This week, Hicks goes turncoat to try and rescue Dani after she’s apparently turned back over to Stanton Parrish.
‘Alphas’ is quickly becoming one of those shows that doesn’t get enough credit for it’s more than decent storytelling. This could be because its not on a major network, so its complexities go mostly unnoticed. It could be because since the end of Battlestar Galactica, Syfy has struggled to find its place in the scripted TV world, and now that they have a lineup of decent programming like ‘Alphas’, along with ‘Warehouse 13’, ‘Haven’ and so on, no one’s taking as much notice as they should. And maybe, of course, people still can’t take a “superhero” show as a piece of serious television. But ‘Alphas’ isn’t as flashy as, say, shows like ‘Lost’ or ‘Battlestar Galactica’, but it is narratively reliable, telling a relatively straightforward story with some degree of panache and pinning it to an emotional undercurrent. ‘Alphas’ isn’t mysterious, but even better, it’s relatable.
‘Alphas’ could create a much bigger mythos surrounding the Parrish movement, or the wider Alphas universe, but instead, by relying on the familiar framework of a case-of-the-week crime procedural, it allows the drive of that plot to simmer underneath while also giving the characters tangible short term goals- they have jobs to do, as opposed to just running around trying to unravel mysteries. And thus, the world of ‘Alphas’ feels wonderfully organic, and why, when things happen to the characters, they really seem to matter. Such is the case with this week’s episode, which starts out with somewhat of a mystery: Dani is being released to try and figure out secrets about Stanton Parrish. Seems like the worst idea, really, considering that just last week, she was doing the same undercover work on the Alphas team. Hicks is displeased, because turning Dani back over to Parrish will probably just mean more harm will come to her, despite Rosen’s reasoning that it was better than having her rot in Building 7 at Binghamton. The rest of the team is equally miffed about being left out of the loop, mostly Bill, and Rachel tries to hold everyone together while Nina tries to reassure Hicks that everything will be fine.
The Case/Stanton Parris Problem of the Week™ are these grenades that turn electrical current into a deadly chain reaction, capable of killing anyone within their radius. Bill and Nina go to intercept one of Parrish’s teams, and find that (gasp) Hicks is working with them. One of the grenades goes off, and Bill and Nina are unable to stop them from getting away with a large shipment of the grenades, and now, if Parrish can hook them into, say, the grid of a subway system or any other large electrical conduit, thousands of people could die. Meanwhile, Hicks has to undergo a few difficulties to prove to Parrish that he’s trustworthy- namely, have his mind read by an Alpha named Agnes (BSG’s Kandyse McClure), who “rips” people’s mind open with just the touch of her hands. Hicks guesses that she can’t turn it off, as she has to wear gloves all the time. “I hurt everyone I touch.” Seems to be a running theme with most of our characters. She notes cryptically that she knows she’ll be seeing Dani again soon. Parrish doesn’t seem too keen on trusting her, knowing that she’s probably working for her father. But nevertheless, he reveals his plan to her: humanity is a burden to the planet, and Parrish has no problem taking it out one bloody chunk at a time. “Make a choice. Ashes or paradise.”
There’s a bit of team messiness when Bill figures out that Nina pushed him into letting Hicks go, thinking it might have been from their past relationship but Rosen quickly reveals that Hicks going rogue was planned. He’s right where they need him. Nina pushed Hicks into ‘saving Dani, no matter what it takes’ and provided him with some mental firewalls that even Agnes couldn’t penetrate at first. When they realize that Hicks isn’t on their side, a fight ensues and one of Parrish’s Alphas almost convinces Hicks to shoot himself before the team comes to the rescue. There’s one amazing chase scene on a motorcycle as Hicks and Dani try to chase after the van holding all of the grenades. Meanwhile, Parrish sets sights on his target- a power source that could send his deadly chain reaction throughout most of Manhattan, killing millions.
Dani and Hicks manage to stop the van from getting any further before realizing that the van is wired like an IED, and that the site where it was stopped is the detonation site. The team sends out the bomb squad and rushes to their location, having to deal with New York City traffic, while Gary works on rerouting the bomb’s power. Meanwhile, Dani uses Agnes’ phone to try and buy them some time and reason with Parrish. “I’m standing on your bomb.” she tells him, pleading, saying that if he ever cared about her at all, he’ll call this off and think about a way of fixing the world that doesn’t involve genocide. The team pulls up in the van, Dr. Rose included. “I’m so proud of you.” Parrish says, “You’ll be remembered always.” Before anything else can be done, the bomb goes off with Dani directly in the blast radius. Gary is able to reroute the power, saving millions of people. However, despite best efforts, including Nina trying to push Dani to stay alive, she dies in her father’s arms seconds before the bomb squad arrives.
Ouch. So,even from the beginning of this episode, Dani’s death felt a little inevitable, but that doesn’t mean that the episode didn’t find a way to make it matter. Dani could have been a much more arch character – Dr. Rosen’s problem child, using her relationship with Hicks to exploit the Alphas, but they blurred those lines and softened those connections to make it clear that Dani was foremost and always someone who was loved, someone’s child, someone’s lover, and thus, she mattered. Her presence felt natural, and Rosen and Hicks’ devastation over her loss is warranted. No one on the team ever came close to suggesting, other than Gary, that Dani is a problem who clouds people’s judgments. Because these are people with wives and kids and boyfriends, and they understand how messy it is to love people, but that doesn’t mean, like in the brief fights early in the episode, that they can’t not do their jobs.
- I liked how Agnes’ glimpses of Hicks and Dani’s relationship was them just lounging around the apartment, being a normal happy couple. Everyone wants a grand, romantic love, but for people like the Alphas, normalcy may be the most cherished thing.
- A welcome bit of comic relief: Gary searching for a person to celebrate saving New York with. Also, Bill forgoing spoons when Gary offers him an extra pudding.
- My favorite Alpha on this show usually wavers from week to week but Nina is definitely starting to grow on me. Her sense of empathy is kind of stunning.
- Agnes’ goth queen outfit when she interrogates Hicks is stunning, especially the sleeves that unzip and the corset/belt-buckle. I really dig Parrish’s somewhat Victorian setup out in Jersey. He’s a very elegant villain.
Did you miss an episode? Check out our recap of last week’s ‘Falling‘.