Another week, another visit to ALCATRAZ! And true to my prediction last week, this week’s offering profiles another prisoner from the aforementioned Rock who disappeared in 1963 and has returned to wreak havoc in the “present day”.
Join me as I bitch about last night’s lackluster episode after the jump.
This week our illustrious team goes on the hunt for child killer Kit Nelson (Michael Eklund). The creep factor was definitely BROUGHT with this mofo as he abducts a poor 11 year-old boy right from his bedroom in the cold open.
Soto (Jorge Garcia) hears about the abduction over his hacked police radio feed and recognizes Nelson’s signature tell – a chrysanthemum left on the bed. He frantically runs to get Detective Madsen (Sarah Jones) on board to rescue the boy because they’ve only got 48 hours until Nelson will put the boy’s body back in his bed.
The epsiode is stretched out by showing how Nelson is despised back in 1960s Alcatraz (read: He gets the living shit kicked out of him at playground time). I will admit that my eyes rolled a bit when he ended up in the infirmary and the doctor refused to give him proper painkillers because he’s a child killer. There’s a undergrad media studies paper bubbling here about recidivism, but right now it translates into a one-dimensional, seen-it-a-thousand times prison drama.
I will give some props to how we finally (yes, finally! after only two episodes) got the reveal of the omnious man behind the curtain. Back in the pilot when Sylvane ending up in the prision infirmary, we got a warning from “curtain shadow man” that something “really bad” was coming. I’m pretty sure the same kind of thing happened when sniper Cobb (Joe Egender) ended up here as well. So when Nelson was here, thankfully the show decided to pull the curtain back to reveal Rebecca’s grandfather, Tommy Madsen (David Hoflin). Kudos to the writing team to realize this reoccuring character was getting really old, EXTREMELY fast. It gives me a very slight glimmer of hope that they’ll realize the other formulaic conventions are just as boring.
Unfortunately, taking a quick scroll through episode titles for the rest of the season- I feel myself tensing up. They’re ALL the names of the 63s. My gut response: “Zzzzzz.”
And that’s pretty much all the narrative progression we get in this episode. That and the hint that Soto was either abducted as a child himself or that something really bad happened to him when he was younger. How this plays into the overarching narrative we don’t yet know- but guess what? I don’t really care. It seems like it’s too early to pull these kinds of cards when there are already enough interesting things to latch on to and develop. For example, we don’t really get any additional updates on last episode’s supposedly HUGE reveal that Lucy (Parminder Nagra) is a 63. She’s still in a coma, and Emerson Hauser (Sam Neill) still looks really pissed off at that. Are they lovers? Or is he just upset that he may have lost one of the key players in his 63 endgame?
Unfortunately, there was also no answer for the burning question of the episode: why the hell is Nelson committing crimes in the present that he would have in the past? There was NOTHING to suggest that he’s back in the present to carry out some ominous order (suggested last week by both Sylvane and Cobb). Nope, Nelson comes to 2012 to do the same messed up stuff that he did back in 1963. So what was the point? It’s a huge flaw of the episode. Huge.
It also makes sense why Hauser would want to capture these guys alive. Instead, (SPOILER ALERT) Nelson is shot dead with a bullet in head by Hauser himself. I was mildly happy about that because having the 63s slowly build up in Hauser’s new Alcatraz, sounds like watching paint dry.
- Hauser plays his “extreme DICK” card when he calls off the Amber Alert so that Soto and Madsen don’t have any police support to help search for the boy. The reason? Hauser knows that Nelson is going to return to the house with the body of the boy – so why draw additional attention to the time travelling 63s? Hauser wants Nelson, but he doesn’t care if the boy lives or dies. This proves that he’s definitely got some ulterior motives.
- As much as I’m criticising the show, there was a great scene in this episode between Warden Edwin James (Jonny Coyne) and Nelson. Stuck in a tiny, closed off cell with no light and a box of matches – we get an extremely cinematic scene, filled with delicious tension. Bravo to director Jack Bender on this gem in an otherwise silly episode.
- What was up with the creepy doctor that Hauser delivered (SPOILER ALERT) Nelson’s body to? Do you think they have some sort of Frankenstein experiment going on? Nelson going to be brought back from the dead? Will Hauser complete his trophy case of the 63s? More importantly – do we care?
Okay viewers, I’m giving this show one more episode to change my mind, but so far, there’s just not enough to keep me invested. What did you think? Enough fodder here to keep you tuning in?
Janice Laubenstein says
Thanks for your review. I had my own take on why I heartily DISLIKED this episode (I haven’t watched the tape of 1&2 yet). I found it to be manipulative and pandering to the masses. And I said so to my two co-workers who totally “ADORED” it. Yikes.
“Adored” it eh? I wonder what they found so engaging. It was a typical procedural – which would be fine if the show didn’t have little teases throughout that it wanted to be more. I’m on your side Janice – do you think you’ll stick with it a little longer or are you jumping ship like me? (well I’m giving it ONE more chance…)