Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Alcatraz: End of Season 1 *SPOILERS*

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

I normally don't post SPOILERS in the title. Generally, I don't think you should be reading recaps and remarks about episodes you haven't seen. But the season finale of Alcatraz was pretty shocking, so I felt the need to warn you that Madsen dies. Yep. I couldn't believe it. I'm not sure what the writers were going for there, especially since we have not yet heard whether FOX plans to renew the show. While I would have preferred this to continue, in comparison with already-cancelled Terra Nova, the numbers aren't looking good, and I would not be surprised if this was the end of the thriller. It's a shame, though, because even though we started to learn about how things came together in these final two episodes, I was still left with a lot of questions. Lucy being the subject of many of them, really...c'est la vie and on with the recaps!

Alcatraz "Garrett Stillman" (S01E12): Lucy realizes that Madsen and Soto don't know about her, so she apologizes for keeping it a secret. Madsen is more accepting of it than Soto, who launches into interrogation mode, primarily about the fact that there is no documentation of a female doctor on Alcatraz ANYWHERE. Lucy says that the warden kept secrets. [yeah, yeah. we already knew that.] He then asks her what it's like to make the "jump" fifty years., but we get very little out of her. [disappointing. has she not pieced together what happened at ALL yet?] Lucy tells Madsen that she can ask her anything, so she asks what Tommy was like. [while we all know that Madsen wants to hear SOMETHING good about her grandfather, it's not really going to happen.] Tommy was charming and ruthless, as most inmates were. He was also manipulative, relentless, and patient. Lucy doesn't know why Tommy would have killed Madsen's partner. Lucy also doesn't seem to know why she, herself, is a target of the 63s. Madsen realizes that Lucy used to have a relationship with Hauser, and learns that the emotionless man was once a romantic, hardening after searching for 50 years to find Lucy again. [what was that supposed to do for viewers? Make us like Hauser more? It was a little goosebumps-inducing, tho.]  

A bunch of masked men rob an armored truck, and this is picked up by Soto's system. Soto and Lucy realize it's Garrett, who liked elaborate schemes and excelled at robbery. It seems that Garrett is killing his helpers and isn't after money (only taking uniforms). Madsen questions the security company and we learn that they've lost two trucks in the past month. There are non-reproducible codes on the uniforms that change monthly, though Madsen advises them to change the codes immediately. [you know, I understand it's for security and whatnot, but this whole Big Brother thing via clothing is getting to be a bit much. I just read an article this morning about Brazil recording student attendance this way.] Soto realizes that another former Alcatraz inmate, Simmons, became a billionaire, and theorizes that Garrett is trying to rob him of a mysterious package that is always moving around. Madsen, Soto, and Hauser head out to intercept, and Soto ends up being the one to figure out Garrett's plan - the three armored trucks are a ruse. Instead, Garrett hotwires an SUV to take, so Soto plants his cell phone in the backseat so they can track it. [clever going, Soto! Though I wonder why you get out of the car... you've been a target before, too.] Before the crew catches up to Garrett, however, another old inmate, "Ghost," arrives, kills Garrett, and takes off with the key from the package. Soto gets a glimpse of a car leaving, so he uses a traffic cam to match the vehicle - Tommy Madsen was driving, so it appears that he, too, was after the key. [no surprise there.] Speaking of keys, Hauser and Lucy finally found a secret area of Alcatraz where they insert the two uncovered keys... only to learn that a third key is also needed. [of course. it couldn't be that simple.]  

In 1960, the warden invites Garrett to attend a parole hearing for Simmons, who is a good prisoner but has been caught with contraband on several occasions. Simmons is denied parole, but the warden asks Garrett to steal the denial paperwork and replace it with approval paperwork - it seems that Tiller doesn't want Simmons to leave because he gets a big cut of his business, and that's why he denied him. [oh, corruption. always alive.] The warden even suggests that Garrett could take over Simmons' business and that he'd only ask for 20%. Garrett talks to a few other inmates and devises a way to forge a hearing slip, get the signatures on it, and swap it out. Tiller catches him and another steward rats him out, causing Tiller personally swaps the verdicts. [I saw this coming. you?] The warden takes a while to catch on, but is happy with the result. [of course.] He also gives Simmons a note when he leaves, saying that they'll be in touch again someday. [when's the last time you saw a TV villain who was such a sinister mastermind??]

Alcatraz "Tommy Madsen" (S01E13):  Joe Limerick goes to a psychiatric hospital, saying that he's from Alcatraz and that bad people (aka Tommy Madsen) are chasing him. He's admitted and we see he has the key with him. Tommy knows this, so he kidnaps a woman who works at the hospital, so he'll be able to get past the retina scanners. Of course, she isn't home when he comes looking, so he roughs up her husband and scares her daughter, who runs away unseen. It's the little girl who helps Madsen, Soto, and Hauser figure out the link, after a long period of coloring to get her to talk. [I was amazed that the original sketch was so well-done with no descriptions from the child. Similarly, I was surprised that Soto and Madsen found out about the possible match so quickly. The coloring thing was boring, though. I feel like NCIS has beaten that horse to death.] Tommy brings the woman to the hospital as a hostage, running around to find Ghost, who claims he doesn't have the key. Ghost jumps out of a window to avoid Tommy, just as Madsen and Hauser pull up. Madsen goes after Tommy, who drops the woman (and she's reunited with her daughter). [why would you bring a child to the scene to meet her mother? Why not wait and bring the mother to the station?] Madsen commandeers a new mustang to chase Tommy, eventually ramming him and having to pull him from a burning vehicle. [we saw hotwiring in two episodes in a row? Is it 1987?] He reminds her
CR: Liane Hentscher/FOX
that they're family, then explains that he killed her partner, Harlem, because the guy was being paid to watch her, plus he was involved with the warden. [This, combined with the fact that she had just learned Harlem was under investigation for accepting payments from Simmons' company, starts to throw Madsen.] He also starts to tell her that her parents had a wrongful death, but she's caught off-guard and he stabs her and drives off. [I couldn't believe he'd do that! jerk! he probably didn't realize how serious the injury was, though...] Madsen is brought to the emergency room, and when Ray shows up, he orders Hauser to leave, just before recognizing Lucy. [And Ray is a normal guy... you'd think that one of the "non-63" living Alcatraz guards or criminals would recall a woman doctor and there would have been a record SOMEPLACE...] Madsen is pronounced dead after several life-saving measures are taken. [!!! this is worse than Lucy's coma, so I don't know if colloidal silver could do much...]

Hauser has had his own little side-story going on all episode - he's paranoid that something will happen to Lucy, so he arranges a military buddy (who knows everything, even about Tommy) to take her to Paraguay. [just how many people know about this project? I was surprised to learn that Hauser has confidants...] In order for Hauser to be able to go with her to help her settle in, he has to brief Madsen and Soto on some of his secrets, like what's in his "bat cave," the story about the keys and door, his theory that the warden is behind it all, and that some sort of tectonic shift caused the "jump." [Of course, they should have been clued-in on this long ago. And, it doesn't much matter, as Lucy doesn't want to be hidden away.] Later, after being kicked out of the emergency room, Hauser and Lucy take the third key (which Soto found sewn inside the cuff of Ghost's pants) and enter the door to find a large room with lots of equipment and a map of the US marked with the inmates' numbers. It seems that the colloidal silver in the 63s' blood can be used to track them (Beauregard had earlier determined that it can never be separated as it binds to the platelets), and that they likely had a rhyme and reason to when and where the 63s "reappear." They also find a guy lying on the ground behind the machines, shocked to learn that it's 2012.

In 1960, Limerick tried to escape but didn't make it. He was gone long enough, however, that the warden had already filled out a death certificate for drowning. Because he's officially dead, he's kept in his cell 24/7, and it explains his "Ghost" nickname. We also see Tommy painfully re-injected with his own, altered blood. He gets to leave Alcatraz for a day and spends it with the warden in Nob Hill, where they eat Italian food and Tommy gets to see his son, Ben, who doesn't recognize him. The warden offers Tommy a wish, and Tommy asks that Ray be terminated and given custody of Ben. Tommy tells Ray that he needs to leave the island, that there are no more plans because he's guilty after all. [not sure I believe that...]
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