So, I've just started getting caught up on the second half of the season, and the show seems to have found its legs. I'm still two or three weeks behind, and the season finale is tomorrow. For people who haven't watched, they're replaying the entire season during the day tomorrow leading into the finale.
AOL's Maureen Ryan did a pretty good write-up
on Friday, including her list of the series' best episodes to date:
Just a heads up for 'Alphas' viewers -- the show's season finale, which airs 10PM ET Monday, runs 63 minutes. If you're recording the show, make sure your DVR is aware of the overrun.
Another thing you should be aware of: Syfy is airing a marathon of the entire first season of the show, starting at 11:30AM ET Monday. So if you haven't caught up with 'Alphas,' now's your chance.
I wrote here about how the drama grew on me over the course of its first season. Its last couple of outings were particularly good, and it's heartening that the show got more confident and interesting as its debut season progressed.
But if, in this busy fall season, you don't have time to check out every episode of the show, I'll give you a list of the selected episodes you might want to check out before the season finale arrives.
The episodes with * beside them are my personal favorites:
- 'Pilot': You kind of need to see where it all began. My review of the generally solid pilot, in which we meet a group of investigators with special powers and Dr. Rosen, their government-sanctioned handler, is here.
- 'Rosetta' (Episode 4): A nice showcase for Ryan Cartwright, who plays Gary, the show's breakout character. In 'Rosetta,' Gary meets another Alpha with whom he forms a special connection and we learn more about Red Flag, a group of rogue Alphas (the Magneto faction, if you will).
- 'Bill and Gary's Excellent Adventure' * (Episode 6): Two Alphas who don't particularly get along -- Bill and Gary, unsurprisingly -- are forced to work together on a case. A classic odd-couple pairing that works.
- 'Catch and Release' * (Episode 7): A crisply paced, well-plotted episode about a lone Alpha with a very valuable skill. Summer Glau is the guest star, but the episode's strengths go well beyond her typically good performance.
- 'Blind Spot' (Episode 9): If I have one critique of this generally good episode, it's that it didn't give Brent Spiner more to do. But both he and Rebecca Mader ('Lost') did good work in this hour, which found the crew trapped in their offices with a crafty attacker.
- 'The Unusual Suspects' * (Episode 10): The show was generally cooking with gas as the season drew to a close, and this hour, which harkened back to classic sci-fi "bottle" episodes, found Dr. Rosen's charges trying to figure out if they had a mole in their midst. If you've seen the entire season, you may have more investment in the Alphas' relationships, which are put to the test here, but even if you've grazed through the season, this variant on "Twelve Angry Men" should work for you.
And there you have it. Watch those half-dozen episodes and you should be primed for the season finale (you could also throw in episodes 3 and 5, if you're feeling ambitious).
As I said when I wrote about the show previously, it's not perfect, but it's certainly not a retread of 'Heroes' (thank God) and it's more a solidly entertaining take on superhero constructs than I had expected. Dr. Rosen and the rest of the team have been enveloped in interlocking layers of loyalties and conflicts, and that aspect of the 'Alphas' story has been satisfyingly and intelligently told.
Suffice to say, I've been pleasantly surprised with the season, although a couple of the episodes didn't work for me.