Do we believe in superstition? Who out there refuses to walk under ladders, will not pick up facedown pennies, and throw salt over their shoulders when some is spilled? Does the sight of a black cat send you into a panic?
If so, then you are probably thinking that Gary Bell, (Ryan Cartwright), should never get behind the wheel of a car again. After all, even if an ‘excellent adventure’ came from his seemingly innocent act, there was of course the element of mortal danger that followed.
The sixth episode of Syfy’s breathlessly exciting Alphas held a few milestones within its hour time span. We finally discovered a few of the skeletons in the closets, allowed some things to happen that we have been waiting for, had some tension finally reach its breaking point, and even found time to address the ongoing and silent division beginning within the Alphas themselves, (more theory time)!
Let us take a look at our plot for the hilariously-titled and eagerly-awaited “Bill and Gary’s Excellent Adventure.” As you can expect: MAJOR SPOILERS TO FOLLOW!
In an effort to catch a fleeing man, (with a tablet similar to the one used by Red Flag in “Rosetta”), Rachel Pirzad, (Azita Ghanizada), is forced to leave Gary alone in a car. Gary, following her strict instructions to neither move nor speak to anyone, is soon arrested. As Bill Harken, (Malik Yoba), comes to bail him out, Gary reveals that he knows where a phone is that could contain the location to a kidnapped girl, Lisa Collier, (Melissa Hood). With the FBI on the case and Bill currently suspended, (likely expelled), Bill makes the decision to solve the case on his own, using Gary as his partner.
Meanwhile, Nina Theroux, (Laura Mennell), allows Cameron Hicks, (Warren Christie), a little more into her life when he catches her pushing a cop asking questions about the death of her ex-boyfriend. Bill and Gary spend the night working on the case, eventually revealing that Sarah Nelson, (Stargate Universe’s Alaina Huffman), the security for the kidnapped daughter of big-shot James Collier, (Sanctuary’s Peter Wingfield), is in on the plot.
A narrow save opens the door for Bill to re-enter the FBI, but Bill turns the chance down, electing to stay with the Alphas. Nina, as it turns out, did not kill her ex boyfriend, but the spark of lust between her and Cameron suggests that she might be in the market for a new one soon.
It’s official now: we’re moving into the revelatory episodes for each character. Two weeks ago, it was Gary. Last week, it was Rachel. This week, we got a peek into both the lives of muscleman Bill Harken, and aloof ice queen Nina Theroux.
Bill has changed from the pilot episode. His boundary issues seem to be improving, as have his anger issues, (though his tendency to externalize his internal monologue has not quite been subdued yet). He has gone from being a dangerous giant to a quiet cobra: he keeps himself under strict control, but once he loses it the consequences are dangerous. His Alpha ability is of no help to him in this matter: adrenaline causes a “high” that heightens the senses and sharpens the reflexes in preparation for fight or flight.
For a large man such as Bill with a history of this thready control, it comes as no surprise that we finally learn the reason for his brief suspension from the FBI. A simple disagreement with a fellow agent resulted in a broken clavicle when Bill lost control and shoved the man into a wall.
In my first review, I mentioned the difference between Bill as an Alpha and Bill as a husband, stating that he is calmer, more collected, and less stressed at home. (You might even say he is gentle). Home-Bill has begun to bleed over into Alpha-Bill, (thankfully not the other way around), becoming a little calmer in his interactions with people and steadier when confronted with deep emotional troubles. Bill and Gary have so far enjoyed sniping at each other whenever the chance arose, and for a bit it seemed that Gary could frustrate Bill enough to where he would leave the room.
Such is no longer the case; in this episode, we see that Bill actually cares for Gary a great deal. The question can always be risen: does Bill care for Gary as a person or because Gary is the only one who can help him solve the case and get his job back with the FBI. But given the actions of the episode, I think we are led to believe it is the former. Bill’s blunt attitude, rock-solid determination, and fatherly (protective) instincts come out in strong force around his more-fragile partner, (an interesting note: both Bill and Cameron have each done something to care for Gary; Bill with the driving, and Cameron with the baseball to the microwave tower). The affection between Bill and Gary is unspoken, but it is not unseen.
Bill also shows more remorse than he has in previous episodes. Even though he takes Gary’s arrest lightly and casually degrades Rachel and Doctor Lee Rosen, (David Strathairn), as ‘amateurs’, (a common nickname Bill has given the Alphas in general), he is apologetic and frank. Later on in the episode he also shows genuine shame as Rosen rips him a new one about landing himself and Gary in jail. With the help of these emotions, (and a bit of acting magic by Malik Yoba), Bill has become a more sympathetic character than just the muscle of the group.
The dynamic between Bill and Gary also got to take center stage this week. When put together, these two make a hilarious, if rough, duo. Both blunt, frank individuals, Bill is the doer while Gary is the pusher. Whether or not Gary holds back because he has been told to all his life, or because he is aware of his limitations, remains to be seen, but Bill offsets that with his own power and a little dose of impulse, (happily provided by the introduction of Cameron Hicks). The effects of Cameron’s impulsive nature and Gary’s unpredictability force Bill to step back from the plan occasionally, (or just rush in blindly because there is no other way to go). Unfortunately as we see, when Bill gets impulsive, bad things happen.
Despite that, and despite their still-fairly-constant sniping, (a memorable scene in a diner comes to mind here), the two work together well. Plus, (and finally), Gary gets a little bit of recognition within the Alphas through Bill. In many of the previous episodes, it has become quite clear that while the Alphas genuinely care about their transducer, they still do not take him seriously. Most things he says are dismissed or not given the full weight of their attention.
Gary has several times pointed out that “You need to work on your listening skills.” In this episode, Bill gave it right back to him, telling him he needs to listen to what people tell him to do. Gary takes no offense to this, but it seems rather hypocritical of Bill to say so – and Bill potentially recognizes this, as he makes a valiant effort to pay attention to Gary for the rest of the episode. He even points out that Gary is ‘on to something’ after Hicks attempts to dismiss one of Gary’s statements. As it turns out, each time Bill listens to Gary, Gary turns out to be right. Is the lesson learned? Will the Alphas start to take him more seriously? Or will they dismiss him again as just having a ‘lucky streak’?
Also featured in this week’s episode, (though admittedly to a smaller degree, perhaps she still has her own episode to shine), is the beautiful Nina. After five weeks of wondering, (and a few dropped hints), we finally get the full story on the skeleton she is been keeping in her closet. She is feeling guilty, thinking that she pushed an ex-boyfriend into committing suicide, and has been dodging the cops asking questions about it.
Nina is so certain that she is the actual cause of death that she has blinded herself to any other options, and so it comes as a surprise to her and the viewers that she actually had nothing to do with it. Now, as she has told Doctor Rosen that she was the cause of death, how will she deal with learning she was not? What will Rosen think?
Nina has always appeared as the untouchable beauty of the group. Sophisticated, aloof, and seductive, she does her job and seemingly only truly cares for Rachel, (her relationship with Rosen has taken a backseat since the pilot, and she acts strictly as a mother to Gary). In the pilot, there was a strange bond formed between herself and Cameron, and this week the bond finally sparked enough tension that the two gave into each other. Or would have given into each other had Rachel not walked in the door, (way to go).
Unfortunately for the smouldering pair, habit becomes stronger than passion, and both withdrew their actions for each other. Cameron took a step forward in the end by asking Nina to dinner ‘sometime.’ Nina agreed, hinting that the romance is not over. The ice queen and the lone wolf: now there is some potential there!
Cameron and Nina are the only two who have not really shown themselves to take a side in the growing conflict. Rachel and Gary have both expressed a distrust of Doctor Rosen that is virtually unspoken. This week, Bill actually ‘sided’ with the good doctor, choosing the life of an Alpha over the life of a man in the FBI. It is mentioned that Bill joined Rosen and his Alphas because Rosen promised to get him back into the FBI. But when given the chance, all on his own, Bill chose to stay with Rosen. It’s a mark of trust.
The reasons behind his decision are not fully clear, but some can be theorized. Perhaps he feels he can do more as an Alpha. Perhaps he does not want to hide. Perhaps he, too, knows that when Red Flag makes its next move, Rosen and the Alphas will need him.
For the first time since Alphas has started, we finally see an episode that is not focused on finding a new Alpha. It is a curious change from the rhythm of the show, but also a welcome one. The Alphas now work for DCIS, (and in the episode they are helping the Department of Defense as well, and not having to track new Alphas all the time enables them to use their skills to help in ‘normal’ cases as well.
Does this help them keep their cover, or does it threaten to expose them more? Arguments can be made for either side: the Alphas are not only being called in on ‘mysterious’ cases, but as they bring more and more people in, it runs the risk of showing Red Flag and human enemies where to find them. Why are Doctor Rosen and his Alphas safe from the compound? What kind of trust does DCIS have in him?
Also for the first time since the start of the series, Doctor Rosen has taken a huge step into the background, emphasizing the focus on the Alphas working together without his leadership and guidance. In fact, near the end of the episode, it is Bill who takes control of the Alphas, laying out a game plan and giving the orders while Rosen sits quietly and pays attention. We are finally seeing that the Alphas can act alone when need be, even if their actions are not entirely orthodox. However as the episode proves, the Alphas are so far strongest when they all work together. If there is tension brewing within them, (a theory that so far, I support), then what will happen if a splinter drives a wedge between them?
It’s the sixth week! Is Alphas making the grade for you? Let me or the cast know with a comment here or on Twitter! Next week Alphas returns with “Catch and Release” guest starring Summer Glau! We include the trailer below for your enjoyment!
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