Wow, that was a pretty crazy season finale, wasn’t it? I’m going to try to keep this review relatively short, since the only thing in “Original Sin” that’s worth talking about is its jaw-dropping final five minutes.

Okay, that’s not really true. Even before “Original Sin” reached its stunning conclusion, it was actually quite an excellent episode, Rosen’s daughter aside. So, after the jump, I’ll take a brief look at what happened in this episode before moving on to the implications that its ending could have for next season.

Throughout the season, Alphas has been planting little seeds to be paid off later: divisions within Red Flag; Gary’s relationship with Anna; the team’s increasing mistrust of the government. So, this episode skillfully allows those divisions come to light, with a splinter cell of Red Flag threatening go public. Anna is a part of that cell, and when a government tactical team raids the warehouse where the cell is meeting, Anna is killed, leaving Gary devastated. (The warehouse scenes looked quite nice, by the way. We now know why they had to do all those bottle episodes.)

Of course, Rosen warned the team not to go in; he pieced together that Red Flag’s leader, Stanton Parrish, had set the entire thing up. (Clever plan, by the way.) But Sullivan doesn’t care: a terrorist is a terrorist, and according to her, even splinter cells need to be stopped. Here’s the clever thing about this episode: she’s not necessarily wrong. Rosen disagrees with her, but we know him to be fallible – more on that in a bit – so Rosen’s actions at the end of the episode could be viewed as purely heroic, or as an act of misguided but well-meaning bravery.

“Misguided but well-meaning” describes Rosen’s character well, actually. He’s a kindly old man, so one would think him to be a fountain of wisdom, but in reality, he’s as lost and confused as the rest of his team. He is liable to make mistakes, and he has made several in the past, including how he treated his daughter. Here’s where I have some mixed feelings. As a way of continuing the show’s examination of Rosen’s character and his ethics, of revealing his fallibility, introducing Rosen’s daughter was absolutely masterful. As a way of introducing a new character? Ehh…not so much. Her identity was revealed with a just-before-the-credits “She’s my daughter,” possibly the cheesiest device in the TV playbook, and she never really rose above the quasi-rebellious teenager cliché. But I am curious about what she might be doing with Stanton Parrish.

Which brings me to the final few minutes of the episode, a.k.a. Rosen’s big speech. David Strathairn is a terrific actor, and I don’t think that anyone is going to believe he’s wasting his talents here after watching this episode. But as much as this was a moment for Strathairn to shine, it also introduced a host of questions that make it difficult to surmise what the show will look like next season. (Yes, there is a next season. SyFy renewed the show. Yay!)

As Rosen revealed to the world that Alphas exist, I couldn’t help thinking about Harry Potter. In those stories, the wizarding world is separate from the Muggle, or non-magical, world, and Muggles remain oblivious to wizards’ existence. That’s a good thing. The last thing that series of books needed was more complications, and having Muggles look to magical folk for solutions to their everyday problems could cause major issues.

For this season, Alphas has been like Harry Potter, with regular humans remaining in the dark about Alphas’ existence. But with the world now aware that Alphas exist, things suddenly get a lot more complicated. Who’s going to stop Alphas from being branded as freaks and persecuted? What stops people from forcing Alphas to solve their problems?

More importantly, what the show look like next season? Will Rosen be considered rogue? Will his Alpha team even be operating? Will the show abandon the case-of-the-week format entirely? I’m not totally sure that the show will work if it has to reinvent itself completely.

But I’ll save those concerns for next season. As for this season – in a word: solid. Not groundbreaking television, by any means, but solid. That being said, “Original Sin” was very good, both at paying off the seeds planted earlier in the season and at being a great hour of entertainment in general. So, we’ll see how this all picks up next season, and hopefully, the show will continue rising from here.

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