Alphas "Life After Death" Review: The Mourning After

By Tim Surette

Oct 03, 2012

Alphas S02E10: "Life After Death"

This is going to be a short review, because out of all the episodes of Alphas' second season, "Life After Death" was the least eventful, unless your biggest question was, "What's it like to have sex with Rachel?" (Answer: awkward → awesome.) And that's okay, because last episode someone DIED. It was mourning time for our DCIS team after the loss of Dani, and the episode didn't shy away from covering that thoroughly.

However, I was pretty emotionally drained from the pain and suffering after about 10 minutes. Dani was an important piece of the Alphas puzzle, and the ramifications of her death and the effect it will have on Dr. Rosen and Cameron Hicks needed to be addressed. But I think the magic number was somewhere between five and 10 minutes of air time, and after that it was time to move on. Alphas went well beyond that limit to the point where it seemed like not much happened in the episode until the very end. Like, the very, very end.

Yes, it's understandable that Rosen would be incredibly broken up about it, and there's nothing sadder than a parent outliving a child. But television is about avoiding as much negative space as possible, and it wasn't until Rosen turned that sorrow into rage that "Life After Death" took a major step. Rosen's agreement with Hicks that Parish needs to be straight-up murdered for his actions, as opposed to Clay's procedure of locking him in jail, was such a monumental moment for the characters that the show may have been better off tacking it on to the end of last week's episode than taking its tim to get there in this one. I'd love to say it worth the wait, but even though angry David Strathairn is awesome, it wasn't.

Helping fill out the rest of the episode was a story about an abandoned baby Alpha who found its temporary mommy in Gary. Oddly enough, the situation wasn't played for laughs as much as it could have been, and the show went the sweet route instead. I would have expected at least a screwball diaper change. Instead, the writers made the mystery about who the parents were and what ability the baby actually had. Perfectly fine. Except I was rooting for the baby to be able to shoot lasers out of his eyes or talk to cats, and instead, the baby's ability was the power to make people want to take care of it? Not exactly what I had in mind. But there was a solid exit in letting Bill and his wife take the kiddo home.

Finally, Rachel and John sat in a tree, doing a whole lot more than K-I-S-S-I-N-G. In addition to seeing the gorgeous Azita Ghanizada in her underwear, the best moment was obviously her dad walking into the house unexpectedly as the two lovebirds were having an awkward post-coital chat in the kitchen. But her dad was totally cool about it, announcing that he was going shopping for two hours so that things could go back to being sexy in the house. And I think that's what Rachel needed more than control over her senses. The fact that her dad didn't explode and flip a table was the sign of trust and acceptance that Rachel has been nervous about all season long. And nothing gets a woman hotter than that, so it was off for rounds two and three. Nice work, Rachel.

"Life After Death" was a deep breath between the big events of "The Devil Will You Drag You Under" and the three sure-to-be-explosive episodes that remain in Season 2. It probably didn't have to be as uneventful as it was, but everything's about to change with Rosen and Hicks ready to put Parish in a box.



NOTES

– For a second there, I thought the baby had the same power as Dani, the ability to stimulate emotions, when it squeezed Gary's finger. Then I thought of the episode title and foolishly assumed that maybe Alpha powers were resurrected in other people, so Dani's death gave the baby Dani's power. But that was stupid because it wasn't true. Also, I think it would have been funny if Gary had farted when the baby grabbed his finger.

– I liked the moment between Hicks and Nina when he asked her to push him into forgetting about everything that happened to Dani. That was a desperate request from Hicks. And good on Nina for not giving into it.

– Was the baby's fake momma another Alpha with super strength? Or did she have something else? And I think Tazer Hands was a little stronger than he should have been. A punch from Bill should pretty much be the end of a fight, shouldn't it?



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

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  • NeeUyank Oct 11, 2012

    I don't know about anyone else but for me, TV is not necessarily is about "avoiding as much negative space as possible".. on the contrary, if there has to be some pacing down, some negativity and sadness to happen and it is avoided, then Tv becomes more awkward and disattached.. the more I can relate to the characters as if they were real people, the more I get into the show and this episode of Alphas did exactly this.. there was a great loss to mourn, and eveyone mourned it in their own ways.. the baby story was also a good fill-in with connections to death and life.. I would just wish there would be more revelation in Danielle's drawings to grasp Stanton.. other than that, there is nothing in this episode that does not fit in.. it was needed and necessary..

  • thorswitch Oct 08, 2012

    I really enjoyed the episode. Seeing Dr. Rosen gradually build from self-blame to vindictive rage was beautifully handled and very appropriate for the character, and I felt like I needed the time to make the transition with him, to accept that my very moral, nearly-passive-at-times Rosen *could* reach a point where he'd feel any person - even someone as vile as Parish - deserved to die.

  • bothcats Oct 08, 2012

    I am going to have to disagree with you here on one point.

    Rosen taking a full episode to clearly realize that Parrish needs to go was exactly what was necessary. Overall he really did only get 15 min total this whole episode to organically come to the realization. Which makes sense because Rosen is supposed to be the most moral of the group, I mean he turned in his own daughter for christ sake! Also, it seemed that this episode took place almost a day or two after her passing, so it was absolutely understandable that Rosen was acting that way. It was as if he was numb, slowly building up the emotion as we saw him with Cameron and then hit the wall when he opened up that last drawing of Dani's. Seeing David Strathairn show off some acting chops for a third of the episode was more than fine with me. For Rosen to really believe that killing another human was the correct decision, he HAD to come slowly. It had to be a calculated decision, not one made out of pure rage.

    And now that he made that decision hopefully some intense moments will come leading up to the finale!

    This episode was a tad uneventful, and to balance it out they really should have had more funny Gary situations. As you mentioned, it was a situation ripe for the picking! If there were a few more laughs, I probably wouldn't have minded it being so uneventful

  • JustinJohnson9 Oct 05, 2012

    Another good episode of Alphas. Yes it was filler but with lots of emotion that definitely should have lasted a whole episode, not just 5 or 10 min!!! For crying out loud, Rosen just lost his only child. You can't really expect an emotional man like him to just move on from it in that quick of time. That's stupid!!! Kudos to Alphas for this emotional episode, cause losing Dani was huge to me.



    I also liked that Nina didn't push Hicks. She took the smart route and let him grieve properly. Well done!!



    Rachel getting it on was quite entertaining and understandeable.



    The baby storyline may be something to pay attention to, as it seems Parrish has expanded his experimentation. Seems interesting.

  • bicelis Oct 06, 2012

    Agree. The episode was excellent. It would cheap not address Dani'd death properly. It's not a procedural for Christ's sake...

    Also, the baby's ability was clearly meant to play off of Rosen's situation - taking care of a child/having a parent to take care of you.

    Really enjoyed this episode. This show and this season in particular is very good at pacing.

  • DavidJackson8 Oct 05, 2012

    "...because out of all the episodes of Alphas' second season, "Life After Death" was the least eventful, unless your biggest question was, "What's it like to have sex with Rachel?""

    That actually is something I often wondered about, but I still found the episode quite uneventful. I know this isn't soft-core porn or anything, but that sex scene was booooring. Hehe.

    The rest of the episode was... okay. It wasn't particularly "fun" to watch, but it was seemingly necessary (sort of) to the pacing of the plots this season.

  • tv_gonzo Oct 04, 2012

    As almost every Alphas episode i liked this one as well. Sometimes it annoys me that tv shows are so fast paced and a character is forgotten two episodes after her or his demise. That's the great thing about Alphas. It is fast paced when it needs to be and allows characters to brute or go AWOL or workout their issues when it can.

    I would like to know if the baby's ability will adept while growing up. Initially it sure is helpful, but a 30 year old man who would evoke the maternal and paternal instincts of the people around him to treat him like a baby could be fun stuff but probably be more weird.

    More importantly next episode Kat is coming back! yey

  • Cranky_Old_Batt Oct 04, 2012

    I'm thinking what a messed up life that baby is going to have. Talk about over-bearing parents who will smother you.

    I am thinking this (sprog alpha lab) is the result of another of Parish's machinations. And it totally sucks. Using (test tube?) babies to what - infiltrate mundane families and make them love Alphas? Well, actually this is as much thought as I gave that bit of the story line. It was Filler. Filler. Filler.

    I am thinking The Rosen-Hicks Gambit could make this show more awesome than it has been yet. You have tow serious outraged, heartbroken men looking to settle a huge score with an enemy who has zero redeeming qualities. (Yes, yes, he is charismatic, and a snappy dresser but he is also a self-serving, sadistic megalomaniac who would kill his mother, best friend or most loyal lacky if it suited the day.)

    Immortal is a relative term.So what do you think will do it? Stick Parish in a giant microwave until there is nothing left but an oily spot on the floor? Take his head and bury it half way round the world from his body (or feed it to the deep ocean fishes)? Wood chipper? Vat of acid? Smelting plant aka the first terminator movie?

    The highschoolers in love bit was super, effing annoying until they got busted. Then I had to hate myself for giggling along with them like a little school girl. So we found out what blonde dudes 'alpha ability' is. :-)

    The actor who plays Gary brought it with the sprog. He portrayed his own child-likeness and paternal instinct at the same time perfectly. Sometimes this guy is absolutely scary in how well he plays this character.

  • qbe_64 Oct 04, 2012

    In Canada, a program called "The Almighty Johnsons" airs with Alphas on Space Network. I believe it's based out of New Zealand. It took a couple episodes to get into it, but it's actually quite good. I would recommend it to anyone.

  • CarlosR628891 Oct 06, 2012

    I like that show! It's got supernaturals, humour and drama. Go Kiwi!

  • shocker713 Oct 05, 2012

    Sounds like the rejected title of a superhero porno.

  • Cranky_Old_Batt Oct 04, 2012

    Just watched the season two trailer. I think I would like this more if I were 20 or 30 years younger. And liked comedies. Maybe. Oh and if I smoked pot. I think.

  • lryer Oct 04, 2012

    Second that emotion! "The Almighty Johnsons" is one of the most enjoyable uses of the television available. The show just makes me happy.

  • SinspaW Oct 04, 2012

    Decent episode, but it felt pretty much like a filler. I appreciated that they mourned her for an episode. The baby plot felt hollow, and so did the fact that now Bill and his wife are insta-parents with that.



    I have to say though, Tim, this sentence you wrote "But television is about avoiding as much negative space as possible" left me in disbelief. Negativity is a part of everybody's life, some more than others. Plus, negativity is what makes shows like Homeland, American Horror Story and even Game of Thrones for that matter, good. What's life without pain? I could go on, but you get my point.

  • CurlyMC Oct 04, 2012

    They havent touched on the #AnnaLives side of Gary since that happened. At least a few episodes now, I figured we would get little scenes every episode with Gary becoming more rebel.

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