‘Rosen tries to cope with his Department of Defense liaison and a former Alpha patient who wants him dead… or does he?‘
After a pretty solid pilot the pressure was on for Alphas to show that it could keep things interesting, there have been many shows over the years that set up an interesting concept but couldn’t follow through. Thankfully Cause and Effect not only keeps things interesting, but sets up what looks to be one of the major conflicts of the series.
The start of this episode felt like the start of any procedural. We see the villain of the episode do what he does best and establish why it’s going to be difficult for the good guys to track him down. But things soon kicked up a notch. The setup for Cause and Effect was a spectacular opening, watching Marcus Ayers (Will McCormack) use his ability to see how a sequence of events will play out and manipulate it was a great way to introduce the character while opening the episode with a bang.
After the good guys come on the scene, we learn that Dr. Rosen (David Strathairn) has a personal connection with the villain that might lead to a conflict of interest. This is often the downfall of a procedural as the show becomes more of a soap opera than a procedural, but it actually works really well here. The connection between Marcus and Rosen was the driving force of the show, and it allowed the writers to clue us in on what is happening in the world of Alphas.
Rosen takes centre stage in this episode, which works to the benefit of the episode. He has been the most interesting character from the beginning, and his feelings towards the Alphas influence our own. He is a great audience surrogate. The cat and mouse game that he plays out with Marcus throughout the episode starts to show us how high the stakes can be in this universe, and his interaction with the various Alphas on his team allows us to learn more about their characters without having to draw the focus away from the central conflict.
The other characters played supporting roles in this episode, but I think that this worked better overall. We don’t need to see each of them use their power every week, that just gets boring. Certain situations will call for certain powers, and that’s the only time that we need to see them. These are people first and foremost, and it’s their relationships and emotions that make them interesting, not their powers. One character moment that I could have done without though is another very obvious mention of Nina’s shady past. If they keep mentioning it every episode, we will almost certainly be disappointed when the whole thing is inevitably revealed.
The production values on this episode were a massive step up from the pilot. The opening scene with the ambulance was particularly spectacular, and the representation of Marcus’ power was very well done. While special effects don’t make a show, they certainly help with this sort of subject matter. I hope that they can keep it up.
Overall, Alphas is continuing to show a lot of potential. If they can maintain the momentum that they’ve started building, then this should be a very interesting first season.
What I Liked – Rosen was front and centre. Marcus was a fantastic antagonist.
What I Didn’t Like – They’re dropping too many obvious hints about Nina’s past. The character of Kathy didn’t really fit.
Rating – 4 out of 5 (Really Enjoyable)