Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Alphas Season One, Episode Seven: Catch and Release

This episode opens with a group of armed men breaking into a young woman's apartment. She rushes around and some sort of metal butterfly is floating around her. She gets outside of her apartment and blows it up.

Back at the office, Lee and Kathy are going over the budget and she mentions that they are a touch over. They start talking about traveling and Kathy admits that she was an army brat who grew up in some interesting places.  Lee is surprised and Kathy admits that when she hiked across Borneo that she threw away the map.  Lee admits that he put her in the wrong bus.

At Bill's, he is watching television and his wife tells him that her friend is pregnant. Janie is upset and asks if Bill still wants kids.  He says that it's a big decision, but she says that they have been thinking about this for years and she doesn't have forever. 

On the way into the office, Lee gets a call from Gary's mother who says that Gary is sick.  She goes upstairs and tells Gary that Lee said that he has the day off.  When Gary gets insistent, she simply says not today.

At the office, Hicks is trying to fix his toaster and Nina comments about men and their toys, as Lee is walking past.  Lee asks to see Nina in the office to discover if there is some flirting going on between the Nina and Hicks.  Nina immediately asks if Rachel said anything. Lee says no and  that he is sure it's perfectly innocent, but he wants to make sure it remains that way. Rachel walks back into the break room and Lee swiftly follows saying that an alpha is missing.

The team goes to Skylar's apartment and learns that her special ability is to create things that no one has ever seen before. Bill quips that she should have learned to build a better door.  Rachel picks up that an assault team was there, and Hicks says that she was ready and had the place rigged to blow. Apparently, Skylar is a catch and release alpha, because she poses no threat.  They question one of her suppliers and ask if she in trouble. He goes on a rant about the government, and so Nina gives him a push. He tells them that she stopped by last night talking about needing extra cash and so was arranging to meet a special buyer.

At some sort of fair, Skylar hands over a product to help the buyer sleep.  She is once again being chased by an assault team.  Rachel looks at the ground and sees the footprints. Once again they are pushing the plausible deniability thread.  Skylar releases her metal insect, but before she can get out of the fair, the team grabs her and stuffs her into the van.

At the office, Skylar is not impressed that they were following her and points out that they promised to leave her alone.  Lee asks who was chasing her, and she says that people get upset when she turns down an offer.  Skylar asks again what they want, and Lee says that she is danger and that they want to help her.  I actually believe her questioning Lee, because he is downright skeevy. He has abused his position of power throughout the season. Skylar calls him on it, and asks if she is free to go, and of course he says that there are a few things they need to do first.

Bill pulls Hicks aside and asks if his son is different, but Hicks says he is just a normal boy.  Gary confronts his mother Sandra and says that he knows that she lied and that he does not have the day off. Sandra says that Lee lied to her and that he is no longer going to work with him.  It seems that she has found him another job doing data entry. Sandra says that it is not safe and that she refuses to allow Lee to endanger Gary again.  Gary says that he is an adult and can make his own decisions, but Sandra says not this time.  In anger, he tells her to leave. I liked this scene because it had Gary standing up for himself as well as another character acknowledging that Lee is not the honest, harmless doctor that the pretends to be.

Back at the office, Skylar and Nina engage in a little nostalgia, talking about old drinking days. In Lee's office, Kathy tells him that she has no intention of releasing Skylar and that Clay is on his way to collect her.  It turns out that Kathy made this decision hours ago.  Nina tells Skylar that she can trust her and Lee, but Skylar says that Lee is a government flunky, and so are the rest of the alpha team. I don't know about you but at this point, I began to really cheer Skylar on. Kathy justifies her decision by saying that Skylar's abilities are extremely valuable, and that if the government doesn't take her someone else will. Lee then asks what their intentions are and Kathy says they are going to put her in protective custody, where she can develop her technology and that she will be compensated generously.  I don't know about y'all, but that sounds like a pretty phrasing to describe imprisonment.   When Lee asks if she believes Skylar will go along with this, Kathy says it's not her choice and that there is a chain of command that everyone must follow. Lee asks about the woman who forges her own path, but Kathy makes it clear that this is work.

At home, Gary is watching signals and he texts to the office that there are men on their way with guns. On the surveillance, Rachel recognizes the men from the marketplace. Clay heads them off and it turns out that the men who were chasing Skylar are NSA.  Skylar runs into the hall and releases some kind of pulse, which causes pain and she escapes.  Seeing that the team is hurt, Gary leaves his home, even as his mother is chatting with her brother.

Apparently, what Skylar created was a stun device.  Nina is upset by how Skylar is being treated and she points out that they promised Skylar that they wouldn't let this happen.  Lee says he did everything he could to stop it from happening.  Really?  I didn't exactly see him working up a sweat. Nina asks if they intend to ship her off to Bingingtom, where she will be the next Marcus.  Lee cuts her off to say that Skylar harmed federal agents.  Nina says that it was in self defense, but Lee says that it's not up to us.  Nina leaves the room saying that Skylar is right and that they do exactly what people tell them to do.  I have to agree with Nina on this one, it seems like there is nothing that Lee will not justify, or explain away, even as he supposedly morally conflicted.

Clay informs Lee that Skylar was working for the NSA while sending encrypted messages to a contact named Z.  Even the NSA couldn't break the code and so they believe that she has been sharing information with a foreign intelligence agency. Clay says that Skylar could even have been communicating with an alpha or red flag.  Lee suggests that they shouldn't jump to conclusions, but Clay simply says that Lee should step aside, if he can't handle it.

When Nina returns home she finds Skylar working on something.  Back at the office, Lee tells the team that this is now a joint mission with the NSA and Hicks throws in finders keepers. Hicks points out how much they could use Gary right now.  Lee says that he has sent three messages to Sandra and is concerned because Gary does not do well with illness.  Bill walks in and tells them that a car was stolen a block away, and when he put a BOLO on it, it was discovered just outside of Nina's apartment. Nina and Skylar are driving away, and she says that if Lee isn't going to keep his promise that she is going to do it for him.  When Nina hesitates to throw away her phone, Skylar tells her that she is either in or out. When Nina asks where they are going, Nina says that she has to kill Bob, because he is the only reason they keep finding her.

At Nina's apartment the team discovers that the two have left. Hicks asks if Skylar kidnapped Nina, but Lee says that Nina never does anything she doesn't want to.  At the facility, Skylar pushes the guard and they enter a computer lab. Apparently, Bob is a computer that can track down anyone on earth.  Skylar replaces Bobs processor with a bomb, and says rest in peace. When Gary finally arrives at the office, he finds that everyone is gone.  He picks up Skylar'ss little bug and says that he can find her.  He goes back out to the cab and tells the driver to follow the bug. 

The team shows up at the facility and discovers the destruction.  Lee is on the phone and learns that Gary ran away. Lee is shocked because he thought that Gary was sick.  Clay arrives and says Bob is even more dangerous, because if combined with a predator drone, it could take anyone out. They realize that Skylar took the processor with her.  Clay points out that her messages with the contact Z have increased, and so the team surmises that she is planning something. Clay tells Lee that he has misjudged another patient and that he has to work on that.

Nina and Skylar arrive in Main and Skylar announces that she has to make one more stop.  Nina says that she wants to know what is going on and when Skylar refuses, Nina tries to push her, but Skylar is wearing contacts.  Gary shows up and tells them that they have to pay the cabdriver and that he called Lee, who is on his way there. Skylar says she knew that it was a mistake to take Nina along, and throws a weapon at them.  

When Lee arrives, he tells Nina that Skylar is desperate and dangerous, and that she might even be involved with Red Flag.  He says that running away with Skylar is not the way to reclaim her old identity.  This completely pissed me off because yet again, he is using privileged information that he learned in treatment against her.  Nina says she didn't help Skylar because she wanted to be reckless, but because it was the right thing to do and that Lee should try it some time.  Lee tries again saying that he needs her help.

A man comes out of he store and says that his car is missing.  Rachel finds a puddle of bio diesel on the ground and claims that she can track that.  Once again, I get that they have special abilities, but sometimes the writers stretch these abilities to the downright ridiculous.  The car that Skylar is driving cannot be the only bio diesel car on the road. 

Skylar pulls up to a house and releases yet another bug, saying that she has got to move quick.  The team pull up shortly thereafter, and Rachel counts the heartbeats.  Bill tells Nina that she should sit this one out. Lee says that Clay is on his way and that they have to move quickly.  Hicks climbs through a second story window on Gary's instructions, even as the man who greeted Skylar points a shotgun at him.  Bill intercepts him and Nina pushes him looking for answers.  When Hicks walks into a bedroom, a little girl is sitting on a bed doing math equations. 

They sit, Zoe, Skylar and the team in the kitchen.  Skylar says that if the NSA found out about Zoe that they would turn her into a lab rat or worse.  Apparently, it was Zoe who created the super encryption that allowed them to communicate. Lee realizes that Zoe is a second generation alpha. Nina asks what happens next, and Lee says that it isn't their choice to make.  Nina points out that if they let them take Zoe and Skylar that anyone could be next. Lee says it would be nice if they could do exactly as they pleased, but that life does not work like that.

When Clay pulls up, Lee tells him that Skylar is gone.  Lee says that she was able to put together a device that distracted everyone.  Clay does not believe it for one second. Gary returns home and Sandra tells him never to runaway again.  Gary says that he is going to work for Lee and that he looks out for himself, and that the team looks out for him. He goes onto say to Sandra that he never should have told her what he did because it's classified. Sandra says that she wants him to be happy, but Gary says that he is a secret agent now and he is happy.

Back at the office, Kathy reads over Lee's report and says it's great, if one likes to read fiction.  Lee says it's all true, but Kathy responds that she is interested in what he left out. Lee says that Clay will be happy to fill in the blanks.  He goes on to say that his team takes precedence, and that he makes all his decision accordingly.  Before she leaves, Kathy says that the hardest part of her job is protecting Lee's ass and that he doesn't make it any easier. I seriously had to roll my eyes at that because this is the first time in seven episodes that Lee has not been compliant.  He keeps sending the alphas to the butcher shop, though he knows damn well what happens there.  If he were anymore compliant, he would spend his days kissing every government ass he could find. 

In a park, they approach Skylar who says that she is dropping off the map. Skylar hands over a phone she made for Gary.  Skylar then hands over the processor and Lee points out that with a few modifications that he could find every alpha on the planet.  Skylar says that he could serve them up to his bosses on a platter and he smashes the processor. 

Back at the office, they find a cappuccino machine. Hicks and Nina flirt over it.  At Bill's house, his wife opens a book he ordered called, Becoming a Father.  He tells her that he is not promising her anything.  Skylar and her daughter drive away and in the air the bug flies ahead of them.

The best parts about the episode was watching as the Alphas, Nina and Skylar in particular asserted themselves. Thus far Lee has given a lot of lipservice to the idea of treating Alphas fairly, but in truth he has been complicit with the government actions. It's more that time for the Alphas to start to question Lee's connection to the government and where his real loyalties lie.  I am also a little sick of seeing Rachel used as a magical homing beacon.  It's almost as if the writers don't know what to do with her character beyond dealing with her family issues.