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Alcatraz – S01E03 – “Kit Nelson”

FOX's Alcatraz

Alcatraz – S01E03 – “Kit Nelson”

There is a pecking order in prisons and at the bottom of the rung is the child molester and child killer. Kit Nelson (Michael Eklund) is a child killer and he’s back. If he follows pattern then Madsen and Soto have 48 hours to find him and save the life of the child he’s kidnapped. “Kit Nelson” is a much more concrete episode than the first two, a tad preachy in the middle, but definitely finding that sweet spot between cop drama and supernatural thriller. We may not be any closer to discovering the secret of Alcatraz but the ride has gotten way more interesting.

Score: 3 ½ of 5

>Spoilers<

Alcatraz – S01E03 – “Kit Nelson”

Soto tracks down Kit Nelson.

A touchy subject in film and television is the unfortunate reality of the child molester and child killer, the lowest of the low. Kit Nelson, the latest Alcatraz escapee, is one of these and he’s struck again… and apparently a cord in Dr. Soto. Garcia is given plenty to work with as his character figures out Kit is responsible and then sets out to find him, with or without Madsen’s help. Kit, for his part, is downright creepy, hitting all the right (or wrong?) notes.

What really makes this episode better than the last two is that the Alcatraz story takes a bit of a back seat. Sure, you have the flashbacks but that in itself is not unique. This could be any other procedural cop drama with a cop and civilian going after a bad guy. Hell, it could be an episode of Cold Case or Criminal Minds… but it’s not… it’s much more and it’s going to sit back and let that sink in a bit.

Among the chilling chase is a side story still trying to play Hauser as both sympathetic and a grade A a-hole. Still unsure what they are doing with his character and the episode dipped into the melodramatic towards the middle when he got into an argument with Madsen but quickly dug itself back out of that hole. I have a feeling a flashback of Hauser’s character post-disappearance is coming soon and hopefully this will clear things up for us.

Alcatraz – S01E03 – “Kit Nelson”

Kit Nelson (Eklund) holds his victim hostage.

I won’t go through the details of the plot but Soto does end up going it on his own and finding Kit and the missing kid but he’s not exactly the kind of person to take on a psychopathic killer. He is able to impart some hope into the kid to ‘stay strong’ and the boy does manage a pretty smart escape attempt. Of course the plot dictated that he get caught and a standoff occur in which Hauser pulls a Mal and shoots Kit in the head as he’s holding the kid hostage… omg… that was an almost perfectly replicated scene from Firefly “Serenity”.

I don’t know what to think of that…

Okay, mind blown, but let’s move on to the important facts we discovered from the episode. The blood is apparently not a red herring, the warden has kids (will these guys become plot points?), the doctor returned same as the psychologist, and apparently something happened to Soto in the past which made for a very non sequitur moment. What can I say, the clinical description of ‘arrested development’ was not the first thing that came to mind.

Overall a great improvement from the first two episodes so let’s hope this is a trend and not a one-off.

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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Television

 

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Finder – S01E02 – “Bullets”

FOX's The Finder

Finder – S01E02 – “Bullets”

Taking a page from NCIS, Bones regular Dr. Lance Sweets (John Francis Daley) visits the Finder to recertify Walter to work on federal cases. Sweets rides shot gun as Walter attempts to locate evidence to at least stay the execution of a cop accused of killing another cop. A couple of Miami Vice homage’s with Sweets being adorable later and Walter has his man. Well, he’s pretty sure. The B-plot with Willa is kind of dumb but at least shows some character development which isn’t as cliché as the pilot. With the inclusion of several wonderful scenes and The Finder shows marked improvements and a steady gait.

Score: 3 ½ of 5

>Spoilers<

We begin with a rather zealous warden who believes X-Files’ Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) is an innocent man on death row. There’s a reminder that Leo is a full fledge lawyer, in case anyone missed that between the backdoor pilot and first episode, and we’re also treated to an interesting spin on Walter’s irreverence. Walter wears a suit, an honest to goodness suit, with no arguments, no jacket over a shirt, etc. It’s an interesting touch, which may or may not have been deliberate, but it is subtle character development. Of course, as soon as he’s back at the bar he strips down to his usual polo and shorts in front of Sweets.

Finder – S01E02 – “Bullets”

Dr. Lance Sweets accompanies Walter.

Another nice touch is we learn that the bar is actually Leo’s and it runs on the honor system… which is a nice way to address and lampshade the fact that if they are always off finding things then who is watching the bar?

Walter then sets out in search of evidence in the form of a bullet, Sweets in tow. Sweets is a fun character and Bones fans will enjoy this crossover and I think the same is true for non-Bones viewers. Sweets has a certain cute charm which is pretty endearing. His cameo does serve a purpose though, and that is to be the fulcrum in which the missed exposition and background from the first episode is finally lifted out of the way.

Sweets inadvertently gets Leo to admit that his wife and daughter have been killed and that sent him into a very angsty and dark depression. One can guess it was the murderer which Walter stopped Leo from killing, or maybe who Leo thought was the killer. Hopefully we’ll get a little more here and there about this before the inevitable flashback episode because we know one is coming.

Also, best line of the series so far comes from Sweets asking if Walter ever considered committing suicide. His answer: “I can think of at least ten people I’d kill before I’d kill myself.” This really locks in the tone of the series, sharp, witty, and blunt.

Finder – S01E02 – “Bullets”

Possibly one of the funniest gun battles... ever.

The rest of the episode is either a lampoon of 80s cop shows or an overly sardonic and sarcastic treatise on 80s cop shows. I’m not entirely sure what that means but it feels right. Under the obvious Miami Vice pot shots there is the now classic comment “it was a different time in the 80s, a simpler time”. This refers to the concept that before cops became more accountable for their actions, civil liberties were really championed, and a public became more aware of their ability to fight back via video, internet, etc, cops tended to rule as they saw fit. It was the wild west without the tumble weeds in the 80s and cops were on the take, roughed up anyone, and generally acted as seen on tv about the 80s. (How much of this is true and Hollywood hyperbole I really need to look into.) This idea of the 80s has become a fixture in modern procedurals like CSI, Castle, and Cold Case, anytime the leads look into an old case which took place in the 80s.

Walter gets tired of the constant over use of the phrase “it was a different/simpler time” and I’m left wondering just how deliberate this was. Is it a comment on an overused trope or about the misconception of the 80s or a reflection of what the writers think of such an excuse? I might shrug it off it not for Sweet’s later proclaims that the actual murder wasn’t that interesting, it was the finding of the bullet that was fascinating and fun. Could this be reference to the fact that most people don’t watch murder mysteries for the murders themselves but the process in which the detective figures out who the killer is? It’s all about clues that need to be found and pieces together… and what does the Finder do?

Could I be giving the writers too much credit here? Only time will tell.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2012 in Television

 

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