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.

Review

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.

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I think this show is exciting and encaptivating for the audience. People would complain if after episode 3 the whole truth came out. The fact that Emerson will just suddenly appear and take out the killer is a mystery too and it makes the show very addictive... Last week they showed lucy back in alcatraz, this week, they showed the alcatraz doctor in present day.... slowly but surely these characters are being added to the show, and with each one the mystery delves deeper. I do hope we learn some of the mystery soon. But not too much as i would love this to go on for several seasons.

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Totally agree about the "creepy" killer. He wasn't. Here's an idea. You want the kid away from the creep, choke him out as he is leaving, or kick him in the balls, or sit on him! Do anything before the cop chick zooms up in her friggen fast back '68 Mustang only to toss her gun 45 yards away. These writers define characters by one word. So the "detective," in keeping with lame TV show depictions of such, must drive a suped up '68 FB Mustang, must carry a hideout pistol, and must be a hard drinking bar rat with an uncle who just happens to own a bar. Damn can these guy once just assume the audience isn't as dumb as a fucking post?

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I cannot see this show lasting long. The story itself is not believable and there is no excitement factor to have you wanting more. The audience is suppose to believe that the most dangerous criminals to ever house Alcatraz have returned and only two individuals - one an inexperienced policewoman and an academic - are assigned to catch them.

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Couldn't get past the morbidly obese actor struggling to breath while delivering his "watching the actor, acting" lines. Terrible actor, and an even worse choice to cast him in a lead for a prime time drama. Perhaps as a secondary or tertiary character but as a serious lead? Forget it. There is no way he will be able to carry this show. The female lead came across as delicate and inexperienced, both as an actor and in her portrayl as a detective. Hard to watch characters that aren't believable. Most likely will not tune in again.

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First of all "Criminal Minds" is NOT an ordinary show. Second I totally disagree with the reviewer if all the episodes are remakes of "Lost" then I ain't watching! I am so tired of the series that leads you on to NEVER tell you the secret. Okay let's see if a serial killer has a gun to an eleven year old child you are going to back him down??????? I hope the cop who comes across my child does exactly the same thing. Did no one see the second gun she had and PULLED to fire at Kit Nelson?

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Love this show...especially Jorge Garcia!! throwback for me on LOST! and this is only been the second show, why all the negativity..it almost seems like everyone wants those 3 minute replays and that's it...relax, it's TV!

Symph2001

Had to give this one a 3. For sheer creep out it was great. For propelling the story not so much except for the fact that we glimpse Diego's past issue but no real explanation and WHT with the Alcatraz doc?

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The scene where they let the killer go was ridiculous. No cop would do let him walk away with the kid. Also have to disagree with the reviewer. The kid killer was only creepy in a bad tv show kinda way. There was no originality to him, no real threat. The writers and producers are either lazy or bad (Typical for JJ and Spielberg shows these days). Emerson suddenly appearing and killing the creep was such a let down that stole a potentially great character moment for the cop. This show just seems to be a rather lazy procedural with a little obfuscation thrown in by Emerson to convince us there is some deeper mystery. Whatever that mystery is - aliens, govt experiment, whatever - it's not compelling enough to keep me interested, or watching.

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@Rich 100% agree, that has to be the stupidest thing i have seen in a long time. Hes a serial killer who ALWAYS kills his victims, yet she thought it would be safer to let him walk away than to hold her ground? Sigh..

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The show lost me on that scene where the girl-cop dropped her gun and let a serial killer go. That's just dumb. She knew the guy always kills his victims, so why let hime go when she has him under her gun? Realistically, the boy would have a better chance if she held her ground and kept her gun on him.

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