ALCATRAZ Recap: Johnny McKee* (ep.7)

By Ruthie

*or Johnny, Johnny, Angry Johnny

Hey there, you. You, reading this recap. You’re looking really nice today. Have you been working out? I’m glad you came back, it’s always such a delight to see you. Oh, is that enough small talk? Let’s get down to business, and today, our business is recapping last night’s latest foray into the world of Alcatraz.
The 2012 Synchronized Flashlight Regional Champions 

This episode, our monster of the week is one Johnny McKee, a chemistry buff gone wrong.
We open on Lucy with a cranium covered in electrodes. (Remember last week’s closing line? “You know her methods. Fix her!”) Dr. Dracula has apparently tried a host of cures, not one of which sounds remotely beneficial to a woman comatose following a major heart wound, but she is dreaming and he thinks the dulcet sound of Hauser reading Lucy one of her favorite books will help. (The book is The Carpetbaggers, which Wikipedia tells me is about an industrialist aviator in the golden age of movies and heavily based on the life of Howard Hughes.) Hauser, ever the dick, refuses. It could be because the book sounds terrible.

"That's a lumpy carpet... oh."
At a busy nightclub, a smarmy guy approaches a bartender and demands, in the most obnoxious way possible, a round of drinks. The bartender quotes Jules Verne, sending the smarmy guy back to his table loudly mocking the man about to serve him beverages. (This is a terrible idea, unless you enjoy your vodka with a saliva chaser.) The bartender goes even further than that and whips out a little bag of some kind of berries that he begins crushing and chopping.

In the past, in the yard, some old guy named Cullen (not a sparkly vampire) forcibly requests McKee’s services to poison a librarian. McKee has a jar with a huge, gnarly looking bug in it.
Back at the nightclub, McKee hands out lurid yellow drinks to the obnoxious guys, who all begin choking and collapsing. McKee seems delighted.

At the Batcave, Doc is putting all that technology to the best possible use: video games. Good man, Soto. Some kind of AI in the computer pulls up a YouTube video of the deaths and identifies Johnny McKee in the background. Madsen meets him at the club in the morning, and he informs her that McKee taught organic chemistry at a junior college and poisoned people as a hobby. His crowning achievement was poisoning 43 people at his high school reunion by rigging the sprinklers with cyanide based pesticide. They get McKee’s address off his employment application.

Elsewhere, McKee sees his video on someone else’s phone. He’s given a brief interview for the position of “pool boy,” then hired. Madsen and Doc head to the address on the application, only to find a field, but that enlightens Soto to the fact that McKee was using his cell number—and that Jack Sylvane from the pilot was McKee’s next door neighbor.

The video of the deaths has gone viral, but Hauser sends some kind of message and suddenly it all but disappears from the internet. (This, my children, is the magic of the Viacom Copyright Claim.) Hauser agrees to arrange a meeting between Sylvane and Madsen. Soto, meanwhile, is going through McKee’s stuff. McKee was a big Jules Verne buff and mostly targeted men; he claimed the murder of his high school class was justifiable because the men were bullies. Amid McKee’s stuff is a photo of “Ginny,” a woman who would be very pretty except for the fact that half of her face is disfigured. Soto wonders if McKee’s out for revenge for whatever did that to her.
"Read? You guys actually read the script?"

McKee the towel boy gets smacked in the head by a wet towel from a jerk who doesn’t know how to say “Please.” He responds by adding a bottle of poison to the pool chemicals. Then he waits.

In the past, McKee trades a naughty magazine for a shank from the librarian he’s been told to kill.
Back at the pool, he painstakingly arranges folded towels on deck chairs. Then he takes a moment to admire the half a dozen bodies doing the dead man’s float in the pool. He grins and swaggers out.
Madsen goes to meet Sylvane in what appears to be the Alcatraz infirmary. He recognizes her. Jack wants to know if he doesn’t answer, is Hauser going to give him to Beauregard again? Madsen doesn’t know who that is. Interesting. Madsen bribes Sylvane with a photo of his wife.

Sylvane’s dialogue is interspersed with flashbacks to the 60s. In the past, McKee tells Sylvane about his girl, Ginny Winters, who drank egg creams with him and liked him because he was smart.
Sylvane tells us that McKee was near obsessed with Jules Verne and his ability to predict the future. In the past, McKee discusses Verne while mushing some of those same berries that killed the guys at the club and coating the shank. Sylvane tells us he kept a jar of bugs in his cell and called it his “killing jar.” He identifies the yellow berries as a kind of nightshade. Madsen asks Sylvane about her grandfather, and he tells her about the time Tommy Madsen told him about the “hole beneath the hole.”

Soto is visiting the cute ME from the last episode. She tells him the tox screen on the club guys was negative for the usual suspects drug-wise and also for cyanide. Elsewhere, a gloved and masked McKee is cooking up some kind of gas in a homemade lab. He tests it on a mouse, but it goes to commercial before we see whether he add mouse-i-cide to his long list of crimes.

"I have no idea what that says, but I don't like it."
In the past, McKee meets with the charming Dr. Simgupta, who he flirts with a fair bit; the warden cuts his session short on account of his uncooperativeness.

In Chinatown, our heroes have found an herbalist who sells nightshade, and using some Chinese that even I can tell is poorly pronounced, Hauser determines that the herbalist’s delivery boy has McKee’s address. The herbalist thoughtfully gives Hauser some meds for his murky chi. Ahhh. The address turns out to be an abandoned high school, and in the old chemistry lab, they find McKee’s gas making setup. The room smells like fresh-cut grass. (The mouse is dead, by the by.) Soto identifies the gas as Phosgene, and from an article about Jules Verne, they figure that his next target is the subway.

Sure enough, we see McKee drug the driver of a subway train.

In 1960, the inmates have gathered to watch a movie. Cullen prompts McKee to hurry up, but he indicates that he’s waiting for the grand finale.

McKee pulls the brake on the subway train in the middle of the tunnel, leaving it alone in an isolated tunnel. He pulls out the canister of gas.

In 1960, the film concludes with a song number from a real bombshell, and McKee and the librarian walk out grinning together. Cullen, however, is unresponsive and foaming from the mouth.

Johnny like Hide and Seek
In the present, a disembodied voice has pointed our heroes to the halted subway car. They’d better hurry, because McKee is already pumping the gas through the vents. The car is almost entirely full of men, and they begin pounding on the windows and doors, trying to escape. Madsen and Hauser show up just in time, and with the help of a fire ax, they manage to open a window. McKee darts away and Madsen and Hauser chase him down a tunnel. He attacks Madsen; all three fight and shots are fired. McKee tries to flee again, and Madsen tackles him. He tries to escape by rolling away, but he rolls right onto the electrified rail and is shocked. He’s still alive.

The evening news spins the subway story to take out all that pesky mass murder stuff, and Soto tells us about Ginny. She went to school with McKee, and her face was burned when a bottle of acid dye—ferrous cyanide—exploded in her face. That being McKee’s trademark toxin, they wonder why he did it.

In the past, Lucy interviews McKee. The interrogation reveals that the sweet date we heard McKee tell Sylvane about earlier was only half the story. McKee and Ginny shared egg creams, went up to the roof of the gym and talked. She kissed him and got him to take his clothes off; then the lights came on, revealing the whole of the football team. They threw firecrackers at him, one of which hit him in the privates and blew his testicles off. Dear Sweet Heavens. If that’s what happened, you can pretty much understand his desire to poison the bastards. Lucy wants to help him with that memory, but she needs him to open up first. He admits that he burned Ginny’s face with acid. Lucy agrees to help him.

In Bizarro-Alcatraz, Hauser has a chat with Sylvane. He wants to know what will happen to them, and Hauser tells him that nothing has changed, he will stay in prison. Sylvane insists that things have changed, because he doesn’t dream anymore. Ah, but Lucy is dreaming! Beauregard told us that right at the beginning.

"Nobody down here! Go away!"
Emerson Hauser rushes to the infirmary, where he drops down to read to Lucy. It turns out that inside The Carpetbaggers’ dust jacket is a copy of Ovid’s The Metamorphoses. And he reads.

And that’s it. It was a decent episode, and for once a relatively interesting monster of the week. What did you think? Talk to us in the comments, and don’t forget to check us out on Facebook. Come back next week for the next chapter in our thrilling tale!

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