Alphas – Catch and Release
Many a geek has had many a dream that very closely resembles the above image (If I have to explain why, then A) You’re not a geek and B) You’re not Male) but to be honest, despite starring much loved Sci-Fi staple Summer Glau this latest episode of Alphas was less than a dream come true (Unless you’re Zac Penn or that cylinder, in which case it probably was).
Despite being the star attraction Summers role was largely lackluster: sure she nailed the cool lines, coldness and badassery required of one of her characters but her storyline was simply too shallow and too scattered for any of us to care. She was another loose Alpha, another loose thread from the groups past that they had to restrain, but in a nicer way than those darn suits; given that this trail has already become such a tried and true formula for the show it is unforgivable that they are still only able to execute it this loosely: the power descriptions, the character intros and the action should all be much tighter than this if they are only to be constrained by this simple, scanty plot.
The secondary storyline involved Gary, again and as much as I do like what Cunningham is doing in the role I have to wonder about his status on the show. Is he supposed to be our protagonist? Our entry point? If that is the case then I have no real problem with it – besides clarity I mean if I have to ask then there is a problem there – but given that Alphas started off as an ensemble show and how it really won me over with those sparking early moments of character interaction I do have to question whether giving him the focus every week is such a good idea given that it will always be at the expense of another cast member. Then again, maybe he is simply the only one able to carry such a strong load; after all, do I really want more time spent on the inter-office romance?
So overall the episode was very stale, very seen it all before – I mean, what kind of power is ‘Inventing’? Show some creativity here people – and worst of all very seen it better and for a while there it had me questioning just why I’ve been writing this show up every week, but then came the ending. The third act started off much as every other Alphas ending does, with the climactic action sequence and this one seemed like nothing special at the time, but then they hit you with that twist – which is admittedly not so genius on its own, but here in a ‘Phones off, Minds off’ kind of show even the smallest turn can be classed as such – and it all comes together into something much more: it tied together all of the little wandering conversations and sub-plots that existed underneath the sub-par main plot into an cohesive, emotionally satisfying statement and this really saved the episode to my mind.
So I guess the moral of this week’s episode is to have a little faith; have a little faith in the Alphas, in our own Dr.Rosen, in Zac and the other show-runners and most of all in Summer Glau’s hit rate for the genre, she doesn’t do duds (which unfourtunately rules out all of those who had the aforementioned dreams. Entendre!) . So whenever the show seems to released its grip on you, hold out because its grasp will soon tide back in and further still with each sweep. There is such potential here and each week the writers both exceed and mangle my expectations of their achieving it and this is fine for a first season, they’ve got to try everything out but they need to start showing us soon that they are learning from these mistakes and that we aren’t doomed to simply see them repeated week after week after week. Our faith in them need be reciprocated.