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REVIEW: Alcatraz “Paxton Petty” S1 E6

I’m going to try to stay away from doing full-blown recaps.  I want to get into the nitty-gritty of the episode and I’m sure you do as well.  Plus, as each episode progresses, we are getting more and more peeks behind the curtain as to what is going on, who knows what and when, and who’s involved.  I’m not saying I’ve solved the whole mystery of the show, but things are starting to get clearer as more questions are rising.  And if I’m as good predicting Alcatraz as I was predicting Lost, I will have you completely confused because I will be totally wrong.   But at least I’ll have fun trying!

The 63 of Week: Paxton Petty

I have to say, the casting department at Alcatraz has done an AMAZING job casting these criminals.  They are so dastardly creepy and devious.  I love it!!!  I know, how strange does that sound?  I don’t love the criminal acts I just love the actors playing them because they are doing such a good job.

Petty’s a real creep.  His crime is basically that he’s a cry baby.  I’m not kidding.  He’s a cry baby.  He didn’t get the recognition in the war that he thought he deserved so now he is creating land mines and planting them around San Francisco to blow up innocent people.  Talk about sinister.  When people see an explosion, all they want to do is run away from it but in the case of land mines, they usually run right into…you guessed it….another land mine.

The big thing that Petty (played by James Pizzinato) confirmed this week is that the inmates don’t know what the hell is going on and that the “jump” the are experiencing is happening instantaneously.  One minute they are in 1963 and the next they are waking up in 2012.  The question that still remains is whether or not The Big Bads (that’s what I am calling them until I think of something better….or someone else does, which is more likely) are dictating when people “wake up” in 2012 or is it happening naturally?

We have seen some inmates that “arrive” in 2012 with a purpose.  Like Jack Sylvane and Cal Sweeney, they were sent to get keys and Sylvane was sent back to kill someone.  In the case of Ernest Cobb, it’s ambiguous whether or not he was sent to kill Lucy/Dr. Sangupta or she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I lean on the side of it being intentional because on shows like this, things don’t happen “accidentally” or “by dumb luck.”  But that is certainly a debatable topic.  As for Kit Nelson, Guy Hastings, and Paxton Petty, the reasons for their presence are unknown at this point.  Which lead us to another question, how/when does this awakening happen?  Did it happen to all the ’63s at once?  Is it happening in stages?  Is there a rhyme or reason to when and where they are waking up?   The only inmates we know where they woke up was Sylvane (on Alcatraz in present day) and Petty (in the bottom of tomb according to him.)  Another question I have is have they had multiple awakenings?  In the case of Sylvane, he “wakes up” in Alcatraz slightly confused by his surroundings.  But he clearly knows what his purpose is…get the key and kill the one guy.  So was he already coached/brainwashed before this Alcatraz moment?  Or was he asleep the whole time and the brainwashing is happening while they are under.  Or did it happen in ’63 before the jump and they don’t remember.   Most of them seem to not remember how they got there or what happened.   In Petty’s case, he is begging Soto for answers.  Ironically, Soto was hoping he would get some answers from Petty.  Both are out of luck but another really big question pops from their conversation…..

“There Were No Female Doctors on Alcatraz”

Dun dun dun dun!!!!  Our Alcatraz “expert” seems to be stumped yet again.  Soto was certain there were no female doctors on Alcatraz.   As Petty knows and we know, that is 100% not true.  Our very own Lucy was on the island in the 60s.  Talk about throwing Soto’s world for a loop.  Here’s a man who clearly believes he knows everything there is to know about the island and its inhabitants.  As he continues to work with Rebecca and Hauser, he is realizing that there is soooo much he didn’t know.   Here we go with another big question…

Is Lucy/Dr. Sangupta from the future?  I’ll let you sit on that one for a minute.

Minute’s up!   Is it possible that while we believed Lucy was from the past, is it possible, she is from either present or the future and time traveled back to the 60s?   I think this is very possible.  She is obviously someone decades ahead of her time when she is in 1960.  She seems to have the Warden’s support and we know he knows what is going on.  The Warden very easily sides with her when you would think in the 60s, he wouldn’t be so quick to side with a woman.   She is integral to what is going on, I just don’t know how yet.  But I think Lucy is someone from outside the normal time line.

It makes you wonder though, what else have we seen that isn’t “normal” on Alcatraz.  By normal I mean, common knowledge.  According to most people who studied the history of Alcatraz, there were no female doctors on the island.  But we know that isn’t the case.  So what else is common knowledge that isn’t true at all?

Mr Emerson Hauser

Ok, I need to address my man Sam Neill’s character.  I love Sam Neill.  He rocks my world!  No not that way.  Get your mind out of the gutter.  But his character is starting to annoy the crap out of me.

Here’s the thing, Hauser is a good character but he has the potential to be a great character.  But I’m not connecting with him.   Right now, he is the biggest jackass to the two people who are most trying to help him.  So why is he being so evasive and crass?  When Rebecca was working with him to try to crack the code to figure out where Petty buried his latest round of land minds, she was trying to get a better understanding of where his mind-set was so she could be of better assistance and all he did was basically tell her to shut up and “Windward.”  Then hangs up on her.  Would it have killed him to take two seconds to explain it’s a code he’s breaking to the location of the land mines?

Now that we are six episodes in, I’m starting to get to the point that with a character like Hauser, I need more back story.  I know we learned in the pilot that he was an SFPD cop who was responsible for transferring the inmates from the mainland to the island.  We also learned that Petty was his case in the 60s and that while bringing him to the Rock, he instantly falls for Dr Sangupta.  But what I want to know is why he has such a bug up his ass?  In particularly towards Rebecca and Soto.   I do have a theory.

I think Hauser and Sangupta eventually fell in love and they tried to stop the Big Bads from whatever they were trying to do.  That’s how Emerson and Lucy got hooked up in 2012 and it’s why Emerson is so invested in finding these missing people.  I think Sangupta found out what was going on (a clue to that was when she started asking Tommy why a perfectly healthy man was always going to the infirmary.)  She was either part of the initial experiment or in cahoots with the Big Bads until it turned in a direction she didn’t like.  Then she wanted to stop it but didn’t know how.  Enter Emerson Hauser who falls for her and would do anything for her (and he’s a cop.) So they try to stop it somehow but fail in 1963.  Sangupta “jumps” to 2011/2012, she tracks down Hauser, and they pick up where they left off.   That’s my theory on how they got together and why they are doing this.  It still doesn’t answer the question of why he’s so nasty to Rebecca and Soto.  The only thing I can think of is that it has to do with Tommy Madsen and he’s projecting his hatred of Tommy onto his granddaughter.  He may need Rebecca’s help, but he doesn’t like it.  And since he already tried to recruit her Uncle Ray years ago, it’s even more proof this has something major to do with Tommy.  I think the bug of his ass may have everything to do with the Madsen family and Rebecca is receiving the brunt of it.

What I haven’t been able to put my finger on yet is Dr Assface, I mean Beauregard.  He is also the same age as he was in ’63 and he’s also working with Hauser in 2012.  Yet, in the ’60s he and Sangupta clearly didn’t get along and didn’t believe in the other’s methods.  So why were they working together now?  Is he another person that was part of the experiment or involved with the Big Bads but jumped shipped for whatever reason?   Because he seems to have a very special ability of “fixing people.”

If you remember in my post about Cal Sweeney, I mentioned how when you looked in the ’63s room at the white boards, you saw that next to Sylvane, Cobb, and Sweeney’s names it said CAPTURED.  But next to Kit Nelson’s name (who was shot and presumably killed by Hauser) there was nothing.  It was blank.  But Hauser brought his body to Beauregard.  Why?  What can he do?  The same question applies to the last scene from this week’s episode.  Hauser steals Lucy’s body from the hospital after the doctor told him there was nothing more they could do for her and brings her body to Beauregard and shouts “FIX HER” to him and he lays her body on his table.  Fix her?  Fix her how?   What the hell can this man do?  Is he like Crowley the Cross-Road Demon that I can make a deal and bring her back?   What the fudge?  I want to know more.  I need to know more!!!!   Damn it FOX you better not cancel this show on me!!!!

Final Miscellaneous Thoughts

Why oh why do people continue to bring the awesome and gorgeous Mechad Brooks on my TV screen only to kill him off?  As soon as I saw Eggs from True Blood on my screen I knew he was going to die.  I though it was going to be at Windward Elementary school when he finished the sweep of the area announcing “there are no mines here” only to walk away and BOOM.  Well, right location, wrong time.  It happened later as he disarmed the bomb and announced “it’s all good everyone.”  Then, BOOM.

I hate to say this but they really need to start doing something with Soto soon.  Each week it’s the same thing. At the beginning of the show he announces who the inmate is after he hears the details of the crime.  He then relays the information about the criminal to Rebecca and then he basically falls of the radar screen for the rest of the episode.   That is until we get the obligatory shot of Soto grossed out at yet another crime scene.  Jorge Garcia deserves better than this.  They need to find a way to make him more useful to what is going on.  Right now, other than the initial intel he gives Rebecca at the start of the case (and magically knowing the air vent locations off the top of his head in the buildings of San Francisco) I’m not sure what other value he brings to the table.  One thing I would suggest (because I know the writers of the show are waiting with bated breath for my suggestions) is that Soto be in charge of interrogating the inmates and guards as they are captured.  No one knows Alcatraz better than Soto.  So who better to interview and cross-reference their stories, than an Alcatraz expert!  And I think we’re at the point that we need to start revisiting some of the captured inmates (which I think happens next week.)  But this should be Soto’s area.  With the show going a more procedural route…which I don’t think is wrong…Soto needs to change it up a bit.  Otherwise, it looks as if you cast Jorge Garcia as a ratings draw.  And again, he deserves better than that because he’s awesome!

I’m not going to lie, the ratings are starting to scare me.  Each week the show is losing copious viewers.  Here’s the problem.  One of the knocks on Lost was that it was so mythology based that if people came to watch Lost half way through the first season or started in season two, they were so out of loop and confused as to what was going on, they stopped watching.  Therefore, viewership was light, if not steady.  So with Alcatraz, JJ decided to make it more approachable by going a bit more procedural with the mythology thrown in.  That way, he can attract more everyday viewers without them feeling lost.  And as I’ve said, I like that the show clearly and simply states each week in the opening credits what the show is about.  So any new viewer will know what is going on (kind of…LOL!)  But by going this route, people hate it because it’s “boring” or “too procedural.”  I see on Twitter each week.  I guess you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.  But I wish people wouldn’t give up on this show or if they haven’t watched it yet, start to check it out because it gets stronger each week!

I think I’m going to wrap it up there for today.  I’m sure I missed a ton of stuff because I only got to watch the episode once and I’m on the road in Long Island for work so I won’t get to watch it again.  But these are my initial thoughts.

What did you think of Paxton Petty?  And are you happy with the direction of Alcatraz and it’s characters.  let me know!

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Posted by on February 14, 2012 in FOX, New Shows, Recaps and Reviews

 

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RECAP & REVIEW: Alcatraz “Cal Sweeney” S1 E4

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.

Recap

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.

Review

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 them..like 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!

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

 

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RECAP & REVIEW: Alcatraz “Kit Nelson” S1E3

How flipping creepy was Kit Nelson?  Seriously, I wanted to take a shower after watching that episode (especially the solitary scene with the warden.)  Yikes.   But “Kit Nelson” is just another strong episode from the new series Alcatraz.  I don’t want to jinx it, but I think FOX, may have a hit on their hands.  The ratings for the second week will be interesting to see.

Recap:

This week’s convict of the week follows the story of Kit Nelson (played by Michael Eklund) who was convicted of kidnapping and murdering 11 year-old boys.   I love how criminals have an honor code.  Isn’t that the biggest oxymoron there is?  Since murdering a child puts a criminal at the bottom of the scum barrel, everyone at Alcatraz is giving Nelson a hard time…from the warden to his fellow inmates, everyone hates this guy.  The inmates nearly beat the guys to death.  The doctor who treats him, has a son around the age of the murdered boys, so he gives him the minimum treatment, and the warden also has sons around that age as well.  What does he do?  Well he forces a guy, who can barely walk, as far away from his cell as possible in a wheelchair, forces him to get up, and then leaves him alone to get back to his cell, without the wheelchair.  Later, he puts him in the hole and forces to reveal what really happened to his brother.  To everyone, including his own father who tries to get the truth out of him, he says his brother (age 11) died of scarlet fever.  After 4 lit matches in the hole, Nelson finally acquiesces and tells the Warden that he killed his brother because he got all the attention in the house while he receive little to no attention.  And the little he got was to tell him how horrible and freaky he was.  The parents weren’t wrong, let me tell you.  He even described and showed his brother’s facial expression as he was struggling to survive.  Nelson took great pleasure in that!   So to “win his mother’s love” he strangles his brother.  That way, the only son she can focus on, is him.    Well that backfired royally.  As a result, Nelson went on killing young boys the same age as his brother.   I’m telling you Eklund played this character so well.  I was severely freaked out by him and that rarely happens to me with TV characters.  Ok, maybe it does happen frequently, but I can’t remember one as good as Eklund in a long time.

Leading us to present day, Nelson is back and has kidnapped an 11 year-old boy named Dillon.  Madsen and Soto are on the case and desperate to find Dillon because Nelson always kills the children 48 hours after abducting them.  This particular case seems to hit closer to home with Soto but aren’t sure why until later in the show.  They were close one time to getting Nelson and rescuing Dillon after Soto remembered Nelson liking cherry pie and the diner where he and his brother would get slices.  But it wasn’t meant to be.  I mean really how could it?  It was only 32 minutes into the show at that point.   They can’t rescue Dillon already!!  Which really made me nervous that the kid was going to end up dead.

Spoiler Alert (although really, if you’ve read this far are you really worried about spoilers at this point) I was wrong!  Dillon didn’t end up dead, he was rescued by Madsen and Soto ( and Mr Personality Hauser.)  You know who did end up dead?  Our creepy, nasty, repulsive, disgusting, vile, Kit Nelson.  Sorry, I ran out of adjectives.  I know Hauser wants to keep them all alive for questioning, but I’m glad he put this one down like the dog that he is.  Actually, calling him a dog was too kind.  The best part was at the end of the show, when Hauser brought Nelson into the morgue of the Dharma Station (sorry to keep calling it that but I have no other name for it yet but I’m open to suggestions) and laid his body bag on the table where the doctor from 1963 proceeded to play a song about how awesome a day it is!

Analysis:

I threw a question out to my friends at Alcatraz Podcast (follow them on twitter @PodcastAlcatraz) and I’m going to throw the same question out to you.  How big of a role does Grandpa Tommy Madsen play in all this?  We’ve now seen him in two episodes where he was behind the curtain getting his blood taken.  At first, with Sylvane, he seemed panicked and scared warning him about the bad things happening at Alcatraz.  But then when we see him tonight with Nelson, there is an eerie calm that is over him about what’s happening to him.  Is it because he was talking to a jerk like Nelson who he could care less about?  Or was it because he has become involved in whatever experiment or other “bad thing” is happening at Alcatraz?  I really believe Tommy is involved in this in a big way and Hauser has that hunch as well.  Which is why he wants Rebecca investigating with him.

Hauser doesn’t come across as the kind of guy who would host your Fantasy Football draft party.  He seems a loner Dottie, a rebel.  Where in the world did that Pee Wee Herman reference come from!!!!   Ok moving on.  Hauser doesn’t seem the type to be very inclusive with what he is doing (whatever that is.)  So why was he so willing to include Rebecca and by proxy, Soto, so easily?  It was a question many people asked last week.  I think it has to be her family’s involvement in whatever this is.  Whether it’s Grandpa Madsen or Uncle Ray, someone is involved and Hauser has that same gut feeling.  And since Robert Forster usually plays a shady, up to no good character, chances are he knows more than he lets on.  But in my mind, this is why Hauser is putting up with Rebecca and Soto.  He either thinks she knows more than she realizes or she is the key to getting to the bottom of whatever he is trying to get to the bottom of.

I’d like to give a shout out to Sarah Jones and Jorge Garcia.  Jones was light years better in this episode and much more believable in her role as Detective Madsen.  Some of the elements I was looking for in her character last week (which showed signs of possibly being there but weren’t) showed up this week.  I liked how tenacious she was Nelson yet very nurturing with Soto.  I like how she never came across as condescending either with Soto.  With him being new to all of this real world investigating and police work, he naturally spooked many times.  She has shown patience and respect to him which I really admire in her character.  She was forceful when she needed to be with Hauser and backed her partner up 100%.  So I think Jones has the potential to be a solid presence on this show if she can keep that up.

Garcia was fantastic.  I’ve heard people describe his portrayal of Soto has Hurley with a brain.  I think to say that gives Garcia very little respect.  Just because Soto is caring and nice, doesn’t make him Hurley.  Soto is a very intelligent but mature character.  While he is insecure regarding his skills as a law enforcement ally, he is very cognizant of his worth in regards to Alcatraz history in information.  I think when people make the comparison to Hurley (which is natural) it’s because you see Garcia’s natural personality shinning through at times, like it has with both characters…which isn’t a bad thing.  But he is definitely playing a much different character.  In that regard, his final scene with Dillon when Dillon was back home was sensational.  We learned that the reason Soto was so invested in this case was because he was also taken around Dillon’s age.  But he was able to escape and be stronger as a result.  He likened it to having super powers…like in comic books but real.   Can you say back story?   It was awesome and it made me want to learn so much more about Soto after that scene.   Actually, with each passing week, I want to learn more and more about the characters we are introduced to (except Nelson and he’s dead now, so we don’t have to worry about him.)

I have to wonder if we are going to have any “name” guest starts become inmates in the future?   Alan Dale seems to pop up on every thing.  I’m waiting to see Charles Widmore on this show.  What about David Anders?  It’s always good to see Sark from Alias play a baddie?   How about you?   Who would you like to see as one of the inmates with a secretive past?

What did you think of week 2 of Alcatraz?  I know it’s the 3rd episode since we had back-to-back episodes last week, but I’m curious if you’re still tuning in.   Because you know what?  YOU SHOULD BE!!!  If you aren’t, I’ll tell those people to tell Jack Sylvane to come after you next?  Who are those people?  Well I don’t know yet.  But I’m sure we’ll find out.  But you won’t if you don’t watch.   And you must watch!!!!   Also make sure you check out my other friends on twitter @podcatraz and on their website here Podcatraz.

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in FOX, Mid Season, New Shows, Recaps and Reviews

 

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SERIES PREMIERE REVIEW: Alcatraz “Pilot/Ernest Cobb” S1 E1

HALLELUJAH!!!  HALLELUJAH!!!!  Sing it with me people.  You know you want to.  Come on, your co-workers won’t mind.  They may look at you a little strangely but what do you care.  Finally, a premiere worth singing about!!!  Even if it is singing badly.   Last night, one of the more anticipated premieres aired and it didn’t disappoint.  There were two pilots I was most impressed with in the summer…one was Smash, the other was Alcatraz.   I was following the viewers comments on Twitter last night and most people loved the show.  There were some that thought it was boring and slow.  To that I say….are you crazy?  But the most common tweet was how this show could fill a nice void that a little teeny tiny show left when it aired its series finale over a year ago….Lost.  I mean come on…it has an island, it has a character named Jack who woke up lost and confused as to where he was, it has the eerie music, it has the “what the hell is going on here” vibe, IT HAS HURLEY!!!  I can see where it’s very easy to draw the comparisons.  But in all seriousness, that is where the comparisons end.

Alcatraz opens with a very simple premise…”on March 21st 1963 Alcatraz officially closed.  All the prisoners were transferred off the island.  Only, that’s not what happened.  Not at all.”  I appreciate when a new show lays it out for you right off the bat.  This simple statement clearly defines what this series will be about.  From here, the mysteries and curiosities unravel.

In the first hour, we focus on the story of Jack Sylvane (played by Jeffrey Pierce), an Alcatraz inmate from 1954-1963.  Originally, Sylvane was in prison for stealing groceries from a corner store.  Why was he on the Rock then if it was petty theft?   The corner store also sold stamps, therefore making it a post office and therefore a federal crime.  But when we see Sylvane in present day, he is on a killing rampage.  How does a man who was in prison for stealing groceries to feed his family suddenly become a cold-blooded killer?   More importantly, why in present day, does this man still look 45 years old?  He should be 85 and he looks 45!   He hasn’t aged since 1963.  After Sylvane’s killing spree, he is eventually captured and brought to a remote Dharma station in the woods where Emerson Hauser (played by Sam Neill) is putting them back in prison so he can question them about what they know.

The second hour focuses on Ernest Cobb, a sniper who transferred to Alcatraz because he wanted a private room.  In present day, he is picking off people (mainly young girls) one by one while repeating over and over again “47 slats in a picket fence…1 2 3 4 5….”  Ok.  Again we have another prisoner out and looking just as young as he did in 1963.  He is back to committing his original crimes (which stem from some mommy issues he had thinking his 16-year-old sister was getting more attention than him.)  He is also captured and taken to the Dharma Station.

Ultimately, it seems there is someone or a group of people who are managing the former inmates and guards.  When Madsen goes to arrest Sylvane and she asks why he’s doing this, he tells her he killed Tiller for personal reasons but he killed Flynn because “it’s what they told him to do.”  They?  Whose they?  The inmates are being controlled or directed to target specific people.  Flynn was a target.  I think after seeing the final scene in “Ernest Cobb” we can assume that Lucy was a target as well.   So who are these people?   Why did they take these 302 people in 1963 and what is their purpose?  What’s their goal?

The main protagonist is Detective Rebecca Madsen (played by Sarah Jones) of the SFPD who is ultimately transferred to the FBI at Hauser’s request to assist with the Alcatraz case.  Of all the characters in the show, Madsen is the weakest of the bunch, which is very worrisome in a show like this.  You need a strong character who dominates the screen and who we believe in 100%.  She needs to be tough, intelligent, fierce, feisty, and compassionate.  Jones exudes some elements of these traits, but not all of them and not very convincingly.  She comes across as a person trying to be tough and edgy but isn’t either of those things at all.  This is the part of the show that most concerns me.  She is supposed to be the driving force behind finding out what is going on.  But in scenes with Neill, she has issues matching his presence on-screen and he is so dominant that it’s hard to believe she has the power to stand toe to toe with him.  Now, maybe over the course of the series it will get better and she will become more of a force.  The question is, can people move past her weaknesses as a leading lady and still continue with the show?

Madsen’s partner is none other than one of our favorite Lostie, Hurley!  Dr Diego Soto (played by Jorge Garcia) is a renowned Alcatraz expert and resident genius.  He has written four books on Alcatraz and Madsen seeks his assistance on the history of the Rock as well as his expertise on the prisoners and guards.  While he seems to struggle with the death and danger of the job, he really wants to help and is intrigued by the mystery. As he states so eloquently “is anyone else’s head ready to explode right about now?”  Priceless.  But here is my biggest problem with Soto if I am supposed to buy into his character.  If he is really the foremost expert on Alcatraz, how in the world did he not know ANYTHING about this?  In all his years of research, he never came across what happened the day before Alcatraz closed?   That the prisoners and guards simply vanished?  It seems a tad unbelievable to me.  Unless….he is involved somehow.

Rounding out our main characters we have Hauser and Lucy (played by Parminder Nagra.) Hauser is an enigma, much like our storyline.  Sam Neill is perfect to play this role.  No one does creepy, matter-of-factness better than Neill.  At this point, we have no idea if Hauser is a good guy or a bad guy.  It appears as if he is someone with his own agenda.  We learned he was one of the cops who came to Alcatraz the day before it closed to assist with the transfer.  And he was just as stunned as his counterpart when the place was a ghost town.  So he has obviously been involved in this from the beginning.  But other than curiosity as to what happened that day, why else go to the lengths he has gone through to get these prisoners back?  Why build that security center (that looks like a Dharma Station) to house all these criminals?  Why keep what he knows from Madsen and Soto?  What is his connection with Lucy?   Why has he aged but everyone else from back then who was connected with this, hasn’t?  What is his end game?   How much does he know?   He seems to want these criminals captured but alive to question them.  He doesn’t appear to be the one behind what happened to the prisoners and guards but I’m not sure, yet, if his motives are pure.

I’m not sure what to think of Lucy, especially after she was shot in the chest!   But the really big twist at the end of the episode was that Lucy was also at Alcatraz in the 60s as a psychologist name Dr. Sengupta.  So that leads to a few questions.  Did Hauser know that or does he have no idea?  If he did know, then he knows about how people who were at Alcatraz at that time aren’t aging.  How did he get hooked up with Lucy?  Did he approach her or did she come after him?  My initial guess is that she went to him.  Is Lucy working for the person or group that is behind what happened to the people on the Rock or is she just simply working with Hauser?  I wonder if Lucy is going to be hanging around in present day (whether it be alive or in a coma) or if she will kick the bucket.  I have to say, it was quite shocking because I didn’t see that coming at all!

One of the other mind-blowing events that happened in the episode revolved around Madsen’s family and work life.  Madsen had a partner at the SFPD who was killed by a criminal they were chasing.  As a result, she never partnered with anyone after that and right when she was supposed to choose, she got the transfer.  As the case moved forward, we meet her uncle Ray (played by Robert Forster.)  Arthur Petrelli is in the house!!!  Madsen introduces Ray to Hurley and explains to him that her grandfather was a guard at Alcatraz.  Ray and Soto exchange a strange glance that she notices but brushes off.  Later, when Hauser is walking Madsen and Soto through the mug shots of who disappeared that day, she sees the picture of her grandfather, Tommy Madsen.  Madsen learns her grandfather wasn’t a guard at Alcatraz, he was a prisoner.  But that wasn’t the worst part.  What to know what was?   When she sees his picture, she realizes that he was the man she and her partner were chasing and his was the one who killed her partner.  Dun dun dun dun!!!!!!   Talk about head exploding!  I don’t know how hers didn’t….for SO many reasons.  But mainly that one.  This was a great addition to the original pilot.  The first pilot I saw, Madsen learns her grandfather was a prisoner instead of a guard, but there was nothing about her partner dying and her grandfather being the killer.  That scene wasn’t in the original but I’m glad they added it.

I really enjoyed the show last night.  I know a lot of people want to compare it to Lost and as we discussed, there are some funny similarities.  But there is one MAJOR difference….Lost was a show about characters, first.  The mythology came second, even though we may not have known it right away.  Alcatraz, at least right now, is all mythology driven with some character focus in the background.  And that’s ok.  I think the story is fascinating enough to keep it moving along and people interested.   The question will be for how long?

The smartest thing Lost did was say it had a finite shelf life.  6 seasons, that’s it.  I don’t know if Alcatraz has that, I’m not sure if it needs it.  But with shows like this, it seems important that the writers know the end game going into the series.  If they don’t, I think shows like these have a tendency to go off the rails and start to become something that it isn’t or worse, something that it doesn’t know what it is anymore.  When that happens, you destroy what was once good and you lose your audience.

In the first two hours, we have one hour about one inmate and the second hour about another.  There are over 300 people involved in this disappearance.  Surely we aren’t going to have 300 more episodes about each individual inmate or guard right?  I wouldn’t think so.  Therefore, the show will really need to draw on the mythology to keep it going or we are going to have to have more character study.  I’m not sure which direction is going in right now.   What I do know, is that I am along for the ride.

Alcatraz was a breath of fresh air in a pretty smoke-filled mid-season so far.  Actually, the new TV season as a whole, going all the way back to the fall, has been pretty stale.  Talking strictly new shows here, other than Revenge and Homeland, Alcatraz is the only other must see TV for me…at least so far.   I think if the writers can keep the storyline moving and hopefully Jones starts to come into her own, this show will be one of the best of the 2012 season.  Does the show have some issues…of course.  Does it need to improve in some areas…absolutely.  But is it better than a lot of other shows out there…your damn right it is.

What did you think of Alcatraz and will you keep watching?

DVRs: 4

 

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FOX’s Alcatraz Promo

This is probably the show on FOX I am most excited to see.   Great premise, great cast, and it’s from JJ Abrams.  How can you not check it out?   You should!

Alcatraz stars Sarah Jones as San Francisco Police Detective Rebecca Madsen.  Madsen is investigating a brutal homicide that is committed by Jack Sylvane (guest star Jeffrey Pierce.)   The problem is, Sylvane is a former Alcatraz inmate who died decades ago.  Since Madsen has a personal connection to Alcatraz (her grandfather was a guard there) she decides to go to the local Alcatraz expert Dr. Diego Soto (played by Jorge Garcia) for some insight into what is going on.  As Madsen and Doc generate more questions than answers, a huge mystery, much bigger than this one case, is revealed to them.  Government Agent Emerson Hauser (played by Sam Neill) is trying to block her investigation and Madsen isn’t sure why.   It’s obvious that Hauser knows a lot more than he is saying but the big question is, is he involved or is he just trying to solve the mystery as well?

Check out the promo below and make sure you look for this awesome mid-season drama on FOX!!

Alcatraz Promo

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2011 in Clips, FOX, Mid Season, Season Premieres

 

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