‘Alphas’ Review: ‘If Memory Serves’
Two episodes of Alphas remain this season. The team finally goes on the offensive in their mission to bring Stanton Parish to justice.
Kat is back from her FBI training camp, and this episode starts with a bang. We jump right into a raid sequence with the three hardest hitting Alphas: Bill (muscle), Hicks (sharp shooter), and Kat (multi-skill) leading the NSA strike force. The team has taken to the streets, doing lightning raids on any Red Flag whereabouts, and bringing in any known collaborators for questioning. Nina makes the greatest interrogator. With her there is no need for torture or threats, Nina just has to push the suspects for the information they need. The problem the team faces early on is too many leads and not enough resources. The Red Flag organization is a wide-reaching web. No one person or place is going to contain all the information they are seeking. With the avalanche of information the team acquires, it’s easy for Hicks and Dr. Rosen to stay one step ahead of Clay and his team. Rosen openly admits to not trusting Clay, and both he and Hicks are still out for revenge.
The Senator that Dr. Rosen and Nina manipulated to do their bidding finally catches up with them this episode. Though she doesn’t remember them specifically, she now knows about Alphas, and how one manipulated her. Her brief contact with Nina is enough to rekindle the memories of being pushed. Using her position to get a place on the NSA Alpha squad, she also tries to extort Dr. Rosen and his team. The Senator said of Parish that, “Everyone has an Achilles heel.” With his daughter dead, Dr. Rosen doesn’t have any weakness remaining. He is a man singularly driven by vengeance. He rebukes the senators threats with revelations of his own; knowledge of illegal campaign contributions from one of Parish’s shell companies. Rosen follows this with a threat of his own. He and his team are dangerous, and not to be trifled with.
“Guest star Sean Astin finally pops up this episode as Mitchell, an alpha who can show a person every detail of any particular memory they have, at the cost of his own short and long-term memory.”
Kat is constantly recording her video log and I can’t help but wonder when her memory will reboot. Will she wander off at the end of the season? The Kat and Hicks team up this episode worked very well. Hicks is fueled by rage since Dani’s death, which is a good contrast with Kat’s less than serious personality. It was also extremely amusing that movie references don’t work for Kat. Guest star Sean Astin finally pops up this episode as Mitchell, an alpha who can show a person every detail of any particular memory they have, at the cost of his own short and long-term memory. Thanks to Kat’s quick thinking, she’s able to defeat Mitchell’s caretaker, an Alpha who can heal from any bone breaking injury (even a fatal one). This episode also forces Kat to examine the true cost of her ability. With Mitchell’s help, she sees that the only memory she has in her head is a glass cleaner commercial. This, coupled with the extreme guilt she feels in the (self-defense) killing of the caretaker, causes her to have a small breakdown. With her ability, it’d be easy to slide into the life of an amoral contract killer. It’s clear she values her humanity and doesn’t want that for herself.
Bill, Rachel, and Gary spend the episode tracking s shipping container full of parts intended to build Skyler’s amplified version of the photic stimulator. Parish’s key to winning is seemingly to increase the spower of the Alphas under his banner. Even with the lead time of Gary gaining the manifest and Rachel translating it, the container with the parts has already been cleaned out. Red Flag remains a step ahead, but not for long. With the capture of Mitchell, Dr. Rosen is able to learn some of Stanton Parish’s closest kept secrets. Rosen learns that Parish isn’t an emotionless monster or killing machine. There is a chilling reversal of roles here when Dr. Rosen realizes they are dealing with someone who is emotionally vulnerable, and moves to exploit that vulnerability. Mitchell gets remanded to Binghampton for a brain chipping, with Rosen and Hicks taking a road trip back upstate to burn down Parish’s childhood home. By the end, it’s clear there is no line the two of them won’t cross for retribution of Dani’s death. The problem with fighting a monster is you have to become one to beat one. Dr. Rosen is slipping into the kind of violent behavior he decried at the end of season one. Instead of reluctantly tolerating the NSA hit squad, three of his top Alphas lead it. Instead of being sympathetic to the plight of the manipulated, he rolls them for information then tosses them into prison. In short, Dr. Rosen is allowing himself to become all the bad things the opposition always said he was.