It took a while, almost the entire episode, but once Rosen's team of Alphas cracked Gary's shell and got the kid talking again, it was great to have Alphas back. Though the Syfy series is full of people with superhuman abilities, an imminent war between people who have powers and people who don't, and questions of government corruption, the best part of the show is when the main characters just hang out with each other and act anything but spectacular. So there was Bill calling Gary a bastard, and there was Gary squeamish when his friends tried to hug him, and there was Rachel worried that smelly things had been left in her office while she was away. Alphas has always had that seen-it-before tag prematurely slapped onto it (and with good reason), but it's the show's characters and the way they engage with each other that makes Alphas more than just Law & Order: Heroes.
But before we could get to that point, fallout from the Season 1 finale had to be dealt with, and that's pretty much what the Season 2 premiere, "Wake Up Call," was limited to. It didn't try to do too much except give us the lowdown about where people were during the off-season, and then it went about bringing them back together. So let's remember where we were at the end of Season 1 in one sentence, shall we? Rosen made waves by bravely UStreaming his Congressional chat to the public, in which he confirmed the existence of Alphas for all the world to see. Flash forward eight months to "Wake Up Call," and Rosen was committed to a mental institution. It's disappointing that his words didn't shake the foundation of society like we thought they would, and that Rosen could be muzzled with a simple "This guy is crazy" and a room at the local Looney Bin.
While this turn does belittle the impact of the excellent end-speech of the Season 1 finale, it does allow the show to continue to operate with the same parameters of the first season. Alphas are still things of legend to the public, Binghamton is still covered up, and our Alpha friends can run around being the good guys. We're back to square one, guys! Now we just have to get the gang back together.
When we checked in with everyone eight months later, they were all split up. Rosen was in crazy prison, Bill and a hairier Hicks were working with Clay and the USDoD, Rachel was at home annoyed by the sounds of everything, Nina was pushing her way into shopping sprees and fake dates with handsome men (and yelling at homeless people), and Gary, poor Gary, was working for the NSA and then being thrown in Building 7 of Binghamton where he was pacified with a bunch of other dangerous goons.
It was there in Building 7, where the most dangerous rogue Alphas are kept, that much of the action took place. The inmates—surprise!—used Alpha powers to gain control and have drawn-out debates about whether Alphas are humans with super powers or something greater, but it was all just filler to get to the real point, and that was to have all of Building 7 escape so we could have a guideline for Season 2.
Clay asked Rosen to help him recapture the escapees, and Rosen used leverage to gain full control over the operation, including getting to pick his team and being guaranteed that there'd be no outside interference from the government. And just like that, the reset button was kicked in and the DCIS was back together catching bad guys. Now we can all go ahead and forget an eight-month time jump ever happened. It feels a bit like the writers writing themselves out of the corner they painted themselves into during the Season 1 finale, but isn't catching bad guys what we want to see the DCIS do? It may be an indication that Alphas wasn't quite ready to take that leap to the next level, but we were all plenty happy at the old level anyway.
– Really dug the fight in the supermarket and the Wolfmother soundtrack was a nice bonus. I forgot how much fun Alpha fights can be. I'd love to see that Asian guy with the supersonic throat-singing do karaoke.
– I watched an advanced screener of this episode, so I didn't get to see all the special effects. How did the train crash at the end look?
– One of the things "Wake Up Call" did well was show how instrumental Dr. Rosen is to the team. Remember, when this guy started the DCIS, most of the main characters were lost souls who needed his guidance.
– Hicks: "Douchebag." Bill: "That would be aisle 3, Hicks."
– There seem to be a lot of duplicate Alpha powers, and we saw both Bill's super-strength and Nina's powers to push in bad guys in this episode. I guess that's reasonable and would probably happen?