Stars: David Strathairn, Ryan Cartwright, Warren Christie, Warren Christie, Azita Ghanizada, Laura Mennell, Malik Yoba, Valerie Cruz, Lianne Balaban
Writer: Zak Penn, series created by Zak Penn & Michael Karnow
Director: Karen Gaviola
Network: Syfy, Mondays @ 10 PM
Airdate: August 1, 2011
Credit ALPHAS with using science fiction to good and controversial allegorical purpose, although this episode has a pivotal plot twist we can see coming. It’s hard to blame writer Zak Penn for this – there’s a moment where we realize that the story can go down one of two paths, and he naturally picks the more interesting one.
The Alpha terrorist organization Red Flag causes a blackout while Dr. Rosen (David Strathairn) and his team are closing in on them. Our Alphas nevertheless close in on a residential house. The Red Flag fighters are gone, but the group find Anna (Liane Balaban), a young woman who cannot speak, has mobility difficulties and seems to be severely autistic, repeatedly stroking the bristles of hairbrushes in what appear to be compulsive movements. However, mildly autistic Gary (Ryan Cartwright) can “see” the sounds Anna is making with her actions and soon realizes she is communicating very coherently. In fact, Anna can speak every language on Earth, as Rosen soon discovers, though Gary is the only one who can interpret for her.
Red Flag has put out a manifesto objecting to a new drug intended to prevent birth defects – that will also prevent the birth of babies with Alpha qualities. Rosen and the team try to zero in on and prevent a Red Flag plot to blow up a fuel truck in protest. Anna urges Garyto become more independent and to stand up for himself, with the upshot that Gary refuses to leave when Nina (Laura Mennell) tries to get him to come back to Rosen. However, when Gary realizes that Anna has given him a false piece of code, he quickly deduces that Anna is working with the Red Flag faction. Actually, Anna tells him, she runs Red Flag.Gary is able to lead Rosen and the field team, including sharpshooter Cameron (Warren Christie) and FBI man Bill (Malik Yoba), to the truck in time, but due to the dedication of the Red Flag members, it gets blown up anyway, taking the bombers with it. Anna causes Gary’s brain to overload and escapes (presumably rescued by more Red Flag members) while he is on the floor in agony. Rosen has very mixed feelings about what has happened, especially as he now knows that Red Flag has cells all over the country.Gary has privately benefited from his time with Anna, though – he now is a little more able to take care of himself and he knows that Anna still considers him a friend.
With “Rosetta” – the episode is named for Anna’s Rosetta Stone-like ability to understand languages and Gary’s ability to understand her unique communication style – ALPHAS once more plunges into areas of commendable moral gray. We deplore Anna’s tactics, but we understand why she feels so threatened. The episode gets big points for coming up with something we haven’t seen (or heard) before in the ways Anna and Gary communicate with each other. The one drawback is that we can guess long before it is revealed that Anna is running the Red Flag faction, because we have enough time to notice that she doesn’t seem to have any other plot function. Yes, Anna is befriending Gary, but it’s so clear that this is the A story that we know there has to be more to it from the outset. The revelation consequently falls a little flat. Otherwise, this is a strong and intriguing episode that creates suspense and character development in ways that are unique to ALPHAS, both the show and the people.
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Article Source: Assignment X
Article: Review: ALPHAS – Season 1 – “Rosetta”