EPISODE REVIEW: Alphas: "A Short Time In Paradise" (Episode 8)

Jim Stiles
Jim Stiles's picture

Before I start in the actual review of this episode, I would like to state the following facts about myself. I believe in one triune God. I trust Jesus Christ as my personal lord and savior. I believe in the inerrancy and infallibility of the Biblical monographs. I believe that the Westminster Standards are the best available summary of the Christian faith.

Where I differ from most of my fellow Christians is my doubt about the wisdom of religious freedom as practiced in the United States. Now, I do not believe in Christian Reconstructionism, nor do I support a Church established by the federal or state government. Neither am I fearful of the atheists, agnostics, or secular humanists. I worry about the excesses of new religious movements. The United States has seen dangerous new religious movements arise from the fevered writings of a science fiction author, the pseudo-archaeological discovery of documents pertaining to Israelites in the Americas, and other fraudulent activities.

After an opener where a church goes up in flames during a worship service, this episode shows Bill trying, unsuccessfully, to convince Dr. Rosen that the Alphas team needs to learn basic police techniques. Dr. Rosen replies that he has consciously chosen to never fire a gun.

This episode of Alphas is about a new religious movement started by, guess what, an Alpha. This Alpha has the ability to quote random Latin phrases that induce a state of euphoria in the listener. Cameron listens to the Alpha during an AA meeting and later tricks Nina into coming to the Alpha's mansion to listen to the Alpha. During the resulting state of euphoria, Cameron and Nina finally consummate their relationship. Dr. Rosen accidentally seems them naked and happy to see him.

Repeated doses of this euphoria result in the listener entering a catatonic state similar to what was described in the Robin Williams movie about the work of Oliver Sacks, Awakenings. Like the patients in Awakenings, these catatonic listeners responded well to the drug L-dopa. Once the Alpha religious leader learns that the L-dopa reverses both the catatonic and euphoric states, he declares that the L-dopa is a poison that is reversing what he is trying to do and locks it in his desk.

Meanwhile, some his catatonic listeners start to die, and the Alpha religious leader believes that him and the remainder of his flock needs to be purified by flame. While the listeners are spreading gasoline throughout the mansion, Dr. Rosen retrieves the L-dopa and a pistol from the locked desk and is forced by the listeners to face the conflagration with the listeners. To prevent the Alpha religious leader from killing everyone, Dr. Rosen kills the leader with the pistol and injects the listeners with the L-dopa so that they can escape.

Will conservatives and libertarians like this episode?

Yes, especially those who, like myself, are interested in new religious movements.