By Ruthie*Or, How Much Creepiness can We Cram Into an Hour?
Welcome once again to our weekly foray into the world of Alcatraz and its host of time-traveling personnel. I’ve been waiting all week for my Alcatraz fix, and I know you have too, so let’s get right to it.
|"No one else can ever know about this... Just you me and the tree."|
In the Alcatraz recreation yard of 1960, we see the same man dressed in a prison uniform. Two angry looking men walk past him and say, “Hey, Child Killer.” Others pick up the refrain, and the child killer panics. There are a number of guards standing around at the top of some bleachers and the child killer, fear in his eyes, runs for help. The guards subtly turn away and move out of range. A man knocks the child killer down the stairs, and some other prisoners surround him, kicking and punching. E.B. Tiller comes out and coolly observes the fight, which we are told is the third or fourth time this guy has been attacked. No one seems to mind much; Tiller even muses that it would be nice if they just finished him off. But he does his job and asks the guards to get him inside “before they kill him.”
|"Okay, before I sign this....you're POSITIVE these Russian brides gotta sleep with me, right?" |
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At the hospital, Lucy is still unconscious and hooked to machines. (All of you who share my Parminder Nagra crush, look now for this is all we will see of her this week.) Hauser is outside her room, looking moodily at her through the glass. He tells Detective Marsden about the Sinoatrial Node with the implication that Lucy’s isn’t working. Marsden asks if she might still come out of it, and Hauser looks at her like a moron. Doc interrupts them. “I know it’s sad and all,” he says, and then explains about the missing boy. He tells them that the same thing happened three times in 1958, and the kidnapper was Alcatraz inmate Kit Nelson. Doc tells them that Nelson steals the kid on Friday and brings the bodies home on Sunday. They have 48 hours to find the boy.
En route to the crime scene, Doc tells Marsden that Nelson has no particular family; his mother died while he was in Alcatraz and his brother died of scarlet fever at 11 (the same age as the missing boy). The missing boy’s mother shows them the flower on the bed and tells them that Dylan, her son, wouldn’t run away. They show her a picture of Nelson, which she recognizes immediately as “Warren from Keller’s Hardware” who did some work for her the previous week. Marsden shows the photo to the younger brother, who murmurs that Nelson gave him rock candy. Marsden asks if Nelson was in the bedroom last night, and poor Liam, who looks on the verge of panic, says, “I pretended to be asleep ‘cause I was scared.” Poor kid.
Meanwhile, Kit Nelson has hold of Dylan and is marching him out to a lake, two fishing poles in hand. They rent a boat....
Back in the Alcatraz infirmary, the bloodletting doctor hands a freshly-beaten Nelson two aspirin and tells him he won’t bother setting his nose. Nelson asks for something stronger, and Dr. Dracula offers him a cigarette, but picky Mr. Nelson says they aren’t his brand. The Doctor scowls at him and says that he has an 8 and a 10 year old, so if Nelson wants anything stronger, he’s “crap outta luck.” As a human being, I can sympathize with the doctor here. But at the same time, Dr. Dracula took an oath to do no harm, and that includes no harm to child-killing sleazeballs. I guess he’s arguably providing a minimum standard of care, but not setting that broken nose can cause major breathing problems, and not medicating his patient’s pain can cause a difficult and prolonged recovery, so I really feel like the man is not doing his job. This does not help to engender warm fuzzy feelings in me about the doctor.
Granddaddy Marsden is still behind that same screen from the first episode and laughs at Nelson. He tells him he doesn’t want to mess with Dr. Beauregard or he’ll end up on the other side, getting his blood drained. (Ah-hah, so Dr. Dracula is the Dr. Beauregard who got a single mention in Bizarro-Alcatraz last episode.) They finish taking Madsen’s blood and move the screen, showing him in all his cocky glory. He picks on Nelson a bit and tells him that he gets beaten because of what he is.
At Keller’s Hardware, they discover that Warren’s uniform and some fishing poles were stolen the previous week. Back on the lake, Nelson and Dylan are fishing, until Nelson suddenly takes away Dylan’s pole and tells him “Okay, I need you to get into the water now.” They both jump into the lake, and Nelson tells Dylan to hold him under for as long as he can. “Do it,” he shouts, “and don’t let me up.” Dylan complies, and when Nelson finally comes back up, coughing and spitting, he looks at the terrified kid. “Your turn,” he says. Good lord, I don’t think those two innocent words have ever been said with more menace.
Our heroes arrive at the lake after they’ve gone, but at least we know Dylan left alive. Doc says that a teenager in 1958 saw Nelson playing mini-golf with his victim the day before he was killed, but no one believed him because that was just too creepy. I’m starting to think that “creepy” is our theme word for the day. They theorize that maybe Nelson is giving his victims one “last hurrah.” Soto looks so horribly tortured as he talks about Nelson playing with his victims before they die. I have a strong urge to give him a hug.
Nelson and Dylan are in a movie theater watching a terrible black-and-white sci-fi B movie, and Nelson orders Dylan to eat his popcorn. All of it. Yuck. Watching these scenes with Nelson and Dylan together makes me horribly uncomfortable. I’m not sure if I want to go hug my kid or take a shower. Eeeurgh.
Back in the infirmary, the warden arrives and orders bloodied-up Nelson into a wheelchair. They go for a little walk, and the warden says that Nelson’s father has written and wants to visit. The warden feels solidarity with the father because they’re both war vets; when Nelson refuses to see him, the warden informs him that the father has earned the right to see Nelson. Then he takes the chair away from Nelson, who can barely stand, and orders him to walk back. I know I was just griping about Dr. Beauregard picking on Nelson, but in the warden’s case, I’m actually kind of pleased that he did that. Maybe it’s just nice to see the guy suffer after those creepy, creepy scenes with Dylan. Or maybe I think it’s okay because the warden didn’t take the Hippocratic Oath. Either way, I enjoy seeing the warden screw with Kit Nelson.
Back in the present, Hauser cancels the Amber Alert on Dylan. He stares at his computer screens for a while, and his eyes fall on some of Lucy’s things she left behind. (Hey, look, Lucy shops at Target. I have that exact same bag.) And then he does one of those things that people do all the time in movies that you almost never see in real life, and he throws the chair with Lucy’s stuff on it across the room. I hope he didn’t break her glasses.
Dylan’s mom is pouring lemonade for the Daring Duo and her hands are shaking. And can I just say, the Mom is beautifully cast here. Not only does she play this part very well, she really looks like a mom of two. They ask about Dylan’s hobbies and she tells them that he likes comic books and cartoons, not outdoorsy things like fishing. Doc has a mild freakout when he realizes he got it wrong. The Mom pleads to know more about Nelson, and Doc interrupts with “Cherry pie.” Marsden sends him out front to stop him upsetting Mom.
He discovers that all the police are leaving. One officer tells Soto that the Amber Alert was cancelled and it probably has to do with the parent’s divorce. “Do you think the dad has any idea what a chrysanthemum even looks like?” Soto demands. I had no idea what a chrysanthemum looked like, so I’m going to go with “no.” (Feel free to mock my floral ignorance in the comments. I can take it.) Hauser shows up and explains that he cancelled the alert because he doesn’t want the house to look like a crime scene when Nelson brings back the body. Doc flips. They have an argument that clearly delineates their priorities: Hauser wants to catch Nelson at any cost; Doc wants to save the boy.
Doc splits, and Hauser complains to Marsden that Doc isn’t cut out for this work. She defends him and says that if he goes, she goes. Hauser tells her if she leaves she’ll never find her grandfather. Marsden is outraged, and says that she’s in it to find the 302 returning 63s who are “all as evil as that sick freak who took Dylan.” But that’s not right, because we learned in the first episode that only 256 were prisoners; the rest were guards or other personnel, who are presumably not so evil.
Soto, meanwhile, is searching for diners that sell cherry pie. (Hey, doesn’t that girl smiling and eating by the window look like Olivia Wilde?) Marsden tries to track him down and goes through Nelson’s box of belongings. She convinces Hauser that they need Doc because he can look at a meaningless box of soap and cigarettes and put together a life story. In other words, he might not be as tough as they are, but he’s much smarter and more creative. I have to agree. And so does Hauser.
|"I'll call you back... I think I ate a spoon.|
At another diner, Doc is on his second slice when he hears Nelson order two slices of cherry pie from a booth behind him. Marsden calls him on his cell, and Doc answers with a very awkward “Hey, Honey, how are you?” and she figures out that he’s found Nelson and Dylan. They eat pie, and Nelson creepily orders Dylan to hold his fork in his left hand.
Back in 1960, bloodied-up Nelson is having a heart-to-heart with his father, who clearly loathes him. Nelson’s mother died and left him a dried chrysanthemum. The father relates that Kit and his brother Elliot had been left alone for the weekend when the brother died. The father has figured out that Kit, who hated his brother, killed him and his mother, unwilling to lose both sons in one day, covered for him with the scarlet fever story. Apparently the brother enjoyed miniature golf, swimming in lakes, and cherry pie. The father demands to know if Kit killed his brother, and he replies that no, it was scarlet fever.
In the present, Nelson and Dylan are leaving, and Soto tries, stumblingly, to stop them. Eventually he resorts to shouting out, “Kit Nelson! Let him go!” which finally stops them. Soto quickly and emphatically tells Dylan, “Don’t. Give. Up.” Marsden arrives in the nick of time, but Nelson pulls a gun on Dylan, and the Daring Duo both end up handcuffed to a dumpster. As Nelson escapes, Soto whimpers, “I just got that kid killed, didn’t I?” Ohhhh, I want to hug him SO BAD.
Back at Alcatraz, Doc goes through Nelson’s stuff and figures out that Nelson smoked some expensive Al Capone-worthy cigarettes. That leads Soto to find a check from a cement company that ended up in Nelson’s commissary account. The company built bomb shelters, and Soto tracks down the sites of the shelters they built. There was one near every kidnapped child. There’s one in Walnut Creek.
In the shelter, it’s Sunday evening and Dylan and Nelson are playing checkers. Dylan wants to go home, and Nelson ominously tells him, “Soon.”
In 1960, E.B. Tiller throws Nelson in the hole. The warden is inside. He waxes poetic to Nelson about an antique matchbox. If you’re searching for hidden clues in this detail, I’ll save you the quality time with your pause button and tell you that it’s an 1858 Swedish safety match from the Jonkoping match factory. The cover reads “Jonkoping – Tandstickor – Guldstjarna – Kvalitet,” and is decorated with three 5 pointed stars. The warden tells Nelson that he wants to tell Nelson’s father the truth about his brother and he will spend the rest of his sentence in the hole unless he tells him everything. The warden is a father of two, so he feels invested.
Nelson admits everything. He tells the warden that they were in the bomb shelter out back, and he strangled his brother. Between the dialogue, the lighting, Nelson’s face, and the gaping way he holds his jaw he looks truly insane in this scene. Nelson relates that his brother struggled, and then his body just went soft. “That’s when I knew,” he said. “That he was dead?” the warden asks. “That I had to do it again.” Creeeeeeepy. The warden thanks him, then walks out. Nelson screams that this isn’t fair, and the warden muses that that’s an interesting sentiment from a man who outweighs his victims by a hundred pounds. He tosses Nelson the matchbox. “Make ‘em last.”
Back in the shelter, Nelson still has the matchbox. Dylan asks for food. When that doesn’t work, he asks for a blanket, which Nelson tosses him. Dylan slides his foot out of his shoe, and while Nelson is busy lighting a cigarette, he throws the shoe at the single light bulb illuminating the room, breaks it, and runs for it in the dark. Smart boy! Good job Dylan! Go, boy, run!
During the commercials there’s a preview for the new show “Touch” premiering Wednesday. Looks pretty good. And hey, guess who’s going to be recapping it for you?
The Daring Duo arrive just in time and find the hatch to the shelter gaping open. Dylan cries for help and they chase after him, catching up just as Nelson grabs Dylan. Marsden orders him not to move. “You didn’t shoot before,” Nelson says. “I think I’ll take my chances.”
|Deep Woods Lawyer-Cop, coming this fall on Fox|
Hauser appears out of thin air and shoots Nelson in the back of the head. Soto calls Dylan over and puts a protective arm around him. It’s over.
Back in the Batcave, Hauser has a word with Soto. He tells him that when someone is traumatized as a child, they end up with a case of arrested development, developmentally stuck at the age they were. “You were what, eleven?” he asks. He tells Soto that he allows him to be here because he’s a super expert on Alcatraz, but he needs the adult Soto and not the eleven year old. Doc is distressed. He tries to tell Marsden what happened when he was eleven, but he can’t seem to get the words out. Marsden totally lets him off the hook with some encouragement.
Doc takes a taxi out to Dylan’s house and gives him some comic books that he had noticed missing from Dylan’s collection. Dylan confides that he’s still scared, and Doc relates that when he was eleven, someone took him just like Nelson took Dylan. He managed to get away as well, and he tells Dylan that once he knows he can do that, it’s like having a real superpower. Dylan says that he didn’t give up, and Doc turns away with the saddest look in his eyes. What is it about Jorge Garcia that melts me like butter? Seriously, I am totally a puddle right now.
At Bizzaro-Alcatraz, Hauser steps off the elevator with Nelson in a body bag on his shoulder. Sylvane and Cobb are both watching from their cells. He hangs a left into the infirmary, and, hey, look who’s here! It’s Dr. Dracula, aka Dr. Beauregard! So, yet another time travelling Alcatraz person! He looks like he’s setting up for an autopsy. Hauser tells him, “I may need your help, depending on how things turn. It’s for a friend of mine.” Dr. Beauregard smiles and says, “Armed and ready, sir.” The entire exchange makes no obvious sense on the surface, so it’s probably important. Dr. Beauregard starts up a record on the turntable, lights a cigarette, and dances his way over to the corpse he’s about to autopsy. What a cheerful guy.
So, what did you think about this week’s episode? After the level-5 creepiness factor, I feel like I need to go have a nice long shower, but I loved the development of Doc’s character. I really get the feeling that there’s more to his story, and I want to know what it is. I also liked Marsden here. She showed a lot of empathy in this episode and I loved that she has her priorities right. (More than anything in this episode, she made me think of Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, and his famous sentiment, “Personal isn’t the same as important.”)
How about you? Head to the comments and tell us what you thought.
And don’t forget to come back Thursday and check out our recap/review of TOUCH with Kiefer Sutherland.