After three episodes, ‘Alphas’ is swinging back to the larger story of Red Flag, the rogue group of Alphas that Rosen’s team is tasked with finding and bringing down. Intercepting a cell phone signal, Gary is able to track down a Red Flag operative named Milos Kosar. With the untimely demise of Agent Wilson, the team now has a new handler in the form of Agent Kathy Sullivan (played by Valerie Cruz of ‘The Dresden Files’). She seems to treat Rosen and his team with a bit more respect than Wilson typically would, and she brings them in on a raid on Kosar.
In the raid, we discover Kosar’s Alpha ability: he is a walking EMP. As has been the case throughout this series thus far, the abilities haven’t really been too terribly original or innovative. Gary’s ability has been a standout as the most unique and interesting. That changed, however, with the introduction of Anna, a girl left behind by Kosar. Her ability is probably one of the most unique I’ve seen in a long time. She can understand and translate any language that comes across her path. The trade-off is that she is unable to verbally communicate herself. Instead, she uses a very intricate and subtle form of rhythmic pounding to communicate. Using a specialized program, Gary is able to translate what she says, and also discovers that Red Flag has been encrypting their own communications using Anna’s special language.
Working with Anna, Gary is able to decrypt the Red Flag communiqués and give the team the information they need to take down Kosar and his next target. That alone would have been enough to make this a good episode, since we see Gary developing a quick and close friendship with Anna. But they manage to throw a good twist in there by revealing that Anna is actually one of the heads of Red Flag, and that she has been deliberately feeding Gary false information to throw the team off of Kosar’s trail.
Hoping to capitalize on their new friendship, Anna tries to bring Gary over to her side by showing him that their target is a research facility developing a new kind of drug that is supposed to prevent brain defects in fetuses, but also has the side effect of rendering the Alpha genes ineffective, thus keeping more Alphas from being born. In the end, despite the promise of being treated as an independent equal with Red Flag, Gary stays loyal to Rosen and sends him the real information about the attack. Anna retaliates by flooding Gary’s brain with information from the internet. As far as superpower battles go, this one was probably the most intriguing I’ve seen in a long time. In the flood, Gary learns that Red Flag is much larger than anybody on the team could have suspected.
This is slowly shaping up to have some real X-Men style moral ambiguity. Which side is truly doing the right thing? Is it better to be a part of society or to transcend it? The line from the ghost in the pilot episode saying “You’re on the wrong side of this” has a lot more meaning now. It is possible that Rosen, despite having only the best of intentions, may be doing the wrong thing.
While I have been somewhat ambivalent about ‘Alphas’ thus far, this week’s episode really turned things around for me. It’s starting to come into its potential, but something really needs to be done to make Nina, Rachel and Bill more interesting. Here’s hoping that will still happen as the show progresses.