Alphas Review: "Falling"
“The episode attempts to really explore the relationship between parent and child.”
In “Falling” Kat gets her first foray into field work, and Dr. Rosen must confront the unthinkable. Five episodes are left in season two of Alphas and the team and their government handlers are all that can contain the ever-growing Alpha insurgency led by Stanton Parish.
The beginning of our cold open a new drug has hit the streets. While not a complete invincibility pill, within the scope of its effect we can infer it is somehow a chemical byproduct of an alpha ability. In the very strange scene following, we see Dr. Rosen over at NSA Agent Clay’s home around breakfast hours. This stuck me as uncharacteristic. This season, since Dr. Rosen’s release from government detention, the team has been able to run rather autonomously under Dr. Rosen’s supervision. Clay has barely been present in the past few episodes. For character reasons, we are left to assume he was simply keeping his distance. While Clay has gone to bat for Rosen and helped him into this work release he is in now, they have never been friends. To drop in and be offered eggs and smiles simply didn’t make sense for either of them. Thematically, it was an attempt on the writers part to tie both characters together as parents. The episode attempts to really explore the relationship between parents and children. The intensity must ramp up for what happens between Rosen and his daughter, Dani. From a character standpoint, I don’t see Clay as a guy who would give out his home address to any member of the Alpha team.
So, firmly established in our very long cold open our “A” story of the mysterious new alpha based drug and our “B” story of Dr. Rosen trying to come to grips with his daughters betrayal and his next move. When Bill brings up the drug to Rosen, he dismisses it by leaving it in Bill’s hands entirely. While being in charge is something Bill relishes, he doesn’t understand Dr. Rosen’s apathy. Clearly, Dr. Rosen has checked out of any case that isn’t directly related to Stanton Parish. The Kat-Bill-Gary dynamic of this episode was an interesting and fun one. To the two of them, Bill is an authority figure akin to a father. Kat and Gary both scrap for attention, approval, and praise. Gary doesn’t like the perceived encroaching of what he feels is his zone. Kat has also taken the place of Rachel as Bill’s verbal sparring partner.
Dani’s betrayal is very clearly eating Dr. Rosen alive. While most of my Alphas reviews contain character and story centric comments, I feel the need to mention the acting of David Strathairn. There is a reason he is at the helm of this show, and his performance in this episode in both engrossing and heart-breaking. Even when he isn’t speaking you can see the depth of what he is dealing with on his face. The “C” story crammed in was by far the least interesting part of the episode. Certain things need to happen to show character growth. This episode we finally see a weekend of Hicks having custody of his son. We also see the growing pains of Rachel’s new relationship and the prospect of him meeting her parents. Both of these were good for the characters emotional development but felt shoehorned into the episode. Were their personal lives so overwrought and complicated that they couldn’t help with the “Jump” case at all? Perhaps the most underutilized this episode was Nina. She stood in as Rachel’s relationship sounding board and was there to meet with Dr. Rosen when he asked her for an unsanctioned abuse of her ability. In both instances she was eager to help, anxious to stay in everyone’s good graces.
“Whether Hicks’ son is an alpha or not is left open-ended. One thing we do learn though is Dani Rosen could make the world’s greatest therapist or negotiator using her ability as an emotional medium between two people.”
Kat really gets a chance to shine this episode. She wants to prove herself as a valuable asset and earn a full spot on the team. She dives headlong into the dangerous situation with the obvious blind spot that her ability gives her. This is also selfish on her part, as she is desperate to learn anything she can about her past. It’s pretty clear whoever the guy dealing the super powered drug is bad news. You don’t need a spider sense to tell you this guy is a creep. Apparently, she lacks common sense her as well and not only trusts him based on slight knowledge of a past encounter but very quickly ingests this new street drug. Kat needs to know who she really is and she feels connected to this guy simply because he remembers her. Though she puts herself at risk over and over she does get the goods for the team. This is the first episode since Alpha Fight Club that we got to really see Kat in action, so she was due for some serious story time. However, Nina could have gone in with her at the initial meeting and gotten all the answers they needed much quicker. For the longer story run around, we get to see Kat be the serious bad-ass her ability allows her to. After being sucker punched, she parkours after the dealers get away vehicle. Photo imitating moves from some of the greatest action movies, she pounces on the car, pulls him out of the driver’s seat and goes full-on ultimate fighter on him. With the righteous fury and indignation and the declarative “never touch me again,” it’s fair to speculate this happened before. Maybe when her memory reset, this is why she gravitated towards a place to acquire more serious fighting skills.
Whether Hicks’ son is an alpha or not is left open-ended. One thing we do learn though is Dani Rosen could make the world’s greatest therapist or negotiator using her ability as an emotional medium between two people. Meanwhile, Dr. Rosen still can’t come to grips with his daughter’s betrayal. They really try to hammer home the father and child theme towards the end between Clay and Rosen. Despite them being so chummy, Rosen clearly still doesn’t trust him. He knows Clay would throw her in Binghamton. Dr. Rosen would do anything to save his daughter, but by the end realizes that she’s made her own choices and he can’t save her. He comes to terms with what he must do and turns her in himself. The final scene of Dani in custody with Dr. Rosen is heartbreaking. Dr. Rosen speaks of this as an opportunity but can’t come up with anything to support what he says, nearly in tears. I think Dani’s love for Hicks will end up saving her, keeping her out of long-term custody and using her for information or perhaps as a double agent.
For more on Alphas, or to catch up on episodes, check out Syfy’s website.
Geek Smash Rating: 82/100 – Strong performances, good character development, real consequences.