This week, ‘Alphas’ serves up an chillingly original take on the haunted house.

The case of the week features one of Dr. Rosen’s former patients Adam, who is arrested after trying to “rescue” his dead sister from the morgue. Rather than just being a case of a mental break down, the hospital has been reporting strange activity- equipment malfunctioning, and people seeing things out of the corner of their eyes. And of course, when the team goes to investigate, they begin to hallicinate and face their worst fears.

“Gaslighting” is a term referring to a kind of psychological manipulation in which you make someone think they’re crazy in order to mae them do things they wouldn’t normally do, and also make them doubt their own sense of judgement. For awhile, the show really makes it seem as if the team is dealing with a ghost. In the first scene, we see Adam identifying his sister before walking away, and then watching as she calls out to him and twitches, before her body is locked in a morgue cabinet. And the Alphas team finds themselves having to confront their demons, as someone or something plays with their minds. Bill is forced to fight himself, Hicks had visions of his son in danger, and Rachel saw Nina dead at the bottom of a pool, which was a strong image, given their current relationship. Rachel refuses to talk to Nina. However, Dr. Rosen is actually finding some good ways of integrating Nina back into the team, including helping Kat retrieve some of her lost memories. She also goes to Washington to push a Senator into telling her what she knows about Stanton Parrish. Interestingly enough, her memories have been erased. I actually consider this a sign of good faith, shows have a way of pushing characters like Nina away in the immediate sense until they’re “better.”

Gary, who is actually integral in this episode, is actually somehow reunited with his dead friend Anna. Gary attends her tombstone unveling at the beginning of the episode, and it seems that, unlike Dr. Rosen’s theory, that the “ghosts” and messages in the hospital are from people who need help, it’s more that these are demons that the team needs to confront. Anna’s appearance to Gary isn’t frightening like the other visions, and when Dr. Rosen tells Gary that it’s finally time to let her go, it’s a well-earned emotional moment. For a show that could potentially be overburdened with it’s various rules and it’s tone, it doesn’t seem to struggle with creating good character material.

It turns out that the culprit is not supernatural, but rather, a comatose Alpha named Jason whose brain is emitting infrared sound waves, messing with the electricity, and specifically, since his active mind is trapped in his body, one specific signal – “Help Me.” Infrasound is scientifically known to create strange noises and images at certain levels, which is a pretty creative way to create a “ghost”, and the episode, while often feeling like a bad direct-to-dvd horror movie with all the greenish florescent lighting, did manage to keep the story moving and engage the audience in the mystery.

Stray thoughts:

  • Kat trying to sketch the woman in her repressed memory was particularly affecting. I hope they do good stuff with her.
  • There’s some interesting stuff involving Stanton Parrish. Apparently the devices manipulating the infrasound came from him, and now there’s talk of him creating his own army of Alphas using that kind of technology. Bad times.
  • Ryan Cartwright is so good as Gary. Continually amazed by her performances.

Did you miss an episode? Check out our recap of last week’s ‘When Push Comes To Shove‘.