Syfy’s newest sci-fi series ALPHAS has introduced us to a world where there are people with special abilities known as Alphas. Following an extraordinary Alphas team assembled by the government to both assist Alphas and to track down criminals using their abilities, each week we discover more about the complex world they embody. Over the course of the previous six episodes, another interested party was revealed – Red Flag, a group of Alphas determined to fight back against the U.S. Government’s forced captivity and exploitation of Alphas against their will. With the battlelines being drawn, the Alphas recruited by DCIS (Defense Criminal Investigative Service) and working with Dr. Rosen have found themselves caught in the middle of a developing war between non-Alphas and Alphas. With the government keeping a watchful-eye over every move they make and tasking them with assignments to track down rogue Alphas deemed to pose a threat to U.S. security, the DCIS team no longer knows exactly if their own services are voluntary or not.
In this week’s noteworthy episode, Dr. Rosen and his team go to the aid of an Alpha being pursued by armed adversaries. What makes this Alpha so desirable is her unique ability to construct just about anything out of miscellaneous gadgets, including highly sought-after tracking devices and weaponry. Portrayed by the chameleon-like Summer Glau, Skylar opens the team’s eyes to the duplicitous nature of both the NSA and DOD and how they view and treat Alphas.
For teammates Bill, Gary, Nina, Cameron and Rachel, they see themselves as willing recruits aiding the government in solving crimes through unconventional means. With Bill’s capacity to tap into his inner strength, he can exhibit the strength of ten men. For Gary, his autism has enhanced his ability to tap into electrical and radio waves to read events in real time and track those using such devices. Nina can persuade a person to reveal their darkest secrets or do her bidding by simply speaking. Cameron’s precision marksmanship and hand-eye coordination allows him to calculate impossible physical mechanics and make them possible. And Rachel’s ability to literally sniff out anything and see microcosmic detail makes her the perfect human blood-hound. Together they make a uniquely-qualified team for crime-solving and tracking. With the guidance of their protective mentor, Dr. Rosen, who is not an Alpha, but rather a conflicted government liaison, who feels more akin to his team than his government handlers, the DCIS are the wild-card in developing a high-stakes chess game between the Alphas and those who would control them for their own means.
After rescuing Skylar, the team is surprised to learn that she may have an agenda of her own – she had been sending encrypted emails to an unknown entity. Unsure of who exactly to trust and what their true motivations are, the team moves to track Skylar and find out what is really going on before the government or someone else does.
Alas, with one of their team sidelined by an overprotective parent, the game of cat-and-mouse feels lopsided and impaired. But with the clock ticking down and the government noose tightening around them, time is of the essence. The question becomes: what is Skylar really up to?
While that answer can only be provided by watching this week’s episode “Catch and Release,” it should be noted that Skylar’s goal will surprise you.
Backdropping the episode, embedded into the primary story is the question of whether Bill and his wife should have children. Concerned that his genetic anomaly could be passed on to his children, Bill is reluctant to consider such a possibility. Even after talking with Cameron, who has a son of his own, Bill’s fears are not placated.
Paralleling Bill’s indecision about fathering a biological child, is Gary’s journey towards independence. With an overprotective mother looking to clip his wings and keep him out of harm’s way, Gary discovers that he needs to speak up for himself and reassure his mother that his autism does not mean he cannot take risks. He has a gift and he wants to use it to help people. Being “special” does not mean that one has to be protected to such a degree that one cannot make their own decisions.
Ultimately, this episode examines whether Alphas have the right to be autonomous. Should they be allowed to choose the type of life they wish to live free of government or parental control? And is the Alpha-gene something to be feared and considered undesirable? Manipulating genetics is dicey on its own, but now that there are those among us who have developed special abilities, should they be deemed too dangerous to be allowed to roam freely in our society without supervision and monitoring? And who is to say that with Big Brother watching, the watching may take a darker and more nefarious turn and become exploitive? Do Skylar’s creations belong to her and her alone – or should they be deemed too valuable a commodity to allow to be sold freely through the marketplace? Are Alphas too valuable to be left to their own devices and to make their own decisions?
ALPHAS invites us to explore a world where there are two types of people, those with abilities and those without – and to see if they can live in harmony or fear of the other.
To see where Skylar’s journey has taken her and whether she is the threat that everyone presumes, tune in Monday, August 22nd at 10PM on Syfy (Space in Canada). Catch up on past episodes you may have missed for free online at clicktowatch.tv
Tiffany Vogt is a contributing writer to The TV Addict. She has a great love for television and firmly believes that entertainment is a world of wondrous adventures that deserves to be shared and explored – she invites you to join her. Please feel free to contact Tiffany at Tiffany_Vogt_2000@yahoo.com or follow her at on Twitter (@TVWatchtower). Tiffany also writes as a columnist for NiceGirlsTV.