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There’s Life After Death in Alphas, But It Moves Too Slowly
Often time, after a major death, a TV series is faced with a choice: do we hang back and show how this tragedy has affected the rest of the cast, or do we use this as momentum to carry us through to the next step in the story? Alphas has chosen to do the former in “Life After Death,” which takes on a very somber tone as Rosen struggles to deal with losing his daughter and Hicks the woman he loved so much. Both feel, in part, as though Dani’s death was their fault and that guilt manifests itself in different ways. Rosen returns to Dani’s apartment to go through her paintings, making sure her things are safe, while Hicks stomps around, biting everybody’s head off and wishing he could just forget ever loving Dani.
It’s a necessary aspect to explore. It wouldn’t feel right to just blaze past a monumental event like Dani’s death and throw everyone into a battle against Stanton Parish. But it also drags quite a bit and has its own moments of not quite feeling right. Rosen and Hicks, for the most part, are great stories emotionally. Rosen, in particular, is heart wrenching to watch. At first I was frustrated with Hicks’ anger directed at Rosen, but Alphas knows what’s it’s doing, eventually revealing he was compensating for his own guilt over the situation. That stuff was great and I’m not sure I would change anything about it. The ending with Hicks and Rosen agreeing Stanton doesn’t deserve to go to prison, that he should die – all said without anyone coming straight out and saying it – was a chilling way to cap off the episode. But everything else mostly felt out of place. Really what the episode was missing was a conflict in the second half.
Gary’s story of being unceremoniously given a baby by a possibly deranged nanny was fun, but nothing happened with it for the longest time. You expect something to happen around the halfway mark, a little action, but we don’t get any kind of intense sequences until almost toward the end of the episode. When things do pick up the episode feels reenergized, but it comes a little too late. You can tell almost immediately the two folks who show up to claim the baby are the not its real parents, but we take forever to get to that revelation. What I can say as a definite positive about this part of the episode was how well it used Gary, Bill and Nina. Without a doubt, Gary had the best part. I could watch Vincent Cartwright playing with a baby all day. Plus, learning the baby was grown in a lab so it could be given an Alpha ability was a neat twist.
And then there was Rachel’s story. I don’t have anything against her little romance with Jon, it just didn’t feel right to play that now, so soon after Dany’s death. I have enjoyed Rachel’s evolution this season as she gets more comfortable in her own skin and with Jon’s, but they just don’t have a spark between them that makes me want to see them together week after week. Granted, it was funny when her dad unexpectedly came home and found them in their underwear – thankfully all they had been doing was talking and a little kissing – and then have him decide to go shopping for two hours. That was a cute moment.
The most praise I can give “Life After Death” is that it creates a way to move forward past Dany’s death while not forgetting about it. As I said, this episode was necessary in the long run, reestablishing where the characters are and how they plan to move forward. We have Clay and his men now a part of the Stanton investigation and Rosen and Hicks are planning to make sure Stanton doesn’t make it out of this alive. This is the ramp up to the final push. With only three episodes left, there won’t be much room for slowed down episodes like this, so it’s good to get these more emotional moments out of the way. Now we can focus on getting the job of taking down Stanton done.