There are so many wonderful and engaging elements to Alphas. But just like its preceding episodes, "Alphaville" ended up as a mixed bag.
Let’s start with the bad: we learned nothing that wasn’t already known about the machine. It felt like an excuse just to bring Summer Glau back, and while I am all for Summer making a return appearance, it would have been nice for her to at least feel in character. The Alphas sacrificed a lot to help Skylar last season when she and her daughter were trying to escape from the government's clutches.
So while I can see the rest of the camp not being too happy with Rosen, the outing wasn’t that good of an excuse for Skylar. She has far too much built up history with the team to shrug them off like that. I can understand her reasoning and wanting to protect her daughter, but there was a debt to be paid.
And, like the aforementioned, that’s one easy debt to pay considering they already knew what it was.
But at least the good parts of "Alphaville" truly were good. All of the contrived Skylar drama did lead to Stanton Parrish presenting her an offer to join him, and it puts Skylar in a very gray area because she is a continually conflicted character. Her flashlight and conversation with Nina was a great metaphor to those characteristics. At times she is a rebel, and at times she is a mother. In that chat we’re not sure which role she’s playing. Skylar is a rebel at heart, but we saw how much her daughter took priority. Could she try to do both? Be a rebel while using Parrish for his resources?
The other fantastic part of tonight (as well as being a theme recurring throughout the Season 2) is Dr. Rosen’s continually opposing sides of his decisions. Like Skylar, Rosen has a very distinct set of roles that he uses depending on the situation (kudos to David Strathairn for continually showing the weight of those decisions in his actions and delivery). Rosen’s decisions end up always falling into three camps: Stanton Parrish, exposing Alphas to the world and his own team.
With “Alphaville” Rosen ended up having to weigh all three against each other and each time he ended up more and more conflicted. His original mission was to go to Camp Alpha and find out exactly what Stanton was up to with that machine; as time went on he switched to making sure everyone in the camp was all right, but he couldn’t make any progress because no one trusted him after he outed them; and, finally, his focus became less on the Alphas in the camp and more on his own team.
Rinse and repeat, and we’re left with Rosen not sure who to trust other than Bill, and we’re now off on a covert vetting process!