Alphas is a cable show, which means it’s on a cable budget, which means that it has had to find a way to keep costs down. It could have chosen to slash the per-episode budget to the point where everything looked cheesy and fake. It could have also rotated cast members in and out, but that would have messed with the Alpha team’s dynamic. So instead, it seems as if Alphas has opted to do the occasional bottle episode. “Blind Spot” was exactly that kind of episode, set entirely in Rosen’s team’s office.

I’m usually not very enthusiastic about bottle episodes on a show like Alphas. In order to keep the dramatic stakes high, the show has to find ways of keeping everyone in danger, which is hard to do in the relatively safe setting of their office. The premise of this episode – that Cley wanted to build and use a temporary holding cell in Rosen’s team’s office – was totally unbelievable, seeing as the team has already had problems with rogue Alphas in the office, unless one also believes that Cley is the biggest idiot on the planet (which he may very well be). The premise was also poorly introduced; because no settings other than the office were used, the audience was unceremoniously introduced to the fact that Nina and Cameron somehow captured an Alpha working for Red Flag.

But aside from that and a frustrating plot hole near the end, which I’ll get to in a minute, “Blind Spot” worked very well and was surprisingly contrivance-free. The episode did a good job of upping the tension. Both Kern and Griffin were formidable villains, and their respective portrayers dove into their roles with enthusiasm. (It’s sad how often guest actors look as if they’re half-asleep on shows like these.) I dug their performances, and I dug their characters’ abilities. (Seriously, that echo-location thing was pretty cool.)

There were some nice character beats strung throughout the episode: for Rachel, who finally got to kick some ass; for Bill, who resigned himself to being an Alpha; and especially for Rosen, whose verbal showdown with Kern featured some superb work from David Strathairn. Some actors tend to overplay such confrontations, but Strathairn was pitch-perfect here.

I really enjoyed how this episode played out up until the last few minutes, but then a weird plot hole frustrated me. Once the team knew that Kern was trying to break free by using vibrations, why didn’t one of them go render him unconscious while Rosen stitched up Hicks? Why wait until it was too late? (Maybe Gary’s sleeping gas suggestion would have helped here, ha ha.) I wouldn’t be too irritated with the plot hole, but it’s going to drive a lot of the narrative tension going forward. It’s what allowed Kern to escape, and it’s also the reason Griffin was able kill him. If Kern had stayed put, then there would be no mystery; Kern and Griffin would eventually be forced to spill everything they know about Red Flag to the feds, and the audience would then know exactly what they’re all about. So they either had to escape or die in order to maintain some secrets, but it would have worked a lot better for Griffin’s warning about Kern’s abilities to come too late for Rosen’s team to stop his escape.

Overall, though, “Blind Spot” was very good, not just as a bottle episode but also as an installment of Alphas, and it left us in an interesting place. We now know that Red Flag may not be your typical homogenous organization of evil. Adding mercenaries and fringe interests to the mix adds more layers of complication for Rosen’s team – and the audience – to explore, and I look forward to exploring them.

Advertisements