubts might be lingering in the back of our minds, Parish is our de facto bad guy, and thus he needs to show us how bad he actually is. Blowing up a train, as he did in the Season 2 premiere, was a step in the right direction, but—and apologies to the locomotive industry—it's pretty passé and the kind of thing that doesn't merit a second look. Big whoop. That's why Parish's escape from the DCIS holding cell was, for lack of a better word, so badass and so essential to defining this important character.

Parish, having been double-crossed by Rosen (more excellent fodder for the "Who is the more proper gentleman?" debate), was put in a holding cell with two armed men guarding him. He made a simple request and got it: a glass of water, in a small plastic cup. Then he told a story about how his own men blew themselves up during World War II by walking into a field despite being ordered not to. And then—and this is the good great part—Parish took his crumpled-up plastic cup and SHANKED HIMSELF IN THE THROAT, committing suicide. For a second at least. It was all a ruse by the immortal, who surprised the guards as they came to his aid. He did it with brains, he did it with class, and he did it with confidence. Stanton Parish, you are now a worthy adversary to Dr. Rosen.

And it seems Rosen is up to the challenge. These two do the good-guy-bad-guy dance so well when they share scenes, and the final showdown during their neural connection with Alpha Jason sort of summed up their stances. Rosen is fine with using Alpha powers for good, but not for gaining popularity and turning others into murderous minions. Parish would rather have his Alphas know the full extent of their powers and regularly visit their potential. However, and maybe this is Parish's charm having an effect on me, I don't think it's quite that black and white with Parish. He's a man who goes to extreme measures to attain his goals (you know, like sticking a cup in his windpipe), but he's also careful and calculating. It's true he didn't really care about Jason's well-being and was treating him like a new toy, but the knowledge gained from tinkering with this new supercharged Alpha would have been worth it in the war. Parish is a veteran of like a bajillion wars, so he knows the value of sacrifice.

I didn't love the story about Jason's mind control as the case of the week, particularly how it turned into the typical "nerdy guy uses powers to become the cool kid" routine. But it did signify a strong direction for the series by giving us an example of these super-Alphas that are created using Parish's photo stims. I'm not sure if this means the show won't be about the DCIS chasing after Building 7 escapees anymore so that it can instead explore the idea of looking out for these super-Alphas, but halfway through Season 2 it's apparent that Alphas has something greater up its sleeve.



NOTES

– The idea of super-Alphas is a tricky thing. We don't really know the difference between those who have been photo-stimmed and those who haven't right off the bat. For us normal folk, powers are powers! If the series really wanted to use this device well, it would revisit Alphas we've seen before and show us how their powers have evolved. But I don't think that's logistically possible. It'll be interesting to see how photo-stimming works for the less abstract Alpha powers out there. If Bill were to get supercharged, would he just be stronger? Would Gary have faster download speeds? We've seen the effects on Rachel, and they basically make her senses, which were already hyper sensitive, even more sensitive.

– I loved this exchange between Rosen and Parish. Parish: "This was not what we discussed, Lee." Rosen: "We're only beginning to understand who each of us is." These guys are totally super smart, and Rosen's peek into Parish's mind at the end was more ammunition for Rosen. But did Parish also get a look into Rosen's mind, too? He should have, right?

– There's already plenty of story to tell next week now that Rosen knows Danny is somehow involved with Parish. Alphas does a fantastic job with season-long pacing and keeping things interesting. Not much filler this year at all.

– Kat: "What's up, Stan?" Many hearts toward Kat right now, she's great! I also loved the decision to put Parish in front of the whole Alphas team so they can say "Oh s***, that's the guy." It changes everything.

– The Rachel-Nina thing settled down pretty quickly, didn't it?


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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  • bothcats Sep 27, 2012

    Also, I just loved when Hicks slid underneath the blast doors at the last second and looks up at Bill and says that he has the tranquilizer guns and Bill replies "Drama Queen."

  • bothcats Sep 27, 2012

    Great review Tim! This episode was very entertaining in certain aspects, not so much in others (the Jason storyline). That is what I like about Alphas, I don't have to LOVE the case of the week story to enjoy the episode. The characters are what is interesting, and the Rosen and Parish back and forth jig was the highlight of this episode. They are definitely fun to watch, and I agree with the fact that is not actually so black and white. They both sometimes do bad things for good intentions. I mean, back in season one Rosen was stuck helping put Alphas away in Binghamton. They are both complex characters and that is what gives their rivalry so much depth.

  • Ninjaandy Sep 18, 2012

    Don't forget Parish also killed both guards that were watching over him in the prison, and he didn't have to do that. He clearly doesn't think that killing (non-powered) people is something to be avoided for moral reasons. There are rationale "loopholes" involving how he considers enemy soldiers, a greater cause, death is regrettable but unavoidable, etc. etc.



    But still -- dude's a murderer.

  • Draconax Sep 17, 2012

    The case study this week *really* reminded me of "The Wrath of Graham" from the 4400. Nearly identical abilities, both nerdy or unpopular kids who go on to basically mind control their entire schools. Although, that aside, loved this episode once again. Really, really enjoyed the scenes between Parish and Rosen, so glad to see those two duking it out face to face. Their scenes really reminded me alot of the Magneto-Xavier relationship from Xmen, as Parish and Magneto share very similar mindsets in regards to their 'brotherhoods', believing that war is necessary and inevitable and alphas/mutants must push for their potential in developing their abilities to that end, while Rosen and Xavier push for peace and coexistence.

  • tv_gonzo Sep 14, 2012

    Liked the episode. Alphas continues to deliver great episodes.

    I'd like to know if ones alpha ability is enhanced witch the stimulator if the drawback every ability has is also enhanced. Would gary go more autistic for insatnce? I am also missing this drawback concept. It was a very good idea to keep things grounded but lately it's like the writers forgot about it. What is the downside to Hicks' ability again? Rachel's? Perish? Danny?

  • stanking Sep 14, 2012

    So a Dani/Hicks/Rosen WTF meeting is coming soon. About time. And when is Hicks going to realize he has an addiction to manipulative women?

  • qbe_64 Sep 13, 2012

    You guys, this show, seriously you guys.



    Rosen v. Parrish is EPIC. For a guy like Rosen with no Alpha ability to consistently wade through trouble and come out the other side without breaking a sweat is awesome. You'd think the main hero of a show called Alpha should himself be an Alpha, but it works.



    Even Parrish's Alpha ability isn't outwardly Super. He's immortal, but all that has really done is give him a unique (and somewhat jaded) view of the human race. While his Alpha ability has given him the opportunity to gain this experience, it's his human side that drives his character.



    They both use the Alpha's around them to get the job done and realize their vision. These two are opposite sides of the same coin, as the narrative is so fond of pointing out, "we're not so different, you and I". Absolutely love it. Great show.



    'That wasn't the lesson, the lesson is you follow orders!'

  • Cranky_Old_Batt Sep 13, 2012

    Yes, the whole team got eyes on Parrish, but....WTF?!?!?!?!?!? Times a million.



    There is supposedly a FLOOR full of govt agents and NOT one saw Parrish. What? Were that ALL out for pizza when he was there? (The 2 red shirts who were guarding him don't count since they can't say squat being dead and all.)



    Other than that, great ep. The ramifications of the Rosen-Parrish mind meld are sure to be very interesting.

  • JustinJohnson9 Sep 13, 2012

    Man, this season, Alphas is really hitting on all cylinders to me. Not only did Parrish make an appearance in front of the team, but the guy had the audacity to shank himself to get out of prison, then used a mind-controlling Alpha's ability for his own benefit!! Well done!!! I've known since the train crash (which, by the way, was a devastating move, not passe at all!!) that he was an intelligent bad guy, but what he did in this episode definitely took the cake!!



    I did like your observation of Rosen and Parrish at odds with each other. They're intelligent quarrels are very entertaining to watch, plus Rosen finally finding out about Danny is huge!!



    The Jason storyline was trite in terms of it being done before, but really, what did you expect?!! He's a 15-16 year old kid whose been bullied most of his life. This was probably the only plausible storyline for him. Has he even had any kind of a normal childhood like ever? I for one kind of liked it, and the bully got exactly what he deserved.



    Kat was hilarious to me, especially talking to Gary, plus the "What's up, Stan?" line. Great addition.



    Nina and Rachel's "differences" did not end quickly. In fact, Alphas has done a good job of lengthening it out in my opinion.



    The super Alphas thing will be tricky to do and see, but Alphas has done a great job with it so far. Keeping the good guys and bad guys grounded and human has benefited this show big time. Love it and love this show!

  • DavidJackson8 Sep 13, 2012

    The Jason story line was crap. Hated it. It's one of those few times where I'd rather punch the victim than the bully. Although I guess I wanted to punch the bully too. And, I guess, Jason ended up being a sort of bully.



    The rest of the episode was pretty cool. It was certainly fun to see Stanton take a more active and personal approach.



    I'm not entirely sure about the little standoff between Stanton and Rosen in Jason's head, at the end, though. Stanton created some sort of fail-safe in Jason's head, took control and was taking the kids away from Jason... but while Rosen was telling Jason to free them and break the link, Stanton then said that if he did, he'd be losing control of his friends. Wasn't Stanton himself just taking them away? Whatever.

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