How many villains on TV can you think of that you actually kind of like? By definition of “villain”, they are supposed to be bad, cause feelings of hate and disgust, and are usually in sharp contrast to the protagonist, or hero, on the show. This is not true of Stanton Parish (John Pyper-Ferguson) of SyFy’s Alphas. Even with the horrific plan that he executed in the season 2 finale, his character was so brilliantly written and Pyper-Ferguson depicted the character so superbly, that most viewers (myself included) could never really decide how they felt about the character, which is why I selected him as one of my 2012 TV Goodness All-Stars.
We were first introduced to the Stanton Parish character at the very end of season one of Alphas, and the only thing we knew about him is that he doesn’t age and can heal himself. We knew that, plus just the gut feeling from Dr. Rosen (David Strathairn) that he was evil. In season two, most of the episodes revolved around Dr. Rosen and Stanton Parish, with Dr. Rosen trying to figure out what Parish’s ultimate plan was. At first, we are led to believe that Parish is trying to create a personal army of Alphas and kill as many humans as possible.
In the end, his plan was actually more practical – the world’s population had gotten out of control and with other issues like global warming, Parish decides it is in everyone’s best interests if a good deal of the population is wiped out. The world would be a better place, and Parish had actually led himself into believing that he would be a hero. There was only one flaw in his thinking. As the population grows and resources are exhausted, nature almost always corrects itself. There is usually some disease or plague that causes millions of deaths, or there is a huge world war. Stanton Parish decides to play God and make these critical events happen himself.
In the process, Dr. Rosen’s daughter, Danielle (Kathleen Munroe), is killed, which is one of the pivotal moments of the season. At this moment, I came to realize that while Parish was out of control with what he was planning, Dr. Rosen was almost as much of a villain as Parish. After Danielle’s death, Parish had true remorse for what he had done. He cared tremendously for Danielle and regretted the decision he had made. While Dr. Rosen may have sobbed over Danielle’s lifeless body, a part of me felt that he was crying more for himself than for his daughter. He had spent a good deal of his life being selfish and neglecting his daughter, and now, he could never make things right.
Other incidents like the intentional torturing of Scipio (Elias Toufexis) to gain information about Parish, the burning down of Parish’s childhood home, and the committing of Mitchell (Sean Astin) to Binghampton for the sole purpose of getting to Parish in my opinion makes Dr. Rosen as much of a villain as Parish.
But, of the two, Pyper-Ferguson did a much better job. You know the man is on the brink of madness, but he is charming and he carries himself with the utmost confidence. He dresses professionally, he smiles a lot, and you would never guess what is going through that mind of his. That takes some great acting, and John Pyper-Ferguson did a fantastic job.
As of this writing, it is still uncertain if there will be a season 3 of Alphas. The season 2 finale left us knowing for sure that only Gary Bell (Ryan Cartwright) is still alive. It has been said that they are still “deliberating” on a season 3, more than likely focusing on budget concerns. With David Strathairn the most well known actor on the show (and probably the highest-paid), if I had a choice I’d cut Strathairn, keep John Pyper-Ferguson, and then, make Bill (Malik Yoba) the leader of the Alphas. That would get us another season of this vastly underrated show and more development of the fabulous Stanton Parish character.