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"There are six billion people on planet Earth, ordinary folks like you and me, but if you look around carefully, you might find that some of these "ordinary folks" have extraordinary abilities. I call them Alphas. Some Alphas that I work with can do things that will amaze you. Others, the angry, the lost, and the afraid, have abilities that frankly can be terrifying."
Dr. Rosen, Cause and Effect

A Sy Fy series that premiered in Summer 2011 about a secret government team of people from various walks of life who have superhuman abilities and fight crime.

The series opens when a witness is shot and killed in a locked courthouse interrogation room with no shooter in sight. On the case is Dr. Lee Rosen and his team of Alphas, people with superhuman abilities: Gary Bell, a young man with autism who can see WiFi and cellphone signals with his mind; Bill Harken, an ex-FBI agent who can temporarily use Super Strength; Nina Theroux, who can control other people's minds; and Rachel Pirzad, who can use one sense at heightened intensity while disabling the others. They find that the shooter behind the murder is Cameron Hicks, an ex-Marine marksman with impeccable aim, having managed to shoot the witness through an air duct. It turns out that Cameron is an Alpha, but that the whole ordeal was orchestrated by an Alpha called the Ghost, who mind-controlled Cameron and is part of something much bigger than they'd imagined.

Alphas is part of the "Syfy-verse": it exists in the same fictional universe as Eureka and Warehouse 13.

Tropes used in Alphas include:


  • Accidental Aiming Skills: Rosen. The first time he ever fires a gun he hits the villain in the head, oddly going through the cheek rather than a traditional forehead wound. However, he was aiming for the chest and they were standing just a few meters from each other.
  • Aliens Made Them Do It: Cameron and Nina in "A Short Time in Paradise".
  • All Crimes Are Equal: The goofy Alpha who used his passive and mostly harmless ability to cheat at poker gets sent to the same concentration camp/human experimentation facility as the various dangerous sociopaths who used their powers to go on rampaging killing sprees. There is a special building for the really dangerous Alphas, but it's still somewhat overkill.
  • Ambiguously Jewish:
    • Lee Rosen.
    • Also Rachel: her family is originally Libyan but seems more likely to be Jewish than Muslim. If so, she's an interesting aversion of All Jews Are Ashkenazi.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Wilson in the third episode. Under the influence of a Hate Plague, one of his men beats him to death with a chair. Though even Rosan stated he didn't deserve to die like that.
    • In episode five, a bully who drove another student to suicide and the adults who covered it up are killed by the student's mother.
  • Anti-Villain: Anna definitely, Kerns to a lesser extent. A significant portion of Red Flag is made up of Alphas that merely want to protect themselves from government repression and/or create more Alphas (admittedly, by intentionally causing birth defects in unborn children. Unfortunately, Stanton Parrish is able to manipulate the government into killing off that particular faction
  • As the Good Book Says...: Jonas from "A Short Time in Paradise".
  • As You Know: In "Orginal Sin", Rosen explains in great detail what Alphas are, everything he knows about Red Flag, and the government's immoral actions against even harmless Alphas, to selected members of Congress and Federal agents, all of whom know all this information. Of course,he's not speaking to them, but revealing all this information to the general public via a secret satellite feed.
  • The Atoner:
    • Nina. She's working with Rosen to make up for what she did when she used her powers for whatever she wanted, culminating in her accidentally telling her boyfriend to kill himself.
    • To a lesser extent, Hicks.
  • Awesomeness By Analysis:
    • Marcus in "Cause & Effect" has an extreme version of this. He can map, in real time, every single action and possible reaction of everything around him. Not only does this allow him to pull off Disaster Dominoes-type situations intentionally, but makes him extremely paranoid since he thinks everyone else can do this, too, so everything bad that happens to him is, in his mind, an elaborate plot against him.
    • Hicks does the same thing backwards; taking the aftermath of an event and working out how the chain of causation made it occur by tracking each effect backwards through time.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Stanton Parrish.
  • Badass Normal: Clay counts (although he's a bit of a Jerkass too).
  • Badass Beard: Rosen had a pretty impressive beard in the pilot, but for some reason he's shaved it off by the second episode.
  • Bad Powers, Bad People: Subverted with the team who have powers that aren't exactly nice. Nina has been stated to have once used her powers for selfish reasons. Hicks killed a federal witness but he was Brainwashed and Crazy at the time. And Gary is a walking invasion of privacy. Most of the villains have had either severe mental issues or Well-Intentioned Extremist characteristics.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: After finding Anna dead, Gary completely loses it and proceeds to furiously wail upon a SWAT team member with his own baton.
  • Black Bra and Panties: Nina's got the black bra part at least, as seen when she and Hicks were making out.
  • Big Bad: Red Flag, the Evil Counterpart to Rosen's Alpha team.
    • Specifically, their leader Stanton Parrish.
  • Body Horror:
    • A minor example compared to most, but Ghost's palms look like a giant mass of callouses. This is evidently a component of his mind control powers.
    • The way the victims in episode 5 die is very unpleasant.
    • The Morphogene has to rearrange his bone structure in order to utilize his Master of Disguise powers, and when he gets stressed, his skin starts sagging off and he suffers excruciating pain. This is used to his advantage when he deliberately uses a back cramp to get out of the communal cell he (disguised as Rosen) had been thrown in.
  • Boring but Practical: Gary's power. Being able to see parts of the electromagnetic spectrum sounds cool... until you realize that it's actually pretty common in the animal kingdom. Visible light, x-rays, radio waves, ultraviolet light, and infrared (and more) are all part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
  • Boxing Lessons for Superman: Hicks with his amazing hand eye coordination trained as a military sniper.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Ghost's power.
  • Broken Masquerade: Rosen outs the existence of Alphas in the season 1 finale to spite Parish, whose plans hinge on Alphas being a secret, and to stop the government from sticking Alphas into secret jails and forcibly recruiting them to use their powers.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Jonas's ability shuts off Bill's Super Strength, apparently indefinitely. Rosen has to jump-start it with a drug injection, though even this doesn't work by itself.
  • Can Not Tell a Lie: Gary, but he says he is trying to learn to as a social skill.
  • Can't Have Sex Ever: Implied with Rachel, see Power Perversion Potential below. She claims she can't even kiss a guy without being overwhelmed.
  • Can't Stop the Signal: Rosen broadcasts his Congressional committee testimony to basically every screen that can receive a signal, outing not only the existence of Alphas but the government's harsh treatment of them. He's eventually cut off when security hauls him away, but the damage is done.
  • The Cassandra: Nathan Clay, who predicts Rosen will "kick over the chessboard" by revealing the existence of Alphas.
  • Charm Person:
    • Nina's power.
    • The Alpha in "Never Let Me Go" is a variation of this. She can make anyone she wants addicted to her by manipulating their body chemistry. She kills them by cutting them loose and causing them to suffer withdrawal symptoms.
    • Jonas in "A Short Time In Paradise" has another variant. By activating the pineal gland in others, he's able to give them an artificial religious experience, but spending too long in this state is deadly for them.
  • The Chessmaster:
    • The Ghost
    • Marcus Ayers.
    • Also Stanton Parrish. He's already thrown out a pretty interesting, far-seeing Batman Gambit and has only had about six seconds of screen-time. This is also a literal theme introduced in "Cause and Effect", with the alpha-of-the-week identifying Rosen as the Black King, which one assumes makes Parrish the White King. The alpha's admonition to "take control of the board" is fulfilled by Rosen outing the Alphas, severely disrupting both the Government's and Parish's plans.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Gary appears to be out of touch with what goes on around him, but that's partly due to his ability to visualize electromagnetic signals (like Internet video feeds and phone texts/calls) combined with the sheer amount of wireless communications the modern world has.
  • Compelling Voice: Nina's ability. Notably, it doesn't work on everyone: Gary is immune to it, for instance, because his autism makes his mind too inflexible. She also needs direct eye contact and the subject has to be able to hear her clearly. Sunglasses and earbuds will block it, and anyone blind or deaf is immune because they lack the faculties for it to work.
  • Con Man: How Eric Letrobe used his ability before being sent to Binghamton.
  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat: It's preeeeetty obvious who the bad guy is in the pilot.
  • Cool Old Guy: Lee Rosen.
  • Crazy Prepared: Skylar is ready for anything. And in case she's not, she can whip up a suitable device with whatever's lying around in minutes.
  • Crossover: Lindsay Wagner's Warehouse 13 character Dr. Vanessa Calder appears in "Never Let Me Go" bringing this show into the same universe as that and Eureka.
  • Darker and Edgier: Than Warehouse 13 and Eureka, which share its universe. While the others have sympathetic villains, this show has outright Gray and Grey Morality.
  • Data Crystal
  • Dating Catwoman: In a way. It is revealed that Gary is still in contact with Anna, however he assures that what they talk about has nothing to do with business. Even though Gary insists they're just friends, it's pretty clear the two have feeling for each other especially evident from Gary's Roaring Rampage of Revenge at Anna's death.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Stanton Parrish, despite being terrifyingly powerful, intelligent, patient, immortal, and incredibly old, is totally blind-sided by Rosen's Masquerade-breaking game changer in the season finale. This is even rubbed in a bit by Rosen's daughter, who mentioned that she tried to warn Parish not to underestimate her father.
  • Disability Immunity: Nina's ability doesn't work on Gary due to his autism, and it doesn't work on Kerns due to his blindness. Gary's autism also means that he can't be read by an Alpha who reads body language to act as a Living Lie Detector.
  • Disability Superpower: Kerns in "Blind Spot" is blind, due to having no optic nerves, but his sonar sense largely makes up for it and also allows him to perceive things the sighted can't such as Griffin.
  • Disaster Dominoes: Marcus Ayers can induce these.
  • Disney Death: Marcus Ayers in "Cause & Effect". The characters are smart enough to realize they Never Found the Body.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Rosen claims never to have fired or needed a gun, so of course he is forced to use one by episode's end.
  • Driven to Suicide: A kid in "Never Let Me Go" committed suicide after persistent bullying. His death is what kicks off the plot.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Gary, once Bill actually lets him drive. It's only a few seconds, but Bill's pressed up against his seat begging for the brakes.
  • Dynamic Entry: Episode 6 Bill deals with one of the kidnappers by smashing through the wall.
  • Dysfunction Junction: It's to be expected when the only common thread in a group of individuals is the fact that they're all Alphas. Rosen being a psychiatrist helps smooth things over somewhat.
  • The Empath:
    • Rachel as a consequence of her Super Senses: She can smell the chemical signatures associated with different emotions, as demonstrated in "Never Let Me Go."
    • Eric Letrobe is also a variation with his ability to read people's emotions by their micro expressions.
    • Rosen's daughter Danielle is an Inversion: Rather than feeling the emotions of others, she can force any emotion of any magnitude on other people through touch
  • Engineered Public Confession: Used intentionally during the season finale, Rosen appears before a Senate subcommittee, who are ready to give him more guns and prisons to hide the Alpha phenomenon. He responds that secrecy is not the answer, making a plea for transparency and unity between Alphas and normal people. As he's doing this, he uses a video pen and Gary's signal control power to transmit the proceedings to the entire Eastern seaboard, appearing on every TV screen.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Subverted with Nina. She is first seen recklessly driving a car, that she "borrowed", and getting pulled over. She then uses her powers to get out of being given a ticket. She is, however, The Atoner and the Team Mom.
  • Evil Counterpart: Several, and the previews indicate there are more on the way.
    • The Ghost is similar to Nina, but able to completely control his victims.
    • Similarly, Jonas can cause religious fervor in others, causing them to obey him unquestioningly.
    • Marcus is similar to Hicks, but his ability is much more exact and works almost like precognition.
    • Matthew in the third episode could be seen as Bill's counterpart. Whereas Bill triggers his own flight-or-fight response, Matthew sets it off in everyone around him.
    • Anna could be considered as Gary's, though their abilities are different. But the nature of their abilities means that both of them are very similar. Anna is a particularly strong example since rather than being an easily disposed Villain of the Week, she's apparently one of the four main leaders of Red Flag.
    • Kerns is kind of one for Rosen, as both are scientists trying to help Alphas. Kerns clearly thinks they both have the same overall goals
    • Hicks gets a proper evil counterpart in the season finale. She has the exact same powers as he does, but is better at using them.

 "You're just like me."

The woman kicks him directly in the face, knocking Hicks out.

"I'm better."

  • Exact Words:
    • In the pilot, Wilson swears on his mother's grave that he's told Rosen the whole truth, but of course he hasn't. Later, when Rosen finds out and calls him on it, Wilson replies "She was cremated."
    • Bill pulls one on Gary by telling him he would let him drive. When Gary tries to get the keys Bill tells him not until he gives Gary lessons.
  • Explaining Your Power to the Enemy: Gary explains how his power works to Anna. She turns around and uses this information to incapacitate him with a DDoS attack on a signal he was tuned in on. Justified by his autism and the fact that he believed her to be a friend at the time.
  • Extreme Graphical Representation: Gary's abilities manifest this way (though only he can see it).
  • Faking the Dead: The Ghost brainwashes a bellhop into wearing one of his outfits and throwing himself off a rooftop, making it look like The Ghost committed suicide.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • During the beginning of "A Short Time In Paradise", Rosen states he's never shot anyone before. Take a wild guess at what he has to do before the episode is over.
    • In the second episode, Marcus tells Rosen that he's the only one who can prevent the coming human/Alpha war, by "knocking over the board". In the season finale, Rosen goes public about the Alpha situation, something neither Red Flag nor the government wanted.
  • From a Certain Point of View: Jessica did "poison her victims", technically.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Skylar. She can build a stun device capable of dropping an entire building of armed agents with ten minutes and office equipment.
  • Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul: The Alpha in "A Short Time in Paradise" has the power to induce extreme serenity in whoever is looking upon him. As the title suggests, this effect is short-lived, as the overstimulation causes people to fall into a coma.
  • Girl Next Door: Rachel comes off as this, especially as compared to the more glamorous Nina.
  • Gray and Grey Morality
  • Guns Akimbo: Hicks is able to pull this off in the fourth episode thanks to his ability.
  • Hates Being Touched: Gary, due to his autism. He will only allow people he both trusts and likes to touch him, starting with his mom, Dr. Rosen, Nina and Rachel. Eventually he gets to like and trust Cameron and Bill enough to allow them to touch him as well, and he also allows Anna to touch him after they become friends.
  • Heroic BSOD:
    • Rosen gets one after he shoots the Alpha Jonah through the face and kills him, even when flames were threatening to kill him. Considering Rosen's nature and his feelings on guns, and how much he generally cares for the well-being of Alphas, this is very understandable.
    • Gary has one when he finds Anna dead during the raid on Red Flag, causing him to beat the crap out of a SWAT team member with his own nightstick.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Bill and his wife.
  • Immortality: Stanton Parrish, leader of Red Flag, has Type II, possibly III. He describes his mind and body as being in perfect harmony.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Hicks' power. He successfully killed a federal witness (while under Ghost's mind control) by shooting him through an air vent, from the roof of a neighboring building. He also pitched back-to-back perfect baseball games in school, and (at Rosen's request) landed two coins into a vending machine slot from 15 feet away. In the pilot, he was able to bounce a bullet off a restaurant sign into the Ghost's back while he held Rachel hostage.
  • Improbable Fencing Skills: Hicks' Evil Counterpart demonstrates this, since she has the same powers as he does. She deflects all of Hicks' bullets with a couple of combat knives, though they were eventually knocked right out of her hands from the force. Still got her in close enough to disarm Hicks.
  • Improvised Weapon: Thanks to Hicks' Improbable Aiming Skills, he can turn a number of objects into effective throwing weapons. Skylar can also assemble potent gadgets from household objects.
  • I Thought Everyone Could Do That!: Marcus, hence his paranoid belief that There Are No Coincidences.
  • Jerkass: Clay, and he's supposedly one of the good guys
  • Kill It with Fire: The preacher Alpha in "A Short Time in Paradise" does this to those who inevitably fall victim to his power, refusing to recognize that his own power is the cause. Eventually comes to a head when the Feds are about to knock down his door, and he decides it's time for everyone to burn.
  • Le Parkour: A consequence of Hicks' hyperkinesic talent. Perfect proprioception tends to let one perform impressive feats of agility.
  • Lethal Harmless Powers: Anna in the fourth episode has the power of omni-lingualism, which you'd think would be the most harmless power possible. Turns out she can use it to remotely control computers with sonic impulses and send communications nation-wide. Oh, and she's apparently one of the four leaders of Red Flag and the organization's Mission Control.
  • Literal Minded: Gary tends toward this. He understands the concept of metaphors, sarcasm, etc., but he doesn't always get it.

 Bill: Who's manning the fort?

Gary: It's not a fort Bill; it's a bad metaphor. Forts have round things and cannons.

  • Literal Surveillance Bug: One of Skylar's gadgets.
  • Living Lie Detector: Eric Letrobe, due to his microexpression-reading ability. Naturally, his reliance on nonverbal signals means he can't read Gary.
  • Loud of War: Bill and Hicks discuss this trope when dealing with an Alpha whose power is echolocation. Hicks, a former Marine, points out that he's seen this done before, and that whatever they force the Alpha to listen to will be just as audible to them.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Kerns has an inaudible version of this. He has the ability to project sound waves that can vibrate objects apart and throw people across a room.
  • Master of Disguise: The Alpha impersonating Rosen from "The Unusual Suspects".
  • The Mole:
    • During the episode The Unusual Suspects, they think one of the team's members is a spy for Red Flag. They assume it's Hicks. At least that's what the real mole wanted people to think.
    • The ending of "Original Sin" reveals that Rosen's daughter is a Red Flag agent, which means all her actions in that episode were to advance Parish's agenda.
  • Master of Your Domain: Stanton Parrish as seen in the first season finale.
  • Moment Killer: Rachel walks in on Hicks and Nina making out on the couch. She immediately apologizes.
  • More Than Mind Control: Chris's mother through her Alpha Power.
  • Muggle Power/Theyd Cut You Up:
    • Marcus hints this may be the true agenda of Rosen's government masters. Time will tell.
    • This is cited as one of the reasons why Skylar is hiding her daughter from the government, especially because of her math skills that allow her to create encryption codes that baffle the best code-breaking machinery in the NSA's arsenal.
  • Mundane Utility: The team frequently uses their awesome powers for everyday tasks, whether it's moving a guy's car blocking a driveway, watching TV, or "borrowing" sweet rides and living rent-free.
  • My Beloved Smother: Gary's mom gets like this when she realizes just what sort of work Gary does for Rosen. Gary puts his foot down once he realizes that she's trying to keep him from being a secret agent, because he really likes the job.
  • My Greatest Failure: How Rosen feels about Marcus.
  • Neat Freak: Rachel, as a consequence of her enhanced senses. It's rather hard to avoid when you know exactly how dirty everything really is. It even extends to her eating habits, since she can tell what's in every meal from the slightest taste.
  • Never Found the Body: Marcus Ayers, which makes sense seeing as he never actually died. The bullet intended to kill him hit the coin he was keeping in his pocket and never made contact with his body. That's right, a small round quarter saved his life. It probably helped that he knew exactly where he would be shot.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In "Original Sin", The Government raids a major meeting of Red Flag and kills everyone present, even those trying to surrender - and they nearly kill Bill and Gary because they have difficulty telling them from their targets. Big Bad Stanton Parrish then shows up at Rosen's house afterwards and thanks him for killing all the moderates who wanted alternatives to a Human/Alpha war. Red Flag now only consists of hardliners who are mourning the deaths of their less violent friends!
  • No Sense of Personal Space:
    • Gary has a variation of this. He isn't all over people physically (and in fact hates to be touched), but with his ability to read electromagnetic signals, he can't seem to help reading their texts and listening in on their calls.
    • Bill seems to have the normal version of this. In the pilot it's mentioned that he has "boundary issues", and he seems to not really grasp the concept of "tact".
  • No Social Skills: Gary, having Asperger Syndrome, does not pick up on social cues. While not shy at all, he has to learn things (such as manners) by rote, and often behaves oddly as a result.

  Gary: I have to put my lunch in the refrigerator. And then I have to greet my co-workers appropriately.

  • Not So Different:
    • Rosen draws this comparison between Marcus and Hicks. Both have similar powers and similar issues with blame. The difference is that Hicks directs that blame inward, while Marcus blames those around him instead.
    • Kerns says this to Rosen, claiming that the two have the same ultimate goal (Alphas and unenhanced humans living in harmony).
    • Rosen notes this about himself and Stanton Parrish. Both have used people for their own ends, but Rosen's ultimate goal is to help people, whereas Parrish only wants to help himself.
  • Not Wearing Tights
  • Number Two: Nina appears to be this to Rosen. He seems to confide in her often, and she seems the most loyal to him.
  • Obligatory War Crime Scene: In "Original Sin", an attempt by government agents to arrest the leaders of Red Flag (an Alpha terrorist organization) gathered for a meeting quickly descends into chaos as some of the Alphas resist and the government agents open fire. They kill everyone they see, even those trying to surrender or hide. They shoot Bill (in his vest), failing to distinguish him from their targets after a demonstration of Super Strength. One agent nearly kills Gary when he has a tantrum over finding Anna's body - given that he weighs ninety pounds soaking wet and can barely lift the baton he was whaling on the agent with, it comes off very much like a Nazi about to stomp on a yapping chichuahua. The scene demonstrated how unprepared and heavy handed the government is when dealing with Alphas and that the situation has reached the level of a war.
  • One Person, One Power: Each Alpha has a single ability. Some are more versatile than others. While most of the powers shown in Alphas are unique, in "Original Sin" Hicks meets a woman with the same power who's better at using it, and some powers are related to others, like Hicks' Improbable Aiming Skills and Marcus' Awesomeness By Analysis.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping:
    • Occasionally Ryan Cartwright (Gary)'s English one slips through.
    • When the disguising Alpha impersonates him in "The Unusual Suspects", he speaks in a modified version of his natural English accent.
  • Perception Filter: An Alpha codenamed Griffin has the ability to hide in the blind spot of anyone attempting to look at her. She's also smart enough to mess up the building security system so she can't be tracked that way.
  • Personality Powers: Bill's the strong guy; he tends to be confrontational and gruff. Nina's Compelling Voice works best when she acts soothing and understanding. Hicks has super aiming skills he can't quite consistently control, and the "broken soldier" mentality to match. It's actually stated that every Alpha power has a related mental issue connected to it, so this is something of an Enforced Trope.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Hicks breaking a microwave cell tower that had been bothering Gary for most of the second and third episodes.
    • Bill giving Gary driving lessons, especially since he had lied outright about letting Gary drive earlier in the episode.
  • Power At a Price: Inherent to all Alphas. Their atypical brains grant them superhuman abilities, but always have a downside.
    • Bill has Super Strength, but as it's dependent on the human fight/flight response, he has a hair-trigger temper. Notably, when he loses his powers, all his psychological issues appear to be instantly cured as well.
    • Hicks has superhuman muscle memory, AKA Wire Fu in all its Badass forms. But as it isn't tied to that response, stress causes him to become clumsy.
    • Rachel has Super Senses, but is prone to Sensory Overload - in all its forms. She's a Neat Freak because she can see bacteria, she Can't Have Sex Ever, can't really enjoy food she hasn't fastidiously prepared herself due to contaminants...
    • Gary is a Technopath, but he's also The Rainman because sensing the entire EM spectrum isn't of much use without a brain fast and obsessive enough to process the information.
    • Nina has a Compelling Voice... and she's the most well-adjusted member of the team -- but she couldn't always control it, and says she was "a mess" when she first joined the team. She also once accidentally talked her boyfriend into killing himself during a fight.
    • The Ghost has severe obsessive-compulsive behavior.
    • Marcus Ayers had severe paranoia because he couldn't comprehend that most can't produce Rube Goldberg Devices at will... and figured it out just as his handlers decided to lobotomize him.
    • Anna is an Omniglot who can't speak without a specially designed machine. Doctors diagnosed her as a total deficient. She didn't like it. She leads Red Flag primarily to prove herself, along with all Alphas.
    • Skylar is said to care more about machines than socializing with people and appears to have a compulsion to disassemble/fiddle with electronics.
    • An Alpha with the ability to read expressions complains that it ruined his social life, which is why he became a con man. As he puts it, Ignorance Is Bliss in almost any social interaction. When the other party can't hide anything, it falls apart.
    • The Morphogene from the same episode as above has a pretty damn useful Master of Disguise power...except he doesn't possess Shapeshifter Baggage, has to study the subjects of his transformation carefully, and has to rearrange his internal biology in order to change. It's...unpleasant.
    • Kerns is a subversion-he's completely blind, but that's to make way for his echolocation, meaning he can tell perfectly well what he's "looking" at and as later revealed, he can enhance it into outright Make Me Wanna Shout.
    • Stanton Parrish, the show's apparent Big Bad, is immortal and describes himself as being "more than an Alpha" and having complete control over his mind and body. He's also a Complete Monster.
  • The Power of Love:
    • A particularly sickening version in episode 5. Chris' mother could release oxytocin (a chemical that creates a bond between loved ones) into a person through physical contact. It would cause an addiction in her victims, making them seek out her company in order to get their fix. Whenever she rejected a person and told them that she didn't love them, then the emotional and physical withdrawal symptoms would kill them.
    • On the other hand, Rachel was saved by Dr. Rosen telling her how much he and the rest of the team care for her, playing this trope straight.
  • Power Incontinence:
    • Bill and Nina had this problem before meeting Rosen. Bill was suspended from the FBI after he snapped at a coworker and threw him into a wall hard enough to break his clavicle. Nina thought she inadvertently pushed an old boyfriend to commit suicide.
    • It gets worse for Bill in "The Unusual Suspects" because the "kick-start" he received to get his ability working again in the previous episode causes it to activate outside his control. By the end of the episode, this takes a terrible toll on his health. Lucky for him, though, the resulting heart attack actually balanced him out.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Rachel's super-sensitive sense of touch kicks in while getting intimate with a guy. An unintentional example, and actually backfires since it's too much for her to handle.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: No sign of any exit wounds when Hicks nails the federal witness, although it's worth noting that the bullet ricocheted and lost momentum before impact. Whether or not the witness died quickly or slowly was never explained.
  • Properly Paranoid: There's signs that Marcus' conspiracy theories are not just arbitrary attempts at finding order in the world around him.
  • The Purge: In "Original Sin", Parish tricks the Alpha team and the DoD into killing or arresting all the members of Red Flag who wanted to Break the Masquerade without his approval. Rosen had actually deduced it before the DoD launched the attack, but they went ahead anyway because they didn't want that either.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide:
    • Done at least twice by the Ghost.
    • In "Bill and Gary's Excellent Adventures", Nina reveals that she was afraid that she did this to her ex-boyfriend. Fortunately, it's revealed at the end that it wasn't her, he was just Driven to Suicide instead.
  • The Rainman: Gary, very much. Indeed, he is even called "Rain Man" in one episode... but he doesn't get the reference, since he's not allowed to watch that movie.
  • Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic:
    • Gary also demonstrates that a majority of people with High Functioning Autism nervously stammer and get tongue-tied when they are uncomfortable, despite being incredibly eloquent when speaking to people they trust, which is Truth in Television. He also demonstrates the flat inflection/affect common in austics.
    • The pilot made extensive use of realistic diction for all of the characters. The result is very disorienting and was dropped in the following episodes for more comprehensible speech. Rosen keeps the diction so that it can be contrasted with his "therapist voice".
  • Really Seven Hundred Years Old: Stanton Parrish has been around since at least the Civil War.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Deliberately averted with Skylar, whose rather impressive inventions get used for all manner of purposes, such as a superpowerful computer processor coupled with a bioelectrical field detector that allows the NSA to track anyone in the world. She also apparently makes a lot of money selling gadgets-to-order, such as a device that lets a man get a full night's sleep with a ten-minute nap. She also gave Gary a super-powered phone. It's a rather subtle tool, but it allows him to make an outbound call in an area where the villain had deliberately sabotaged the closest cell tower.
  • Required Secondary Powers: Explored from the get-go.
  • Running Gag: Gary trying to get the others to let him drive.
  • Schedule Fanatic:
    • Ghost is such an obsessive perfectionist that his subordinate being only four minutes late to an appointment constitutes a fatal You Have Failed Me.
    • Gary as well, however not nearly to the extent as The Ghost, which is fairly common in those with Autism. In "Rosetta" he remarks that since he missed his bedtime (9:30) he'll be staying up all night, though it wasn't specified whether he wouldn't be able to sleep or he was just acting out.
  • Secret Public Identity:
    • So far, no one seems especially concerned about hiding their identities in public. However, it's hinted at that Bill's wife doesn't know about his Super Strength, so this trope at least partially applies.
    • Gary's hand gestures as he uses his powers can be seen by anybody else as autistic stimming, as they cannot see what he sees.
  • Secret War: The conflict between the government and the Alphas. At least until Rosen exposes it publicly to force both sides to tone down the war crimes.
  • Sensory Overload:
    • Rachel's first kiss with her date is cut short when her hypersensitive sense of touch gets overwhelmed. It's apparently a consistent problem with her dates.
    • Gary, as well, if too much information streams by him at once.
    • Skylar creates a device to overload everybody's sight and sound. Humourously, instead of becoming catatonic as everybody suspected, Rachel is unaffected, as she shut off all her senses (except taste) the moment she realized what was happening.
  • Sequel Escalation: Every Alpha seen during season one, no matter their powers, was either an independent or a Red Flag moderate, those who sought to achieve their goals with a minimum of collateral damage - the hacktivists and the snipers. The Government gleefully kills every one of that faction when they attempt to Break the Masquerade, not caring that the leader of the hardline faction set them up to do it. In season two, we'll get to see the Alphas who fly planes into buildings.
  • Shared Universe: With Warehouse 13 and by extension Eureka; see Crossover above.
  • The Shrink: Doctor Rosen, of the third variety.
  • Shapeshifting: An Alpha in "The Unusual Suspects" has the ability to alter their appearance to mimics others. The shapeshifter cannot mimic height, though. Overlaps with Painful Transformation, as the shapeshifter has trouble holding the form after a while, with parts of his face starting to slip back into position by reflex.
  • Ship Tease: Hicks pulling Nina down and away from an explosion in the second episode results in her landing apparently half on top of him, their faces rather close and his hands cupping her face. Only gets more obvious from there.
  • Shock and Awe: Kosar's power in the fourth episode. It's a more realistic version, since he could only release a charge either through direct contact or by touching a conductor (such as water or metal).
  • Shout-Out:
  • Silver Fox: Rosen. The show takes time every episode to show Rosen interacting with an older woman (Gary's mom, Dr. Calder, Kathy Sullivan) and making them swoon in his presence.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The world of Alphas is very, very cynical. Superpowers are not awesome but often as not are a burden and make people want to use or kill you. The government's modus operandi is disproportionate response, the terrorist group Red Flag is mostly well-intentioned extremists who hire nastier people, and nobody is truly righteous or wrong. Most Alphas are just somewhat screwed-up people, but they can and do hurt a lot of people if things go wrong. But in spite of it all Rosen's team sticks together, tries to help, and manages to do quite a bit of good.
  • Spider Sense: The power of Kosar's partner. He gets goosebumps when danger is near.
  • Spy From Weights and Measures: In a somewhat more realistic example, Rosen's Alphas are given badges identifying them as DCIS (Defense Criminal Investigative Services) so they won't have to rely solely on Nina talking her way into every crime scene.
  • Starter Villain: The Ghost.
  • Stock Super Powers:
    • Charm Person: Nina's power allows her to manipulate the wills of others, making them extremely susceptible to suggestion.
    • Super Reflexes: Hicks' power. He can pull off amazing athletic feats of timing, but only when he isn't focusing on it.
    • Super Senses: Rachel's power. She can enhance any one of her five primary senses, though at the expense of the other four.
    • Super Strength: Bill's power, which works by triggering his flight-or-fight response. This has the drawback of causing him to overstress himself after a few minutes of use.
    • Super Speed: The "flight" option of Bill's power.
    • Technopath: Gary's power. He can see (almost) every electromagnetic wave around him and search through them.
  • Superheroes Stay Single:
    • Averted with Bill, who's Happily Married but hasn't told his wife about his power; he says that he has had marital problems, but evidently nothing they haven't been able to work around.
    • Played straight with Hicks, who's divorced and dealing with that.
    • Rachel is socially awkward thanks to her parents (and her own powers mucking up any attempts at intimacy).
    • Rosen is divorced, but the marriage did produce a daughter who also has Alpha powers of the empathic variety.
  • Superpower Lottery: Hicks arguably has won this, having a combination of Super Reflexes, Improbable Aiming Skills, Awesomeness By Analysis, and Superhuman Agility, all of which is carried under the unifying banner of "Superhuman Hand-Eye Coordination". Since he also has extensive hand to hand combat training, it's almost unfair how much he has going for him in a fist fight. Of course, he has a rather nasty weakness - he can only use all those powers when calm and focused. As long as he's in charge of the situation, he's in charge of the situation. He flubs even slightly and all those powers go away and he crashes hard. It also comes with a psychological weakness, as all of them do. Since he has such great levels of control, he innately blames himself whenever anything goes wrong.
  • Surrounded by Idiots:
    • Bill gives off this vibe at times. He's the only trained law-enforcement officer in the group, so he has to deal with his teammates' inexperience in crime-solving. Though, to be fair, his temper often makes him hard to work with.
    • This is also a bit of a theme with Red Flag's mission for acceptance. The Alphas are surrounded by normal people, who are, by comparison, idiots.
  • Take a Third Option: Between the conflict between the government and Red Flag, Rosen decides to reveal the existence of Alphas to the public
  • Team Dad: Rosen is this.
  • Team Mom: Nina is clearly this. She is constantly seen calming and protecting Gary and getting Bill to rest when he overextends himself in the first episode alone. Also when she offers to help Rachel learn to walk in high heels, though this might be more of Cool Big Sis.
  • There Are No Coincidences: Marcus, because of his ability to perfectly calculate and react to everything in his environment, can't understand that other people can't do this and falsely believes that every accident that can be traced to the actions of an individual is the result of a plot against him. The worst part of this is that he realizes otherwise and gets vague control of his paranoia just as his handlers decide to lobotomize him.
  • The Uriah Gambit: A significant faction of Red Flag wants to Break the Masquerade. Stanton Parrish deals with them by calling a summit and leading the government right to it. As the government wants the masquerade as much as he does, they are happy to oblige, killing everyone in sight - they even shoot Bill in his vest and nearly kill Gary in the resulting frenzied Witch Hunt.
  • Touch of Death: An Alpha in "The Unusual Suspects" can kill by touch, even through clothing. Those affected turn grey and their veins become exposed. It only takes about a minute to do the job, but it doesn't stick if the victim can get free before dying. It turns out he can also do it without touching, but it seems to be some kind of chemical which needs proximity and confined spaces just to work, and even then it's a lot slower.
  • True Companions: Generally the scenes where the group are just hanging around the office, or the break room conversing goes to show that despite their various backgrounds they are a sort of family never more so then in the final scene of "The Usual Suspects".
  • Traumatic Haircut: Rosen, when he's kidnapped and imprisoned by the shapeshifter.
  • The Un-Reveal: Despite finding out who the shape shifter was, we never see what he really looks like.
  • Unstoppable Rage: When Gary finds Anna dead during a raid on Red Flag, he grabs a soldier's baton and starts wailing on him like crazy. It took a fair bit longer for the guy to subdue Gary than it should have in a normal situation. Gary was that pissed.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Gary can't detect Nokia phone traffic. Also, he can be knocked out by flooding a signal he's tuned in to with information, triggering Sensory Overload.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Red Flag claims to be this, though none of the protagonists agree. Rosen doesn't buy it, and dismisses their claims of just wanting to protect Alphas as propaganda to justify their outright terrorist activities. They did try to kill him, twice, as well as Alphas that don't agree with them. According to Kerns, these terrorist actions are carried out by "fringe elements" of the main group. As of "Original Sin", however, Red Flag is consolidated under Stanton Parrish's power and Rosen doesn't believe for a second he has altruism in mind.
  • Wham! Episode:
    • Original Sin", the first season finale: Anna is killed along with numerous other Red Flag members, seemingly crippling the organization; however the whole thing was a Uriah Gambit by Red Flag's true leader, Stanton Parrish, who was purging the group and wants to keep the Alpha conflict a secret. Rosen retaliates by breaking the masquerade wide open, and is arrested by the DoD. Oh, and Rosen's alienated daughter, who he just patched things up with? Yeah, she works for Parish.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Perks: While the downside to Nina's Compelling Voice is only hinted at, she mostly uses it to "borrow" cool cars and live rent-free.
  • You Have Failed Me: The Ghost subjects his henchman to Psychic-Assisted Suicide for being four minutes late. He's known to do this to his pawns, but the henchman was presumably a partner or associate of some sort.
  • You Look Familiar: Garret Dillahunt shows up in the teaser of "A Short Time In Paradise". Being the go-to man for creepy fundies, when he starts speaking at an AlAnon meeting, you know everything's about to go straight to hell.

Notes

  1. Clockwise starting from top left: Cameron, Rosen, Rachel, Bill, Nina, Gary.
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