After a few episodes establishing the scenario of the series, we are now delving into more character-specific episodes. This one focuses on Rachel. She has, up until now, been something of a non-entity on the show. She’s been around, but very quiet. Her ability – heightened senses – has come in handy with some forensics. For the most part, however, she hasn’t played much of a role in the series thus far.
Opening with Rachel going on a date, we see that her ability keeps her from being in any kind of relationship. Her heightened senses tend to go off the chart when in an intimate situation, and she can’t handle it. This comes as a double blow to her, since her traditionalist parents want nothing more than to see her married. The result of this combination is that Rachel ends up feeling painfully alone.
Sensing this in her, Rosen decides to take her on a new assignment to investigate some mysterious deaths. While he claims that her ability will come in handy on this particular case – and it does – one can tell that this is just a ruse to get Rachel involved and to make her feel like part of a team. They investigate some very strange deaths that are occurring in a small town. What is striking about these deaths is that they seem to be the result of some very extreme withdrawal. Suspecting a possible viral outbreak, the CDC is called in, which leads to a cameo by ‘Warehouse 13′s Dr. Vanessa Calder (Lindsay Wagner). The cause of this is, of course, not a disease. It’s an Alpha.
Investigating the victims, it soon comes out that they were all part of a conspiracy to cover up the suicide of a local teenager who was bullied by the high school football team. In a small town like this, the high school football team is treated as royalty, so no blame for the suicide is ever placed on them. The mother decides to take her revenge by using her own Alpha ability: she can make people become addicted to her kind nature to the point where, when she breaks off her relationship with them, they go through withdrawals so severe, it actually kills them. It’s an oddly specific sort of ability, I have to say.
For an episode that focuses on what has so far been a very bland and uninteresting character, this was pretty engaging. The rest of the team do get called in when they uncover that an Alpha is behind the deaths, so we get to see more interaction between them. And while the team is starting to gel, it’s still not perfect. Hicks and Bill have some good bickering that holds promise for the future, but Nina is still relegated to doing little more than “pushing” the minds of people who prove to be a bit of a problem. Rachel’s ability does get its chance to shine here, and it is done in some nice ways that show that she’s more than just a human microbe detector. Hopefully they’ll be able to give Nina, Hicks and Bill their moments to shine as well.