ALCATRAZ 1.6: “Paxton Petty”

See, this is what I like about ALCATRAZ: The show isn’t torturing its audience by stringing things out unnecessarily. It has been clear since the pilot that there was something between Hauser and Lucy, and this week viewers got to see it pretty much spelled out in surprisingly charming terms for the gruff Hauser and cold Dr. Banerjee/Sangupta. Plus, we learned some important stuff about how the 63s move through time.

Well, maybe it’s more like we learned something about what didn’t happen to the 63s.

Paxton Petty’s (James Pizzinato) weapon of choice was the military land mine, and when he appeared in modern San Francisco, he — like all the others — immediately resumed his old habit and started planting explosives. This brought Madsen (Sarah Jones) and Doc Soto (Jorge Garcia) into contact with her old pal from the bomb squad, Matt Tanner (Mehcad Brooks). Meanwhile, Hauser (Sam Neill) maintained vigil at Lucy’s (Parminder Nagra) bedside, recalling their history at Alcatraz. It was only a matter of time until a member of the task force stepped on one of Petty’s mines (sigh… ho-hum) so Tanner could heroically defuse it and die tragically. On the plus side, Hauser shot Petty in the knee for being such a prick.

The time-displace 63s all falling into the same pattern, but so far ALCATRAZ itself has avoided getting into a rut and continues to move forward by mixing up the tone of each week’s episode and steadily feeding the audience’s curiosity with answers. It’s about time we learned something about the mysterious Lucy, so looks exactly the same as she did back in 1960.

Turned out that she and Hauser and embarked on a sweet little romance back in the day, with him timidly courting her, and Dr. Sangupta encouraging him. It must have been quite brave of him to date someone of Indian descent with society just out of the conservative 1950s. And she was quite a trailblazer herself, getting a Ph.D and attempting to implement “the talking cure” on The Rock (where there were no recorded female doctors). Her rival in this regard was Dr. Beauregard (Leon Rippy), who was more interested in developing new ways to torture inmates.

He must have come up with some other stuff, too, based on the way that Hauser brought Lucy to him and demanded, “Fix her!” Nice to know that Hauser cares about someone. I can’t decide if he looks at Madsen as a sort of daughter figure with contempt or…is it guilt? There’s something he’s not telling her about her grandfather. . (Speaking of caring, did Madsen shed more than just professional tears for Tanner?) Hauser said something about Beauregard knowing “her methods,” so  Hauser thinks Dr. Sangupta’s methods must have some value.

Petty revealed to us that he was asleep in the medical unit and then suddenly found himself in 2012. He did not seem to know what was going on, and demanding explanations. Assuming he’s telling the truth (a risk, sure), he not only wasn’t told he being sent into the future, he wasn’t given a specific mission. So why is he here? Just to cause chaos and maybe act as a distraction?

It’s clear that if Petty was not given solid intel by those who sent him, he had a lot of opportunity to do some extensive scouting to get used to the area and the way modern life is lived. The playground turf material he mimicked to plant his mine did not exist in the late ‘50s, and people did not carry around personal telephones — yet he knew to ask Hauser to surrender his! Either Petty got a lot of coaching or had the time to get the lay of the land before making his move.

Which brings up the question: Did all the 63s move at the same…er, time, or were they send individually? Petty says he woke up in a tomb, and back in the pilot, Jack Sylvane appeared in the Alcatraz cell alone. So they arrived alone, but did they depart alone? Maybe it was a big group and they got scattered by the journey?

Which is what I really like about the show — it keeps me interested in what’s going to happen next.

Oh, yeah? Sez you!

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