Thursday, July 19, 2012

Alphas Season One Episode Eight: A Short Time in Paradise

This episode begins in Tennessee in 1980.  A congregation sings as a minster dumps gasoline on the ground.  Just before setting the church on fire, he says to a young boy named Jonas that they will be together in love forever, but Jonas has already left the building and is running away.

Nina and Hicks walk into the office with boxes of her things that she is giving away.  Of course, it is Lee's idea.  Lee believes that Nina surrounding herself with her ill gotten gains keeps her hooked into her old lifestyle. Hicks asks if anyone has dibs on the blueray, but before they can finish their conversation, his cell phone rings and it's his ex Patty.

In the hallway, Bill is trying to convince Lee that the team needs a seminar on police tactics run by the ATF. Lee finds it hostile and says that he believes that it is too much.  Lee says that he has never fired a gun his life, and that this is a conscious choice, but Bill says that it is time for him to make some new choices.  Of course this means that later in the episode that Lee will probably have to shoot a gun.  I hate it when writers use such leading dialogue.

When Lee arrives in the breakroom, he find Hicks going through the boxes. It seems that Patty wants a fresh start and is moving back to Nevada, and so Hicks needs to find a going away present for his son. Lee says that he is sorry to hear that, and Hicks responds that when you go into a custody hearing with a couple of DUI's that you don't normally win.  Hicks pulls out a bottle of alcohol and Lee asks if he is thinking of giving his son that. Hicks admits that he has not been to a lot of meetings lately and Lee says that he thinks it's an excellent idea.

In her office, Nina gives Gary a foot massager. As they are discussing her getting another one, Rachel rushes in looking for Hicks.  It seems that she was going to take Omar from the gym, but he decided to go on  cruise with his boyfriend and Hicks was her backup plan. Gary suggests a foot massager.  Nina offers to help if Rachel will tell her what the problem is.  Apparently, Rachel's sister is having her engagement party and Rachel believes that if she shows up without a date that her mother will auction her off. Nina suggests that she take Bill, but Rachel thinks that he is too old and that because he is married that it would be weird.  Rachel asks if Nina can push someone for her, because if she doesn't find a date, she will spend the rest of the year going on a blind date with third cousins.  Rachel turns her head and looks at Gary and says, "desperate times."

Hicks is at a meeting and when they ask him to share, Jonas interrupts and says that he is not an alcoholic. He says that he can help them, but Hicks stands up and says that it's time to go.  Jonas starts to pray in a strange language, and he is surrounded by a bright light. It almost appears as though he is an angel. Hicks sits back down and his eyes roll to the back of his head.

At the party, Rachel walks in with Gary and she immediately starts to listen to the conversations. One woman is surprised that Rachel is with a boy, and another says, "her poor mother."  When she tells Gary that they are talking about them, Gary says of course they are, because they are special.  Rachel says that she needs to leave to say hello to someone and reminds Gary that they have only been dating for two weeks, who indignantly says that he remembers the cover story. 

When Rachel introduces Gary to her father, he coughs and Gary says that it's rude to come to a party when one is sick.  He attempts to say it's nothing, but when Rachel has a closer look, she can see some sort of green vapor coming from her father. She says that there is definitely something wrong and her father again says to drop it.  Gary butts in saying that synethesia is what makes Rachel special; it's her ability. He says that he is glad that he doesn't have it because he does not like smells. Rachel says that she is sorry, and doesn't mean to upset anyone, but that her father has to go to the doctor right away.  In a sharp tone, her father says enough. Her mother says that it's a special day for her sister and asks Rachel not to ruin it. Gary asks if they should go back to the office, and Rachel says yes.

Hicks shows up at Nina's and she complains that it is 7Am. He kisses her and says that she looks beautiful. He tells her that his life finally makes sense. Hicks asks Nina to come with him, and that there is something he wants to show her. She points out that they have work, but he says that they can be late for one day, and asks her to do this for him. Hicks takes her to meet Jonas, and says that there is something about this guy that is different.  Hicks says that Jonas will make her see things in a new light.  When Nina looks around, she realizes that the people look pushed and she says that they are leaving.  Before they can leave, Jonas arrives and Hicks introduces her to him. Nina says that she does not want to be there and tries to push him to find out what he is doing. Jonas says that Hicks told him all about her and all of the things that she can do.  A man comes up behind Nina and grabs her arms, as Nina asks Hicks to get them out of there. Jonas starts his angel thing again and Nina looks overwhelmed.

Back at the office, Rachel is in the break room and Gary walks in asking about humus. She tells him that it is on the bottom shelf.  He then asks if her father is at the hospital, and if they got the test results and Rachel says that her father didn't go.  Gary points out that he has to listen to her, otherwise he will just get sicker. Rachel says that she cannot talk to Gary about this, but Gary responds that he always says what is on his mind, and that she should learn from him.  He says that she has to keep telling her father the truth and make him listen, just like he does with Bill, or like he is doing with her right now. Rachel's eyes tear up and Gary says again that she has to tell her father, and that he won't stop talking to her until she does. Rachel agrees and Gary says that he is looking out for her. I really loved this scene.  For once Gary provided something beyond technical assistance, and he let someone else know that he can take care of himself by speaking out about his needs.

Back at Jonas', Hicks and Rachel are working in the garden.  They are so clearly juiced up.  They stand and kiss and start taking off their clothes. One of the other workers is suddenly pulled out of his trance and he falls to the ground clutching his heart, even as Rachel and Hicks make love in the bushes.  When they come out of the bushes, Jonas says that darkness sometimes overtakes his followers.  Rachel says that Lee understands them and that he will understand Jonas. Lee shows up at the compound and sees a little boy drawing on the ground.  He asks if he is there to see father and Lee asks who his father is.  The boy says that Jonas is his father, and in fact is everyone's father.  He says he used to have another daddy, but they had to burn him up when he got sick. Jonas walks in saying that they practice cremation because it is more environmentally conscious than burial.

Jonas says that he hopes Lee is as competent as Hicks and Rachel said.  Lee mentions that he expected to be met by Hicks and Rachel and Jonas asks if Lee wants to see his patients first.  Lee is shocked that there is more than one person involved. Jonas says that it is very complicated.  He takes him into a  room where several people are lying on cots and are comatose. Apparently, they have been that way for awhile.  Jonas says that they can force them to eat and drink a little, but eventually they waste away. Lee says that these people need to be in a hospital, but Jonas asks if he can help them. When Lee comes across a woman who has been dead for hours, Jonas says that he tries to keep them safe from the world.  Lee responds that he is not sure he is following him. Jonas says that he shows them the light behind the world, the interconnectedness and Lee says that he is an Alpha.  When he offers to show Lee what he does, Lee says that he needs to be focused. 

Lee asks to see Hicks and Nina, and he walks in to find them in bed together. Lee tells them that Jonas has used his alpha ability on them.  Lee tells them what they are experiencing has nothing to do with the divine, and that what they are feeling is all a result of Jonas' alpha ability. Nina says that Lee should have Jonas show him  but Lee is more interested in trying to get Hicks and Nina to come back to the office.  Lee tries to call out but there is no signal.  Jonas says that cell phones are a distraction and that he disabled the only cell phone tower for miles. Jonas guides Lee back to the sick room.  Lee says that the people have a condition which attacks the brain and leaves the individual speechless and emotionless. Jonas is not pleased with Lee's scientific take, but Lee says that by showing him his gift that he risks contaminating his doctor.  Lee says he needs medication and Jonas responds that he will send someone.  Lee says that they will only give it to a doctor, and Jonas answers saying that he should write a prescription. 

Rachel returns to her fathers dry cleaners and she asks him what he would do if he had a patient who wouldn't listen when he was a doctor in Tehran.  Rachel tells him that he has cancer in his throat and that if he doesn't do something about it soon, he will die.  She asks him if he is going to go to the doctor and threatens to return and tell her mother.  

Lee gets to his car but it won't start.  When he looks at the engine, he discovers that it has been messed with.  Hicks and Nina bring him back to the house where Jonas is cremating someone.  Lee tells him that the woman didn't have to die and that he is going to have to burn a lot more bodies before this is done. Jonas says that this is how it has always been and that if the lives of these people mean anything to Lee, he has to make sure that it ends differently this time.

Back at the office, Bill says that he cannot get a hold of Lee, Hicks or Nina.  Gary says that his mother had to drive him because Lee didn't pick him up. Rachel says that Nina didn't come home last night. When Gary pings their phones he gets the message that they are out of area. Gary says that he is going to check Lee's computer. 

Back at the compound the medicine Lee is injecting does not seem to be working.  He pulls Jonas aside and asks how long this has been going on.  Jonas tells him about his father realizing that he had been given a divine calling.  Jonas said he was helping people and then the people started getting sick and so his father prayed on it and then purified his congregation with fire. Just then one of the men comes out of it.  He asks if he did anything stupid and says that all he remembers is bright lights and feeling very good. He believes he was given a drug, until Jonas says that he gave him insight. The man says that if he were to put that in a bottle that he would climb right inside. Jonas is upset and leaves the room.  Lee asks if he has any connection to Jonas, but he says that he just wants to go home.

Gary finds out that the last place that Lee goggled was Jonas' compound.  The team is confused that Lee is with a religious group.  When Lee returns to the sick room, he discovers that Jonas took away the medication. Lee confronts him and Jonas says that the man may live, but the poison robbed him of his gift.  Lee tells Jonas that his gift is what is killing those people. Jonas does not believe it and says that it's not him but the world.  Lee says that making people sick and killing them is not going to help anything. Jonas answers that the worse part of his gift is that he cannot feel it. He asks what's better, a lifetime of suffering or a short time in paradise. Jonas demands that Lee find another way to cure his people -- otherwise everyone is going to die -- including Nina and Hicks. 

Rachel, Bill and Gary pull up to the house and he decides to go in alone.  Gary tells him that this is wrong but he says that if they don't hear from him in 20 minutes, they are to call tactical and let them know that it is a hostage situation. Bill sneaks into the house through a window and makes his way to the sick room where Lee is helping the patients.  Nina sneaks up behind him and asks him for his gun and he hands it over. Lee begs her not to do this but she locks him in the room.  Rachel calls tactical and Gary says that they should just go in. Inside the compound he tells them that DOD is coming in and that he cannot call them off because he will think that he is a hostage.  

Jonas walks into the sickroom and tells Lee that he was a mistake. Lee says that he just needs more time and Jonas asks if he wants more time for the government thugs to invade his home.  Jonas says that he can bring peace to the entire world, and that he is not going to let anyone stand in his way. Lee tries to tell him that he is more than his ability and that his message of interconnectedness is worth hearing, but Jonas brushes this off saying that it's just words, because without his gift they're just words.  Lee tries to tell him that words have meaning.  Jonas says again that he gave people paradise and that once they experience it they cannot let it go.  He is sure that the people would rather die than give up his gift and that he won't run from the flames this time.

Jonas' followers begin dumping gasoline throughout the house. When Bill tries to access his powers, he finds that he can't.  Before Hicks can finish spreading the gasoline, he falls to the ground in pain. Jonas tells Rachel that Hicks has been called. In desperation, Lee starts to go through the desk in the room and finds a gun.

In the crematorium, Jonas tells his followers not to be afraid and that the outside world doesn't understand it. Lee sneaks into the room and injects Nina.  He tells her to give out as many shots as she can. When Jonas starts to chant, Lee shoots him dead.  When Jonas falls, he drops his torch causing the room to burst into flames. Lee is in shock, but Bill grabs him and drags him out of the house. 

The next day, Rachel shows up to talk to her father about his stage one cancer.  He says that they never catch it this early, but then no one has a daughter like her.  He tells her that she is remarkable and then mentions that her aunt is coming to dinner and has a mole she wants Rachel to look at. Rachel stammers and agrees. Great, her ability has been recognizes but her father makes it all about what she can do for others, rather than how it effects Rachel.

At the office, Nina asks if they are going to talk about what happened between them in group, and Hicks says that it's a private conversation, and that he will talk about how he cannot stop his son from leaving. Nina says that she still cannot believe that Lee saw them naked. In his office, Lee is looking at the ATF manual when Bill walks in asking if he is okay. Lee says that he killed a man, but Bill says that he killed a bad guy and saved a whole bunch of people and that is what he should hold onto. Lee says that the DOD is going to cover it up and that if you kill someone you should pay a price, but Bill says that Lee is already paying a price. 

Okay were we supposed to see this episode as Lee moving away from his hard and fast morals?  It that is the case, then it didn't do much for me. As I have mentioned before Lee is not the moral person that he is constructed to be.  He should not be both the Alphas therapist and their employer. He uses people and when he cannot get his way, he manipulates them using the information he gained in therapy.  How exactly does him shooting Jonas read like some sort of moral turning point?