RECAP & REVIEW: Alcatraz “Cal Sweeney” S1 E4

31 Jan

I’m sorry but I have to be a high school girl for a minute.   DAMN!!!   Those Alcatraz boys are HOT!!!  I may have to commit a crime to land in jail with those cuties.  Wow.  They may be heinous people committing awful crimes but they sure look incredible doing it!

Ok, now that the giddy16-year-old inside of me is out of my system, let’s break down the episode shall we?

Cal Sweeney is another terrific installment of Alcatraz.  And I think we got a peek behind the curtain (pardon the pun) at some of what may possibly be happening and who is involved.  I haven’t had a chance to re-watch the episode yet so I’m sure there are lots of things I missed but I’ll do the best I can.  As I mentioned to my boys at The Alcatraz Podcast last night on Twitter, it’s hard to live tweet and catch everything on the show.  You are bound to miss stuff!  But that’s ok, that’s why we are all on e big happy TV community and we can clue each other into the things we missed.


Cal Sweeney is hot.  Sorry.  I slipped.  Won’t happen again.  Cal Sweeney (played by Eric Johnson) is a bank robber.  He goes after tellers in their late 30’s, early 40s who are, as Detective Rebecca Madsen calls them, “average looks” and he seduces them to get into the Safe Deposit Box area of the bank.  He then drugs them, goes through the boxes to take what he needs, and leaves.  However, things will take a violent turn if he gets interrupted (or pissed off enough) and he will kill people with this nasty looking weapon that can not only opening gaping holes in your head and hands, but open safe deposit boxes as well!

Sweeney has patterns that make it pretty simple to track him down.  He always pawns his items and he always romances the tellers ahead of time and sends them flowers….giving Madsen and Soto lots of way to find him…which they do.   Sweeney, unfortunately for him, picks a teller who fights back and is able to sound the alarm before he knocks her out.  He gets trapped and he takes the entire bank hostage.   This worries Hauser significantly because he doesn’t want people finding out who Sweeney is and blowing their investigation (more on this later.)  Madsen breaks into the bank so she can break Sweeney out.  While fleeing the scene, with Soto and Hauser following them, Sweeney is not very grateful to Madsen and threatens to kill her if she doesn’t do what he says.  He realizes he isn’t wearing a seat belt, crashes the car and handcuffs him to the steering wheel.

Back in 1960, Sweeney is in charge of the laundry room as well all the contraband that is smuggled in.  In that sense, he has some power and makes some money.  He brings in a protegé named Harlan (played by Steven Grayhm) and starts explaining to him how his little business works and how you can never show any weakness for fear of someone taking over his little enterprise.

At one point, Tiller tosses Sweeney’s cell and Sweeney notices a small tin box is missing.  We eventually learn it’s the only remnant from his childhood and he wants it back…at any cost.  Tiller says he wants a piece of Sweeney’s business in order to get the tin back.  Sweeney declines.  He sets up a way to meet Tiller one on one, by being a waiter at his birthday dinner.   When Sweeney goes to confront Tiller, Tiller stabs him with a pen and tells him he now wants 50% of his business.  If he doesn’t give it to him, 60 days in the hole.  Sweeney is backed into a corner.  Back in his cell, he starts talking to his little protegé who is more like a little weasel.  Turns out Harlan was the one who stole his box and wanted him to think Tiller took it so he would get tossed in the hole and he would take over his business while Sweeney’s in solitary.  Unfortunately, Sweeney taught his new buddy a little too well.

At the end of the episode, we see the warden leading Harlan down a dark hallway to a huge door.  He unlocks the door and forces Harlan, who is quite frightened, inside telling him that his future looks very bright.


Now comes the fun part!!!!  So what clues did we see last night and what happenings are making our eyebrows raise up ever so slightly.  Let’s break it down:

  1. Soto’s Conversation with Madsen at the “Diner”
    Seriously, what the hell were they eating for breakfast?  Yuck.  While this may have seemed a very innocuous conversation, I’m wondering if it was.  Madsen asked him how a professor with two doctorates suddenly owns a comic book shop.  Soto tells her he only got the degrees to make his parents happy (he has a tricky relationship with them.)  However, he was blacklisted due to the fact that he published a major breakthrough in crime prevention theory for a national criminology publication.  He says he was blacklisted because it was about Gotham City.  But I think it’s more than that.  Was Soto on to something that could have unraveled what is going on behind the scenes at Alcatraz and not even know it?  I have to wonder why this specific conversation was brought to light.  Now could I be reading into this too much?  Sure.  But on shows like this, I have learned not to take any interaction at face value.  So for now, I have to think this was something more than just history on Soto.
  2. Dr. Sangupta/Lucy’s Dinner Conversation with The Warden and Dr. Beauregard
    This was probably the most revealing of all the scenes last night.  Lucy was talking to condescending, ass-face Beauregard about dealing with the inmates and she suggested that she is formulating a study that revolves around the memories of the prisoners.  She believes that they becoming criminals due to traumatic memories from their past.  If she can remove those memories (“rewire” them so to speak), they would become less violent or not become criminals at all.That is quite interesting.  In the “previously on Alcatraz” segment of the show, we see Lucy in present day interviewing Sylvane (before Cobb shot her up) and asking him “Where have you been for the past 50 years?”  To which he responds “I have no idea.”  And when Madsen and Sweeney are in the car talking about the leather pouch he was after, he seemed very confused about why he was going after the leather pouch and who he was doing it for.So is that why Lucy was involved in this from the beginning?  Because she was working with the inmates on her experiment to remove certain memories?  If that’s true then one of two things may have happened…1. Her experiments were working and this unknown group of people behind all this had asked her to spin her experiment in a whole new direction or 2. Her experiments only partially worked but something went wrong or is missing and this is the result we have today.The inmates we have seen don’t seem to know what is going on or where they have been.  Are they frozen somewhere with Ted Williams’ head only being released when whomever is in charge needs them to do something for kill people or steal keys?  And I can’t imagine these people are happy when their cronies fail.  Sylvane didn’t technically fail but he did get captured.  Sweeney failed because the key ended up in the hands of Hauser and his team and he got captured.  Unless, Hauser IS the group in question and we just don’t know it yet!  I don’t believe this to be the case.  I think there is another faction out there.   There is just so much going on, it’s hard to know who’s on the good side and the bad side.

    The other thing I noticed is that it seems these “memory methods” are having the opposite effect of what Lucy/Sangupta intended.  The criminals seem to be becoming more violent.  Sylvane was not a killer yet he turned into one.  Same with Sweeney.  He only robbed banks.  Now he’s using some nasty weapon and killing people left and right.  So what is happening?

  3. “How the Prisoner’s Jumped”
    Jumped?  What the hell does that mean?  Hauser made this comment when they were looking at the keys secured by Sylvane and Sweeney.     If he’s talking about the prisoners “jumping” doesn’t that say time travel to you guys?  I also think time travel could be involved because of the keys.  Since we’re talking about the keys..
  4. The Keys that were found by Sylvane and Sweeney
    Both Sylvane and Sweeney were tasked to find these funky looking keys for the mystery group.  I really need to figure out something to call them.  Turns out, Hauser has a whole tech team on stand by waiting for his direction and he instructs them to investigate these keys.  Upon further review, it seems these keys were cut using a laser that wasn’t available in the 1960s.  So if they weren’t available in the ’60s, when were they available and when were they made?This is another reason why I think time travel could be an element of the show.  When you look at the last scene where the Warden leads Hayden to what certainly looks like a door to hell, he uses the two keys to open a hidden compartment that had a third lock for another key.  So it appears the keys were USED in 1960 even though they may not have been MADE in 1960.
  5. Kit Nelson’s name on the wall in the room of 63s
    This wasn’t a huge revelation as much as a “isn’t that interesting” kind of revelation.  Although who knows, maybe it will become a big deal.  Did you notice the two walls in the 63s room?  One wall had all the inmates yet to be discovered and captured and the other had the four men we have already encountered.Under Sylvane, Cobb, and Sweeney’s mug shots and next to their names, the same word appeared…CAPTURED.  Do you know what was under Kit Nelson’s mug shot and next to his name?  Come on, take a guess?  I won’t laugh.  Well maybe a little.  You give up?  It said…..nothing.  Shouldn’t it have said DECEASED or KILLED next to his name?   I found it interesting that there was nothing.Now as I said, this could mean absolutely nothing.   But shows like this usually don’t have oversights like that…unless it’s on purpose.   So are we to assume that Mr Nelson isn’t dead but refrozen with next year’s Thanksgiving turkey?  I’m not sure.  But I will certainly keep it in the back of my mind.
  6. Rebecca needs to be more forceful with Hauser
    Remember how I said last week that I was so happy Sarah Jones took major steps forward in her character?  Yeah well, I’m disappointed with her again.  Here’s what is driving me crazy.  She is way too blaze about what is happening.  When she had the key and wouldn’t give it to Hauser, he threatened her.  She said she would give it back if he told her what it was for.  Then stupid Madsen gave him the key before she got the explanation.  Rebecca!!!  You have the upper hand.  You have something he wants.  Don’t give it to him until you get what you want!!!   Are you kidding me?   And then when he walks away and tells her “some other day” she should have jumped out of her skin.  Instead she just shrugged her shoulders at Soto.   WHAT!!!!  I would have followed Hauser and had a little come to Jesus talk with him (but first I would have never given him the key without giving me the information I wanted.)In all seriousness, it’s going to be very hard to buy Madsen as one of the best detectives in San Fran if she keeps acting this way.  She has to start pushing back.  She has to tell him that she is risking her life each time she gets involved and if he wants her help, he needs to include her more in what’s going on or he’s on his own.  I know she has her own reasons for doing this, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of her pride.   So she needs to toughen up and fast!

So that wraps up this week’s episode of Alcatraz.  As you can see, there is A LOT that came out.  What did you think?  Did you like “Cal Sweeney”?  What are your thoughts on the issues I raised and was there anything you saw that missed?  Let me know!


Posted by on January 31, 2012 in FOX, Mid Season, New Shows, Recaps and Reviews


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2 responses to “RECAP & REVIEW: Alcatraz “Cal Sweeney” S1 E4

  1. sportsattitudes

    February 1, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Love this show. They do have an awful lot of questions on the table now so we’ll see if this goes the way of “Lost” and doesn’t advance them quickly…or they revisit them in short order. It’s ok to go on about the hotness of the Alcatraz guys as long as you’re ok with Rebecca getting wet every other week (I remember you Tweeting about the frequency of her “weather issues”). And Lucy made for quite the stunning dinner guest, did she not? It has been a great ride so far, hasn’t it? Ratings are solid for the key demographic. We’ll see if everyone stays on the Island in the weeks ahead when the competition increases around it…and the questions hopefully start to be answered on it.

  2. Matt

    February 2, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Thanks for once again mentioning the podcast! It’s delightful to read your recap and review, starting with the point of view that we DON’T have (how hot and cute the gents are).

    That said, I had forgotten about the Gotham City aspect of Doc’s paper. (I really mustn’t Twitter next week….) To me, it’s another check in the box of “using Jorge as a silly goose” and not asking him to really act. In the same boat, I suppose, is what you’re saying about Rebecca being more forceful. I feel as though both characters didn’t continue to grow this week. C’est la vie, I suppose.


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