Season 1 Episode 8

A Short Time in Paradise

Aired Monday 8:00 PM Aug 29, 2011 on Syfy

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

Write A Review
out of 10
142 votes
  • Another standalone, another good plot but a few rolling-eyes moments... Nina and Cameron are bewitched by a cult-creating alpha, and Gary and Rachel bond.


    I always end up writing to much, so I'll speed through this.


    Gary and Rachel. It's good to see someone giving Gary his due, I love the actor, and he was right, there's a lot people can learn from him. Honestly, he's my favorite character, has been since the pilot. Rachel is my second favorite, so of course their combo was good. And way to go Rachel for sticking up!

    Dr. Rosen's emotions. If it wasn't for the pointless pacing and pulse I could feel right through the screen at the end of the episode, after the trigger was pulled, and his plea that he should be held accountable, this episode would've gotten a lower score from me.

    The twist with Bill. He got a little progress--leadership, never felt happier, can't amp!!!--even though this episode highlighted everyone else.

    The good bad guy. Although cults and religion like that are topping my fear list, this guy I could remember was just a sad kid that wanted to help everyone. I liked him, and his turn at the end was a disappointment.

    Didn't like:

    Cameron and Nina. Yeah, the scene was supposed to be trippy, but fusing into a glowing light? And the awkward "let's not talk about it"? I expected more out of the latter encounter. I think the show should make up for the lack of chemistry (they're too open to each other, seems to me) with honesty. They're sweet. They make me smile. But will-they-won't-they doesn't work with them so much.

    The slow pace. It just seemed slow! I don't know why.

    In between:

    Rachel's decision to stay in the car. I agreed with her, and I would have done the same, which is a rare thing on a drama--doing the smart thing, doing as told, so I liked it. However, it seemed like a dead end cut scene. Maybe they could've been shot back to when she smells, I dunno, the gallons of gasoline being poured? Hears the hearts gather together?

    I'm a positive grader, but I also love Alphas. I hope the next episode--2 weeks? awww--is not stand-alone, or if it is, it plays off some of the better developments of this episode: definitely Bill's impairment, maybe Gary/Rachel friendship and Rachel's new doctoring. Isn't that a classic? You save your father, he makes it a chore. Again, I find myself relating to Rachel with her stammered acceptance, knowing it's a good thing to do that spells bad news for me. So let's go, Alphas!

  • Ditching the booze bottle, picking up the kool-aid


    Cam falls under the influence of an unknown Alpha who fills him with rapturous peace. He quickly gets Nina sucked in, too. Soon, it becomes apparent that the bliss results in lethal brain damage, and Dr. Rosen has to walk a fine line between thwarting a charismatic antagonist and keeping his people and everyone else safe.

    This episode, among the stand-alones, had an advantage in giving voice to both sides of the central conflict. Jonas voiced it: Is it better to spend a short time in paradise, or a lifetime of darkness? Ultimately, if happiness is all we want out of life, then isn't it better to die happy? It's worth considering.

    In considering that question, one might realize that plenty of people DO pursue happiness at the expense of all else, and, if they survive their pursuits, wind up in meetings whose charters end with the word "Anonymous". It's no accident that Jonas trawled Alcoholics Anonymous, where he found Cam. It's no wonder that when one of his flock had his brain chemistry knocked back into whack, he compared the experience to a booze bender.

    Once Rosen's curewas found, and Jonas forbade its use, he showed his true colors: he was all about control, not spirituality. I like my bad guys ambiguous, and Jonas fit the bill nicely. And Dr. Rosen was a good, ambiguous hero, doing everything he could to end Jonas' reign, but still dying to know the bliss that his followers felt. There was just a hint of his envy throughout the episode.

    There are logical questions, too. Why would a guy who can sway whole crowds want to burn his mansion and his followers when he could simply sucker in an ATFE team? Why even do that ... why not just slip away and start over again with a new flock somewhere? How did this Alpha, who's had about a thousand followers for a while, avoid notice by the DCIS? I have a feeling that the personality defects which seem to plague the Alphas plagued Jonas, too, and that the answers may well lie on the cutting-room floor this week.

    There were bits of character development ... particularly in Dr. Rosen, who had to make an awful, life-changing decision in the end. Cam and Nina got a lot of screen time, but not as themselves; they keep picking the worst times to get frisky with each other. Rachel got some gumption courtesy of Gary: "I always say what's on my mind." This gives her some backbone with her family; a shame the subplot didn't have a connection to the larger story. And we learn a bit about Bill; he can't "amp up" when he's content. Interesting.

    Technically, the show was quite good; I especially liked how the photography put so much emphasis on light and shadow when Jonas was in the shot. And the creepy Jim Jones vibe was palpable without referencing the doomed reverend's flock. And there were the real-world touches I appreciate (Cam's unhappy divorce, Nina's stolen-goods giveaway, Rachel's pitiful party). The show is still very enjoyable.

    And now, my unfair whining, which I don't figure into my rating: I'm more than ready to get back to the Red Flag vs. Binghamton arc, thankyouverymuch.