Thursday, July 12, 2012

Alphas, Season One, Episode One: Pilot

Each Alpha is so named because they are able to perform a special skill set. Gary Bell is a neurologically atypical young man with the ability to pick up radio signals.  Nina Theroux has the ability to manipulate the will of others.  Bill Harken has super strength that is a response to the fight of flight instinct.  Rachel Pirzad had the ability the heighten any one of her senses, which means that she can potentially read the a newspaper from ten blocks away.  Finally, there is Cameron Hicks who has perfect aim and great reflexes.  The Alpha team is led by Dr. Lee Rosen.

At this time, the alpha team's liaison is Don Wilson, but we don't know much about him. When he approaches Lee with the story of a man being shot inside a locked room with no windows and two police officers present, Lee is hesitant to get involved.  When the team does investigate, they discover that the shot could only have been made by an Alpha.  After some research they discover Cameron Hicks who tests scores as a sniper were through the rough.  They also found a tape in which he pitched two perfect games back to back and the footage included an impossible shot. They quickly apprehend Hicks and tell him what he is. Hicks is a resistant at first but when Lee tells him to focus on his successes rather than realizing the times that he is successful just defy explanation. 

After some examination, it is discovered that not only is Hicks an Alpha, he was brainwashed into the murder.  They wait for The Ghost to contact Hicks again and track back his signal to his hotel room.  Unfortunately, the ghost manages to escape and manages to use Bill as his next weapon.  It seems that the ghosts real target is the alpha team itself.  In the end, Hicks shoots the ghost who tells him before he dies that he is on the wrong team.  Hicks thinks that this is the end and that he can go back to his life, but Lee reminds him that he is still guilty of killing a man.  Lee informs him that the only way for him to stay safe is to join their alpha organization.

Okay that was a very basic recap of the first episode.  I really liked that there were two people of colour and a disabled character.  Gary Bell is autistic however, Ryan Cartwright the actor who plays him is not.  It would have been nice to have a disabled actor playing this role, but in terms of inclusion, it is a step up to have this character.  I am unfamiliar with many of the tropes associated with Autism so I won't comment on the quality of the portrayal itself.  I will however say that at least in this episode Bell is an integral part of the team.

Though Rachel Pirzad has the ability to heighten any of her senses she does not seem to have an assertive bone in her body.  Bill constantly over steps her personal boundaries and though this clearly bothers her, she simply cannot talk to her about it. She overhears her father talking about her finding a husband and this clearly upsets her, but she does not confront him either.  I think that her lack of confidence is supposed to be made up for by Nina but instead it reads once again of a typical urban fantasy show not allowing for two confidant women in the same show.

As for Nina, we don't know much about her personal life. It is hinted that she has had some trouble with the law in past but there are no specifics mentioned.  She says that she lives in an apartment for free and her car is also free. Clearly there is some manipulation going on here, but it has not been expanded upon. We do know that she is a sexually confidant woman who feels no shame for her desire despite Bill's attempt to slut shame her.

I really cannot wait to see how these characters are developed and how the relationship between them grows. I am nervous that Hicks will become the defacto leader because he is a White male.  For this to happen, it would mean him assuming control from Bill.  It will be interesting to see how disability, gender and race is balanced on this show.