Alphas: It's a Mad, Mad World

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First let's start with this: how is that opening scene any different from a normal day on the New York City subway system? Hey-yo! That's a little NYC humor for ya. Monday's episode of Alphas was a fairly straightforward segment but did a cool trick to keep it compelling and continued to build the characters as individuals and as a team.

The Alpha of the week this time was a runaway teen who excreted pheromones that sends everyone into the mindset that their local sports team just won or lost the championship or O.J. was just acquitted of murder. Just a whiff of these things makes people brutally pummel each other and also makes the Alphas director of photography go all nutso with color filters and harness cams. Clearly these "flash riots" are a problem in densely populated areas, and since it's an Alpha at the heart of it, it's time to call the team! Go... team! Does this team even have a name yet? It really needs a name. Someone come up with a name, please.

Anyway, I'm not sure it's worth discussing the whole procedural part of the episode, but if you must know, the good guys won. By punching the pheromone-spewing hobo in the face. Ahhh, the sweet simplicity of it all! What was interesting about this kid is where he was shipped off to. It's more fodder for the overall arc of the story as he was strapped down to a table in Binghamton with probably-a-bad-guy Nathan Clay looking like he's not about to go easy on the kid. (Interesting note: the actor who plays Clay is Mahershalalhashbaz Ali. That is not a typo.) Let's hope we learn a bit more about "The Compound" in the next episode than we did in this episode.

One major development Alphas made was killing off a character. I can't get enough of characters getting killed off; it needs to happen in every single show all the time. Agent Wilson, who I had the impression would be around for a while, got WWE'd thanks to a chair crushing his head in. And he was killed by a no-name redshirt! Usually it would be the established character killing off the redshirt! Interesting move, Alphas. Now I don't know what to expect from you. But I won't be totally impressed until one of the main Alphas is killed. I'm looking at you, Rachel!

Another thing I liked about "Anger Management" is the way it put the stress of their situation on us, rarely stopping to take a breath and just emanating a jarring feeling for almost the whole episode. Whether it was through camera angles, each character's irritability, or whip-crack pace, the theme of stress jumped off the screen and into my brain. It was an uneasy episode to sit through and totally wigged me out, man. Yes, sometimes it was over-the-top and a bit too much, but that just added to the stress for me, which was their whole point, right?

I still think Alphas is doing a great job with characters by not bogging us down by side stories. The focus is still on their job and the team and they're easing us into real character-centric plots. I don't care that Rachel and her mom don't get along and I don't care that Cameron is getting a divorce, but I might later.

So far so good for Alphas, which, after three episodes, has proven good enough light summer fare for me to actually start looking forward to it each week.

Notes:
–This would have been a fun day to be an extra! Stand around and grab food from the catering truck and then punch people when the director says "Action!"

–Uh oh. Looks like the whole Nina-Cam "gettin' it on!" thing is going to happen pretty soon, according to the "Coming Up on Alphas" tease. Let's just coin their annoying couple term right now: Camerina. You heard it hear first.

–Nice moment between Cam and Gary at the end their, yeah?


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

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