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Mr. Harvey On ALPHAS: The Fall Of Lee Rosen

Episode 2.11 “If Memory Serves”
Episode 2.12 “Need To Know”

[photos: Russ Martin/Syfy]

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

“Senator Burton, I apologize for pushing you. I can assure you we don’t do that without a lot of consideration. But the other option was to blackmail you, with the illegal contribution to your first campaign, or that you had been compromised by Parish’s organization in regards to August Medical. So I decided to have Nina push you because I thought that was the gentler of the options. And I’d like to think that I won’t regret that choice.

And, uh, yes, Senator, you are right. My team is dangerous. And so am I.”


Seriously, if you haven’t seen Episodes 10 -12 of Season 2, step away from the computer.

Because Lee Rosen is going to die.

I don’t want him to die, because Rosen is my favorite character on Alphas, but I really think everything this season has been building up to this.

That’s my prediction for the season finale tonight, and here’s why…

Lee Rosen has become a monster.

Oh, it’s an understandable monstrosity, after all, he’s fighting against the threat of the global holocaust Stanton Parish is planning, and that plan has already cost the life of Rosen’s daughter Dani. Then there’s the fact that he spent months in a psychiatric ward for trying to warn the world about Parish’s threat, and he’s not exactly trusting when it comes to the government he works for. This has led to him keeping secrets from his team and the DOD, and secrets like this have a tendency to breed paranoia.

Alphas - Season 2

Just look at his actions this season.

“Wake Up Call”
When Rosen is released from the institution to deal with the prisoners of Building 7, he basically blackmails the DOD into letting him run the Alpha program as he sees fit.

“The Quick And The Dead”
When Eli is killed by someone, when he has all but surrendered, Rosen begins to doubt that he can trust the DOD, even with his new authority.

“Alpha Dogs”
With Parish’s origins revealed, Rosen attempts to find a common ground with him, but it begins to be clear that while Parish does seem to want Rosen to understand him, he’s not interested in changing his plans, whatever they may be.

“When Push Comes To Shove”
Although he is genuinely trying to save Nina after she loses control and returns to her old ways, Rosen can’t help but notice that her abilities have grown far greater than they had been. This will be something Rosen will use in his battle against Parish, starting in…

When Rosen finds the photic stimulators that Parish is building can be connected to Senator Burton, he asks Nina to push her to get information about Parish, even though he knows that he’s asking her to do exactly what she shouldn’t be doing as she tries to recover from her breakdown. But he more or less guilt trips her into it, once again showing that while he and Parish are worlds apart, Rosen is just as good his enemy at manipulating people to get what he wants.

When Rosen and the team seek out Skylar to see what exactly the photic stimulators do, Rosen again does it without the DOD’s knowledge. When it becomes clear that someone fed Parish’s people information about their trip, Rosen knows they have a mole, and asks Bill to vet everyone, but not to tell the rest of the team.

“Gods And Monsters”
Rosen’s trust issues are contagious, as Bill suggests they not bring Cley in on their suspicions yet. And when Parish offers and asks for help dealing with the out of control Jason, Rosen does so under the threat of harm to his daughter, Danielle. Meanwhile, his repeated use of Nina to get information from the Senator is having serious side effects… effects that have Nina concerned that she is doing real damage to Burton’s mind. And when Rosen and Parish share memories through Jason, it becomes clear that the mole in the team is Rosen’s daughter.

Forced to deal with the fact that Dani is working with Parish, Rosen first tries to use Nina to help him get her out of the country before Cley and the DOD figure out she’s the mole. When he ultimately decides that Dani must face what she’s done, he fakes a message to her from Parish and has her arrested. But he has plans for her that don’t involve her being sent to Binghamton.

“The Devil Will Drag You Under”
And those plans involve sending her back to Parish, this time as Rosen’s mole. While Dani is eager to help, it’s clear that Rosen has really given her no other option, and worse, has kept this plan from the team until it was a done deal, earning him Hicks wrath and angering Bill by keeping him out of the loop. He makes that question of trust worse when he goes to Hicks and asks him to go in and get Dani out, posing as a defector from Rosen’s team. Using Nina, first to place mental blocks in Hicks’ mind so Parish’s pet telepath can’t see the truth, and then to keep the team from realizing what he and Hicks are up to, Rosen manages to both get Hicks in a position to rescue Dani, and alienate Bill and the others even more.

But when Dani insists on stopping Parish’s plan, which will result in the death of millions of New Yorkers, Hicks and Rosen have no choice but to bring the others in, and while they do stop the bombs from doing the worst damage, Parish still detonates them, killing Dani. As the team stands shocked, Rosen holds his broken daughter’s body.

“Life After Death”
As everyone struggles to deal with Dani’s death, Rosen begins to accelerate his plans to stop Parish, but more and more, he does it without letting the DOD in, still not trusting them. While he too is broken by Dani’s death, and is struggling with his own feelings of guilt, blaming himself for getting her killed, his desire for revenge is clear, and while he and Hicks have been at each others throats over what both of them let happen, they both agree, no courts, no prison… Stanton Parish must die.

“If Memory Serves”
And here’s where it all begins to come to a head. While the DOD moves against Parish’s Alphas, using Nina to pull information out of scores of them, Rosen is running his own private operation, mostly without the full knowledge of the team. Finding an address that could provide him with critical information, Rosen sends Hicks and Kat to find out what’s so special about it, while he deals with the consequences of having the hunt for Parish becoming such a priority for the government: The involvement of Senator Burton.

And here we see something quite chilling. When Burton thanks Rosen for providing her doctors with the means to reverse her brain damage, he realizes that Nina has all but given away the fact that they were Pushing Burton repeatedly. Instead of being pleased that Nina was putting the Senator’s health first, Rosen is angry that helping her could get them both thrown in prison, and demands that Nina push her again. When she refuses, he orders her to go home until the Senator leaves, but it’s too late… Burton has put the pieces together, and threatens to expose what Rosen has done.

“Your team is more dangerous than the Alphas they go after. And you–you–are the worst. You use them to assault innocents under a pretense of justice.”

Rosen responds with that little bit at the top, and he’s right, he is dangerous. And she’s right too… Rosen has reached the point where he will do anything, possibly sacrifice anyone, to stop Parish. When Hicks and Kat return with Mitchell, an Alpha who serves as sort of memory back-up for Parish, Rosen sees a way to hurt him much more personally than before, and the revelation that Parish did care about Dani, and does truly believe that he is helping make a better world reveals his humanity… a humanity that Rosen will use against him. They start with burning down the house that they found Mitchell in, the house that Parish built with his father, the house that is the only place Parish feels at home. And when Hicks tells Rosen that Parish will come after Mitchell, Rosen, the flames flickering across his face, tells him that is the plan.

“Need to Know”
As scattered attacks on power stations across the city signal the beginnings of Parish’s plan, Rosen is forced to put his own plans in motion, further driving wedges between him and Bill, as he takes Hicks, Nina and Rachel on a mission that Bill would never agree to. He chemically wipes the memories that Mitchell was carrying, then leaks the word that the DOD is moving him. When Scipio and his team go to rescue him they succeed to a point: Mitchell is freed from the DOD, but Rosen has Scipio. While he uses Nina, and pushes her far further than she’s ever been before, Parish finds that Rosen has taken his memories, hitting him in a personal way that no one ever has before.

When Nina’s abilities prove ineffective to breaking through the mental blocks protecting Scipio’s knowledge of Parish’s whereabouts, Rosen finally moves into outright torture, forcing Scipio to turn his burning powers onto himself. Rachel, having had enough, and not being able to accept what Rosen is willing to do, calls Bill. Leaving Rachel and Nina behind, Rosen and Hicks use the knowledge ripped from Scipio to find Parish’s bunker, and there discover that the scale of Parish’s plan is far greater than they realized.

The photic stimulators were the beginning. Each of them can trigger a major power boost in an Alpha, as well as trigger Alpha abilities in those who haven’t yet manifested them. But normal humans, those without the Alpha genes, exposed to the stimulators? They will die by the millions. And under the guise of the power plant attacks, miniaturized versions of the stimulators, developed by an unwilling Skylar, have been placed in power stations across the country. When Parish triggers them, normal humanity will be all but wiped out, leaving only Alphas. When Rosen goes on his own to stop Parish, he sends Hicks back to a very angry Bill, and the team turns it’s attention to stopping the stimulators. Rosen finds Mitchell at the bunker, and discovers that Parish has given him a new memory, referring to changing the world from “A god’s eye view”. Just missing Parish leaving, Rosen tries to give chase, but is shot at by one of Parish’s men, and as the DOD closes in, Rosen realizes that one of the bullets hit its mark, and that he’s been shot in the stomach.

So why do I think Lee Rosen is going to die?

Because he’s not James Bond or Jack Bauer, he’s not any of those fictional anti-heroes that we root for so often these days. Those guys will kill and torture and not blink an eye, but Lee Rosen is a psychiatrist, a man driven to help people, to help Alphas, a gentle man, a kind man. He’s a man who has put all of those things aside to stop the man who threatens everything he holds dear, the man who killed his only child. He’s been damaged by what’s happened to him, and that damage, well, I’m not sure there’s a way back.

It’s something we don’t see often these days… a hero who is twisted by events into becoming a monster. Sure, he’s our monster, but by becoming that, he’s lost who he is. This isn’t a Dexter, who has always been a psychopath, and yet uses his monstrosity to kill other monsters. This is a man who has made choices, and some of them have been very bad choices, choices that have cost him trust and faith and family. This is a man whose actions have consequences that don’t just disappear when the story is done. This is a man who stared into the Abyss, and found it staring back.

I like Lee Rosen, and I’ve been loving David Strathairn’s performance.

I just don’t know if there’s any way the good doctor can survive what he’s become.


[Official Show Site at Syfy]     [Previous recap]

Timothy Harvey

Timothy Harvey is a Kansas City based writer, director, actor and editor, with something of a passion for film noir movies. He was the art director for the horror films American Maniacs, Blood of Me, and the pilot for the science fiction series Paradox City. His own short films include the Noir Trilogy, 9 1/2 Years, The Statement of Randolph Carter - adapted for the screen by Jason Hunt - and the music video for IAMEVE’s Temptress. He’s a former President and board member for the Independent Filmmakers Coalition of Kansas City, and has served on the board of Film Society KC.

One thought on “Mr. Harvey On ALPHAS: The Fall Of Lee Rosen

  • I love this show. It;s one of my favorite. Who is your favorite character?


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