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Alphas "The Devil Will Drag You Under" Review: Action!

Alphas S02E09: "The Devil Will Drag You Under"

When a magician is doing a card trick, he'll often do something distracting with his off-hand while the other hand slips out the Ace of Spades or grabs the scruff of a rabbit's neck. When people are caught in a lie, they'll often change the subject. And ladies know that a little cleavage goes a long way in diverting the attention of horny men from whatever shortcomings they're trying to hide. Sleight of hand and diversionary tactics are designed to put the focus somewhere else to create an illusion. Sometimes it works. But when it doesn't, you're just a person with your boobs hanging out.

Last night's episode of Alphas, "The Devil Will Drag You Under," had its boobs out, and while that's always a good time, the reason was mostly to hide minor flaws the show didn't want you to see. Now wait just a second before you throw rocks at your computer screen! It was a riveting episode of Alphas—in fact, one of the most gripping of the season, if not the series. I don't think there's been an episode that was as full-throttle as this one, and several of the action sequences stood out as stellar and exactly what we want from the show. There, you see? I did like it. I just didn't love it because I couldn't help but think of some of the shortcomings it was trying to hide.

There were two very interesting things going on in "The Devil Will Drag You Under." First, the switcheroo with Hicks as a man who'd turned and was working for Stanton Parish dominated the early part of the episode in great fashion. But it was easy to see that Hicks was acting strange, even for a man whose girlfriend was just tossed into a dangerous undercover assignment by her father. Hicks was reduced to a Terminator looking to protect Dani without regard for anything else, and given what we know about this show and its superpowered characters, it didn't take a genius to guess that Nina was somehow involved. So when it was revealed that Hicks was pushed into going after Dani by Nina in order to make him a flawless double agent, it didn't carry the same shock value as it could have. Instead, it became a convoluted bit for the benefit of trickery, without all the trickery. But that's also a side effect of establishing great characters. Because we know Hicks so well, we know he wouldn't do something like switch sides as quickly as he did. Had we seen a few episodes with him stewing, it would be a different story.

Second, we were all being unconsciously prepared to feel the pain of Dani's death through fond flashbacks and the events of the previous episodes. I'm not going to lie, it worked. Dani had been transformed from that chick who was Parish's mole and who emotionally toyed with Hicks into a caring girlfriend and loving daughter in just a few hours. There's a lot of irony here, since Dani's power is essentially the ability to manipulate and manufacture emotions, but I'll give Alphas credit for hitting all the high notes when it mattered. Nina trying to push Dani into not dying might just be one of the most heartbreaking television moments of the year. Silly me actually wondered if it would really work for a second there, but when Dani gave her last breath in Rosen's weepy arms, it was devastating. If you know you're being manipulated and it still works, it's good work on the show's part.

But despite the thrilling action and neck-snapping pace that really carried the episode (I could have down without the thrash soundtrack, though) and turned it into a mini action blockbuster, some of those aspects felt forced in the name of accomplishing greater goals. I had a hard time with Parish's actions in this episode, specifically his overly complicated and nerdy plan to dispatch an electric blast through Manhattan via power wires to kill millions of New Yorkers. Despite being painted as a villain, I've always had respect for the man, and I've even felt sympathetic to his stance as a rebel leader for the oppressed. But Parish pulling this scheme out of his back pocket undid a lot of that in a second. It's important for us to not trust Parish, but we can get that same mistrust from smaller-scale actions such as Parish hurting someone who we and Rosen's team care about, not the attempted murder of millions. I suppose that was accomplished by killing Dani, but the idea of him ready to toast New York takes away a lot of his... what's the word I'm looking for... classiness?

Thankfully, "The Devil Will Drag You Under" won't be remembered for minor beefs. We'll look back on the episode and think of Firehands burning the shit out of things, fights between Bill and Evil White Bill, Dani's death, and the episode's true intention: to send Dr. Rosen and Hicks into a fit of rage so that they'll finally rip Parish's head off. And put it in a box so that it can't rejoin with his body. That's how you kill immortals, right?



NOTES

– Was there something more to Dani, as she was dying, doing that last emotional transfer to Nina? Or was it just a "her light is fading out" moment? Did Nina just get a peek at what the emotional state of a dying person is like? Whoa, dude.

– It felt bad to laugh at Gary when he was celebrating saving the city and telling Lorenzo the janitor that they won, given that we knew Dani had just been 'sploded to death. But damn, it was funny.

– Ahhhh! Chick from Battlestar Galactica (Kandyse McClure)! Your eyes! YOUR EYES!!! That was like looking into the bottom of a Goldschlager bottle! Absolutely mesmerizing.

– I wish Gary got to be in the field more this season.

– So... Kat's literally off for a few weeks to attend training?


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

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Liked the episode, 'twas very poignant looking at Rosen with his dead daughter in his arms. Granted the thing about Hicks was very very predictable but what other strategy could be used? Maybe the problem was in the delivery... I mean it should have been explained to us from Rosen's and Hicks point of view... not pretend that was not happening...



Apparently Dani didn't get much love from the fans but I did like the character. It rang true. And it also explains why Rosen is so driven when defending the Alphas. I mean it is one thing to be aware for instance of autism and another to actually have an autistic child. One thing is to show solidarity for a minority and another to end up being part or the minority or having a child, brother, sister, etc. being part of that minority...
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This is one of those odd times where I technically disliked quite a bit and could gripe about certain aspects, but while I was watching, I was pretty well entertained. It was fun, albeit slightly stupid.

I didn't have a problem with the Hicks thing. Obviously I knew that he hadn't fully "turned" or whatever, but I thought the 'Nina pushing him' thing was a fairly cool surprise.

The only thing I'll say I really groaned about was having Nina try and push Dani not to die. I can understand that if someone you love is dying, that you'd try ANYTHING and would grasp at straws to keep them alive, but still... that felt really stupid as I was watching.
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Although i liked this episode i agree it had some flaws. I think it was the intend of the show to show that Perish isn't just the advocate to the opressed. Maybe he was a little bit too sympathetic and they needed him to be more villainous. Also it might have given us a little more insight to what his endgame will be. I was always wondering about that. So, even though not the best episode it was still a strong one.
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I feel like the music supervisor had been waiting all season for a car chase, just to have the opportunity to track "White Limo" to it.



They'd better do something interesting with Dani's last emotional transfer to Nina. Big opportunity there.
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I preferred Alphas when it was a lot less black and white on who the good guy leader was. Parish had a lot of good points in the beginning and Rosen kept making very questionable decisions. Now Parish is a sociopathic terrorist who is all evil all the time, which to my mind is a lot less interesting. At least Rosen is still quite often a dick



And I definitely think Dani transferred something of herself to Nina, maybe her feelings for Hicks? That shouldn't be too hard, right? Considering Nina's own feelings for the guy?
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I don't understand all the complaints. I don't even like this show. I watch a lot of TV shows, and Alphas is the worst one. Every week I'm asking myself if I'll even watch the next episode. I didn't find this one any worse than a typical episode. Maybe it had a larger number of stupid plot points, but it was less boring. So I think I actually liked it better than most episodes.
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I really enjoyed the episode, and while not perfect it hit on a lot of really good notes and passed the time very nicely. I am thankful I am able to just sit back and enjoy shows and not pick them apart.



Seriously... what do some people even want from a show like this? It's well acted, paced, and written. It doesn't insult you like a lot of other shows do, and it rewards your investment in it. It's consistently entertaining SUMMER television.
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Does having an alpha ability make people stupid?



Stanton - Dani is an EMPATH. Look it up in the dictionary and then you may understand why she wasn't on board for you killing millions of people.



Dani - You are trying to stop a sociopath from killing people by standing in the bomb he is about to detonate. Bearing in mind that you are banking on his affection for you to stop him pulling the trigger. Perhaps "Sometimes sacrifices need to be made" was not the best choice of words?



Writers - I know you are going for maximum emotionl impact but are you seriously expecting us to believe that Rosen's immediate concern would be for the people practically standing next to him, a few metres away from the bomb, as opposed to his OWN DAUGHTER who literally just jumped out of the bomb? :-D
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When Dani said "You taught me that sometimes sacrifices need to be made", I kind of had a puzzled look on my face. Like, really? What exactly was her point with that line... that Stanton should sacrifice his want to kill people? Derp. Like you suggested, all that line basically means is "blow me up"... not a logical thing to say there.



I was also puzzled with Rosen getting up after the explosion and asking about the health of everybody furthest away from the bomb before his daughter, who was closest to it. I'm not sure why the writers decided to do that.
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I feel that Rachel was written as Rosen's surrogate daughter since his biological daughter had run away (well plus junkie, compulsive lier, etc.) and so I guess after something like this Rosen thinks about his team first with Rachel at the top... and then remembers Dani.
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I don't know, I liked the episode. Surely not perfect, but very good.

I started to like Dani in this season, I think they made a good job and it didn't feel too forced. The death scene might have been better without that "hey, this shit's emotional mr. viewer, please cry now", but at least nobody shouted Noooooo!

And Parish was always clearly an evil guy and as Tim pointed out in previous reviews, we like our villains who make us doubt. And he raised good points today when he talked to Dani. Overpopulation, no food, basically millions and millions will die because nobody did nothing. He offers to kill millions to make a future that has a chance. He knows it's vital. Should millions in the future be forced to die and have a miserable future ahead of them just so we could keep our humanity?? Stanton offers to make himself the biggest villain of the world, to take on that burden. If he succeeded, in theory, he would go down as the biggest mass murderer in history. And you know that long long after the dust settles and the world turns for the better (if Parish's plan is actually good) at least some people who are not afraid to think will start to question that maybe the terror and horror that was Stanton was actually what the world needed...

So to me, only showing Stanton saying those things but not actually trying would seem fake and he would not feel real or dangerous. Honestly it would have been very very interesting if his big electric bomb would have worked. The universe of Alphas would change dramatically so obviously that was not an option. But at least they made it look like maybe it was possible.
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Bad episode. They tried hard, it was an important episode but they failed miserably in my eyes. Stanton is a stupid jerk now instead of an undying genius, thanks for that and the McClure character was ... I mean come on: "You did all that for her? Awww, just go and enjoy your love!" WTF, way to go Stanton, there you have your bunch to conquer the world! lol
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Hicks is just so badass. Not one of my favourite episodes, but I thought the ending sets things up quite nicely. Is it the Season finale next week?
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Right! This ep. was kinda cookoo and I can't say i liked it, but at least they killed Dani, good ridance! as it happens I have an irrational disdain for this character, I tried, but could never like her; was just too confusing and hard to keep up with, she went from crack-whore with daddy issues blaming Lee for all the bad decitions she made in the past to a caring and loving girlfriend-step mother material?? Zoomg! slow down Alphas, I'm getting dizzy!!!

Plus, imo, she was just getting in the way of Nina snatching Hicks back for herself, I love me some Hicks & Nina love story.

TEAM NiHicks? HicNi? NiCam? lol
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Maybe Nina absorbed Dani's personality at the end and Hicks can have them both? :-D

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Oh noes! Dani's personallity sucks, lol
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Hickna? Nicks?

Didn't like Dani too, hope she stays dead!
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Something indeed happened with Dani dying at the end -- I suspect a transfer of powers or some greater knowledge to Nina, and have no doubt we'll find out what soon enough.



This was an awesome effort. I agree the Parish plan was a bit sudden given how long the guy's lived and how hard and carefully he plans, but all told this was from start to finish a riveting episode. It felt a long longer than it actually was.
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Kill a character in a way that makes sense, all I'm asking. I hate when shows kill off characters in ways that could've easily been solved had they just not done that one stupid thing. I prefer a character death to be inevitable, whether it's voluntary or not
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Define 'inevitable', though. If you mean 'entirely predictable', then I disagree. Providing an element of doubt is the only way to ensure people will keep watching. Start making the show utterly predictable and it'll be cut before the next season. When people are told what will happen and not allowed to think what something might mean or have any doubts, the show is done.
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I enjoyed this episode, it was wild entertaining, but I concur with the belief it was sort of "weird" as far as pacing and plot goes. I think Dani's death would've made more of an impact in the season finale, it was much too premature. And hicks joining parish would've worked better. I agree that we didn't get to learn much about Dani. But I still feel bad for the character, she tried so hard to make amends for her wrongfully ways.



Also, many contrived scenes in this episode. Did Dani REALLY have to stand in the actual Van to show stanton where she was? So unnecessary. Had she been outside she would've survived!
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Interesting point about where she was standing, but I think she knew she was going to sacrifice herself... or I THOUGHT she knew until the look on her face when the device was triggered (again, the element of doubt is part of great writing!). Anyway, I believe her being killed off is part of several key elements to furthering the story and characters in the show: Hicks is now 'free', and I have no doubt Nina will be there to help him; the good Doctor will suffer greatly over his daughter's death and there will be moral and physical conflicts; the team will be further united in their cause; it ends the problematic character of Dani -- loyal to whom?
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Also not a fan of this ep.

Biggest gripe: one of those bomb thingies took out three guys. ALL of them wired together and the whole team within the same range only took out Dani. HUH?

Second biggest grip: Parish is all good with wiping out millions, including Alphas? What the hell kind of an end game plan is that Mr. New World Utopia?

The pacing of this ep was like a spaz case on too much caffeine. Really irksome and just missing the mark on so emotional notes that could have been mind blowing.
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I didn't really like this episode. Too many stupid things went unmentioned or unexplained. Why, for example, didn't the entire team go at the same time to stop the fire guy and Blanco Bill instead of Hicks and Dani going in first to the point where Hicks was about to kill himself? Why didn't anybody bat an eyelid when Hicks helped kill a bunch of DARPA employees? Why couldn't Rosen and Nina tell Bill and Gary that Hicks was undercover? It was like watching Transformers or Battleship.
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Fitted with Cement shoes and dumped in the ocean is far better fate for Parish
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The only good part about this episode was Gary celebrating by himself.



When I saw that Hicks had "changed" sides (it was really obvious he was faking it to get to Dani) I almost prayed (but I don't pray) that Rosen wasn't in on it. It would've been cooler. But, no.



And I couldn't have cared less about Dani dying. First, I didn't have time to like her. Second, they were in need of killing someone and she was the only one around. Duh. To be honest, I fast-forward through it.



Really boring stuff.
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Lol Sounds like you never liked the show to begin with. I'm sure there are other programs out there more worthy your time, especially if you're fast forwarding. That just kinda defeats the purpose of watching television.
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And how strange is it for Alphas to pull an episode title from a line of a song in the 1950 musical Guys and Dolls?
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Yeah, you can think he's charming and has a grand agenda, but never forget that Magneto, um, sorry, I mean Parish, is the villain.
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Nice seeing the soldier who had the most depressing final 24 hrs aboard Galactica of anyone. Hopefully that wasn't the final time we see Kandyse McClure. This was a decent enough - give actual stakes to stopping Parrish - episode. Sad to see Kathleen Munroe go, that character had way more story to tell and they kind of crammed it all into too few episodes - but the payoff scene worked so I guess all was not lost. I'm interested to see where this is all heading.
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I'm not entirely certain that Dani is irreversibly dead. Nina told her not to die, so if there's a way she wouldn't, she was Pushed into using it even if she might not have wanted to herself. I thought Nina's phrasing was odd, repeating "don't die" instead of "don't give up".
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One of the big dangers of doing superhuman-hero themed creative work is the danger of stepping on the toes of things that have gone before. That happened this week, as Parrish is revealed to be... Ra's al-Ghul (only white, like Liam Neeson.)
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One of the big dangers of doing superhuman-hero themed creative work is the danger of stepping on the toes of things that have gone before. That happened this week, as Parrish is revealed to be... Ra's al-Ghul (only white, like Liam Neeson.)
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I was drawn to this show by an article in Nature magazine. I watched the entire first season. There was good and there was bad. Sadly, the bad is dominating the second season. There is simply too much violence. If the writer were an Alpha, he would write a few scripts where Ghandi-esque alphas would prevail.
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Too much violence? Ghandi-esque Alphas? Are you sure you're watching the same show? Lol
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Or at least show a decent compare and contrast between the different types of Alphas. Right now it is rockem sockem robots and that one note business is sad. Just sad.
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It was a decent episode. While I like the boldness of killing off Danny. I thought it was a little premeditated. There was just too much of her in the episode so you kind of saw it coming from a mile away. Same with Hicks. I think it would have been better for the story if he had in fact changed sides, albeit for a little bit. But it too seemed a little to well set. Plus, If she affects peoples minds and the other woman can read minds, how is that she can't read someone being pushed. If you can see it on a brain scan then a person with her ability should be able to pick that up easily. Even with the meds that Rosen gave him.



But overall it was a mixed episode both good and bad. Also does the fire hands guy have to keep escaping. Seriously, he isn't that bright and it seems a little redundant.
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Yeah I'm dissapointed too. It was okay episode but it was weird episode. It felt almost like they (writers) did all that weird complexity (parish's out of nowhere wildcrazy plan, Hicks swith sides, pushing Hicks) all that twisting and action sequences to kill Dani character off in term of one episode. that's all fast pace (showing Dani going undercover in quick flashback, Hicks switching sides) all that stories were shown in patter like manner. to be in action moment to get to Dani's death point quicky in the end. it felt weird. coz I see no reason to kill off Dani. We starting to know Dani better and then she's dead in matter of one episode. It doesn't make any sense. I even didn't feel so deeply bad about her death coz all happened so fast and patter-like. I just simply didn't get any of that. why parish planned that? why Dani sacrificed herself? why explosion happened if Gary got involved succesfuly? why mini explosion is good for parish? so many running and searching and exploding I couldn't grasp any sense of it. may be I'm dumb. I dunno. they could show emotional story about how Dani agreed to cooperate and more of her motives of cooperating with Parish. and about parish changing his mind about soft tactics and going full explosion of NYC people. that could be good episode. and then they could show this action packed mess. but they needed to patter. producers didn't give them more episodes?
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