Last night's episode Alphas — "Never Let Me Go" — wasn't the best episode of Syfy's fledgling drama, but it did cross over with another one of the channel's prime time properties in a brief, oblique nod to Warehouse 13.
Dr. Vanessa Calder (a.k.a. Lindsay Wagner a.k.a. Jaime Sommers) assisted Dr. Rosen and Rachel in investigating a rash of mysterious deaths that have paralyzed a small town.
After last week's mythology-packed showcase of the team's human search engine Gary ("Rosetta"), Alphas returned with a less interesting spotlight on super-senses-afflicted wallflower Rachel. Long story short, Rachel's powers are so potent she can't maintain a romantic relationship — making out isn't fun when you can taste every enzyme in your paramour's saliva.
To cheer her up, Dr. Rosen takes her on a mission to rural Pennsylvania, where the acquaintances of a high-school football equipment boy are keeling over from spontaneous organ failure.
"Rosetta" was a fairly generic entry into the Alphas canon. It had some fun moments (Hicks beating up an entire high school football team using his hyper-reflexes), a dab of comedy (the fact that none of the team knew what government agency they belonged to), and the requisite "believable" superpower (an Alpha who can control people's oxytocin intake).
At the same time, this episode had the feel of a typical "country bumpkin mystery" X-Files episode. But even the crummiest X-Files episodes were buoyed in some way by the charisma of its leads.
Barring Gary — whose story arc last episode suggested he could become a potential antagonist of Dr. Rosen's government backers — characters like Bill, Hicks, and Nina are still unknown quantities. Therefore, it rung hollow when Dr. Rosen and the gang "loved" Rachel back to life, as we still have almost no clue if these characters define their relationships by anything but "mildly irritating co-workers."
Alphas worked well in "Rosetta" when it built the show's gonzo mythology (Red Flag's leader communicates through a hairbrush!) and reveled in the moral ambiguity of the team's mission. We got some of that in "Never Let Me Go" — this episode's Alpha was also shipped off to Binghamton for imprisonment — but the episode mostly focused on a wham-bam-quickly-solved trail of clues. Some more craziness within confines and less straight procedural would benefit the show.