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Headscratchers: Alphas
  • Why is Nina not in the compound? In her own words, the compound is for Alphas that misuse their powers. In her first scene she forces a policeman to eat a ticket (and the carbon copy), she lives rent free and "borrows" cars. And it isn't like she would keep it a secret. To repeat that: she mind controls people into giving her things worth hundreds of thousands of $ (rent in NY alone). And this despite the fact that she seems to try to atone for something she did in the past.
    • The compound is for Alphas that misuse their powers, making them a danger to themselves and/or those around them. Nina doesn't hurt anyone, not directly anyway, and she's under Rosen's protection. By the same logic, you could argue Gary is hurting people by using his powers to steal cable and internet service.
      • There is a difference. The stunt with the ticket was outright vicious. She could have just ordered him to forget the whole thing, ignore it or something. Maybe I am just annoyed that she uses mind control for personal gain since I don't care as long as she is using her abilities to help the team. And Gary is not on the same level as her.
      • Gary is nevertheless guilty of a slew of privacy violations, theft, and other somewhat petty electronic crimes. But he is not malicious. Nina making that cop eat the ticket was excessive, yes, but hardly vicious. Bit of a dick move, perhaps even a bit vindictive if she feels entitled, but harmless overall.
    • By that logic, Hicks should definitely be in the compound; he's the only member of the team so far who has actually killed someone, albeit while under mind control.
    • In the pilot there was definite talk of sending Hicks to the compound, but Rosen stood up for him, and there's also the fact he was completely brainwashed at the time and seems to be very socially responsible otherwise. Gary, likewise, might constantly commit multiple low-level privacy violations, but a) no one else really knows about it because it's all inside his head and b) he's not really inclined to do anything substantial with the data he has (sort of like how everyone's internet searches and web activity are very easily traced in real life, but few people really care because they don't know about it and no one ever uses it against them). Nina's behavior and her power in general would definitely the most troubling, especially from the perspective of a government handler. I figure the ticket incident and her actively using her power to get stuff without paying money for it are used to indicate the morally grey nature of Nina's character and the fact that she seems to have a pretty harsh anti-authoritarian streak. Or it could have just been a one-off joke.
      • Anyway, an in-story justification would probably be that her power is useful enough that the government is willing to tolerate a little larceny and other antics on her part as long as she doesn't do anything that would draw headlines or attention to her.
    • It's brought up in-canon by Rosen that the government is afraid of her, so they probably allow her leeway since she's just as much as asset as a liability.
    • The government's entire approach to alphas is corrupt. Remember Eric, the truth-detector? His bad deed was using his ability to tell if someone was bluffing; he was imprisoned for being too good at poker.
      • It's stated that Eric was a con-man. Depending on the cons he pulled, the punishment may or may not fit the crime.

  • Isn't "activating the fight or flight response" basically just a panic attack? Wouldn't Matthew's powers be more likely to result in a room full of cowering people thinking they're having heart attacks and trying to escape instead of an orgy of violence?
    • While the fear response is essentially a panic, it would most likely just put people on extreme edge, rather than the specific cognitive responses such as escape. I ignore the fight or flight handwave and just think of it as rage pheromones, or attack pheromones they paralleled from the beginning.

  • Okay, so Matthew has the power to cause a Hate Plague with pheromones. Sure. However, Rachel can smell those pheromones in the air or on objects. How come they don't affect her every time she uses her power?
    • Her senses can pick up minute traces, but even super-sensitive smell is not enough for them to actually work any more effectively. You and I, for example, may not be able to smell the same, but the concentration of the particles we smell remains constant even if you can detect it better than I.

  • Does Gary's ability come with an off switch? So far, every Alpha they've shown has been able to turn their powers on or off as they so desire, and I always thought Gary could do it too. But then Anna launched her information overload attack on him to knock him unconscious. It occurred to me when I saw that "Why didn't he just not tune in to what she was sending?" Is he not able to?
    • Well, the first answer that comes to mind is that Gary spends so much time "online" that he's forgotten where the mental off switch is.
    • Gary says himself that his power comes from an abnormally developed region of his brain. Depending on how this connects to his primary senses, he may not be able to shut it off, anymore than a normal human could stop seeing or hearing (you can plug your ears and close your eyes, but it only helps so much).
    • We've seen a few Gary scenes where he clearly turns on his powers. It also appears that he needs to be fairly close to an active device that's sending out a signal of some kind.
      • We've seen the graphic come up, but there's no indication he's just flipping a switch to turn them on.
    • Gary's ability is a sense, just like hearing or sight. Are you constantly bombarded by all the sounds around you, all the time, or do you tune them out unless you've got a reason to pay attention?
      • The thing people fail to realize is that Gary in fact DID have a reason to pay attention: he detected her doing something and wanted to know what it was. She then bombarded him. In fact it's more like smelling than seeing or hearing: once you smell something you can't get rid of it, and it can overpower you easily.
    • Didn't Gary say once that if he was 'online' for too long he'd get a headache? So that sort of indicates he can turn it on or off.
      • It's not given much explicit mention, but Gary is doing far more than sensing the electromagnetic spectrum. He's mentally translating the signals that he senses into comprehensible information, an immense feat for anything other than AM radio broadcasts, and especially huge for digital signals. Spending too much time concentrating on that would surely give him a headache, much like intense concentration for long duration would do for anyone. He can turn his ability off in the sense that he stops concentrating on making sense of the signals around him and just relaxes, but that doesn't protect him from being aware of them, such as the humming that he couldn't escape in the early episodes.
      • It was also shown in an episode where they are looking for Skylar to help with the photostim they were investigating, that Gary doesn't like being away from the signals in the same way that lack of sound unnerves people. So, it may very well be like a sense to him.

  • Episode 5 will have Lindsay Wagner appearing as her character from Warehouse 13. Setting this in the same universe as W13 and Eureka really doesn't fit.
    • Why not? They all have specific, well designated areas with very little crossover, plus Warehouse 13 already has people with enhanced skills (Pete's premonitions and Jinx's ability to tell when someone is lying).
      • Additionally, in the episode Lindsay Wagner does hint that she has suspicions of an artifact in the cases. Plus, the circumstances would hint that she forced her involvement under these suspicions. She is the Warehouse doctor after all, and in her previous Warehouse episode does help find an artifact.
      • Stating a viewpoint without a developed argument is bad form. All three can easily be expanded to include each other.
    • To me, it's a question of tone. Alphas is a relatively dark and serious show. Warehouse 13 and Eureka are more humorous and light-hearted (though Warehouse 13 does have its darker moments, it's less serious than Alphas). To have them all take place in the same universe seems...off, somehow.
      • It is a classic technique of shared universes (like cape comics) to have the light and the dark in separate storylines. Full on crossovers can cause problems.
      • (Original troper who posted the headscratcher here) the tone or "feel" of the show not mixing with the other 2 is what made me say them all being the same verse doesn't "fit". After watching the episode it seemed her characters appearance was an after thought, she was only there for the purpose of establishing this show is connected to the others. The other thing is that it means there are all these "big bad" groups happening at the same time (Red Flag, whoever the mystery enemy are in W13 etc).
      • What's so unbelievable about multiple evil organizations running in parallel for different goals? These people aren't going to be working together, so it's hardly inconceivable that they could exist at the same time.
      • I didn't mean to impy it's unbelievable just something else them all sharing a verse means. It probably should mean at least one case where one bad group is aware of another (the way Eureka works with the Warehouse). i'm not particularly bugged by it at all.
      • The Sarah Jane Adventures, Doctor Who, and Torchwood all share a universe while having wildly different tones and battling various bad guys without crossing paths too much. (Even if you consider that The Doctor is busy flitting through time and space, every one of Sarah Jane's adventures should have at least pinged on Torchwood's radar.) I don't see why Eureka, Warehouse 13, and Alphas can't coexist similarly.
      • Perhaps more to the point How do you have opulence and poverty existing side by side in Real Life? We have democracies in one part of our meta story and autocracies in another. combine that w/good and bad days and our qorld looks very poorly written.
      • Eureka doesn't work with the Warehouse. Fargo thought it was a myth until Mrs. Fredrick approached him.
      • Tone schmone. Reference: Divine vs Hitler. Same universe (ours no less!) totally different tone to their lives and careers.
    • To me, the problem was in having Lindsay be the only Warehouse13 character to appear. I missed part of the episode, was she the one who alerted Rosen's team? Shouldn't she have called in Pete & Myka and Jinx because of suspected Artifact activity?
      • She didn't alert them. They didn't even expect her to be there.
      • It's been established that Artie has a protocol for determining whether or not an Artifact is responsible for weirdness (maybe nobody smelled fudge). Most likely he simply realized that this particular weirdness was not his department.
      • Do you realize that regents do have day job? And this particular is working for CDC. She was there as CDC employee, alerted by series of bizarre deaths. This of course make CDC Oddly Small Organization which can't dispatch more then one expert to area of suspected decease outbreak, but still.
    • My only Head Scratcher with the Warehouse13/Alphas/Eureka shared universe has nothing to do with Warehouse13 (who have their secret purview which rarely crosses into the others). My question is why Rosen (expert in Alpha phenomenon) and/or genius level Alphas aren't relocated to Eureka. Skylar and Zoe would be right at home there (apart from the One Steve Limit with Zoe). Even Skylar's antiauthoritarianism would find a kindred spirit with Zane.

  • How did a super-advanced sense of hearing allow Kearns to turn into Banshee? Rhythmic breathing at resonant frequencies?
    • It didn't. His echolocation ability, however, did.

  • My question is how do shared universes handle a Broken Masquerade from a single storyline?
    • I think they're only shared in the sense of "Hey, look, a crossover that will pull in viewers from that other popular show! Now let's never ever mention it again."
      • That's rather snide don't you think? It would help explain some things either universe. Possibly, it's too early to say.
      • Actually, I was trying to be funny about something that's rather cynical. Someone earlier mentioned the difference in tone, and I think they're exactly right: IMHO, the only reason they crossed Alphas and Warehouse 13 was because they had already crossed W13 and Eureka, and SyFy wanted a hat trick with their Monday night lineup. W13 and Eureka were SyFy productions from day one, and Alphas was not — hence, the difference in tone and the shoehorned feel of the crossover (the other two had whole-episode C/Os, rather than a quick cameo). I'm a fan of all three shows, but Alphas is pretty much a separate canon. (Or look at it this way: Why isn't Eureka's FTL drive all over the papers on Warehouse 13? Because despite occasional convergence, the two shows are functionally independent of each other.)
      • tl;dr: The crossover was due to Executive Meddling and will not have an effect on either show.
    • I'm guessing that the characters in the other two shows already have more than their share of weirdness to deal with and are simply doing what they've always done while other people deal with problems that aren't strictly in their purview. Still, Alphas has only been around for one season, so perhaps they'll do more with crossovers later on one or more of the series.
      • There is a problem with that though. Unlike the other shows where weird stuff does happen, Alphas has basically superheroes existing in the world. Considering that both Pete and Fargo are huge comic book fans, you would think at least one of them would comment on the fact that super powers are suddenly confirmed as existing.

  • How in the world has Rachel not blown her eardrums in any show involving her super hearing and gun shots? Also, the episode where she hears "Four people, three men and one women." How does she hear gender? I'd get smell but isn't she only able to up one of her senses at one time?
    • Well, for one thing, men and women tend to have different sounding voices.
      • They weren't talking, they were running.
      • She may be able to differentiate based on how they were running, the way they were huffing, or the way their clothes moved on their bodies. She has shown she is capable of parsing the information she gets from her senses, and she may have studied or practiced to expand the scope of her abilities.
    • There is a slight difference in the way male and female hearts beat, enough that a heart surgeon who knows what to look for can identify the sex of a patient from an ECG printout. Rachel has doubtless made sure that she knows how to hear the difference.
    • Depends on how her enhanced senses work. If her senses amplify the sounds than it would probably be extremely dangerous but this seems unlikely given her abilities as a whole. If she's simply more sensitive to them or her brain processes it better, it wouldn't really cause any extra physical harm just mental harm (ie it's annoying). 10 decibels of sound would always sound like 10 dbs to her. She just hears it 'better'.

  • Is anyone else put off by the really weak reason Nina went nuts? I mean yes, it's horrible that her father did what he did when she pushed him, but how does that even remotely excuse all the men that she kidnapped at at the very least sexually assaulted. At least one of which has a wife and son?
    • Rosen is very clear that her ability is like an addiction. Her use of it snowballs out of control until she can't see what she's become.

  • Gary being sent to the compound after he lashes out as his NSA co-workers. Isn't Building 7 explicitly reserved for dangerous Alphas who misuse their abilities to harm others? I'm not saying it wasn't wrong for him to attack his co-workers, but he didn't use his Alpha ability to hurt them in any way. It hardly seems like a compound-level offense. Wouldn't an ordinary psychiatric facility have been a better choice?
    • I just assume that one of the people he attacked had the authority to send him there and was enough of a spiteful dick to do so.

  • Apparently Rosen's attempt to bring public attention to the existence of Alphas did far more harm than good. One Alpha explicitly tells him that his life was ruined by it. Does that make sense? I would think it would be a relief for an Alpha to finally not have to hide his gifts or pretend to be something he's not. That kind of hostility would make sense in something like the Marvel Comics universe, where anti-super prejudice is violent and public, but not in this more naturalistic universe. What's going on there? Is the unseen secret war going on between the government and Red Flag not as secret as we've been led to believe?
    • Like X-Men, I'm going to cross social issues and assume that it's like outing someone during a time of social prejudice. Look at the start of Season 2, it may have been a crazy person but how likely do you think it is that there are many people afraid of someone who can "stop more than cars"?

  • Am I wrong in thinking Kerns' plan was horribly misguided? The vitamins he supplied, containing his DNA would more than likely have made debilitating birth defects than anything like an Alpha ability.
    • Alpha abilities technically are birth defects, and being a member of Red Flag means he probably has enough knowledge that the defects/abilities would balance out.
    • Though it's been a while since I saw the episode, I got the impression he was the sort to go, "If we get ten more Alphas at the cost of crippling a hundred mundanes, that's a win for our side."

  • How old is Kat supposed to be? She seems to have gotten around quite a bit for someone who's...what? 16? 17? Or maybe a side-effect of her Alpha power is slower aging?
    • The actress who plays her is older than she appears, she's around 24. The character itself is debatable since she doesn't have a grasp on her past, we have no idea how old she is. I am going to assume late teens, early twenties.

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