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‘Alphas’ – The Quick And The Dead

Superspeed is not all fun and games


This review may contain spoilers.

“The Quick And The Dead” is an uneven episode that sets many plates spinning, most of which are pretty wobbly.

Eli Aquino (C. Thomas Howell) is a petty thief, Building 7 escapee and a super speedster. We are given some folderol about the part of his brain that governs circadian rhythms being different. It allows him super speed, but also ages him prematurely. He is 22 but looks 45. His internal clock is moving faster and faster, which means that he is accelerating towards death. Understandably, this upsets him.

When he was young, he went to a clinic that specialized in hyperactivity. Turns out the clinic was run by Stanton Parish (John Pyper-Ferguson), and it ran illegal human experiments that deliberately exacerbated Eli’s troubles. Eli kidnaps that doctor most directly responsible, Dr. Jay Westman (Brian Kaulback), and when Westman does not recognize the white haired man before him as the youth he once treated, Eli kills the uncaring bastard.

When the next target, Dr. Lance Casey (Phillip Jarrett), is kidnapped, our alphas manage to rescue him, although Eli slips away. Casey did not recognize Eli either and was about to suffer the same fate as Westman. Casey was proud of what they accomplished at the clinic and perhaps didn’t think Lee (David Strathairn) had enough depth of knowledge in Casey’s field to know that what he did was highly illegal and immoral. Bill (Malik Yoba) wants to put him in jail, but Lee wants to use him as bait for Eli.

Eli comes for Lee, however. He wants Lee’s help to slow him down. Lee tries, but everything takes time and Eli loses patience. They end up in a confrontation in a church with all our alphas, a full tactical team and Dani (Kathleen Monroe), who defuses Eli with her powers. An unseen, unnamed someone snipers Eli.

POINTS OF INTEREST
1. Cameron (Warren Christie) is in love with Dani, Lee’s daughter, and by the end of the episode everyone knows that they are lovers, thanks to Gary (Ryan Cartwright).

2. The episode begins with the office crowded with other people that Clay (Mahershala Ali) characterizes as analysts and support personnel and Lee considers to be government minders and monitors. They are causing trouble with Gary’s delicate balance and just generally annoying the rest. By the end of the episode, Lee has finessed the situation so that they occupy a different floor in the same building than our core group.

3. Lee was thoroughly enraged by Eli’s unnecessary termination, especially since he had given his word to do all he could to help the boy. He blames Clay and his ilk, but completely masks this emotion as he applies a political solution to the overcrowding problem.

4. The train that Parish blew up mostly contained simple power company infrastructure supplies like wood for power poles and wire.

5. Parish and Dani seem to have a closer emotional relationship than Dani and Lee. Parish knows every detail of Dani’s emotional life and has the power to simply imply that she needs to cut off her lover (Cameron) and she does it. She wants him back, however, and when she meekly asks permission, Parish grants it.

6. Parish had 32 grandchildren, all of whom are dead by the end of the episode since he killed the last one personally. Admittedly, she was on her deathbed, so the killing seemed kind of unnecessary. Considering her age, however, unless he was doing something to prevent their viability, he must have numerous great-great-great(+great?) grandchildren as well.

7. Parish has been experimenting on alpha children for a long time. For a particular nefarious purpose or because he’s studying them and doesn’t care if he harms them in the process? Time should tell.

WHAT WORKED
Nina’s rampant and egregious abuses of her power are no longer just affecting the strangers she meets and force to enrich her life. She is now attacking her nearest and dearest, including Cameron and Lee, this episode.

Lee’s callous willingness to endanger Dr. Casey for unknown gain compared to his honest desire to help Eli even at risk to his own person bespeaks a complex personality. That or it points to a certain prejudicial evaluation of the worth of alpha versus baseline human life on Lee’s part. Either way, interesting.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK
The oh-so convenient way that the plot addresses Eli’s spoor is annoying. Most of the time, he leaves no turbulent wind trail, except when he’s in the office and Rachel doesn’t notice. This is particularly offensive as earlier in the episode Rachel had been tracking Eli by scent and you’d think a face full of Eli-generated wind would be hard to miss.

Bill and Lee have a weirdly childish spat this episode that starts with Bill making Lee demand to be included and middles with Lee saying, “If you feel that way, then leave.” In the end, Lee says he did what Bill claims he did and apologizes. Who knows if he is sincere or just applying lubrication to the squeaky spot.

Parish’s signature is that “he has no signature.” Did you roll your eyes too?

GIVING CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
“Alphas” stars C. Thomas Howell, David Strathairn, Azita Ghanizada, Warren Christie, Laura Mennell, Malik Yoba, Ryan Cartwright, Kathleen Monroe, John Pyper-Ferguson, Mahershala Ali, Phillip Jarrett. “The Quick and the Dead” was written by Michael Nankin and was directed by Machael Karnow.

“Alphas” airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on Syfy.

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Could they be a gh...gh...gh...ghost? Rut-ro! Shaggy
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