Alphas: A Short Time in Paradise

Jonas: “So tell me what’s better: a lifetime of suffering, or a short time in paradise?”
Rosen: “You don’t have the right to make that choice for people.”

What would you choose if you could have a short time in paradise ending with your death, or your daily humdrum life for an unknown amount of time?

I enjoyed the premise for this episode and the many larger questions it addressed. Are humans meant to be happy? What happens when they are? (A lot of gardening, apparently). What if someone could give us all paradise? Do they have the right to do that without our consent? Then there are the questions about the use of violence, even murder. Is it justified if you are saving people? This is one of the reasons I love Alphas. There are no easy answers.

This Week’s Superpower

Jonas can push people, but in a very particular way. He overwhelms their pineal gland, giving them feelings of happiness and connectedness. (The other reason I like Alphas is because they at least try to be consistent and explain the science). Unfortunately, these lucky people eventually develop Encephalitis Lethargica (yes, this is a real disease) and die. L-dopa is actually the recommended treatment.

Rosen is the man of science set against Jonas, the miracle worker. What is interesting is that Jonas knows his “gift” is real and he refuses to be one of those “charlatans” that uses only words and faith to perform miracles. He turns out to be the worst kind of controlling, charismatic leader, willing to kill his followers rather than lose them to what he considers the darkness, or what some of us might call free will.

The Alpha Team

This week’s episode centred on Dr. Rosen and Rachel in two parallel story lines. Lee Rosen sees himself as a good man, but he is being ethically challenged more each episode. He abhors violence and has refused to use a gun, until he has to murder Jonas to keep him from killing his followers. Many people, including Bill, think such an action is justified, but I don’t think Dr. Rosen agrees with them. Will he cave and take Bill’s tactical training? Will he have a choice?

Nina and Cameron were an item again, and they still don’t want to talk about it. I loved the scene where Dr. Rosen walked in on them. I also loved Gary going as Rachel’s date to her sister’s engagement party. We all knew it wasn’t going to work, but Gary ends up being a good friend when he insists that she talk to her father and act like an adult. Gary is quite astute in many unexpected ways. It was lovely to see Rachel’s father finally appreciate her gift. It was also a nice comment on issues of immigration to note that her father was a doctor in Tehran. He runs a dry cleaners now. Nothing against the honest work of dry cleaning, but what a waste of talent.

Bits and Pieces

It was interesting that Jonas could push Nina, but did not respond to her pushing him. I’m not sure what that says about their relative abilities.

All the Alphas are dealing with their own issues and it appears that they meet on a daily basis to talk about them. It is not surprising that people with their kind of talents have difficulty fitting in. And now Dr. Rosen will have his own issues to talk about.

I could have done without the music and the lights during the sex scene with Cameron and Nina. It was all a bit cheesy.

I wonder how Jonas would have affected Gary? Nina can't push him.

Could Jonas really have pushed a crowd of thousands? Could Nina do something similar?

Quotes

Gary: “Rachel, I memorized the cover story. I’m a professional government agent, remember.”

Rosen: “I don’t need to be happy or content right at the moment. I need to be very focused. People are very sick.”
Jonus: “You’d rather live in darkness.”
Rosen: “Yes, for now.”

Rachel’s Popa: "You were such a quiet, obedient child."
Rachel: "I’m not a child anymore."

Jonas: “Do you know what the worst part of my gift is? I can’t feel it. Like you, I’m trapped in the darkness. I would sacrifice everything, even my life, to experience just a short moment of what I give to others.”

Gary: “These dead bodies look like barbecued chicken.”
Rachel: “Gary, not appropriate.”

Rosen: “Am I okay? I killed a man.”
Arken: “You killed a bad guy and saved a whole lot of people from being barbecued. That’s what you hold on to.”
The talk about barbecue made me glad I'm a vegetarian.

Arken: "Next time, aim for the chest. It’s an easier stop.”
Rosen: “I was aiming for the chest.”

Jonas: “I can bring peace to the entire world. Why would I let anyone stand in my way?”
Ah, the justification of the dictator.

3 comments:

Gus Brunetti said...

I'm really glad you're reviewing Alphas, drnanamom, and I liked your review. I've enjoyed this series a lot, and I'm glad it got renewed.

Poor Dr Rosen. His principles are consistently put to question. An interesting character portrayed by an excellent actor. I really care about him. In fact, the only character I'm yet to really care about is Nina. Even Gary, who I thought was annoying as heck at first, has endeared me.

And Garret Dillahunt plays the best crazy villains out there. And he's rihgt after Callum Keith Rennie trying to steal Mark Sheppard's omnipresence in shows I watch.

(As a sidenote, I'd like to say that the female equivalent is Emmanuelle Vaugier.)

Jess Lynde said...

I'm glad you commented on this one, Gus, because otherwise I may have missed it slipping in there between the Torchwood and Doctor Who reviews!

So glad you are starting with the reviews already, Doc! (Do you mind me shortening your handle?) The hubby and I enjoyed this one, though not as much as some of the more recent episodes. My favorite part was the scene between Gary and Rachel, when he insists that she keep pushing her dad until he gets treatment. It was such a lovely moment between those two, and a really great moment for Gary. I very much like the way they are slowly developing the characters and the bonds between them.

I hated that Rosen got all jokey about how he *was* aiming for the chest. I know people use humor to diffuse uncomfortable situations, but I thought it seriously undercut the impact of his choice and the repercussions for him, and wish they hadn't closed such a dark turn on a humorous note. I don't think I would have minded as much if it was Bill trying to be funny, but it felt jarring and a bit out of character for Rosen to make light of what he'd done.

One final note: Dillahunt!!!

Billie Doux said...

Let me add a happy comment that I'm so pleased Doc is covering Alphas. It's been such a pleasant surprise this summer, and I've really been enjoying it. And this was another strong episode with a complex theme. Terrific review, Doc.