Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Alcatraz: Episode 11: Webb Porter

In the past Dr. Sangupta is talking philosophy with Emmerson Hauser prison guard, much much younger. There seems to be an essence of romance developing there.  We even get them on a  date later in a jazz bar. So Dr. Sangupta hasn’t aged but Hauser has. Still, Dr. Sangupta has a job to do and Warden James wants her to check out genius inmate Webb Porter, a serial killer who killed his mother (who tried to drown him as a child) and several other women. He’s a permanent residence of the infirmary and apparently disturbed. Dr. Sangupta makes an instant diagnosis of tinnitus, because she’s that good.

Using music to drown his tinnitus, Dr. Sangupta talks to Webb about when his mother tried to drown him, pulling up his memories. That was a well acted scene, I have to say. Then they can take him to the music room to play the music in his head – and he is, as Dr. Sangupta puts it, a savant, able to play the violin extremely well extremely quickly.

With Dr. Sangupta’s therapy they manage to return Webb to the general population – though the inmates are worried about him screaming all night and keeping people awake as he used to. He doesn’t scream, he plays the violin instead which calms the population. Dr. Sangupta watches on in pride – but Dr. Beauregard says Dr. Sangupta is the Warden’s new toy – something that disturbs her (not least of which because Warden James is epicly creepy)

So we begin in the present with what may be the worst idea ever – Dr. Soto stealthily stalking Hauser. And Hauser in a strange, Asian-themed room taking pills and getting massage. Dr. Soto also checks out Lucy (modern Dr. Sangupta) and realises that Hauser has had her moved from the hospital she was in

And Webb Porter, the criminal of the week, is playing the violin, running a bath – and has kidnapped a woman who he then drowns in the bath.

Rebecca and Nikki are enjoying a night out but, alas, finding the body of the woman leads to them being called out (well Nikki being called out and Rebecca tagging along because, well, clearly this woman has no social life). The body shows she’s been tied up for several days, her hair has been cut off (and taken) and her broken nail shows she’s managed to hurt Webb at least. Now it’s to the Alcatraz Cave to decide whether this is a 63 or not (and be scolded by Hauser for following him). The blood under the nail has colloidal silver in it – which points to a ’63 involvement. And it’s a match for Dr. Sangupta/Lucy Banerjee

Webb moves on to his next victim, playing the violin on her porch, then complimenting her hair… then the kidnapping. It seems he’s using their hair in his bows for his violin (I don’t know if human hair would even work like that, but suspend disbelief). Unfortunately, Webb’s audition doesn’t go well – he plays extremely well but can only play the music in his head, not the music on paper. And he blames his failure on the woman he kidnapped whose hair he used in his bow.

Another crime scene and Hauser is definitely getting tense about this one, due to the blood type, no doubt. And they discover that the violin music comes from the killer – he’s the musician – not the victims. Which final leads them to Webb Porter. Hauser follows his contacts (and elderly black pianist) to a lead on a new violinist in town (in all San Francisco?).

He’s tracked down to working for the philharmonic which lets them track him to his flat – the 63s are settling into the world making them harder to catch. And they find the hair in the violin bows. And they find another bow with red hair – he has another captive. Some of Dr. Soto’s computer wizardy, they track down the victim and from her they know he has succeeded at an audition and is playing. Capture follows – and Hauser is very sure to stop him committing suicide. He needs him alive!

Hopefully we’ll see Dr. Banerjee/Sangupta awake for a change. But while looking through the old film reels from Alcatraz, Dr. Soto and Rebecca see a film of Lucy Banerjee – Dr. Sangupta. And she hasn’t aged – making her a 63.

Episode thoughts

I still have some doubts about how easily the 63s find jobs upon dropping into the future. It isn’t that easy

We have some more POC inclusion but very minor bit roles, Dr. Soto, a token appearance by Nikki and Dr. Sangupta (who spends the present in a coma) are about it. Still no GBLT people in San Francisco.

By showing Emmerson and Dr. Sangupta past and presence it really does highlight who has aged and who hasn’t – and continues to ask these questions about what is actually happening. I want some answers now