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ALPHAS – Too Much Relationship Drama in “The Quick and the Dead”
The thing I love the most about Alphas’ approach to super powers has always been the consequences that come with the powers the characters have. Many of them are intrinsically connected to the way the human body ordinarily works, such as Rachel’s enhanced senses. She can see, hear, and smell better than person could dream of, but it’s not something she has 100 percent control of. Often times she feels crushed by the weight of information her brain is taking in simply because she can’t stop hearing and smelling everything. As a result, she has a nasty case of OCD and has to struggle to keep her focus on the tasks in front of her. Bill’s super strength is dependent on his fight or flight instinct, activating his adrenaline glands to give him an extra boost. It’s not something he can just access whenever he feels like it – he has to choose wisely else he might over do it and collapse from exhaustion or worse – he could have a heart attack.
Following this trend of adding a hint of realism to super powers, our new Alpha of the Week, Eli Aquino, is a 22 year old with super speed, though just by looking at him you’d think he was in his 40s. He derives his speed from his suprachiasmatic nucleus working overtime, giving him an abnormally fast metabolism and causing early aging. This is definitely a new take on the classic speedster we love and the episode is better for it. It gives him a better reason than we’ve seen in other media for why Eli is committing his crimes. Most speedsters love being able to move so fast they’re seen only as a blur, but Eli’s power is more a curse than anything, and he just wants it fixed. So he tries to find the men responsible for experimenting on him as a child, making his powers worse than they already were, and kills them if they refuse to help him. It’s the humanizing of these “bad” Alphas that makes watching this show that much more enjoyable.
I wish I could say the office drama was just as intriguing, but alas, it was easily the weakest part of the episode. Things are in disarray now that Rosen’s back and he’s brought many government men with him. Tensions are high – especially between Gary and whoever stole his pudding – yet it feels unnecessary. The amount of distrust everyone feels toward each other doesn’t feel entirely earned. Yes, Rosen was gone for eight months because of some stunt he pulled, but why should someone like Bill hold it against him? Rosen has always acted in the best interest of his team – they should be able to see that.
And the love triangle of Nina, Hicks, and Danielle is already nauseating. The only enjoyable part of that whole bit was Nina stubbornly refusing to return to the team. That is at least drama that works. It makes things just a little tougher and could pave the way for Nina to perhaps join Stanton Parish and his group of radical Alphas. That’s definitely a potential storyline I would love to see and if anyone could believably pull it off it is Nina. She’s already shown a huge reliance on her ability. Working with Rosen means giving up the hold she has over those around her and I could see her wanting to live in a world where she could use her ability however and whenever she wanted without anyone judging her.
This truly was a solid episode for Alphas, relationshipy nonsense notwithstanding. Eli was wonderfully portrayed by C. Thomas Howell and the effects used to portray his super speed were terrific. Plus, I was glad to see the return of Season 1’s Alphas of the Week formula in “The Quick and the Dead” and I hope to see it continue. It’s a model that really works for Alphas if only because they manage to really make the Alphas as interesting as possible while still pushing to expand on the relationships between the characters. The personal storylines may not always work – as it did here – but there’s always something worthwhile to take away from them.