ALCATRAZ Recap: Paxton Petty* (ep.6)

By Ruthie
*or "Already running out of retro sounding names."

Welcome back! 
So this week we have Paxton Petty, and the info screen on my DVR tells me that he’s a landmine bomber. Excellent! We’re having live-action minesweeper! Everyone get your flags ready and let’s get to it...
"Tell me again about that island..."

It’s 1960, and wee Emerson Hauser is tossing his cookies over the side of the police boat. They escort Petty off the boat, and who’s meeting him? The Warden and Lucy! Hauser makes moony eyes at her, and she’s completely indifferent. Well, well, well. So Hauser knew all along that Lucy was a 63. (Of course he did.) The Warden threatens Petty a little, and then Hauser awkwardly flirts with Lucy by trying to offer her a ride to the mainland. She demurs, but she lets him know she’s interested by molesting his hand when she offers him a mint. Well, well, well. If they used to be a couple, that will pack a little more meaning into her “He’s not so bad once you get used to him” from the second episode.

Present day, Hauser plays a song for comatose Lucy. (The record player again? Really? I can give the 63s a pass—they haven’t been around getting used to technology. But Hauser took the long road and really ought to have an iPod or something.) A doctor asks him if she had a DNR, and he is shocked to discover that the comatose woman who got shot in the heart might be dying.
Blonde? Check. Blue eyes? Check. Buzzcut? Yep, he's from the '50's.

We cut to a park full of happy people doing their every day stuff. Oh look, a fluffy puppy. This is clearly going to end badly. It does, when a series of landmines goes off, blowing the park-goers to kingdom come. Our three heroes arrive moments later, and Madsen glances over at a group of what look like students talking to a police officer; one of them is Petty. Hauser identifies the landmines and he and Doc both cry “Paxton Petty!” at the same time. Hauser scoots to look for possible locations for more mines, and Doc lets us know that Petty was an engineer in the Korean war who got court-martialed for something bad involving school children and US landmines. Madsen looks at a photo on Doc’s iPad, recognizes Petty, and runs after him. She manages to corner him, but he pings a landmine and rolls it after her. BOOM! She’s okay, but she lost him. (On a personal note, I wish my hair looked that nice ever, much less after I’ve almost been blown up.)

While Doc sagely wonders who the “facilitator” is who is helping these cons get their weapons, the easily distracted Madsen scampers off to greet an old buddy on the bomb squad. He shows Madsen some shrapnel from the mines. It is old. Then there’s a lovely shot of someone’s maimed limbs as Madsen and Doc interrupt a victim’s autopsy. The M.E. is wearing a Sandman tshirt under her scrubs, and Soto is titillated. (Go for it, man!) The M.E. shows them the shrapnel she’s been pulling from the bodies, and we see what is clearly part of a badge or a medal of some kind. Soto goes for it, and invites the M.E. to check out his comics shop. Alas, she doesn’t take him up on it.

Back at the Batcave, Hauser opens his own footlocker. Besides stacks of cash and the usual spy stuff, there are photos of Wee Hauser and Lucy looking adorable together; then he retrieves Petty’s police file and reads an odd little poem.

"Great work, Doc! I have Bob Hoskins' profile! Sick!"
In 1960, Dr. Dracula is alternating asking Petty where the bombs are and plunging him in an ice bath. Yes, torture is always an excellent way to get reliable information. Lucy does not approve, and the Warden ultimately sides with her.

In the present, an expert identifies the shrapnel as belonging to a Silver Star. Petty didn’t have one, so they wonder where he might have gotten it. The expert informs them that you can’t get one unless you earn it, but looky here: armysurplusworld.com.

Yeah, that took me all of 15 seconds to find, and Petty’s Google-Fu may surpass even my own! It’s so cheap, too; we could buy crates of them! No, no, the expert tells them. If it doesn’t get passed down in the family, it will be buried with the soldier. “Aha!” our heroes cry.

“To the graveyard!”

Sure enough, our next shot is of the Presidio, where Petty is doing something strange to a medal, and then he stabs a Park Ranger who stumbles across him. We’re pretty hard on Rangers on this show. Madsen and Soto see that the graves look undisturbed and head into the mausoleum.

In 1960, Lucy gives a frosty Petty a blanket and some hot tea. He’s been drugged, so she gets him talking about the school children he blew up in Korea; then she shocks him. Afterward, he starts singing a little song. Some time later, she plays the song for Grandpa Madsen, who was also in Korea. Madsen says he’ll tell her about the song if she finds out why he’s in the infirmary constantly getting his blood drained. She agrees, and he tells her that the song is a lullaby, one where one word in each line of the song was meant to communicate the whereabouts of landmines.
Frumpy is the new black.

In the present, Hauser is looking at his little poem. The words “snow,” “beard,” and “grace” are circled. They correspond to the locations of the first few bombings. The words “twin trees” are also circled. Hauser searches for the poem—or I guess it’s a song—and discovers a second verse.

In the mausoleum, they find Petty’s stash from the 50s hidden in a vault. They just missed him, but he left behind playground turf and sandstone pink paint. The bomb squad arrives and Madsen’s friend tells her that the city received a ransom note with a Korean poem demanding $651,000 to find the rest of the mines. She checks in with Hauser who cryptically tells her to cross-reference her location to the word “windward.” Hauser tries the word “Sunset.” That narrows the targets to Sunset Beach and Windward Elementary, which is near Soto’s shop.

The school is clear, so Madsen calls Hauser. He’s at the beach when he tells Madsen to stay put, and spots Petty almost immediately. He moves in to arrest him, but triggers a mine in the process. He’s trapped; if he moves, he’s kablooey. If he’d been a bit more transparent with Madsen, she might have showed up to help. Now it looks like his chronically cryptic nature is about to become fatally cryptic.
By dark of night, Madsen and Doc are still at the elementary school when Petty shows up. Madsen gets him, and he teases her about Hauser. She tries to call, and Petty’s bag rings. She locks him up in Alcatraz—actual Alcatraz, the tourist destination. He demands to know what happened to him, and Madsen assigns Doc to keep him busy. While Madsen gets caught up, Doc lies to Petty and tells him he didn’t write about him. Petty insists that he should have because the Warden and his Lady Headshrinker told him he was important. That confuses Soto; he isn’t aware of any female doctors on Alcatraz.
"I'm shutting down this Gap photo-shoot right now!"

In 1960, Lucy was the first one to figure out the poem. She asks Dr. Dracula about Grandaddy Madsen, and he menaces her in a grandfatherly-kind of way. Our heroes rush to the beach, where they find Hauser, still standing on the mine. The bomb squad turns up, and Madsen’s friend tells us that the mine has been modified. He manages to get Hauser off the bomb, and seems to have defused it—but it goes off, and Madsen’s friend dies. Hauser shoots Petty in the leg and taunts him into telling him where the last mine was hidden in the 50s.

Later, at the hospital, Hauser steals comatose Lucy and takes her to Bizarro-Alcatraz. He hands her over to Dr. Dracula, saying, “You know her methods. Fix her.”

And that’s it. I found this episode more satisfying, and I’m almost positive it’s because we got more 1960 story and furtherance of the mysteries. How about you? Did you like it? Hate it? Fall asleep? Tell us in the comments, and come back next week, because I’ll still be here, recapping away.

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