Alcatraz: Episode 2

What! Episode 2 immediately after the pilot, damn FOX, you are starting big with this mid-season premiere.

The premise of this episode is to introduce a new 1963 federal inmate released in the present. This time, it is an Obsesive-Compulsive sharp-shooter who is sent from the past to reap holy vengeance upon San Francisco. Through random assumptions and blind guesswork, the detectives track down the bad-guys.

There were a few things about this episode that made me want to puke my guts out. I decided to theoretically ask the Alcatraz staff about it…and also sarcastically and arrogantly answered my own questions. You are welcome in advance.

Can you describe this episode’s antagonist?
Yes. Yes I can. This week, we are talking about a strange little man who requests to a transfer to Alcatraz Island. He is a sniper who went on a shooting spree across America, but he wants to be left alone — quiet, brooding and crazy. No such man has ever spent time on The Rock, so we invented someone just so future high school dropouts would incorrectly reference us in American History essays. Go, now, Google “Alcatraz Sniper.” Right? We are the worst.

Since when did Alcatraz become a procedural cop-drama?
Since this is Episode two, we decided that we needed to go ahead and nail down a “type” of show. We had the idea of reinventing a genre, but once we saw how much work that was, we stopped. Instead, we decided we would just make all the criminals from the past. essentially, a crime gets committed and through some lucky guessing, the detectives know it is an Alcatraz time-traveler. Then, with more surprisingly accurate guessing, the detectives get their guy.

Does catching the time-traveling criminal move along the sub-plot of secret government agencies?
Almost never. We will hint at almost nothing. Whenever the past people are asked, literally, anything, they will have no answer. We want it to be ridiculously frustrating for anyone who had high hopes for this show. Eventually it will pay off, but that won’t be for years.

What are the biggest twists this episode?
Great question. These twists will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever watched television.

First, J.J. Abrams loves to kill off seemingly important characters. Shots to the chest, being eaten by dark monsters, drowning in under-sea hideaways. No character is safe.

Second, we take a key character, who has been integral in the whole 44 minute build-up of this series, and we flip them around and make them an enemy. No one is who they seem.

See, we have deaths and mystery and intrigue — that builds ratings. We will probably explain all this at some point, or maybe not, who cares. The less the viewer knows, the more they will tune in next week to find out. String them along…that’s how we do this.

What is your favorite scene in this episode?
Honestly? Hmm, I think that it would have to be when Detective Madsen is covered in blood and waits a long time to wash it off. It is very realistic to try to save someone’s life and get doused in their bodily fluids. It is also realistic to wait hours to wash it off — you know, the cop answers some questions, writes a report, talks to her partner — then she washes the sticky/caked-on blood off her hands and face. I am proud of thinking this scene through and for conferring with medical professionals. It is my favorite.

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