Episode Title: 'Anger Management'
Writers: Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe
Director: Nick Copus
After spending the morning giving Hicks (Warren Christie) and Rachel (Azita Ghanizada) personal advice, Dr. Rosen (David Strathairn) gets a call from Agent Wilson (Callum Keith Rennie) about a horrific riot on a subway car. It's the fourth incident of its kind and Wilson suspects Alpha involvement. He demands Rosen and his team quickly determine if an Alpha was behind the riot and apprehend them before the local authorities do.
Rachel uses a stuffed monkey found on the train to spot the Alpha in the surveillance footage. Bill (Malik Yoba) identifies the girl as seventeen-year-old, Tracy Beaumont. After Gary (Ryan Cartwright) pinpoints her location, the team spreads out in the city to track her down. Rosen, Rachel and Nina (Laura Mennell) catch a young man chasing after Tracy, who they learn is her brother, Matthew (Devon Graye). Immune to her powers, he's been looking for Tracy in an attempt to help her.
Rosen interviews Matthew who explains that Tracy's real name is "Alice." Wilson shows up, demanding answers and upsetting Matthew. Meanwhile, Bill discovers that Matthew's sister is not the girl from the subway. But before he can confront Matthew, who is the actual Alpha, he uses his ability to cause a violent outburst between the Alphas, Wilson and his partner. Wilson is killed as a result.
Matthew meets Tracy at the bus station in hopes of leaving with her for Chicago. After taking a preventive dose of Serotonin to resist Matthew's powers, Bill and Hicks arrive and confront him but he uses his ability to start another riot. However, Bill is able to knock him out with a punch after he tries to flee on a bus. He's then taken to the Binghamton facility for treatment.
Back at the Alpha office, Dr. Rosen tells the team that Wilson's rash behavior and lack of trust were partially to blame for his death and that they will continue to search for other Alphas under the supervisor of Agent Sullivan.
I was pleasantly surprised with last week's episode of "Alphas," one that served up a nice mixture of mythology and procedural storytelling. Unfortunately, 'Anger Management' felt more like a generic case-of-the-week than compelling story telling.
Rogue Alpha, Matthew Hurley likes to cause a scene to get his way. A pretty nasty ability and one that played well on screen via some adept directing on the part of Nick Copus. Exactly why Matthew does what he does, is a mystery for the Binghamton team to unravel. As Doc Rosen continues to collect interview tapes of the Binghamton-bound Alphas, it seems likely we'll see some sort of showdown between, or melding of, the Alpha team and their upstate counterparts. However in the meantime, "Alphas" is going to need more than a freak-of-the-week format to hold my interest.
Which is where one of the show's stronger points comes into play. I'm really enjoying the interpersonal interactions between the team members. Gary and Bill are particularly entertaining and Rachel's arranged-marriage predicament is also intriguing. As Doc Rosen reminded Wilson's partner, the Alphas are human. And it's these human quirks and idiosyncrasies that make the team fun to watch, excluding Hicks' and Nina's lame, inevitable hook-up.
What's most promising about "Alphas" at this early stage in its run, is the excellent cast. British actor, Ryan Cartwright is a marvel as the autistic Gary Bell and Malick Yoba and David Strathairn are also particularly strong in their roles. I'm a bit bummed to see Callum Keith Rennie exit so early on, as the gruff, pig-headed federal agent, Don WIlson. But I have faith that his departure will only serve to open up some exciting story telling space, in so far as how the Alphas are perceived by their "handlers."
'Anger Management' was a fine third outing for a show still trying to lure in late comers and establish a fanbase. And for Syfy, a network built on franchises with somewhat daunting mythology ala "Battlestar Gallactica" and "Stargate," there's nothing wrong with a slick, easily digestible genre show that's easy to dip in and out of. But hopefully, Zak Penn and Michael Karnow will soon begin to reward those of us who've been paying attention with a glimpse of "Alphas'" bigger picture.
Crave Online Rating: 8 out of 10.