This review may contain spoilers.
This plot-dense episode plants more seeds for later reaping and (maybe) solves one problem.
Jack Duffy, a Building 7 escapee, who can generate electricity from his bare hands, has been killed by someone who spits hydrochloric acid. Turns out he was a participant in an alpha fight club. Bill (Malik Yoba) goes undercover as a new fighter and encounters Kat (Erin Way), eventual new recruit to the team.
The fight club eventually leads to a facility where Parish (John Pyper-Ferguson) was performing some large scale human testing that involved carving holes into the skulls of alphas. How many Building 7 escapees can now be struck off the wanted list?
Speaking of Parish, Gary (Ryan Cartwright) has found one of Parish’s older pictures to be, officially, Maj. Jacob Dunham, who was treated by a Dr. Harrison (Patrick Garrow) at New York Hospital. Harrison was a field surgeon during the Civil War and Parish/Dunham was a soldier shot in the head. Harrison was there when Parish suddenly was not dead anymore. By mutual agreement, over the next two years, they performed experiments on Parish, testing his healing ability and such. A man of science, Harrison was going to a conference to give a sanitized lecture about (probably) the first alpha, but even without naming names Parish did not want this information to be revealed. When Harrison refused to not share this important knowledge with the world, Parish murdered him, his friend and collaborator.
Parish wants Lee (David Strathairn) to learn about him, which is why it was so easy to find the details. Which is why the information was not destroyed or moved before he ambled there. It is clear that Parish wants Lee, the premiere alpha scientist, to continue to learn all he can about alphas, which is why Parish does this weird coquettish dance. And it is clear that Parish has some question about alphas that he is killing many to try to answer. It is equally clear that Parish makes Lee’s skin crawl with revulsion.
At the end of the episode, Parish finds Lee in a diner and confirms that he was feeding his history to Lee. Parish believes that humans will inevitably work themselves into a pitchfork and torch wielding state, at which point they will need to be put down. Lee believes that harmony and working towards mutual benefit is possible. Kumbayah. All affability, Parish wanders off again.
POINTS OF INTEREST
1. Bill’s powers have already given him one heart attack. He’s still having problems, and the anti-stress pills he takes aren’t working. Then he meets mysterious alpha, Kat (Erin Way), who trains him to find a zen-type state where he can access his super strength without the hyperventilating and palpitations. So much for the adrenaline basis of his powers?
2. Sandra (Jane Moffatt) prepares Gary’s breakfast with near mathematical precision.
3. Lee is still carpooling in to the office with Rachel and Gary.
4. Rachel is feeling smothered by concerned parents but is reluctant to move out after the events of last year.
5. Kat can learn any physical skill just by watching it once. The downside to this power is her consciously accessible memory has a window of about one month. So, she can still walk, talk and be toilet trained, but she can’t remember her family or how she happened to hook up with the alpha fight club she works with. Kat is not only a fight trainer but a fighter herself. She defeats the new and improved Bill in short and efficient order. Kat’s powers are extremely similar to classic Captain America villain, Taskmaster.
6. Gary has added a new element to his morning routine: Every day, just before breakfast, he issues a series of blood curdling screams. He has done this since returning from Binghamton and, unsurprisingly, this concerns his mother, Sandra. He is screaming to express the emotions he feels over Anna’s death at government hands. His solution to the problem is to move out of his home into the office, but adding calling his mom to his schedule, right after the screaming.
7. After Kat fixes Bill, he is feeling so good he gets frisky with his wife, Jeannie (Rachael Crawford), in his office. One recalls that they had previously discussed children.
8. Bill has taken a proprietary interest in Kat. He feels that her memory issues make her vulnerable and a little child-like. He worries on her behalf.
9. We are introduced to John Bennett (Steve Byers), the new leader of the tactical team. When he is informed that Rachel (Azita Ghanizada) finds his cologne to be insufferable, he makes amends by buying a selection of unscented soaps and asking Rachel to pick one. John’s father and two sisters are in the military. At the moment, while there is no conflict, John is being very friendly and cooperative with our alphas and gallant to Rachel, a transparent match-up. Rachel actually invites John to dinner and he turns her down citing anti-fraternization of coworker rules.
10. Ivan Bazevich was a hydrochloric-acid-spitting alpha before Parish killed him.
11. Seen at the alpha fight club: a woman with extra stretchy arms, a man who can impair your vision, an athletic man who jumps around like Tigger. Also mentioned is an extra flexible alpha.
On his screaming, Gary says: “I don’t want to discuss it. I scream so we don’t have to discuss it.”
Lee quotes Sun Tzu to Cameron (Warren Christie), in really terrible Mandarin, about knowing your enemy. Ah, shades of “Firefly.”
Cameron comes to inform Lee about his relationship with Dani. Lee knows since Nina (Laura Mennell) told him. He makes a comment about Cameron being able to keep his job as long as he continues to make Dani happy, which neither seem certain is a joke or not.
Kat decides that our team are secret agent alphas and she wants in.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
Bill comes to the fight in office clothes, a dress shirt and pants. This is odd considering he does at least own clothes more appropriate to athletic activity since he trained in them.
At the end of the episode, Bill returns to the fight club despite the fact that he has no work reason to be there.
GIVING CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
“Alphas” stars Malik Yoba, Erin Way, David Strathairn, Ryan Cartwright, Azita Ghanizada, Steve Byers, John Pyper-Ferguson, Patrick Garrow, Jane Moffatt, Rachael Crawford, Warren Christie, Laura Mennell. “Alpha Dogs” was written by Eric Tuchman and was directed by Nick Copus.
“Alphas” airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on Syfy.