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