ALCATRAZ Recap Doubleshot: The Ames Brothers (ep.9) & Sonny Burnett (ep.10)

By Ruthie

Guys, it’s not looking good for Alcatraz. Ratings are dropping. I’m starting to think I’m the only one watching this show.
Is cancellation sneaking up on our heroes?
 TV By The Numbers has officially downgraded Alcatraz to “likely to be cancelled.” Fox has already cancelled Terra Nova, and word on the street is that Cancellation Bear has turned his eyes to Alcatraz. In other words, the situation is grim people. Let’s hope we make the best of the little time we have left.

Since last week's episode was usurped by car racing, we have two episodes (and therefore, two recaps) for the price of one this week! Fox aired two episodes last night but I’m confused because neither of these were the episode we were promised, about "An innocent man imprisoned in Alcatraz"...
We begin with the Ames Brothers, an episode that starts off with a "'63" taking the tour in modern Alcatraz (on a dark and stormy night… whooo!). In a flashback, we find out the large balding man has the ridiculous name of Pinky, and he’s in the Rock with his fraternal twin. They’re planning some kind of heist that will make them rich men.

In the Batcave, present day, Doc and Madsen are chatting adorably about Hauser’s think tank people, who they’ve given nicknames to. (Glasses, Two-shirts, and the Whistler. Sound like Batman villains.) The long-haired guy is called Dandruff guy… or perhaps I should say WAS called Dandruff guy, because Pinky spots him doing some experiment and beats the daylights out of him. Doc sees the whole thing from the shadows and whispers under his breath, “Pinky Ames!” And then out steps the brother and grins, “And who might you be?” Aaaaah! Creepy! Creepy! Have you guys ever seen Hogfather, the movie version of the awesome Discworld book? Because this guy is totally channeling Mr. Teatime for me. Creepy!
"Hey! Are you this weeks bad guy?" "Uhhh... No?" "Okay, move along."

Madsen apparently missed all of this on the cameras—they’re stranded by the storm. The Ames brothers have Doc in a room with a gun to his head and start asking him questions. Doc tells them their 1961 escape attempt was legendary. Through the course of some more questioning, Soto figures out that they were never trying to escape—they were after some mythical gold. (Pirates! Arr!)

In the past, the warden chats with Pinky, who’s helping out with the Sunday services. And then, whipping out the old cliché used by thousands of twenty somethings on dating sites, “I’m more spiritual than religious.” At least he clarifies that by saying that spirituality is about understanding and religion is about reward, which is more thought than I think most people put into that. (I usually interpret that statement as “I like the idea of God but I’m not interested in rules or getting up early on Sunday mornings.”) Pinky takes the warden’s coat for him and then, with the help of a crooked guard, he makes soap imprints of the keys.

Back on modern Alcatraz, Madsen spots Dandruff Guy’s blood, and then his body. Hauser strolls into the Batcave and manages to replay the murder. The Ames brothers shove Soto in the Hole for safekeeping.
OMG. This is gonna look great on Facebook.

In the past, the Ames brothers use an elaborate lab of kitchen gear to make duplicates of the warden’s keys. They’re running out of time, so Pinky Ames uses the meat slicer to cut off another dude’s finger. Young Officer Ray has the next shift, and he spots the metal bits leftover from the key making. Hmmm.

In the present, somebody makes a move on Madsen, and she pins him. It turns out to be the crooked guard, Donovan, now in a park ranger uniform. Madsen keeps tabs on him. The Ames brothers are annoyed he hasn’t joined them, but Pinky insists that it’s significant that they bumped into him on the tour.

In the past, Herman interrupts the warden’s homily with drunken sillies, and tips the warden off that he’s been drinking the communion wine. They get thrown in the Hole, but when the warden goes to check on them, they find a beaten up Donovan in there instead.

Soto’s wigging out in the Hole, when Madsen, walking Donovan down the aisle, gets tipped off that Donovan is a 63 when he refers to something the old school way. There’s a fight and a shootout—Herman gets hit in the neck, Madsen gets nearly strangled, and Donovan gets kicked right in the fork. Hauser shows up just in time but gets grazed by a bullet. Pinky, overcome with fury over his twin’s death, goes a bit bat-guano nuts on Madsen. Madsen and Hauser escape down a tunnel, and Pinky chases after them screaming and shooting. Donovan follows and tells Pinky to stick to the plan. Pinky decides to take it out on the man in the Hole.

Soto manages to get out of the Hole, but Pinky grabs him right away. He beats him up pretty good, but Donovan stops him from killing Soto. Madsen has ID’ed the 63s and tells us that they were bank robbers. Hauser tells us that they were after some Civil War gold rumored to be under the Rock. Pinky Ames uses the security cameras to lure Madsen out.
"Itsy-Bitsy, my ass! That spiders HUGE!"

Back in 1960, the Ames brothers wander around in the tunnels under D block, but when they find the door they’re looking for, they have the wrong keys. The warden catches them, sends them off, and then makes it clear to Ray that no questions should be asked. He promises a reward and invites Ray over to his house. Ray goes to the infirmary and wakes up Grandpa Tommy, tells him that he’s in with the warden and promises to find out what they’re doing to Tommy.

Madsen catches up with Soto and Donovan. Pinky tries to jump her from behind, but thanks to a warning from Soto, she ducks just in time. She whacks the wahooni out of Ames and gets him to chase after her. Eventually, she manages to get him on the main cell block, where she drops a metal bed frame on his head. It’s super effective! He’s left a bloody mess on the floor, and frankly, given how old and heavy that thing was, he should have heard it coming. Donovan takes Soto down to the dungeons, then whallops him on the head for his trouble. He’s all right though; Madsen checks on him and then takes off after Hauser.

Hauser has caught up with Donovan who is attempting to dynamite the door. (He must have missed that episode of Lost—the one where poor Hurley ended up with bits of junior high science teacher all over him. Otherwise he would have the same healthy terror of ever touching dynamite that I have.) No, he lights the door, nearly blowing himself and Hauser to kingdom come and almost certainly deafening the both of them. Madsen finds Hauser, then takes off after Donovan (who by rights should be a deaf, paraplegic burn victim). Donovan finds no gold—just a big empty room. While he freaks out, Madsen arrests him.
The Warden does a mean Edward G. Robinson

In Bizarro Alcatraz, Hauser relates some dull parable about greedy men on the back of an eagle flying to a golden moon. Hauser and Dr. Beauregard are interrogating Donovan in some kind of horrible harness thing. They want to know about the connection between the warden, Tommy Madsen, Ray Archer, and the keys.

In the past, the warden heads down under Alcatraz and lets himself into that big empty room that Donovan fought so hard to get into… only it wasn’t empty back then. Sure enough, it was full of Gold bars. “Hello, Ladies,” says the warden. Ah, so that’s what he’s into.

Then begins the next episode!

We’re on to Sonny Burnett, an episode that begins in Ray Archer’s bar. He tells Hauser that he wants Rebecca out, and Hauser basically tells him to F off because she’s a big girl and can make her own decisions. (Point to Hauser in this discussion; she’s a grown woman, Uncle Ray.) Then Hauser figures out that Ray has seen Tommy.

And then in a scene right out of Twilight, Tommy Madsen is sitting in Madsen’s apartment, watching her sleep. Or no—did she just dream that? She wakes up and grabs a gun but he isn’t there. Two suits drive down a road and swerve to avoid hitting a guy. They inexplicably get out of the car (they didn’t hit the guy!), and he pulls a shotgun, shoots the smoker and kidnaps the other one.

The kidnapper is, of course Sonny Burnett. He was in Alcatraz for a series of kidnappings for ransom, and he makes a deal with a guy for protection in exchange for money from his last job.

So our kidnapping victim turns out to be the CEO of Helen Campbell cosmetics, married to the founder of the company. Our heroes go to interview the wife, and she tells them that when she was a girl, she was kidnapped by Sonny Burnett and held for ransom. (Dunh dun DUNH!)

In Bizarro Alcatraz, Dr. Beauregard treats Hauser’s bullet wound. He tells him that after he shot Ernest Cobb in the hand, he healed much faster than he should have. He explains that all the murders have Colloidal_Silver in their blood, which is known to have healing properties. True. It does have healing properties. It’s also known to turn your skin blue, something that is very troublesome for people who have to take it.  So why aren’t the 63s all blue? It would make them much easier to catch. Dr. Beauregard admits that one of the things they were doing on Alcatraz was decanting the blood. Beauregard also suggests that a transfusion of the healing blood to an unhealthy person might help, but none of the inmates have Dr. Lucy’s blood type. (I’m pretty sure that’s from the X-Men. Didn’t Wolverine give somebody a blood transfusion to make them heal? It’s tickling the back of my brain.)

"No, No, I live here. I always pick the lock to get in."
[Bill here - did some digging. In comics, the Wolvie transfusion has been tried a few times but without real success, though in an X-men cartoon it worked. But the most famous transfusion my be the one a mild mannered scientist named, Dr. Robert Bruce Banner gave his cousin Jennifer.]

They question Helen Campbell about her kidnapping. She says that she was 14 and Sonny was a flashy guy who drove a muscle car. One day he took a shotgun and made her flag down a car; after that he acted like they were partners. She waited three months before she ran to the police. Madsen seems dubious; she asks where Sonny kept her. Madsen is annoyed that Campbell knows more than she’s telling, and Hauser kicks her out. Ray goes by Madsen’s apartment, complaining that Hauser’s having him followed. He sees her shrine to Grandpa Tommy, and she admits that she’s obsessed with trying to figure out why he killed her partner. Uncle Ray just says that he’s a bad guy, which tips off Madsen that Uncle Ray has seen him.

In the past, the guy Sonny asked for protection informs him that the money was not where he said it would be; then he stabs him. Repeatedly. In the present, Sonny is in a place that looks like my old crappy apartment. He has Helen’s husband, who promises that his wife will give him “anything he wants.” He grins. Yeah… I bet she will.

Back in the past, Dr. Beauregard wakes a badly injured Sonny. He’s been murmuring “Helen!” in his sleep. Tiller tells the guy to toughen up, because he’ll always be either predator or prey.

In the present, Burnett has (rather predictably) called and demanded $100K in ransom. He wants it delivered to Berkeley Downs, where it can be left in a saddlebag in a hay bin. Helen tells them that Berkeley Downs is where she escaped from. Madsen goes to drop off the money, which Sonny was expecting because he instead goes to Helen’s house. He pins her in a corner. He tells her he loved her and accuses her of betraying him; he promises her she’s going to know what it’s like to lose everything. She begs to know where her husband is. He says that he’s in the stable where he sent the police. At least… part of him is.

Madsen opens the saddlebag and finds… Gwyneth Paltrow’s head in a box! Aaaaiee! No, wait, wrong movie. It’s something bloody and identifiable that makes Madsen lose her lunch, but looks to me kind of like sausage. Honestly, I’m not looking that close. They talk about what Burnett is after, and then Hauser reminds them that he wants them all alive. Soto quips, “He does realize he’s the only one that shoots them, right?”

Helen’s freaking out. (As you do.) Madsen asks her why Sonny wants revenge. She admits that she took his money from the last job he did. Soto has tracked down the stolen muscle car Sonny is driving. They’d better hurry—he’s arranged for a car to pick him up.
"Can you tell us MORE about this 'really horrible experience'?"

In the past, Burnett has apparently decided to be a predator. He attacks some poor guy who’s under the protection of the guy who stabbed him earlier. Tiller stops him before he kills the guy, and the protection dude assures him he’s going to die when he comes out of the Hole.

They go to the house Burnett is living in, and a neighbor tells them he’s the new guy who just moved in with Willy. This does not bode well for Willy. Sure enough, Willy is passed on. Looks like Burnett disconnected his oxygen and let him suffocate. She finds a stalker-ish pile of papers about Helen Campbell on a desk next to most of the husband’s body. Among them, Madsen finds a photo of Helen’s daughter with a flight number written on it. Oh no!

At the airport, Sonny Campbell poses as a driver and lures Danielle Campbell away with him. In the next scene he’s at a hardware store, creepily asking the helpful clerk to cut a piece of plywood to his height, and throw in a shovel and a flashlight. Yes, that doesn’t sound at all like a man burying a body.

In the past, Tiller brings Sonny a giant tray full of meat. He actually taunts him about not killing that poor dude he beat up in the yard. Tiller’s kind of an ass. Then Sonny burns his own arm with a cigarette.


A trip to the hardware store helps Madsen and Soto figure out that Burnett is planning to bury the girl. They put it together—she escaped from the stable, so he left her husband’s head in the stable. She dug up the money from a field, so surely that’s where the girl is buried. Of course, it took her two weeks to find the money the first time. They better hurry because poor Danielle is using up her oxygen with a lot of flailing and screaming.

Our heroes are converging on the field where poor Danielle is buried. There is a very product-placement feeling scene where Hauser tells his car to call Rebecca. Madsen approaches the car.
Back in the past, Sonny attacks the protection guy who stabbed him before. He tells him he’ll never see another day, then he beats the guy to a pulp and blinds him with his bare hands. The Warden and E.B. Tiller stand high above and watch and threaten one another in a very civil kind of way.

In the present, they catch Burnett and have a brief pissing match with the SFPD about jurisdiction. Madsen tells them about Danielle, and the story changes immediately. The cops organize a search and rescue team, and they find Danielle alive. Soto makes the rather macabre observation that when this is all over, they’ll all have to live with what they’ve done.

In Bizarro Alcatraz, Beauregard tells Hauser that while Burnett is a blood type match for Lucy, his blood lacks the colloidal silver. Emerson sends him away and moons over Parminder Nagra’s comatose body. Poor Parminder. She hasn’t gotten to do terribly much on this show besides lie around and be a prop.

And we finish with another scene straight out of Twilight: Grandpa Tommy stands on the fire escape outside Madsen’s apartment and watches her sleep. That’s her own fault for not investing in a good pair of drapes, though.

So, two episodes that were both decidedly a bit “meh.” Rife with mediocrity. I don’t know if it will be enough to save the show, so I certainly hope they have some big exciting finish planned for us. We’ll see. At least they answered the question of the missing episode - Clarence Montgomery (ep.8) - apparently they’re showing it out of order next week.

 Give us your thoughts in the comments, check us out on Facebook, and, as always, come back next week for our next exciting installment.

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