Alcatraz – S01E05 – “Guy Hastings”
Alcatraz releases its first guard, Guy Hastings, a good man who believes he’s lost everything. Like the others he’s after a key, only this time it’s a key our heroes would never expect. A long-arc driving episode that gives us plenty to think about but is otherwise dull.
Score: 3 of 5
This was an episode of firsts so you would think it should be more interesting than the last two, right? Yeah, not so much.
We get our first guard but instead of having the episode center around him, he’s got almost nothing to do with the plot except be a side/supporting character who in any other show might not even be given a first name. Instead, “Guy Hastings” is all about Tommy Madsen, who turns out to be brothers with Ray Archer, Rebecca’s pseudo-uncle though apparently he’s her real uncle. This isn’t quite as Earth-shattering as I expect the writers hoped it would be. Oh, and apparently Ray knew about Madsen’s return but out of brotherly love won’t help Hauser or anyone else find him, so long as he leaves Rebecca alone?
It’s all a bit convoluted and that can work to great effect, but it’s not here. Despite the want for the show to be mysterious and such, it’s all too neat and tidy, not in the “something is wrong here” trope, but literally in the way it’s presented. The story isn’t so much cliché but reasonable. It’s like the writers were shooting for the stars and settled for the Chrysler building.
“Guy Hastings” is also a large info dump for the overall plot and while that can be appreciative, it can also be disappointing. It’s too soon. I know they don’t want to lose people by taking too long but at the same time you won’t want to move too fast.
Here is what we learned:
- Madsen is the key to all this and Hauser knows it. Madsen has gone rogue from the people who took the 63 and they aren’t happy. Now we have the kidnappers and Madsen’s end-games to wonder about.
- The blood is definitely they key. However, how could the doctor not know what’s going on? I don’t think we’ve seen him physically taking the blood himself but he has been around while it’s being done, surely he’d ask what the deal is? Seeing as he’s returned and working with Hauser who is none the wiser I guess he didn’t. Unless Hauser is hiding some vital information from Rebecca?
- The guards who were taken were lied to. Which brings up the question, how did the kidnappers manage to snag the blood from the guards, doctor (again, why didn’t he catch on to something going down?), etc, without them getting curious? How would they know who would be on the island at the time of disappearance or did they just take everyone’s to make sure they had some for whoever was there?
- The guards were talked to so there was some lag time between disappearance till them being put ‘in stasis’. I say stasis because the evidence at hand leans more towards that explanation of what happened. Makes sense from what the guard says.
- The people in the other room that Hauser visited aren’t a one off. Looks like the writers thought the same thing, how could there only be two people working on this case?
- Hauser has a soft spot for the guards which isn’t surprising, but again, his characterization is all over the place.
Still, overall it’s a solid episode it just don’t have any real punch. Everything that feels like it should be gasp-worthy just falls flat. Like the previous episode, the show has every right to be perfectly awesome but settles for perfectly adequate. The show only posted a 2.3, down from 2.8 the previous week and 3.0 the week before (visit http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/ for ratings information). It’s a steady decline and I’m not too surprised. They really need to step up their game on the next episode, or the fact that this doesn’t seem like an FX-heavy show might be the only thing that helps it limp into a second season.