Alcatraz Review: Taken

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Kit Nelson is one creepy, messed-up-in-the-head bad guy.

From the moment he grabbed the boy, covered his mouth and sneered at him to keep quiet, to right before he was shot by Emerson, Kit oozed an odd demeanor and was clearly haunted by his own psychological derangements. He was an intensely menacing villain with really no redeeming qualities about him.

There was just no feeling sorry for this child murderer.

Kit Nelson Photo

And in the respect of the good guys hunting down the bad, it was a pretty clear cut line. I truly feared that the boy might die and wanted Diego and Rebecca to save the day. It's just hard to imagine why someone would want to kill children, and the episode was filled with a tension of waiting for Kit to make his move.

But my big question is this: Since Kit has returned, why would he jump right back into his killing pattern? He also didn't seem to have an agenda like the first two inmates previously introduced.

So, really, what was his point other than being a highly dangerous criminal that disappeared and then reappeared from Alcatraz?

One of my fears for this show is simply incorporating a roulette wheel of dangerous criminals with varying degrees of eccentricities and problems that lead them to commit crimes, but don't touch upon what being back for each prisoner means or why they've immediately returned to their murderous actions. If the show gets too caught up on, "here's a bad guy, he does bad things, the good guys need to stop him, save the day, end of story," it doesn't become anything more than a routine crime show like Criminal Minds or CSI.

Sure, it's interesting to figure out why these characters do what they do and how the good guys figure out how to stop them, but with the sci-fi element of time jumps and reappearance of the inmates, there's a whole extra level of questions to ask when it comes to your basic villain of the week. It's no longer just about the crime or potential crimes.

As for Kit, I guess I understand that the man maybe had too many problems in his head to depart from his routine no matter if there was any sort of time jump involved. He thirsts for the kill and that's just how it is. He really didn't get a lot of love growing up (probably picked last for dodgeball, too) and found an extreme way to take out his frustrations.

I liked Diego Soto's relatively personal connection to the case, aside from his fascination with Alcatraz (I wonder why he is so obsessed?). Not only did he experience his own kidnapping as a child, but I love his enthusiasm and passion for saving lives and stopping criminals. He doesn't follow cop procedures or typical stone faced actions, but rather wears his emotions on his sleeve. And even as his smarts lead him to the right conclusions, he isn't perfect in his endeavors. It makes him extremely human and he seems less likely to fall into the cliche trap.

Plus, the fact that Diego is played by Jorge Garcia makes him extremely likable. It's a fantastic role for Garcia and so far, he's my favorite character of the show.

I wished that Rebecca Madsen had shot Kit the second time around and I even expected her to. Would she have? Is that what her character would do?

Although, it was believable that Emerson Hauser actually pulled the trigger. His moral compass and general motives seem to be far different from his so called "teammates" and I love that he is able to portray a sense of mystery on top of his curmudgeon attitude.

There's clearly a lot this man has yet to tell and I can only begin to ask questions concerning Emerson. Is/was there a relationship between Emerson and Lucy? Why has he seemed to have aged and people like Lucy and the doctor have not? Why is he so dedicated to capturing the prisoners? Why bring Kit's body back if he was dead? Is he really working with Rebecca and Diego or is he simply using them?

I enjoy the fact that these types of questions and secrets give the viewer something to wonder about and look forward to learning in future time. It enhances the experience of the case of the week to something more. Who doesn't love a good riddle?

"Kit Nelson" got the creep factor just right (but really, I don't want to imagine having a strange man standing over my bed tonight) but it didn't hold the same type of reveals and twists that the tw-hour premiere had cleverly worked in. True, the show is just getting started and there will be plenty to build on, but I'd really like to see the larger plot and story of the week work together as one. That's what got me hooked on this show in the first place, the interesting idea that vanished prisoners from Alcatraz have suddenly returned.

Otherwise, the series becomes an average case of the week criminal drama and there's just so much more for it.

Alcatraz remains a promising new show, and after it works out some kinks and finds its true groove, will hopefully prove itself to be another fantastic hit from J. J. Abrams and company.


Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.7 / 5.0 (83 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


I agree this show hasn't hit its stride yet but I live in hope. For example, are we going to be treated to total silliness like why didn't Jorge hit the creep with something as he walked out of the diner? Trip him? Pushing a plate of pie on the floor? Genius!


I watched the first two episodes, was interested, until the stupid third one ... Girl was not convincing at all as a cop, and the morbidly obese braniac sucks too. Together, they have the charisma of a tapeworm. This series, like LOST (where they were all dead and in purgatory, so any "mystery" was a complete nothing, and waste of time) the "mystery" here would most likely be so much smoke anyway ... (STUPIDEST MOMENT - she had the killer (who always kills his victims) under her gun less than ten feet away and she lets him go ... then pulls an ankle gun and AIMS at him after he's 300 feet away in a moving car with the kid ... DUMB or just LAZY writing!)


Good observations, Jim. Not only do a lot of people NOT live in glass houses these days but, it appears that many don't have any windows either. I personally have no problem with the cryptic nature of this series so far. The hunt for the returned prisoners each week and the flashbacks are enough entertainment for right now at least. I'm confident the show will reveal its secrets eventually and the loyal fan will be rewarded with each new revelation.


anybody knows the name of the final track of the ep? much appreciated!


So the reason the detective in this show drives a 1968 mustang is because the producers are paying homage to a fictional character from a movie made 30+ years ago? If true, which I doubt, it's no wonder this show is so weak. If that's the best reason to watch then the show is in deep trouble. Maybe they'll trill us with a character Montana, or Hearst. And maybe it will distract us from wondering why the cigarettes some dude bought in 1960 are still in a box of his belongings in his old cell. Now that's a mystery worth tuning in for.


Two things no one has commented on yet: Rebecca's car is the Steve McQueen "Bullitt" Mustang! Same color, no emblem in the grill, no driving lights in the grill, no badging on the sides, etc. Of course Bullitt was set in San Francisco, so the linkage is a natural. The second thing is another link to San Francisco - the kidnapped victim's last name was Callahan - same as Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry" Callahan. Have to admit, I enjoyed those touches as much as anything! One more thing - the reason that Kit's dead body was taken to the doctor at the "new Alcatraz" is that it is going to become an organ donor for the wounded Lucy - recall that Emerson told Rebecca at the hospital that Lucy had the part of her heart damaged that sends out electrical signals to the body. So he need a donor & got one by giving Kit a "head-shot" kill - instant heart donor!


I am hooked. There will be good and better weeks ahead and some not so good stories too. I will be there to see it all though. ;)


I so hope they get rid of the every official in Alcatraz was bad element. Actually don't need Alc. for this to be good show. Nothing wrong with crimnal of the week show as long as good prevails.


enjoyed it last week, VERY disappointed this week, hope it gets better or i wont be watching


Love Garcia and will probaly watch just to see him and his acting that I've missed so much since Lost. I'm so glad he has found a part that is perfect for him, he comes across as the hero, caring, intelligent and real.

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