Episode Title: 'The Unusual Suspects'
Writer: Marc Bernardin
Director: J. Miller Tobin
Outside of Gary's house, he and Doc Rosen (David Strathairn) are taken down by a group of armed men in tactical gear. Bill (Malik Yoba) is also attacked in a parking lot. At Alpha HQ, Rachel (Azita Ghanizada), Nina (Laura Mennell) and Hicks (Warren Christie) are also suppressed by the same group. The team members wake up to find themselves in separate cells. Nathan Clay (Mahershalalhashbaz Ali) tells Rosen he and the team are at the Binghamton facility where he intends to figure out who "the traitor" is. Clay believes a member of the Alpha team is responsible for assisting Red Flag in the multiple murders of members of the government's infamous MK-Ultra team.
Clay systematically questions each of the Alphas with the help of Eric Latreaux, an Alpha who can read faces. Deciding to try a different approach, Clay puts the Alphas together in a room and hoping they'll sniff out the traitor among them. He tells the team if they don't give up the trader, he'll send them all to "building seven," where they place the most extreme Alpha cases.
Doc Rosen hints to the team that they need to make an escape and traces a message to Nina on a table about reading the door codes. After Rosen suffers a back injury, Clay has the Alphas returned to their respective cells. Bill and Hicks put up a fight as Nina gets the code. The team takes out the guards and makes an escape. Clay has a sniper trained on the Alphas but he decides to let them go rather than shoot them down.
Bill leads the team to an old FBI crime bust location to hideout. Rosen claims to knows who the traitor is. Gary (Ryan Cartwright) learns that Clay is en route to the warehouse. Rosen issues an ultimatum to the traitor to come forward or be turned over to Clay. He accuses Hicks, whose been making large deposits into his bank account lately, of being the traitor. Hicks punches Rosen and a fight breaks out between Bill and Hicks, who claims it's not him. Clay and his team bust in and hold the team at gunpoint. Rosen tells Clay that Hicks is the traitor and says he needs to get Gary out of the warehouse immediately. Rachel tells Clay that Rosen is actually an impostor after noticing that the blood on the floor doesn't match Rosen's type.
The real Doc Rosen awakens in a room where he quickly grabs a needle off a medical tray. When the Alpha who killed the MK Ultra members attempts to kill him, Rosen stabs him with the needle. Meanwhile, the impostor Rosen tells Gary to erase the MK Ultra files. Before he can, the real Rosen arrives and tells Gary to get away from the impostor, an Alpha who can change his facial and body structure. The impostor takes Gary's form but the ruse doesn't work on the team who apprehends him. However, he makes an escape before Clay can take him in. Clay suggests Eric work for Rosen after his release and warns Rosen about Red Flag's increasing efforts to infiltrate the Alpha team.
Back at Alpha HQ, former minor league baseball star Hicks explains to the team that his extra income is from signing autographs. Moments later, Bill suddenly collapses to the ground.
Red Flag strikes again but the nagging question still remains: who the heck are these guys and what exactly do they want?
"The Unusual Suspects" is a great example of what works with "Alphas" and what doesn't. The ensemble cast definitely play well with each other and there's some really interesting dynamics within several relationships inside the team. As crime fighting crews go, the Alpha gang is a fun bunch to watch.
On the other hand, the team's place in the show's greater mythology remains fuzzy. Yes, we know Red Flag is the enemy (or are they?) but we're still no closer to finding out exactly what their agenda is, aside from meddling in the DODs own Alpha operations. Who is their leader? Where do they operate out of and why the name "Red Flag" to begin with?
At times, it feels like the story is geared more towards letting the Alphas, and Bill, in particular this week, flex their muscles and exercise their unique abilities, than engaging the viewer in the plot. Sure, Bill's high flying karate kicks are fun to watch but I'd rather learn more about the Alphas' origins or their ever-present enemy, Red Flag, than watch a bunch of ultimately meaningless action sequences.
Up to this point,"Alphas" has functioned largely as an episodic series, with an over-arcing storyline laced in and out, week to week. With a second season locked in on a network whose viewers tend to be fans of serialized genre shows, it would do "Alphas" well to take us into the deep end and dive into its larger mythology. The show's spent more than enough time with set up. Here's hoping next week's season finale pays at least some if off.
Crave Online Rating: 7 out of 10.