Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Alcatraz: Episode 12: Garrett Stillman

In the Past the ultra creepy Warden James is playing chess with an inmate – Garrett Stillman – a man in prison for robbing armoured trucks who is known for his brilliant mind and long term planning.

There’s a parole board hearing that Warden James insists Garrett attends.  To witness Harlan Simmon’s parole hearing that is denied – because the man up for parole spreads contraband in the prison and deputy warden Tiller gets a cut of the profits – so there’s no way Tiller will allow him to be paroled. Warden James takes issue with this and intends Garrett to help him deal with this by stealing the parole board’s recommendation and replace it with a more favourable report. In return Garrett gets the contraband network.

Garrett’s plan is very involved and complicated to exchange the papers for a forgery which is clever and elegant. I especially love how Tiller thought he outsmarted Garrett – but oh no, no he did not. I liked that a lot, I confess. I do like to see some good cunning. Simmons is paroled – and leaves with a number of one of Warden James’s friends. And we see the Warden with a key

We start in the modern world with Lucy Bannerjee (Dr. Sangupta) actually awake! At last! She’s looking at several recorded interviews of recaptured 63s when Hauser comes to check on her. Dr. Beauregard is trying to keep her on bed-rest but Lucy is determined to tell Dr. Soto and Rebecca about her. Hauser and Beauregard disagree with her. Heh, that doesn’t work with Rebecca and it certainly doesn’t work with Lucy

Dr. Soto and Rebecca are both discussing exactly what it means with Lucy as a 63 when no-one told them about it when she turns up to talk to them. Hauser quickly flees when it becomes clear that Lucy is going to spill all the beans whether he wants to or not (can I say how much I love it that Hauser, who has been so in control and utterly ruling Rebecca and Soto even when they disagree with him is, in turn, utterly helpless in the face of Lucy’s insistence).

She apologises to both of them for lying to them and tells them that, yes, she did know them all in the past and that her role was to help the inmates in the past, trying to redeem them. She also has a powerful description of what it was like to jump from 63 to the present, how the people she knew had lived entire lives without her and how she couldn’t really go back into their lives after such a gap.

Lucy also gets to poke Hauser about Rebecca, making sure to point out Rebecca’s strengths and refusing to believe they’re flaws (and correcting Hauser, again). She also tells Rebecca about Tommy Madsen – her grandfather, that he had his blood taken a lot – and that Lucy knew Emerson when he was a rooky. Which, of course, Lucy is happy to tell all about and that Hauser spent the last 50 years obsessed with Alcatraz to find her again

Meanwhile an armoured car is being robbed with extreme precision – which was picked up by Soto and Lucy at the super computer and identified as Garrett Stillman’s work and part of a much longer range plan. As is apparent when we see Garrett blow up his accomplices – including he money. He keeps the truck and the uniforms but kills his accomplices and burns the money.

Rebecca finds out they’ve stolen 2 armoured cars – and found that they didn’t just use a fake uniform but a badge with an unforgeable code that is changed every month. Interviewing the surviving accomplice they begin to see the many threads of Garrett’s very clever planning.

And we see that he is working with Madsen - Rebecca’s grandfather and a fellow 63 to get at the Alcatraz vault. And Sotto finds another connection to another inmate in Alcatraz, Harlan Simmons (the man whose parole they forged), a billionaire who owns a company that also employs the armoured car company. They think he intends to use the armoured cars to steal from Harlan Simmons by posing as legitimate employees of the security firm.

Rebecca investigates but it’s hard to even get the company to admit what they actually employ the security firm. The head of security is rattled, however, and asks for an immediate pick up from the security firm as Rebecca leaves – a message that is intercepted by Garrett

Lucy and Dr. Soto discover that the company is moving a package every week – though they don’t know the contents. And again we see the depth of Garrett’s planning – but stealing the cars well in advance, he caused Rebecca to go to the company which in turn lead to the panicked security chief to move the package early in time for him to intercept it – and the team discover where it is being moved.

The hunt is on – and Garrett’s intellect is a hard thing to duel against. Except Dr. Soto? Is even smarter and sees through the plotting (which I loved). Yes, he’s good.

And all this plotting? Is to open the box with a key that we saw Warden James put in his pocket back in the past. Simmons finds him though and shoots Garrett for the key and the box before Madsen can claim either.

Meanwhile under Alcatraz Hauser’s team is trying to find what’s hidden in a secret tunnel under the lighthouse.  The door that Warden James kept hidden  - only to find that the two keys they have isn’t enough. They need a third one.

I do love Lucy now she’s woken up. She is clearly a leader, she won’t be ruled by her fellows – Beauregard and Hauser – and refuses to bow to Hauser even when his disapproval is obvious. I love that she corrects him and takes charge when she’s sure of her rightness

I also like how Lucy has made it clear that Dr. Soto has vastly upgraded their IT. While the fat geek is a stereotype, I’m glad to see it’s been shown that he has made a real addition to the team and added a lot, he’s not just there as a sidekick, comic relief or bumbling Alcatraz oracle. I especially loved him outsmarting Garrett – he may not be the action hero that Rebecca has but he’s an essential part of the team.

Inclusionwise we had the now awake and awesome Lucy Bannerjee/Dr. Sangupta as well as Dr. Soto and a few token POC in side roles. Still no GBLT people in San Francisco