Alphas: The New Dynamic Duo

We're just over halfway through the first season of Alphas, and what lies ahead is still taking shape. When the series was announced, we all thought it would be a procedural with super-powered cops. But the first four episodes introduced us to a show with a more serialized nature, with each episode teasing an overall arc. Last week we were hit with the series' first standalone episode and a heavy focus on one character (Rachel). Last night, we got another standalone episode that showcased two characters; it was also the first episode in which there was no bad Alpha in sight.

Usually this would spell doom for a series that's trying to build an audience, but Alphas has built a solid core around its fun tone and enjoyable characters, and as long as that's clicking, the show can do whatever it wants and I'll still watch. "Bill and Gary's Excellent Adventure" maintained the light humor and witty banter that's made a fan out of me, and it also brought my favorite duo (Bill and Gary) to the forefront as they hunted down a kidnapper behind the team's back.

Even without a bad Alpha and no mention of the overall mythology that was teased early on, "Bill and Gary's Excellent Adventure" was indeed excellent, largely because of the performances of Malik Yoba (Bill) and Ryan Cartwright (Gary), as well as the two characters' relationship. Bill is the most professional member of the group, a former FBI agent who thinks he knows the job better than everyone else. Gary is the lost toddler of the group, always requiring supervision and patience, patience, patience. Together they clash spectacularly, but there's also a big-brother-little-brother relationship aspect to soften things up, and Yoba and Cartwright capture it perfectly. Bill has great admiration for Gary's ability, and Gary wants to be like Bill, a badge-flashing agent who asks the questions instead of answering them. I love the two of these guys together.

But we should ask if there's room for non-Alpha crime on the show. Do we really want to see our super-powered friends take down the same, "regular" kidnappers that Mark Harmon or David Caruso could cuff? After all, the reason most of us are tuning in is that we love the idea of these guys going after people who possess the same types of abilities. But there's a reason it worked in this case, and it's because our team of Alphas are more "regular" than they are "super." The show has always done a great job of grounding them in our reality, and if they need to chase down a few normal crooks, so be it. But they should only allowed to do that once or twice a season, max. We want to see them take down the next Magneto, not some average gangbanger.

Elsewhere, the make-out session we all expected to happen happened. Hicks and Nina got down and dirty, and they deserved to because they're the two hottest people on the show. Sorry folks, that's just how it works. Hot people earn the right to get it on with other people because of their sheer hotness. The rest of us are left to sift through the scraps. Beyond that, there does seem to be a legitimate something between the two. Does Alphas have room for a romantic storyline? I guess.

There are four episodes left in Season 1, and the big question I have is: "Will Alphas go back to its serialized stories next week?" I'm guessing we have one more standalone chapter to go before we return to Red Flag. We've seen episodes focus on Rosen, Rachel, Gary, and Bill, but not on Nina and Hicks. That was obviously set up in this episode.

Notes:

... Rosen: "I'm a professional. I'll gloat in private." Oh Rosen!

... The bad guys, Alpha-d or not, are still pretty compelling. I got the heebie-jeebies watching the kidnapper unroll the tarp and ask the kidnappee to let him know if there's life after death.

... Gary's one of those people who can't eat his food unless it's separated. I don't understand those people. And I don't understand people who eat one thing at a time on their plate. Just shove it all in your face!

Question:

... Are you okay with Alphas featuring bad guys who aren't Alphas?


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

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Aug 19, 2011
I liked this episode alot! Gary and Bill were hilarious together. Plus the awesome stuff that Hicks and Bill did to stop the bad guys was epic. Yeah it's fine with me to have non-alpha villians on the show. A villians a villian and anything that the hero's of the show can do to stop them is great. Plus it keeps the show from going through the same old same old.
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Aug 19, 2011
This was my favorite episode so far and I'm definitely o.k. with Alphas episodes featuring non-Alpha villains. I generally prefer the Avengers episodes where Steed and his partner square off against a clever criminal to the spy-centric episodes. The closest thing I had to a problem with this episode was Cam apparently dodging bullets. Several elements in this episode could be continued later, it seems to me, since (1) we don't what the Alphas retrieved at the beginning of the episode; (2) it's not clear why the girl was kidnapped; (3) it's unclear what, if anything, the kidnappers' military background had to do with anything; and (4) we don't know the origin of the one kidnapper's obsession with the afterlife. That scene where he's unrolling the tarp was great though.
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Aug 19, 2011
"Hot people earn the right to get it on with other people because of their sheer hotness. The rest of us are left to sift through the scraps."

hilarious, but sadly... it's true.
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Aug 19, 2011
I'm liking the show so far. Nothing spectacular, but it's keeping me tuning in every week (and I'm a few shows-at-a-time-kind-a-guy). This ep was good, I'm gonna risk it and said it was the best so far, even for a standalone and no-bad-Alpha ep. Maybe it's because it's getting to me.
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Aug 19, 2011
Liked this ep. Like you said, there seeems to be legitimate chemistry between Hicks and Nina so I'm interested in seeing the ep focusing on them
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Aug 19, 2011
I loved the episode it was funny and interesting, I love that the show comes back each week with something a little different so viewers can never get bored. And I absolutely love Ryan's (Gary's) acting he is amazing.
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Aug 18, 2011
I enjoyed the fact that for once the episode featured bad guys who weren't Alphas and I think it would be awesome if they had 'normal' bad guys bad guys occasionally, even if they don't take up screen time. They could, for example, allude to having had a case a few days prior to the episode's opening where they stopped a serial bomber or whatever. Just to let us know that they do worry about all crime, not just 'special' crime.



Even if they try their best to ONLY go after Alpha criminals, some crimes might appear to be the work of an Alpha but simply aren't. (We think he used heat vision to melt these bars and enter. Oh oops, never mind it was a normal guy with a Power Plasma 50 plasma cutter and a portable generator...)



Plus, if they attempt to only go after Alphas the normal authorities are going to wonder, "Why do they just refuse to assist with so many cases and why do they jump instantly into so many others? What's the difference in these cases? And what's up with them that they'd make the distinction at all?"



If they go after a lot of cases the ones that are Alpha-related are going to more likely blend in with the others. If they only go after weird, freaky cases then that is going to rather quickly stand out. To effectively blend, they're going to have to blend their cases. If they specialize their cases, they're going to stand out as specialists and, subsequently, people are going to start noticing that these cases, and the people who investigate them, are very special.
More+
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Aug 18, 2011
"But there's a reason it worked in this case, and it's because our team of Alphas are more "regular" than they are "super. " And the fact that Bill has resigned himself to his new position and said goodbye to returning to the FBI. The seperation of food items is VERY real for the autistic and lent an air of realism. You glossed over the closing scene which left me chuckling!! Big Bad Bill peeing his pants with Gary at the wheel!! I would hope that as the Red Flag storyline develops we get the background depth of Rosen as well.



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Aug 18, 2011
Great episode. I have really enjoy this show so far & I can't wait for next week's episode with Summer Glau who is always awesome.
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Aug 19, 2011
Summer Glau next ep! Plain awesome, can't wait!
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Aug 18, 2011
I thought it was very good that there was no Alpha powered bad guy. It would be like someone already mentioned too much of what we saw in "Heroes" and what brought them down. As for the Hicks and Nina getting busy side of the story, I skipped forward, because nothing is more boring to me than seeing something over and over again and again in every series. We wanna see Alpha action, not some boring getting laid action. I think the series could go perfectly fine without that crap every show has. Why does everything has to go down the same lame pattern?
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Aug 18, 2011
Sorry, dude, but I like seeing people get laid. Can't be Alpha action 24/7. Has to be about Alphas being normal people sometimes, and normal people like to get laid. Don't you?
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Aug 18, 2011
I'm not a dude ;)
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Aug 19, 2011
Lol, it's alright. I call everyone that equally. And i think I can say that equally, everyone likes to get laid ;)
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Aug 19, 2011
I agree on everybody wanting it and liking doing it - I do too - no argue on this part ;)

I just don't have the need to watch it on TV. I just don't. It's always the most boring scenes to me.
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Aug 18, 2011
This is your best Alpha's recap yet, Tim. I agree that they placed some ground work for a Cam/Nina-cetric episode for next week. Great stuff between Bill and Gary; I thought I would be annoyed at Gary by now, but they manage to keep his dialogue and the situations he is in fresh and entertaining. The actual plot of this episode was a little weak, but character development out shined the typical CSI fare.
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Aug 18, 2011
ryan cartwright does an excellent job of gary, which makes the show worth watching.
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Aug 18, 2011
I think they exaggerate Gary's autism a bit, a 32 on the CAR scale is only 2 points (out of a possible 30) over the cutoff, I've met autistics who are much more 'functional' than Gary is and I'm guessing there can't be that much difference between 30 or 31 and a 32
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Aug 18, 2011
I love gary lol
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Aug 17, 2011
Dont mind it, though not what i expected.
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Aug 17, 2011
I think that it was a great episode. If you have been watching the other episodes.. you would see that the Alpha's have had some questions if they are worth anything more than just their "Alpha powers." It was fun to see Gary's character get developed more. He is usually just pushed aside and told what to do so to see him stand out and be able to feel more like a "normal" part of the team was a nice addition to this last episode.
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Aug 17, 2011
I think that there is room for non powered criminals. While the teams main purpose is to track other Alphas, it makes sense that when there is a case like this one where a girls life was in the balance, that they would get involved. Also, one of the reasons why this show is good is because the abilities aspect is second to good characterization and relationships. Each of the characters have problems that, while sometimes stem from their abilities, are very human. Bill had a blowup and lost his job and now has to deal with the fallout and telling his wife. Hicks and Nina both understand what it is like to not have control of their powers and have them cause death to someone and that pain seems to be drawing them to eachother. I hope that this continues because as was mentioned by a below poster, we could end up with a show like heroes. In the first season it showed a human side of the characters but soon became more and more about the powers.
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Aug 17, 2011
I really like Alphas and i really liked this episode. I have to disagre with you that they shouldn't go after bad guys who aren't Alphas. I think its Great! I never understood this type of shows. Creating a world in which superpowers are real but not public and yet everybody seems to have them. That just never made sense to me.
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Aug 17, 2011
the bad guys not being alpha's is not the point of the episode, the point was character developement, specifically Bill. I do not think there will be an over use of non-alpha bad guys unless there is a reason for it, in this case it was almost all about bill.
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Aug 17, 2011
"But we should ask if there's room for non-Alpha crime on the show. Do we really want to see our super-powered friends take down the same, "regular" kidnappers that Mark Harmon or David Caruso could cuff?"



This what worried me in the beginning, and what worries me still (though less): if EVERY bad guy in the show is an Alpha with some new power, we're going to end up with a show like Heroes (minus the horrid dialogue and acting in the latter). I think there could be some non-Alpha criminals that are somehow tied into them, or just a good, bad ass. I mean, The Doc in charge is not an Alpha, right? and they've even made that part of the struggle, and perhaps future conflict.



The show's getting better though, and I agree the witty banter between Gary and Will and their character differences playing off each other are two of the best parts of the show.
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Aug 17, 2011
I have no problem with Alphas featuring bad guys who aren't alphas. Every episode can't be spent chasing after super-powered beings. In my opinion, that would be piling on the whole "superpower" angle too much. Mix it up! As you can see from this episode, enemies come in different shapes and sizes, with or without powers. Heck, the government and researchers at Binghampton aren't Alphas, yet they're the biggest threat to Alphas everywhere. As for the episode, I loved it. The way Bill and Gary banter with one another is hilarious. I like Bill's straightforward approach to Gary, who definitely needs it given his condition. As you mentioned, each character has had an episode centered on them. Just need Cam and Nina ones to round it out.
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Aug 17, 2011
Yeah, about Gary being "the lost toddler of the group"... you do realize he is autistic, right? IIRC he even stated so during this particular episode.
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Aug 17, 2011
The statement was made *because* he's autistic. Being autistic, he requires large amounts of supervision to keep him on track and motivated, as he can easily be sidetracked otherwise. The comment wasn't meant to be callous or ignorant, simply a statement of fact about his character.
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Aug 18, 2011
I wasn't intending to sound like I was criticizing or picking on Tim about what he said, just more or less informing him of why Gary acted the way he did just in case he didn't know.



And for the record, I'm not disagreeing with what he said as I feel his characterization was spot on, as was your explanation.
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Aug 17, 2011
High functioning autistic he said, a 32 on the CAR scale he declared
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Aug 17, 2011
**SPOILERS** Was there an explanation for why the head of security kidnapped Lisa that I somehow glossed over? Didn't seem like she was in it for the money like the goons, so what was the purpose?
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Aug 17, 2011
also she was in it for the money too
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Aug 17, 2011
It was subtle but not too subtle, that the girl's dad was a dick...yeah basically, as simple as explanation i can give.



Dad: when Lisa comes back things are gonna be different, I'm gonna be different

Sarah: "deadpan stare"
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Aug 17, 2011
Awful episodes. THe bodyguard is one of the kidnappers?? really? How original. This storyline we've seen it a million times and its not even good anymore.

And i stand to my need to kill Gary, awful character.
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Aug 19, 2011
Um, what's your problem Gary is one of the best characters on Alphas. I take high offense to that having a brother that is autistic and all.
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Aug 18, 2011
I do have to agree the actual plot of this episode (minus Bill and Gary's stake in it) was a little monotonous. On the character-side, however, this episode shines. Gary is the life of this show.
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Aug 17, 2011
Seriously? Gary is my favorite character on the show, I find he's the reason for a large majority of the comedy in the series.
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Aug 17, 2011
I guess this really isn't your kind of show lol. Maybe you should stop watching.
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Aug 18, 2011
yeah i think i will. After the season finalle i don't think i watch season 2.

In case they get rid of Gary please let me know :)
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Aug 17, 2011
I had the sudden urge to watch Vincent die in bones...again
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Aug 19, 2011
Um okay whatever dude. That scene really bothered my sister and personally I'm not looking forward to seeing it either. Nigel was the best intern Bones had after Zack of course. He's the best.
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Aug 17, 2011
My sis and her family eat ONE food at at time like a hamberger and fries is Eat Burger then Eat fries. BUT fries are cold by the time U eat the burger.. and they will NOT eat a casserolle. so I know what U mean about that !! Episode was great. I watched Bones so I still think of Gary as the guy who died on Bones..BUT he is really doing a good job. I hope they pick up this show for future run. too bad only 8 episodes.
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Aug 17, 2011
so not me then OK
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Aug 17, 2011
Why can't we have ordinary criminals that are minions of alphas. Like Jokers goons or something. I see no reason why a super powered criminal mastermind can't make use of an everyday joe.
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Aug 17, 2011
love it when pretty people get together. good episode all in all. this show is getting better and better
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Aug 17, 2011
Great episode! To answer your question, yes, I think there is room for more non-super powered baddies. Just make them different. Obviously Alpha bad guys are going to be cooler, but I can't expect them to have a new one every episode, they gotta mix it up a bit. And great recap as usual, Tim.
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Aug 17, 2011
ryan and malik feed off eachother energy which is great.this 2 are great together.i love how bill mess with gary and gary makes this crazy remarkes to bill its too funny.gary(ryan)and bill(malik)are so funny when they are together.
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