The team started off this week’s episode of Alphas, “If Memory Serves,” with a door-busting, room-raiding, montage of their Alpha arrests. The sensitive handling of Alphas that Rosen advocated in season one was a distant memory as Rosen’s gang teamed up with Clay’s government thugs to aggressively take down Parish’s network.
It was an impressive, action packed opening that eventually led into a handful of other story threads, the most significant being Hicks and Kat’s secret assignment to investigate a farmhouse belonging to Stanton Parish. What they found there was a man named Mitchell, who had an Alpha ability that seemed to allow him to download and upload memories through touch.
I enjoyed Sean Astin in the role of Mitchell, and I particularly enjoyed his scenes with Kat, but if you’ve read any of my other Alphas reviews this season, you probably already know my what my beef is with Mitchell’s character. What medical anomaly is this Alpha ability based off of? Kat tried to explain it with a theory about an affected hippocampus (which, was also strange, because she can’t remember Total Recall or the Terminator, but she was able to remember bizarre traits of the hippocampus? Had she been studying the limbic system in the last 30 days? I thought she was at FBI camp…) but Mitchell’s condition was more than an incredible memory. He was able to transfer more than feelings, he was able to transfer the visual and auditory properties of memories to another person. The original concept that Alphas was a show about normal humans suffering from the extreme side effects of actual medical conditions seems to be stretched thinner every week.
The same goes for “The Caretaker” who was similar to Stanton Parish in that his bones could repair themselves a few moments after breaking. Kat linked this Alpha ability to osteopetrosis somehow, and figured out that this was the reason this Alpha was chugging down milk. That might account for his bones repairing, but what about all the nerves in his neck that would also have to repair themselves? He’d have no broken bones, but he should still be somewhat immobilized or paralyzed from all the nerve damage.
When Kat comes up with a plan to take out The Caretaker and save Hicks, it involves using a semi to push The Caretaker into a lake where she theorizes he’ll drown from the weight of his bone mass. She’s lucky he decided to just stand there and point his little gun at the truck instead of running to the right or left to get out of the way, because otherwise, her plan would have completely failed. She also might know all about osteopetrosis and the hippocampus, but she doesn’t know the first thing you learn about hostage exchanges from watching TV – the hostage is always in the trunk of the car.
Even putting all that aside, the next question is, why wouldn’t The Caretaker just walk out of the lake? It surely couldn’t have been the first time he’s been pushed into a pool or lake in his entire life. He wasn’t pushed very far in the first place and with the benefit of his weight, he should have been able to just walk along the lake floor and right up to shore. If you’ve done water aerobics, you know what I’m talking about. It was these kinds of little logic loopholes that irked me all over the place in this story line.
Besides Kat and Hick’s investigation, there was a whole lot of other stuff going on in this episode. Rosen, Bill, and Rachel worked on an investigation into a shipment from China being delivered to Stanton Parish; Nina had a run in with Senator Burton about being pushed; Kat discovered that the mysterious woman in her memories was from a commercial; Bill revealed he was exhausted from having a baby at home; and Gary’s mother was in a car accident.
Although Gary’s story line didn’t seem very significant in the context of the greater Alphas season arc, his was perhaps the most well done. This simple, moving story of his mother suffering from multiple strokes showed us a side of Gary that we often forget when we see him working with the Alphas team. We saw his truly vulnerable side, the side of him that wanted to care for his mother, and the side of him that knew something was wrong but was unable to really grasp how serious her condition was. With Rosen and the rest of the Alphas team preoccupied with their own problems, who will be there for Gary if his mother passes away?
This episode of Alphas was genuinely entertaining and it seems like things are really speeding up towards the final showdown. Still, I can’t help but feel like I’m constantly having to expand my boundaries in terms of suspension of belief so that I can enjoy the growing Alphas universe. What was once a show that was just barely outside the realm of reality is seeming more and more like superhero super fiction and I’m realizing that I’ve either got to get on board or move on because Alphas isn’t showing signs of turning back.