Stars: David Strathairn, Ryan Cartwright, Warren Christie, Warren Christie, Azita Ghanizada, Laura Mennell, Malik Yoba, Mahershalalhashbaz Ali, Devon Graye, Callum Keith Rennie
Writers: Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe, series created by Zak Penn & Michael Karnow
Director: Nick Copus
Network: Syfy, Mondays @ 10 PM
Airdate: July 25, 2011
While not as morally gray as last week’s episode – maybe because this week’s antagonist has caused much more harm with much less cause – “Anger Management” has a lot of strong scenes. Director Nick Copus seems to have picked up on some thematic similarities with 28 DAYS LATER/28 WEEKS LATER and staged certain sequences accordingly.
When mild annoyances turn into a full-fledged riot on a New York subway train, complete with multiple fatalities, the incident is soon linked to three other cases. Dr. Lee Rosen (David Strathairn) and his team of Alphas are called in to investigate what seems to be the work of another Alpha. Using her sense of smell, Rachel (Azita Ghanizada) detects pheromones that have caused the outbreak of aggression. Gary (Ryan Cartwright) monitors video footage that suggests the culprit is a young woman, Tracy.
Garyis able to track Tracy to a youth hostel, but as Rosen and the team close in, Tracy runs out of the building pursued by a young man, Matthew (Devon Graye), who begs her to stop and speak with him. Tracy flees in a taxi, but Rosen and the group pick up Matthew and bring him back to the offices. Matthew says Tracy is his sister – he is the only one immune to her abilities. However, when Rosen’s government handler Don Wilson (Callum Keith Rennie) arrives and tries to take over the situation, it turns out that Matthew is actually the Alpha. He releases pheromones that cause everyone to attack each other – only Bill (Malik Yoba) is immune.
Don is killed by one of his own men in the chaos and Matthew escapes. Tracy plans to take a bus out of the city. Matthew finds her at the bus station, and Tracy says that she’s trying to get away from him. Matthew doesn’t take this well, but Rosen has dosed Hicks with serotonin and this time, Matthew is delivered to the government, who will take him to the secure facility at Binghamton. The Alphas in Rosen’s group worry about their future, but Rosen assures them they will all thrive – nobody except Alphas could have contained the situation.
“Anger Management” has some great grace notes and payoffs. Rachel having a meltdown in Farsi over the phone at her mother is not only a swell character moment, it provides the impetus for Rachel to move in with Nina (Laura Mennell), while Gary’s persistent griping about a noise only he can hear leads to a surprising bonding moment between him and Hicks.
The havoc caused by Matthew is pretty intense, certainly for television this side of premium cable, with some brutal beatings that are shot and cut in ways that provide maximum nerve-jangling impact. This brings a visceral component to what could otherwise be simply a cerebral exercise in catching a malefactor.
Commendably, ALPHAS never loses sight of how individual characters react to different scenarios. By the end of “Anger Management,” Nina is more concerned than ever about how she may be viewed by the government, while Bill identifies less with being an Alpha than he does with being an FBI agent. It’s all nuanced, layered and very good.
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Article: Review: ALPHAS – Season 1 – “Anger Management”