Alphas – Blind Spot
Alphas is a show that I like and for fourty minutes every week (giving and takin a few clunky moments here and there) it is a show that I like watching. There has, however, always been a justification attached to that feeling – I like it but…, I like it because…, I like it despite… – but with Blind Spot I can happily say that for once the show was just good and feel confident about liking it for that reason alone.
This episode stood apart from the shows previous efforts almost instantly when it introduced itself to us in media res; throwing aside all the excess exposition and familiar tracking-the-new-fodder fare and jumped straight into what happens after the Alpha has been caught, which is honestly the much more interesting part. Skipping the banal plot work – the cold open establishing of the new power, the Alpha’s family life, the tipping point, etc., etc. – gave the episode more time for that trademark banter and this is really for the best.
That the writers then further decided to keep the captive and thus all the characters inside the office for the entire duration of the episode was another brilliant, ballsy move. Long time TV aficionado’s will know that Blind Spot is essentially just what the industry has termed a bottle episode – a entire story told on existing sets which can be shot very, very cheap, so as to save money for all those special effects and jet setting locales featured in the other episodes – but this never felt like a compromised episode, like something made for budgetary reasons, if anything it felt freer and more embracing of its entire vision than anything that had come before.
While there were still plenty of laughs to be had with the team and plenty of exciting action beats to keep you entertained this format also allowed the episode to go much deeper and darker than it had in the past. Admittedly none of this depth came in the form of character; the prisoner was kept entirely enigmatic through to the end of the episode and the inter-office romance story arc is still shallow and uninspired, but it was there in a vaguer sense. Similarly there was vague but ever-present sense of ominousness that permeated the episode’s events; it always felt like something big and dark was happening underfoot and this made even the smallest of scenes like Nina’s blood nose come across as really rather tense and powerful.
Did the final revelations live up to the hype? Was the mystery presence as powerful when unmasked? The captive’s identity as interesting when given? No, none of the above are true, but then those things never are; the question is always more intriguing than the answer. That said though there was still a lot to like in the answers given; for example the way that the two Alpha’s powers interacted was very interesting and thematically they made a great pairing, both being based around different approaches to vision as they were.
There’s nothing wrong with simply asking a good question though – LOST lived for years on this – because when they are done right, as they were here in Blind Spot, the tension and interest of a good mystery can be enough to capitalize potential. Since the start I’ve been looking at the little moments of greatness hidden in amongst the enjoyable mediocrity of this series and holding them tight as both a present shield and future seeds; both as evidence for why I am watching now and as hope that the show will soon become something that doesn’t need defending and Blind Spot is the first step towards that, the first big payout for our patience and a hopefully a sign of things to come (and given that the show was today renewed for a second season there is a good chance that we will get more and more of these payoffs).
P.S. Also, it may just be because I’ve been playing it a lot recently but this episode had a strong Human Revolution-esque vibe to me. Conspiratorial factions in conflict over the future improvement of the human race, strong men lifting vending machines, invisible spies, hacking camera’s and computers undetected. Could there be a connection here? Could our good doctor’s Alpha research lead to the first Aug’s? Probably not, but that would be cool, no?