Alcatraz Review: All In The Family
Alcatraz continued to wade knee deep in mystery mystery, and more mystery this week.
"Guy Hastings" took a varied approach to the returnee inmates from the prison by actually back one of the disappeared guards.
Thankfully, the flashbacks incorporated a sense of who Guy Hastings was as a person (a good guy following the rules of the system), while also allowing some insight into Rebecca Madsen's familial connections to the infamous jail.
Not only was her grandfather a prisoner there, but he had a brother who happened to be a guard. Oh yes, Ray Archer is Rebecca's great uncle.
Perhaps what's more interesting is that Ray was originally approached by Emerson Hauser 16 years earlier to help him. Of course, that means he's known that Tommy Madsen has been back all this time. But does he know why?
Either way, there's a definite animosity between the two brothers. Time has not been good for their relationship. But, again... why?
I'm glad that Guy took a few moments to begin elaborating on what happened to him and shed a shimmer of light on the lies that he and fellow guards had been told. Yet, what was his statement about it suddenly not being 1963 anymore? Did he jump forward in time?
My questioning quandary with all of the returnees is to why they come back disgruntled, violent and on a mission from a mysterious "they," even though they don't have any clue as to the reason themselves.
I just don't understand what Guy's motives for hunting down Tommy were, let alone hurting his fellow guard for the sake of his mission. Guy seemed like a good natured person, evidenced in the flashbacks with his wife and daughter, as well as seeing his grown up daughter in the present time.
Clearly, the reappearing members of Alcatraz aren't robotic and emotionless Terminators, so why would Guy choose to hurt people? Was it because he felt like he was trying to capture a convicted felon, something a respectable guard would do?
It's as if these people appear and then go on these missions without question, but I've never gotten the sense that the reason they do them is because their lives are threatened, they're being blackmailed, they're promised something in return, etc. Rather, they seem lost and then when Emerson finally captures them, they go "oh, well, you got me, but I can't answer any of your questions because I have zero clue."
Wow. Whoever, whatever or whenever, is pulling the strings, they sure know how to control and delegate their subjects.
At least Guy's reasons for using Ray made perfect sense and he didn't feel as thrown into the weekly mix as Cal Sweeney had in the last episode. The fact that there was a personal connection allowed for the story to provide greater stakes and focus on the main characters, rather than just the new character of the week.
Although, as a main character, Rebecca really needs to work on not getting captured so often. Sure, she manages to escape in the long run, but she shouldn't be making herself a hostage or easy shooting target every time. She needs to not burst onto every scene like she has it under control, when she actually has zero control.
I still can't help but love every line that comes out of Jorge Garica's mouth, from his questions about the "bat phone" to realizing all his work on Alcatraz and knowing most of it is wrong makes him something of a fraud. His humor, curiosity, knowledge and relate-ability in questioning everything that takes place makes for a fantastic character and it seems safe to say he will continue to be enjoyable every week.
But what is happening in these episodes through dialogue? Is there a need for Rebecca and Emerson to restate the facts? The audience doesn't have to be spoon fed the plot direction. The worst was when one scientist questioned the relation of the keys, the jump and Tommy Madsen.
Really? Have you not been paying attention? Of course, they are all related. What a ridiculous question. Someone should fire him for sleeping on the job.
It's easy to see all of the mysterious happenings and people are connected to each other.
So, Alcatraz continued to propel itself forward here, surrounded by deep mysteries and various questions that build upon one another (although it gives me a sneaking Lost feeling.) Which makes me certainly intrigued, and I know that not everything should be answered quickly and early, that would defeat the show entirely.
Still, at some point, some type of understanding or revelation as to why for any number of questions surrounding Alcatraz prison need to emerge. The story needs to find itself moving forward and coinciding with the fascinating questions and secrets. I'm ready to see the characters journey toward discovery at the same time they round up the weekly bad guys.
Why is Tommy Madsen important? What does Emerson want with him? Why are people returning? Who is "they?" What do they want? Why did they disappear? Sound off with your own questions, comments, and theories below.
Alcatraz: "Guy Hastings"
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.