Thursday, March 1, 2012

What I’m Watching: Alcatraz

Alcatraz: Season 1, Episode 8 “Clarence Montgomery” (B+)

This episode was intriguing because it tied in racial tensions of the 1960s but also revealed a hugely important facet of Alcatraz – that innocent prisoners were being brainwashed to think that they were guilty, which in turn made them commit murders. Lucy boiled it down perfectly for Clarence, explaining that he came into Alcatraz an innocent man, and the prison turned him into a killer. There was certainly something eerie about watching him stage the bodies of those he killed, especially the woman in the opening sequence, in the same manner as his poor girlfriend that got laid out on the golf course. Also of interest was the fact that E.B. positioned himself as the evil one, taunting Clarence and telling him that he’d never be able to make it, while the Warden encouraged him and seemed genuinely thrown (at least in the moment) by the riot that resulted from his appointing Clarence as a chef. Ending the episode with Dr. Beauregard revealing that the Warden orchestrated everything was most chilling because it didn’t flash back to the present, making its most memorable moment something from the past. I think that’s a positive development for the show, since it’s emphasizing the importance of the past and less so Rebecca and Doc and their hunt for the 63s on the loose. I feel like, dates aside, we’ve been seeing much less of our two protagonists, and even Emerson, allowing this show to explore its decades-old mythology much more and focus on what’s truly interesting.

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