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.
– 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