Alcatraz: "The Ames Brothers & Sonny Burnett" (Season 1, Episodes 8 and 9)


Two episodes back-to-back this week. It’s kind of hard to take, and I suppose I could blame the Daytona 500 for preempting it last week, but that’s hardly fair. This sick, boring excuse for a show earns its nauseating qualities the old fashioned way—it doesn’t give a ****.

The Ames brothers apparently got themselves sent to Alcatraz in the old days so they could look for hidden Civil War gold there. That would make them idiots, except the writers think we are by assuming we’ll swallow this claptrap. To insure there’s no hint of enjoyment whatsoever, the Ames brothers are also walking clichés: Pinky is big and violent; Herman is geeky and annoying.

That’s the boring part. The sick part is the relentless sadism on display. We open with one of Hauser’s science guys doing something with a science doodad on the cell block floor. Pinky comes up and smashes him with a huge bolt cutter. Then twice, then thrice. But are we done? You bet your sweet vomit bag we’re not. Pinky drags the hapless victim off to a cell where he does it again. We know because they amp the bolt cutter smash sound effect this time with a little skull crunch and soft, pulpy vibe. Lovely. In a later flashback, we see Pinky forcing someone’s hand into a meat saw as well.

The Ames brothers were in cahoots with a guard named Donovan who has also come back. It’s kind of a badly done Die Hard, with Rebecca chasing around the three criminal cohorts who have captured Diego Soto. Eventually the Ames brothers get offed, leaving Donovan to reach the basement room that supposedly holds “the gold!” Arrr, maties. It’s the same room the Ames brothers were caught outside of in the flashback. This time Donovan goes in and the room is empty. Of course, in the final flashback shot we see the Warden entering the room in 1961, there to caress all the lovely gold bars of the Lost Treasure of Alcatraz.

Sonny Burnett was a kidnapper. He kidnapped a 14-year-old girl long ago. He tried to turn her into his girlfriend; she escaped and turned him in. So now he wants vengeance. He kidnaps her husband, requests a ransom, and leaves various body parts at the ransom drop location. We get to see them, too. When he kidnaps her daughter, he buries her. We get a nice gruesome close-up of her shrieking in the coffin underground. Oh, and the flashback is about Sonny getting the eye of the tiger inside Alcatraz so he can be a predator instead of prey. His triumphant moment is gouging a bad guy’s eyes out, which we also get to see.

Makes that bland Terra Nova look pretty darn sweet in retrospect.

Sonny gets caught and at least the daughter gets saved. The addition to our mystery this week? All the returnees heal quickly because they have colloidal silver in their blood. Burnett has Lucy’s blood type, but he doesn’t have silver. Hauser, who was planning on a transfusion, is pissed. I’m not very sympathetic. At least he didn’t have to watch this crap.

Will conservatives like this: No. As Ned Flanders would say, it makes baby Jesus cry.