This week, the team tries to cope with losing one of their own.
‘Life After Death’ is a deliberately slow, contemplative episode, following last week’s heart-wrenching conclusion, in which the team tries to cope with the aftermath of Dani’s death. As opposed to most episodes of ‘Alphas’, there’s very little action and little of the Stanton Parrish story to be found, and the case of the week is pretty low-key. There are some who might find ‘Life and Death’ boring, but I thought it filled in a lot of necessary character moments, and kept ‘Alphas’ in line with being a character-driven drama, as opposed to just a super-powered procedural.
The actual ‘plot’ of this week’s episode comes when a woman leaves a baby with Gary in the lobby of their offices, telling him that he has to look out for the baby, because he’s special. While trying to track down this woman, named Magda, Gary and the baby boy, named Adam, start to bond, to the point where he won’t let anyone else try to take care of him. And, I mean, Gary hanging out with a baby, while comedic and touching, isn’t exactly moving the tectonics of the entire show. But, as the title of this episode infers, life does have to go on and it was nice to see the team working to protect the teeniest members of the Alpha world. (The baby is mad cute, too.) When Adam’s parents show up to claim their son, Gary refuses to turn him over, suspecting that they’re not who they appear to be, even after Bill and Nina check out their records. Gary soon finds that aside from driver’s licenses and birth certificates, they have no record of existing. The two “parents”, both Alphas, violently try to take Adam from the team but are subdued and arrested. It turns out that Adam was grown in a lab, to give him Alpha powers that could be controlled by scientists. Adam’s power is the manipulation of a certain hormone that makes parents naturally more protective of their children. Is it a lame slightly too metaphorical power? A little bit, but Rosen’s explanation of it is sweet, short and poignant. Until a proper home can be found for Adam, Bill and his wife decide to take him in.
But structuring this entire episode is two men, Dr. Rosen and Hicks, dealing with Dani’s death. We watch Dr. Rosen being debriefed by Clay, who asks him in the first few minutes of the episode whom he views responsible for his daughter’s death. It’s a question he can’t answer right away – obviously, he sees Parrish responsible for causing his daughter harm, but of course, there’s deep, lingering guilt that he could have done more to help and protect her. The scenes with Dr. Rosen simply going through her things at her apartment are subtle enough without being maudlin. There’s no question that David Strathairn can sell whatever emotion this show throws at him, and there doesn’t need to be any monologues or going-for-the-Emmy crying to let you feel the depths of his sorrow over this whole painful ordeal. In the end, Hicks and Jon agree that while they have to let Clay and his department handle more of the Parrish case, now that it involves more and more domestic terrorism, they both want vengeance against him.
The third plot here is that Rachel and Jon want to have sex, what with everyone feeling so emotionally fragile. They give it a go, and Rachel kind of tunes out the first time, unable to connect on a sensual level. Jon is also having issues, refusing to take his shirt off and reveal his burn scars. He tells her that his wife had tried to help him during his recovery and couldn’t quite “stomach it”, and ended up leaving him. In the middle of their half-disrobed confession, Rachel’s dad walks in, and sets his eyes on her blonde-haired blue-eyed boyfriend for the first time. It’s a ridiculously awkward moment, and Rachel ducks into her bedroom, leaving Jon in his underwear to give a curt “sir.” But thankfully, Rachel’s dad, aside from being weirded out, simply tells his daughter that he’ll be back later – in exactly two hours, to be precise. With their issues out of the way, Rachel gets right down to business, pushing Jon onto the bed. These crazy kids, I tell you.
So maybe not an earth-shattering, exciting episode they could have done, but it felt more like a long exhale, a little more gentle than I’ve come to expect from ‘Alphas.’
- Is the Bill household gonna adopt Adam? His wife is already expecting but they both seem pretty smitten with the little guy.
- I’m torn between Kat being absent as disappointing or appropriate. Either way, I’m hoping she’s back next week, with her new exciting FBI training?
- The closeups of the coffins as Rosen tried futile to choose a “perfect” one was particularly painful.
- Not gonna lie, Rachel’s dad being so flustered but not disapproving of his daughter’s relationship was nice to see, a fair change of pace from the stern, repressive Muslin father we’ve seen on TV. It was cute, but not too cute.
Did you miss an episode? Check out our recap of last week’s ‘The Devil Will Drag You Under‘.