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Alphas: Gaslight

Last week's was such a good episode. I wasn’t happy to get back to the disjointed, not sure what’s happening or why, mode of this season. Even the title, which refers to a classic trope in movies, didn’t really fit.

It was an interesting idea to have an Alpha who in normal circumstances would be in a vegetative state actually be subconsciously active through their ability. Unfortunately, they didn't bother to really talk about how it might work and how Rosen so easily woke him up. I’m used to explanations from this show. The episode just didn’t hang together for me and even the pieces that were supposed to contribute to the larger story arc of Stanton Parrish seemed a bit clunky. It could be that I’m just not that fond of horror movies. Still, I really hope they pull it out the hat again next week.

This Week’s Superpowers

Adam Gordon can climb walls or just about anything else. His devotion to his sister was touching, although it ended up getting him killed. Rosen was so distracted by his interest in Parrish that he didn’t really help Adam. Jason Miller can communicate in infrasound which occurs at decibels below human hearing, and can make things vibrate including people’s brains, especially Alphas. He didn’t seem to be negatively affected by being in a vegetative state for a considerable time. He popped right up and asked for potato chips. What happened to being brain dead and having his organs harvested? Does Dr. Rosen’s magic juice only work on Alphas? Or was it the photic stimulators that brought him back?

Our Alpha Team

It was interesting to see what horrors our team cooked up for themselves in their interpretation of the distress call from Jason. Bill seems to be worried about Rachel and getting in his own way when trying to save her. Hicks was focused on his son but was blocked by people operating. Rachel wanted to save Nina even though she is still angry at her — and of course Nina herself got in the way. Gary’s interactions with Anna were very different from everyone else’s. He wanted to save Anna, but he didn’t raise imaginary barriers. They had quite a lovely chat. I wonder if this had to do with his brain being differently wired. I am now quite worried about Gary or maybe I shouldn’t be. It’s difficult to figure out which side I’m on, and I appreciate that about this show.

This goes even more for Rosen. I've always liked Rosen but he is starting to creep me out. It was pretty obvious that Nina, as an addict, should stay away from using her power. But Rosen needs her to push people and so she does. He says several times that Nina should only do what he asks if she feels comfortable but he is her boss and her therapist (not a good combination, by the way), so what is she supposed to say? Nina notes that Parrish is “an ends justifies the means kind of guy.” All, I could think of while she was saying that was that Rosen seems to be as well. This was further illustrated by his experiment with Nina trying to retrieve memories from Kat. Rosen doesn’t seem to be thinking through the consequences for either Kat or Nina even though in the last episode he spoke about trying to go slowly with Kat. I’m not liking Rosen very much just now.

The Anti-Alphas

Parrish has managed to get quite rich in his long life and has backed a foundation, the Llamria Foundation. This foundation has backed Senator Burton who has done them a favour, although what this might be has been mostly wiped from her mind. She has supported the trials of a photic stimulator that seemed to amp up Jason’s Alpha ability even though he was in a coma. These are in hospitals all over the US and across the world. What are they for? Are they part of the same experimentation that resulted in the acceleration of Eli Akino’s abilities? Hopefully, we will find out at some point in time.

Bits and Pieces

I enjoyed the bits with Gary and Anna. Gary knew she was a hallucination but didn’t really care.

I also enjoyed the quips between Hicks and Bill about horror movies.

Bill is still going to fight club. Not good news.

Kat is adorable. She’s a nice addition to the show. I wonder if I would be more pleasant if I only remembered the last 6 weeks of my life?

What happened to Nina’s hand? Another little bit that didn’t really make sense to me.

In good multimedia fashion there is now a twitter account called Anna Lives. There are posts about neuro-diversity.


Gary: “I don’t think you can get catharsis from words on a rock.”

Rachel: “Excuse me, I’m not a dog.”

Kat: “Just leave the money on the dresser.”

Rosen: “Machines don’t cry for help. People do.”

@Anna_Lives: "The revolution is coming.#Anna_Lives #Alphas”


  1. I'm not liking Rosen very much right now either, Doc. The way he used Nina was rather appalling. That said, I like that I'm not liking him. It adds interesting shades of grey to the show and to the character.

    Re: Nina's hand. While Nina was trying to pull memories from Kat, she started squeezing her free hand into a fist. She apparently squeezed so tightly that she cut her hand with her fingernails. But I don't think we learned why she did that. Maybe using her power that way was causing her physical pain. Or maybe Kat's memories were psychologically painful (resulting in anguish for Nina). Or maybe she was purposely causing herself physical pain so as to not lose herself in Kat's memories. It could be any number of things, and hopefully we'll learn more later.

    This episode definitely wasn't as strong as last week's, but it was still reasonably decent. I always like exploring the character psychologies.

  2. Yeah, I wasn't too sure about Dr. Rosen having Nina use her powers again right away. I would have felt better about it if the use wasn't so obviously for his Stanton Parrish crusade. Rosen did say he was trying a new method - his previous methods of having Nina only use her power when absolutely necessary didn't work. There are some interesting dilemmas when a superpower becomes an addiction, and cold turkey isn't always best.

    Nina's current arc reminds me a bit of Willow's in seasons 6 and 7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, using powers to destroy (with Hicks and Tommy) and then retraining to do good with them (helping restore Kat's memories). Yeah, it would probably be best for both Willow and Nina if they didn't use their powers at all after going dark, but where would the story be in that?

  3. Worth noting that they did sort of explain how Rosen was so easily able to wake Eli up - the hospital staff hadn't even tried, due to their misinterpretation of his brain scans (apparently his brain works differently enough that the standard tests looked like what you'd see in a non-alpha in a PVS, despite the fact that it was really only a relatively shallow coma). (We need a better term than non-alpha. Mundy? Muggle?)

    That aside, I tend to agree with your review. I enjoyed it, but it was hardly the week's most riveting hour of television. But we live in hope, do we not? I'm sure the best is yet to come. :)

  4. Is anyone else worried Gary may be on the verge of tipping over to the Dark Side? That last image of him... and "anna lives" and the "revolution"... Uh-oh! :o(

    Otherwise, yeah, NOT happy at all about Rosen using Nina like that! :s

  5. I obviously missed some things this week, even though I watch the episode more than once. Thanks so much for filling in the missing pieces. I live in hope that things will eventually be clearer and that Gary doesn't go to the dark side although as Katie points out it does make for interesting television. Gary has been one of the innocents in the show but keeping him that way doesn't really do justice to his intellect. He is growing in many ways and making his own decisions about what is right and wrong is part of that.


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