EPISODE REVIEW: Alphas: "The Unusual Suspects" (Episode 10)

Jim Stiles
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On the day that I write this review, it has been 10 years and 9 days since September 11, 2001. In that period of time, we have seen airline passengers viewed by their government as common criminals and terrorists. Because a Muslim terrorist can, theoretically, look like anyone, all passengers are screened with X-rays or patted down like inmates. This type of paranoia was explored in this episode by featuring a shape-shifter Alpha who impersonated Dr. Rosen for most of the episode and even impersonated Gary for a short time.

Shape-shifters are a common occurrence in science fiction. Frank Herbert's Dune series of novels and other stories featured face dancers who could mimic both males and females in every detail. What separates the shape-shifters in science fiction from the shape-shifter in this episode of Alphas is that the shape-shifters in science fiction were products of technology. Face dancers were designed and grown by the Bene Tleilax in lobotomized and drugged Bene Tleilax females. The shape-shifter in this Alphas episode was, like Lady Gaga, born that way. As I have said in an earlier review, evolution may be able to do many things, but it will not give your descendants a chest cannon or the ability to directly read Wi-Fi signals. Furthermore, in the Dune series, careful observers of humanity, like a Kwisatz Haderach or a Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother, could identify a face dancer. The shape-shifting Alpha was a perfect match in everything, except for blood type, which allowed him to be identified by the team member who had supersensitive hearing and smell.

In this episode, the police handler of the Alphas team is convinced that there is a traitor in the group passing information to Red Flag. After the fake Dr. Rosen convinced the other team members to escape the mental hospital where they were being held, he caused two team members to fight so that he could take Gary back to their office. With Gary convinced that he was with Dr. Rosen, he almost deleted some crucial information about certain Red Flag operators from the office's intranet.

Without the Alphas team's police handler willingness to use live ammo against the team, a team member's ability to visually detect blood type, and fast thinking by the real Dr. Rosen, the terrorists in this episode would have succeeded in accomplishing their goals. Unfortunately, detecting terrorists in the real world is not as easy. Since September 11, 2001, the government has installed a vast security apparatus in the United States that has only been marginally effective in preventing terrorist attacks, and the paranoia continues.

Will conservatives and libertarians like this episode?

Maybe, some conservatives and most libertarians will see the parallels to the negative aspects of post-9/11 America.