Alphas: It's a Mad, Mad World

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

Comments (34)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
Aug 04, 2011
M. Surette



I'm deeply hurt by what you wrote about Summer Glau and her fans and i hope i'm not the only one. I'm a huge fan of Summer Glau but that doesn't mean automatically i'm a stalker or a nerd or both, unlike what you're implying in your article.



Summer Glau has played two of the most iconic characters in scifi history but i doubt these characters would have had this impact without Summer Glau's subtile and inspired performances.

Summer Glau carries herself with dignity, and appreciates her fans as much as they appreciate her as a result.She is so talented, driven, and engaged that she excels almost immediately in any part she plays. She is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside and she has a raw and pure talent that allows her to breathe vivacious life into her characters.



Scifi shows have a tendency to get cancelled on broacast tv these days and Summer Glau is tycast, this is true; i don't recall Miss Glau played on The Event, No Ordinary Family, V or Flasforward though.



I can understand some internet users want to sound funny by mentioning the so-called Summer Glau curse but this is inadmissible when it comes from someone who claims to be a journalist and write in such a famous website. Not to mention this is insulting for her fans and for herself.



And don't tell me that i have no sense of humour, or that it was not meant to be taken seriously or that you're a great fan of hers as they say each time. That doesn't remove one inch of the feeling to have been insulted. less less
More+
Reply
Flag
Aug 02, 2011
You're a professional writer and you don't know the difference between there and their? "Anger Management" was better than "Cause and Effect." The worst part was that Agent Wilson was simply annoying, whereas in the pilot he was at least kind of funny; I actually enjoyed seeing Cameron punch him out. Also, Nina is being written a little too nice; I liked the edge she had in the pilot.



The best part was the sequence where the Alphas were hit with the pheromones. With the music and the wide angle lens, it was like a cross between a music video and a late '60s/early '70s TV drama dream sequence. Also liked Bill's smiling at Gary's imitating him. I don't think we need to hear about Binghamton every week any more than we heard about the Conspiracy.



My predictions: At least one of the Alphas will be sent to Binghamton at the end of the season, possibly as a ploy by the doctor to find out what's going on there, and Bill's FBI status will be dangled as an enticement for him to betray the team.
Reply
Flag
Jul 31, 2011
this is a great show, not that it reminds of x-men, or heroes, or fringe but that it reminds me of 4400, pretty much exactly the same way.. I loved those series, and was very heart broken when they ended it all of a sudden.. so seeing the same flow of action, and familiar faces from 4400 (like mahershalalhashbaz ali), makes it all better for me.. and also there is just enough of everything in it, enough of character development, enough of procedural, enough of clues leading to a bigger conspiracy, nothing more, nothing less.. I hope we could see many seasons of alphas..
Reply
Flag
Jul 29, 2011
Rod Serling is from Binghamton.
Reply
Flag
Jul 28, 2011
This show has been a little too predictable for me so far. I'm sticking with it for the time being in the hopes that the overall (slowly emerging) story arc is as dark and complex as I hope it will be.
Reply
Flag
Jul 28, 2011
What about the A-team?!
Reply
Flag
Jul 28, 2011
So far I am cautiously optimistic about Alphas as it seems it could develop into a dark complicated plot... Far beyond the obvious Binghamplace being a Guantanamo for the special ones.... Most characters are fine though so far I can't stomach Cam who reminds me of an even more annoying version of doc. Jack Sheppard - the whining on this last ep was barely redeemed by helping Gary....
Reply
Flag
Jul 27, 2011
Hicks constant bitching nearly ruined this.
Reply
Flag
Jul 27, 2011
*complaining

A more suitable word lolz
Reply
Flag
Jul 27, 2011
I am very impressed with this procedural so far. But it is a procedural right now and I hope we get away from this villian-of-the-week mentality and go the way of a Fringe. They have already set up a larger story arc with the line at the end of the pilot "you're on the wrong side of this." We are now seeing the evils of the Fed and whatever they are up to in Binghamton, so I hope the next episode we will start turning the wheels for the inevitable x-men story line, fine by me. PREDICTION: in the teaser they meet someone that can "locate people." The writers will obviously use this as they did in X-men: First Class, as a means to ignite a power struggle war b/t the Fed and Alphas. The Fed will then start recruiting Alphas as well, this can maintain still the villain-of-the-week while maintaining this power struggle paradigm as a multi-season story arch.
Reply
Flag
Jul 28, 2011
oh yeah and this: "And he was killed by a no-name redshirt! Usually it would be the established character killing off the redshirt! Interesting move, Alphas." Nice catch. Tim just earned his cheese. +1. Anti-tv-trope ftw,
Reply
Flag
Jul 27, 2011
I really like it so far - was hopeful but sceptical before the premiere, but it's been replaced by careful optimism. :)

Love Gary, and have a soft spot for traditional-hero-type Cameron as well - mostly because he's a hunk, of course. Most annoying - Bill and Rachel; but I still want them around, I still feel they contribute to the team and the storyline.

I'm very curious about what effect their new handler will have on the team, and what we'll learn about Binghamton in the coming episodes.
Reply
Flag
Jul 27, 2011
Didn't have high hopes for this episode, and it reminded me a little about the storyline with Maya from Heroes in season 2. But the episode got better and better, I am really liking this show! Strong episode.
Reply
Flag
Jul 27, 2011
The more I watch this show, the more I love it, plain and simple. My favorite character is Bill, who keeps it real with his blunt honesty, plus I like how him and Gary banter with one another. Truthfully, I like every Alpha and hope none of them are killed off (yeah, I said it!). Each one is has unique flaws and strengths that I love learning more about each week. Sorry, Tim, but your idea of killing off Rachel or any Alpha is ridiculous. The idea of "character development" is important in order to make good CHARACTERS! Plus, "killing off characters needs to happen in every single show all the time"? What kind of a show could survive on that idea?! As far as a team name, they really don't need one. Team names usually come with publicity, which is something they definitely don't need. I actually like that they don't have a name; makes them more original to me.
Reply
Flag
Jul 27, 2011
btw i love rachel shes one of my favorite characters....
Reply
Flag
Jul 27, 2011
i love this show.i love how the story is building this big story arc (our team good,then we got bad alphas out there who are trying to stop our team and then we got the government whos trying to kill all alphas.)but at the same time letting us see other alphas.
Reply
Flag
Jul 27, 2011
I am really loving the show, but my fav. character is Gary, man he just cracks me up sometimes. Also if any of the alphas should die I hope its not rachel, the big hulk gets on my nerves so I wouldn't be sad really if he was killed.
Reply
Flag
Jul 27, 2011
Agree, it has promise
Reply
Flag
Jul 27, 2011
i really like this show now.... have started to look forward to it every week!!!

Reply
Flag
Jul 27, 2011
Team name? Well apparently it should be Alpha-B.etter E.xcite T.im S.urette !! From eps.#1 review "these characters are fun to hang out with and will leave viewers looking forward to more." And now....."great job with characters by not bogging us down by side stories" You do understand what character development is don't you Tim?? Another case of whiplash!!??



Reply
Flag
Jul 27, 2011
There are different aspects to character in a tv show. One is a character's persona: the language they use, how they converse with others, and how they may get along with one person and despise another. Another aspect of character depends on the actions they take: how their persona dictates their actions and how their past/current actions dictate who they are as a person. These two different aspects of character is the distinction between the two quotes. The dialogue is fresh and natural, we get the feeling these are real people that have actually worked together for a while, we might not know yet why they act the way they do, but we don't have to yet. This is what Tim is saying.
Reply
Flag
Jul 27, 2011
Surprisingly, I don't want Rachel to die :( I would much rather have Nina killed than Rachel. She seems much more shady anyways.



I also enjoy this show. Looking forward to the upcoming episodes!
Reply
Flag
Jul 27, 2011
And shouldn't in the second last sentence instead of >hear< be "here" ?
Reply
Flag
Jul 28, 2011
Freudian slip... heard it hear... heard it here.
Reply
Flag
Jul 27, 2011
@DinChild lol I see what you did they're.



I'm enjoying this show. I'm just wondering how many more "realistic" powers they can come up with.
Reply
Flag
Jul 27, 2011
This show is just another example of how SyFy didn't just change their name, they took the science out of science fiction.
Reply
Flag
Jul 28, 2011
Because pheromones and fight-or-flight response and adrenaline flooding and sensory enhancement aren't... science? Or science fiction?
Reply
Flag
Apr 01, 2013
Yes Giself, those are some examples of science in the show. So are gravity, friction, and acceleration of mass. The show contains those too. Name a show that does NOT include science. That alone doesn't make it science fiction. Scientifically inspired ideas in science fiction cannot be inconsistent.
Reply
Flag
Apr 01, 2013
A year and a half later...

How did they make the science ideas inconsistent?
Reply
Flag
Jul 28, 2011
Because pheromones and fight-or-flight response and adrenaline flooding and sensory enhancement aren't... science? Or science fiction?
Reply
Flag
Jul 27, 2011
u mad bro? What Alphas brings on TV is pretty much the definition of science fiction. SciFi is not about space ships and battles, that's only one style.
Reply
Flag
Apr 01, 2013
Who said anything about "space ships and battles"? I was referring to the rampant inconsistencies.
Reply
Flag
Jul 27, 2011
Agreed. So far this show is promising.
Reply
Flag
Jul 27, 2011
Typo at the end; "their" should be "there." Just throwing it out they're.
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook