Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Alcatraz: Episode 7: John Mckee

We open with the mysterious threesome. Emerson Hauser and Dr. Beauregard are standing over the comatose form of Lucy Banerjee/Dr. Sangupta who will not wake up. I am so curious about these three –how much does Hauser know? And how come Beauregard and Banerjee be in both the past and the present without having aged? These constant hints, clues and mysteries in Alcatraz really make the show. Dr. Beauregard suggests Emmerson read to her to try and encourage her to wake up – give her a reason to. But it’s far too emotional for Emmerson. I’m impressed, this episode started with such an emotionally powerful scene.

And this weeks’ villain is Johnny McKee, a poisoner who likes playing with cyanide and wiped out most of his high school reunion back in the day. And in Alcatraz poisoning his preferred targets as well – and in the present day bar patrons, a swimming pool and… the subway

He quickly comes to the attention of Dr. Soto (playing Starcarft geek love) and his computer skills with his poisoning going viral on youtube so the chase is very quickly on. Starting with speaking to Jack Sylvane, the man they caught in the first episode who had the cell next to Mckee. Questioning him makes it abundantly clear the prisoners don’t know how they came back (and gives a hint to Rebecca about Beauregard and her grandfather giving blood all the time in Alcatraz – I love these little hints of the story coming together)

McKee kills people he deems to be bullies after a terrible childhood experience – unfortunately his definition is rather… broad. They follow a trial of his bodies as well as tracing the poisons he’s using and developing from nightshade to world war 1 poisoned gasses. And those in the Subway? Most unpleasant. Of course we have the big rescue scene

The story ends where it began, with Dr. Sungupta/Lucy Banerjee in her coma – and now Emmerson reading to her.

I have to say I’m a little curious at the economy that lets these guys with 40 year old skills just walk into jobs. I’ll suspend disbelief but getting out of unemployment is rarely that easy.  I think it’s rather simplistic to have people just walk into jobs so quickly and so easily and I don’t like the underlying implication.

PoCwise we have Dr. Soto of course and Nikki the pathologist who has a minor role (and the scientist Asian stereotype is far from uncommon but probably not as much as the Chinese herbalist we see later). We also have a large number of bit characters (most of which are poisoned) and, of course, Dr. Sungupta who was quite active in the past and is sadly comatose in the present. There’s a nice number of characters but an un-nice number of stereotypes as well and only Dr. Soto taking a major role.

I like Dr. Soto and love that he has a main role as both source of information and conscience but he’s still living a lot of fat man stereotypes, from the geekiness to the extreme awkwardness around the pathologist he likes

I’m glad to see Rebecca remains a strong character and that any man who tries to kidnap her continues to regret it bitterly. I keep waiting for the kidnap and rescue scene but it hasn’t happened yet

San Francisco remains the straightest city on the planet.

I’m still intrigued – bring some more of this mystery together, I love to see all these many questions and I’m genuinely fascinated because I have no idea what those answers are.