Friday, July 13, 2012

Alphas Season One, Episode Two: Cause and Effect

In this episode we are introduced to Kathy who is the teams department of defense liaison. When she walks in, she is already informed about all of the things that the team can do.  After the attempt on Lee's life in the first episode, they have be relocated to Queens, which Nina is not at all pleased with. Kathy is there to get the team's help to recapture Marcus a former patient of Lee's.  Marcus has the ability to see a chain of events and manipulate them to ensure a specific outcome.  Despite counseling by Lee, Marcus does not understand that not everyone has this ability.

Through a series of flashbacks we see Marcus' psychosis blossom.  It turns out that Lee had him sent to the compound - a place where alphas who are a danger to society or themselves are sent.  This is something that deeply plagues Lee and disturbs Nina.  We learn that Lee is the one who makes the decision about who remains free and who goes to the compound.  Nina worries that there is little difference between her and Marcus and Hicks and Marcus, but Lee assures her that there is a difference.

Watching a tape of an interview between Marcus and Lee, Hicks is similarly concerned.  Lee wanted Hicks to see the tape because he feels that there are similarities between the two but where Marcus blames the world for failures, Hicks has a tendency to blame himself.  As the team investigates, it's clear that there is more going on with the alphas than even Lee knows.  When he finally has a confrontation with Marcus, Marcus asks him to consider why he was being transported.

After a conversation with Dr. Vijaj Singh, Lee learns that Marcus did not respond to any of the treatment that they attempted.  He was being transferred so that the could preform a surgery that would remove Marcus' alpha abilities.  When Marcus learns that he is horrified because he believes that alpha abilities is as intrinsic to someone as the colour of their skin. Personally, I was less than pleased with this comparison.

Marcus makes an elaborate plan, which the team originally believes makes Nathan, a federal agent the target, but what he really wanted to do was kidnap Lee.  Marcus believes that there is a war coming between the alphas and the rest of society because they are afraid of what the alphas can do.  In many ways I felt that this entire suggestion was lifted completely from Marvel's X Men.  If you think about it, so is much of this show.  You have humans who have evolved to be more advanced and some who are dangerous.  Lee would represent Xavier and we are simply waiting to see who will be Magneto.  I am still enjoying this show, but I see it for exactly what it is.

As I mentioned in my last review, I do not like the interaction between Nina and Rachel.  Rachel continues to clearly lack confidence and look up to Nina as her role model.  She attempted to set a boundary with her parents regarding calling her at work, but when they call, she answers.  It is further problematic that Rachel's parent have organized an arranged marriage for her.  I know that arranged marriages happen in certain cultures but something does not feel right about it in this instance. This feels more like another attempt to make Rachel subservient than to actually invest her character with cultural specifics.

This episode raises the question of if the Alphas are indeed on the right side? It's clear that at least in some cases their rights are being violated.  Even in cases where a criminal action happens, the government cannot decide to simply cut into someone's brain but clearly they have set up a separate standard for the Alphas. It will be interesting to see where this is going.