Alphas Review: "The Devil Will Drag You Under"
Alphas Review: Season 2, Episode 9 – “The Devil Will Drag You Under Review”
“Following right on the heels of Dani Rosen’s arrest, episode nine is a tragic catalyst for what is to come.”
The very last scene of last weeks episode, Dr. Rosen was pleading with his daughter telling her how this could be seen as an opportunity. At the time, I dismissed it as rambling. The cynical part of me thought, “Oh there is no way he’d have his own daughter arrested by the federal government only to use her.” Score one for the cynics, as the opening scene gives us a much more in control Dr. Rosen giving Dani her plea agreement and new assignment as a double agent. Even through his heartfelt pleading, Dr. Rosen still had an agenda. Dani very quickly goes off the reservation and disappears, allowing the episode to time jump by a couple of weeks. Hicks is incredibly resentful of how Rosen treated his own daughter. From his perspective, neither option pursued was a valid one for someone you love. And as Hicks points out, prison would have been safer than trying to play double agent with a violent terrorist group. This episode is largely about Hicks, Dani, and Dr. Rosen with the rest of the team playing supporting roles to those three.
We’ve known for some time that Dani’s feelings for Hicks were going to sway things one way or another. As soon as Hicks started to storm out in righteous indignation, the story became apparent. Only by appearing to break with the team could he go after Dani. Bill feels left out of the loop involving Dani being sent undercover. Bill has taken to running the day-to-day operations and incoming case load, so when things start occurring that he had no knowledge of, he sees it as being deliberately excluded. After being put through the wringer last week, Kat was noticeably absent from the team as well. Perhaps she’s at agent training camp? It’s never mentioned.
This episode gives us more knowledge into Stanton Parish’s operations. His white trash crew consisting of Scipio, the guy from the super market who beat Bill in the season 2 opener (character name: Dumpy), and the newly turncoat Hicks take care of the work that requires getting your hands dirty. Scipio’s power boost from the photic stimulator is still in tact. Flinging the sweat from his hands explodes and catches fire like nitroglycerin. The team is sent to stop the gang from stealing some rare tech (that I was sure Skylar Adams had designed.) Everyone on the team is shocked to see Hicks working for them. The buzz worthy name for the weapon is a “Voltaic grenade,” sounding like something straight out of Magic the Gathering. It functions as part EMP bomb, part electrical surge. My real question with these was who did they steal them from? Who had these all along, waiting to be stolen?
Meanwhile, Hick’s undercover mission has only made it to stage one: proving loyalty through violence. It’s pretty clear his focus isn’t on hurting Rosen or stopping Parish. This is a man who is singularly driven and all he cares about is saving Dani. Before he can get any closer to the one person who knows where she is, he has another trial to get through. Guest star Kandyse McClure is the gatekeeper as an Alpha named Agnes. Wearing full gloves is a pretty clear indicator of a power similar to Rogue from the X-Men. She can’t touch anyone without hurting them, and her touch tears the memories from the mind of her subjects. It doesn’t appear to cause her pain but anyone on the receiving end experiences agony and risk of seizure. Agnes is clinical in her approach and use of her ability. She doesn’t enjoy hurting other but is committed to doing what is asked of her.
“Incredible character decisions, intense emotional payoffs…”
Gary had a tough time this episode. He was wisely left out of the field to operate from the office. He has difficulty dealing with both Hicks’ and Dani’s actions. Due to his unique mental state, he can’t reconcile complex motivations of individuals. Someone is either good or bad through action and until they are condemned or exonerated respectively, can’t place them in any sort of category. Also, Gary and Bill have formed a much closer working relationship this season then when the team was originally formed. There is a mutual respect and admiration on both of their parts and it is nice to see that kind of character bonding and growth.
Stanton Parish is a lot of things, but he is no fool. Even after Hicks passes Agnes’ thought ripping invasion, Parish doesn’t let him know any details about Dani. He knows that’s why Hicks came. Parish can’t trust either of them and sidelines them both. Parish is an uncompromising ideologue. He’s the best kind of villain, the kind who doesn’t think he is a villain at all. He sees himself as a savior, not someone ready to commit genocide. He’s kept Dani locked up because of her newly divided loyalties. The betrayal was particularly stinging to him because Parish loved Dani like a disciple. He sicks Agnes on her to know where her true loyalties lie. By picking up her trail, Hicks is able to follow Agnes right to Dani.
Dr. Rosen is falling apart in this situation. Though he does put great demands on people and even manipulates them towards his own ends, he has a conscious and feels guilt and responsibility for everything that goes wrong. Nini and Rosen were the only ones in on Hicks’ plan to rescue Dani and helped him toward that goal. Bill feels left out again, clandestine operations are happening and he is not part of them. When Agnes scanned Hicks initially, she remarks that he has “a lot of walls.” With Nina’s help, she was able to put Hicks on a course to Dani, “whatever it takes.” The barriers in Hicks mind weren’t a wall, they were a path setting him in a straight line. Dani and Hicks are able to escape thanks to Agnes’ inaction on their behalf. The pair go after Parish’s thugs and attempt to foil his plan. In the warehouse where they catch up to them we have Scipio, Dumpy, and Kimi Milard also from the season 2 opener. While the name might not ring a bell, I remember her as “Whisper girl,” having a strong suggestion power similar to Nina’s but auditory based. Dani and Hicks put up a good fight with the element of surprise on their side, but are quickly overpowered. You’d think someone with Hicks’ ability would opt for a ranged attack rather than diving in head first, but that’s less exciting to watch.
Presumably Gary had pinged the phone Dani called from and the rest of the team arrives in time to save them both. Hicks is nearly ready to kill himself until Nina is able to snap him out of it, proving not all Alphas suggestion abilities are equal. My theory is Nina’s is stronger because it is visually based and the retina is a straight shot to the brain. Bill comes in full throttle knocking out Whisper girl and winning round 2 with Dumpy after getting beat so badly the first time. I hope we see a second take of Bill’s development through Alpha fighting and not just bleed through in fight scenes. As Scipio escapes with the Voltaic grenades, Hicks is able to run him down on a motorcycle. Hicks has the power that every action star wishes they had, as he crashes the bike into the front of the van, runs along the top and lands without a scratch. Hicks sweet moves are slightly muted by the fact that the van itself is the bomb. All he did was stop it at the right place, the grid is was headed for all along.
The team knows the truck is going to explode. They know the damage it will cause in city. And none of them have any clue how to disarm it. In a desperate gambit, Dani calls Parish to try to buy time while Gary reroutes the electrical grid. Dani tries to persuade him, appeal to his guilt, or his sympathy. Parish has none of that left. You can’t bluff someone who is hundreds of years old. Like a true chess master, Parish would rather sacrifice a piece rather than allow the enemy to control it. He hits the detonator, injuring the team in various degrees and killing Dani Rosen. By the end of the episode, Dani has become a martyr for both sides of the alpha struggle. And the first casualty of many in the war to come.
Geek Smash rating: 89/100 – Incredible character decisions, intense emotional payoffs, excellent plot building for the remainder of the season.