This review may contain spoilers
A young tween when she was first coming into her powers, Nina’s parents were about to get divorced. Nina (Laura Mennell) forced her father (Rod Wilson) to stay; although, she did not know exactly what she was doing at the time. So confused and addled by her coercion was he that he couldn’t even leave the house for work or errands. Nina tried to fix this, but he ended up killing himself.
Around this time, young Nina (Katie Douglas) met young Tommy (Rian Michaelsen), who was only peripherally involved in these events. The intensity and turmoil of this period in her life combined with the haze of memory has Nina remembering Tommy as her first love.
Nina is out of control; she is dangerously flailing in some desperate hope to find meaning in her life. She fixates on Tommy (Morgan Kelly) and found him a few days ago. She pushed his wife, Becky (Sarah Manninen), to believe him more trouble than he is worth and throw him out. She pushed Tommy to believe that he always loved Nina and should never have married Becky. She even pushes herself to believe Tommy is making her happy. It is telling that she needs to do this.
Random people she pushed for entertainment are being hurt in the process and found by the authorities. Our team is in a race with Clay (Mahershala Ali) to find Nina and stop this before Clay does, because he will arrest and chip her. This they do, but not before Nina pushes Rachel (Azita Ghanizada) to kiss her, Cameron (Warren Christie) to fight the others in her defense, and Lee (David Strathairn) to almost completely derail her pursuit.
In the end, Nina’s fantasy is exposed as construct that it is. She decides to end it all by jumping off a building and only Cameron and Bill (Malik Yoba) together manage to catch her.
Lee finagles events to keep Nina out of Building 7, much to Clay’s frustration. We leave her in the hospital under restraints and blindfolded except when Lee comes to give her therapy.
POINTS OF INTEREST
1. Nina’s powers are growing in strength and duration. We are reminded that there is a chemical blocker than can help her victims shake her control.
1. John (Steve Byers) was wounded in battle and his scars have left him shy. Unfortunately, Rachel recoils in horror — or something — when he shows her, but by the end of the episode they have tentatively agreed to begin dating.
1. Rachel discusses the John situation with Bill — an interesting choice of confidant.
1. Lee gives Kat (Erin Way) a smart phone to record her life, to help her remember it. She wanders in and out of events recording things from time to time.
1. Lee likes music, which he keeps in the form of vinyl records.
1. Gary (Ryan Cartwright) wants Nina arrested and put away because he wants to use her office as extra living space.
1. Nina forced a bank manager (Robert B. Kennedy) to rob his own bank, but he is stopped by a security guard (Sava Drayton). This is the event that tipped off the rest of trouble brewing.
1. Nina forces a luxury yacht steward to swim vast distances for condiments. He gets hypothermia and almost drowns before being rescued by the Coast Guard.
1. Gary’s morning scream is now a part of everyone’s routine. Early office goers don’t bat an eye at the sound.
1. Kat wonders at Nina’s checkered past and if she really wants to remember hers.
1. Bill shares the memory when he first met his wife. He posits that one good memory is worth all the bad ones.
1. Although he broke up with Nina over her use of mind control on him when they were dating, Cameron holds no new grudges for her new abuses of him. Indeed, he sympathizes with Nina’s past messing her up now.
Nina’s fantasies made manifest through the force of her will (and judicious use of her Alpha ability) hung together and was internally consistent.
That Lee’s stipulations for quietly hunting down escaped Alphas has allowed him to keep the obviously dangerous Nina out of Building 7 is gratifying.
That the uneasy relationship with Clay is now even less easy is just a bonus.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
The bank manager seeing the money as a fussy baby seemed very odd. In his mind, is Nina the money’s mother? Why did he need to get the baby out of the vault?
Rachel recoiling from John’s scars seemed odd. She has seen many odder and more horrific things in her job and taken them in stride. It seems like there should have been some other explanation for the reaction that was not explained on-camera to anyone.
Lee breaking Nina’s “spell” over Tommy by using his family, in particular his son, was a little trite.
GIVING CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
“Alphas” stars Laura Mennell, Morgan Kelly, Azita Ghanizada, David Strathairn, Katie Douglas, Rian Michaelsen, Warren Christie, Malik Yoba, Ryan Cartwright, Rod Wilson, Erin Way, Steve Byers, Sarah Manninen, Robert B. Kennedy, Sava Drayton. “When Push Comes to Shove” was written by Adam Levy and was directed by Omar Madha.
“Alphas” airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on Syfy.