ALPHAS “A Short Time In Paradise” Review

ALPHAS (SyFy) "A Short Time in Paradise" Episode 8 (1)

ALPHAS “A Short Time In Paradise” Season 1, Episode 8 – With the Alpha ability featured in this week’s episode of Alphas, it would have been very easy to accidentally let things slide into comical territory. Actually, when Hicks was first exposed to Jonas Englin’s ability, there was something funny about how cult crazy he had become and how completely his personality had changed. Fortunately, the levity was quickly replaced by the vacant stares of Jonas’ creepy followers and a great feeling of unease throughout the compound.

All doped out on Jonas’ extreme pineal gland stimulation, Nina and Hicks could not keep their hands off one another. As a result, there was quite a bit of hot and steamy Alphas action in the mansion. I was a little bit confused by Nina’s reaction to Hicks’ kissing her when he first walked into her place. She didn’t seem very phased by it but since their first incident had been branded a mistake, I would have expected her to react more adversely to that kind of a greeting. I couldn’t tell if that meant that their characters were casually hooking up off screen (which would make a kiss like that no big deal) or if there was something else going on.

Either way, after their non-stop love fest, they decided to shelve any feelings and pretend nothing happened so obviously whatever Nina and Hicks’ relationship is going to end up becoming, it’s not off to a healthy start.

By the time Dr. Rosen got on the scene, things were completely out of hand and the mansion had become a frightening den of lunatics and death. Dr. Rosen appeared calm and collected, but his voice trembled when spoke with Jonas as if he were diffusing a bomb knowing it was about to explode.

As Rosen discovered that he had no means to reach the outside world, there was a growing sensation of claustrophobia that added to the anxiety of watching him trapped in the mansion. You could tell that he was desperate to not only save the people who were afflicted by encephalitis lethargica, but to save Jonas as well.

Like many of the Alphas we’ve met before, Jonas’ Alpha ability wasn’t necessarily what made him dangerous. He was dangerous because of his warped world view and the control he wielded over his cult followers. Rosen, as usual, tried to reason with him.

The last scenes at the mansion struck an emotional chord with me and my heart broke for Rosen when he shot Jonas. That shot to his face was graphic and shocking, but it was a very illustrative depiction of reality. Rosen had picked up a weapon without reflecting on what it would mean if he actually had to use it. With his untrained hand, he pulled the trigger in a desperate attempt to save people’s lives and what may not have been intended as a fatal shot, became one.

Although it is difficult to imagine what else Rosen could have done to save the people in the compound at that moment, it doesn’t make it any less tragic for his character. Holding the gun in his trembling hands, Rosen was overcome by both shock and regret as he immediately realized that he had killed a human being. Despite his missteps with some of his previous Alpha patients, Dr. Rosen believed that he could help Alphas and save them from themselves, but after this, I imagine he will struggle to believe in his ideal self.

Away from the mansion, Rachel had a character building B-story. With Gary’s help, she was finally able to stand up to her father when it was important to her. Because she was able to use her synesthesia to detect signs of early throat cancer in her father, her family changed their view of her ability and now see it as a blessing. Now she’s the family’s miraculous cancer-sniffing-daughter, but it’s a status upgrade from her previous standing as the family pariah.

Although I started off a bit iffy about the religious cult premise, those last few scenes with Dr. Rosen really affected me. Strathairn is always a strong performer, but his performance in this episode was some of the best stuff I’ve seen on Alphas so far. Without saying a word, Dr. Rosen changed before our eyes and I’m not sure where that change will lead him. Who does Dr. Rosen turn to when he needs guidance out of his own darkness? Who can be Dr. Rosen’s “Dr. Rosen”?