Alphas "Life After Death" Review: The Mourning After

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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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..
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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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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"...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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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I like that show! It's got supernaturals, humour and drama. Go Kiwi!
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Sounds like the rejected title of a superhero porno.
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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.
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Second that emotion! "The Almighty Johnsons" is one of the most enjoyable uses of the television available. The show just makes me happy.
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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.
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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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Interesting. When Tim said he liked the last episode, people kept saying that episode was stupid. When Tim said he didn't like ( not hate though, I guess ) this episode, people said they appreciated it.
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Even though there wasn't that much going on in this episode, it was nice that they didn't rush through this grieving part too fast, like most shows do. In my opinion, it was okay to have a slower-paced episode after a lot of fast ones. So I'm satisfied for this week, because I know the next three will be absolutely bananas (in a good way).
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I would think the best way to finish Parish, is to cut his head of Highlander style. I don't think you can regenerate from that
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I was thinking the same thing. Or bury him deep.
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Decapitation was not only the only way to kill an immortal in the Highlander mythos, but on Heroes as well.
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I think we should start making a list of all the ways to kill an immortal. Then we can give high fives to whomever gets it right.



I just thought of another one: The way Owen went out in Torchwood: In a nuclear meltdown while his body disintegrated around him. That is sure to run an immortal's whole day.
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Send him through the Mad Hatter's Hat vortex.
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I don't get the whole point of turning Rosen into raging man looking for revenge. Why that old school Bruce Willis movie direction? I thought it was more subtle and sofisticated show. But now we need to kill Parish who out of nowhere wanted to kill all Manhatten people in previous episode. it's just plain boring stuff. parish straight up evil Rosen team revengful mourning fathers and boyfriends. WTF?
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They aren't turning Rosen into a 'raging man looking for revenge', they are making him more like Parish. Now he's emotionally involved and will start to cut corners and to work his own agenda even more - somewhere along the lines things will get blurry and at some point it won't be so clear who the bad guy is anymore. The "Kill Manhattan" plot was stupid, sure, but I still hope that there might be something more to it which will be touched on in later episodes.
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You guy's raise a good point: what if this is a part of Parish's plan? If Parish sees Rosen as any kind of threat at all, destabilizing him by turning him into an emotional basket case and/or liability to government (destabilizing his power base) would be a good way to do it.
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I wonder what the limits of Parish's power is, like say if they threw him into a live volcano... or a steel box with holes in it and dropped him into the Marianas Trench. Would he continuously regenerate without dying but be in constant pain/drowning?
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No, Bill definitely ISN'T the Incredible Hulk; remember, he and Hicks fought to a draw when they battled recently ... so Bill's strength does have limits. Hicks' superior hand-to-hand skills - even without his Alpha ability - makes him potentially more dangerous than Bill is in battle. But, of course, everyone - no matter what their skill set is - has weaknesses, so it depends.



But, if I had to fight both men, I'd rather fight Bill. It's easier to overcome great physical strength than it is beating someone like Hicks.
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we can't be sure exactly what powers the baby really has, i mean 100% sure, because the baby right now is, for lack of better word, stupid. Maybe it needed nurture/protection and made everyone care about him but later on when he's going to start thinking and experience other needs or feelings he'll be able to manipulate people differently... or, when he'll grow up maybe will make everyone desperately fall in love with him and become his slave willingly...the sky is the limit.



I hate fart jokes so it's for the best that Gary kept his dignity and they went in the cute direction with the baby



As far as i understood the baby came from a lab...so there's a chance he might not have a mother... he could have been cooked up in a petri dish or smthing in order to be groomed to become the next super soldier in Parrish's army that will eventually take over the world...maybe



the tazer guy seemed to use his electric thing in his punches to give them more power...as for defense, maybe Bill just didn't want to crack his skull to million pieces and didn't use that much power. Or he used the tazer thing as defense too, to damper the effect of the blow (i'd have to watch it again to be sure, though)

What i find unbelievable was Nina hitting that powered up woman on the head with a mere vase and getting her to pass out from it...until she actually fell i was absolutely convinced that it wouldn't have any effect on her, i was expecting her to get angry and throw Nina across the room for ruining her hairdo

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I appreciate that they're running a common theme through many of the episodes, subtly: Confidence, comfort and positive emotions yield strong alpha effects, while doubt and anxiety screw things up. Rachel's scenes in this episode really played off that. (When will Hicks realize that his ability and his son's are both reliant on self confidence?)



Oh, and a quick tangent... I'm calling it first: Rosen is one of Parish's illegitimate children. (shrug) Okay, so that might be putting too much faith in the writers, but I can easily imagine that twist at the end of this season. It's why Parish was so invested in Dani (sociopathic though he is) -- he's been running a century-long breeding experiment using his own DNA. ... Eh, we'll see. Just an idea.
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This was a very deep episode in many levels. I agree with Tim that they should have paced things a little more from a given moment on, but that's what you expect from TV in general. Alphas is all about the characters that populate the show and their relationships. People go to some dark places when tides turn and Alphas decided to explore these corners in depth. I definitely expected more anger outbursts though. Even so every character seemed humane and reacting appropriately according with what we know from them.





Some notes:



1- When Clay (Cley?) asked about who Rosen blamed for Dani's demise, the answer seemed clear at first, so Rosen put it bluntly "What??". But it wasn't that clear was it?



2- Rosen being called to analyse a baby who inspires paternal insticts was cruel. His look and reactions to his own thoughts being spoken were priceless. Better even was Nina's look in that scene.



3- Extra-credit for embedding all that meaning in the unspoken. We know the characters, we are supposed to be able to read their emotions by now. It's rewarding when the bond between the viewer and the actor is established and it works.



Overall, I keep being impressed by Alphas' ability to keep me hooked through its writing over its production values. That's saying a lot. This episode also revealed a lot of confidence and a sense of direction. No self-doubting writing staff would impose such an episode on its viewers and that confidence transpires on us. At least on me it does!
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To me the best thing about the episode was to see Rosen actually express emotion and not be totally in his own head. Better acting as a result. Hope to see more of this.

Best line: "I'll be out for two hours..."
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It was a strange episode. I am not sure what the baby's ability is. My guess is that is going to come out later. However, the bigger issue that I thought was there is that is their a different group out their other than Parish? They didn't seem to be Parish's goons but yet they were apart of a group and they had more babies. So is that going to be a potential new big bad if they manage to defeat Parish this season? Which I think is pretty improbable given that he can't die.



Hick's and Nina's moment was all right. But it seemed rather tame for Hicks. Shouldn't he be in the woods outside of Parish's house with a .50 Barrett and a good scope. Using the big .50 to see how un-killable Parish actually is. Especially given what he did the previous episode.



The fake mother did seem to have super strength. And yes taser hands was too strong especially given that bill could punch a guy into a wall for a sport fight. This was real life I would think Taser would have at least gone into the wall.
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I have to agree with Tim in that this was largely an exercise in emotional scoring for the series as a whole. Last week we lost Dani, so this week was about looking in and seeing what that meant, obviously for Rosen and Hicks in particular, and yeah, for Rachel as well (though hers was not exactly related to Dina's death).



Anyway, you need episodes like this -- slow paced, introspective -- to balance the ones that aren't or else you end up with a crap show.



And Tim, hurry up and follow me on Twitter! I keep trying to reply to your posts but no go.
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I think there was a baby with a similar (but stronger) power in an episode of Misfits.

I'm not really a fan of Alphas, but I liked the scenes with Rachel, and the actor playing Gary continues to impress me. He's delivering an award-worthy performance every week, but I don't see any nominations ever going to a show like this. And best supporting actor is the toughest category of all.
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Thank you! Just spent half an hour thinking I'd seen this power before!
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You're correct about the baby in an episode of Misfits.
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I'm pretty sure Nathan's last name is Cley, not Clay. The SyFy site says that it's "Clay." However, the end credits had Nathan's son with the last name of "Cley." Presumably onscreen spelling tops press releases? And the closed-captioning has been saying "Cley" since season 1.
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