Well, what’d you expect? That opening the Warden’s Mystery Door would lead to some kind of magical golden cave that would explain the secret of the time jumps? Al Capone’s vault? All the answers your heart desires? Madness?
Madness? This is ALCATRAZ!
Still, this was the season finale, so the audience was given some small answers and teases about whom might be behind everything, but there’s still enough mystery to warrant another season. In fact, a whole slew of new questions will need to be addressed next year. If the show isn’t renewed (and, sadly, there’s a good chance it won’t get another season), then this was an unsatisfying ending — and not just because Rebecca appeared to die on the operating table in a clearly manipulative ending. I want to know more about the time-travel aspect of the plot.
In the first hour, the 1960 portion featured English gentleman thief Garrett Stillman (Greg Ellis) being engaged by the Warden (Jonny Coyne) to steal and forge parole papers in order to get Harlan (Steven Grayhm) — who heads up the prison’s black market — out into the world. The Warden gives Harlan the name of a man who can help him on the outside, and hints to the grateful Harlan that there will be a price to pay.
In 2012, Garrett reappears and begins stealing armored trucks as part of an elaborate ruse to rip off Harlan, who is now inexplicably the billionaire head of a huge banking conglomerate. Does Garrett want money? No. He wants a key. One previously seen in the possession of the Warden. It is revealed that Tommy Madsen (David Hoflin) is working as Garrett’s handler for a mystery power broker, but before he can get to Harlan, another 63, Joey “Ghost” Limerick, kills Garrett and steals the key.
In the second hour, the 1960 segment tells how the Warden and a Mysterious Scientist (Matt Craven) returned Tommy’s blood to him — laced with silver. Tommy passes out, and when he awakens he’s in ritzy Nob Hill with the Warden. Mystery Scientist confirms Tommy can be tracked by the silver in his blood. The Warden wants Tommy to work for him, and he agrees — provided that his brother Ray (Robert Forster) is sent away from Alcatraz.
In 2012, Ghost checks into a mental hospital, seeking protection, and when Tommy tracks him down, Ghost kills himself rather than surrender the key — which Doc Soto (Jorge Garcia) recovers from his body. Meanwhile, Rebecca (Sarah Jones) pursues her grandfather in TV’s best car-chase sequence in years (mostly up the hilly streets of San Francisco) and finally runs him down. But he ruthlessly stabs her in the gut and flees. Doc finds Rebecca bleeding out and rushes her to the hospital. There, he gives the key to Hauser, who rushes to open the Warden’s secret door under the lighthouse while Doc keeps vigil on Rebecca. Hauser and Lucy (Parminder Nagra) open the vault to find old computers and a tracking map from 1963 that indicates where the 63s are going to arrive: all over the USA. He also discovers the Mysterious Scientist lying behind a computer. When the Scientist learns the year is 2012, he cackles like a madman. Back at the hospital, Rebecca flatlines, and the doctors call her time of death…
I know it’s frustrating to not learn the secret of the time jumps, but I was pretty much okay with this finale, even if it isn’t perfect. I knew the producers did not have time to wrap things up by the end of the season, and I admire them for using the episode to set up a second season, but I was hoping there would not be a big cliff-hanger, like, say, a character on the brink of life or death. Oops!
In the tradition of other J.J. Abrams productions, the audience was provided with new questions to replace each answer that was doled out. We learned the most about Hauser — that he has been obsessed with the 63s for the past 50 years not because he’s such a law & order guy or even as a former guard, but because Lucy also disappeared that night. Sadly, she could provide no hints to the task force (or viewers) about what the actual experience of “jumping” was like.
We now know the 63s are arriving at different times in different places, seemingly in random order, and the job of bringing them in is going to take a long time (and more manpower). That’s assuming Hauser is still interested in capturing them, now that he has his precious Lucy back.
If the show returns for a second season, I’m sure it will occur to someone (probably Lucy) that if silver-enhanced 63 blood brought her back to health, perhaps the same sort of transfusion can revive Rebecca. In fact, since she’s blood kin to Tommy, she may have the same “something special” that he does (whatever that is), and really respond to the blood well. Maybe she’ll get cool superpowers that Doc can squee over!
If ALCATRAZ is canceled, then we can assume that Rebecca stays dead, but, armed with their new knowledge, Hauser and Soto can continue the fight with the help of Lucy and eventually foil the Big Bad, who we presume to be the Warden.
Look at me, spinning speculative tales. That would be the one single good thing about a series being canceled before its time: Let the fanfic begin!