Alcatraz: "Kit Nelson" (Season 1, Episode 3)


Wow. That was one serious septic tank. And remember, I watch zombies munching down on people. So when I say I feel like Andy Dufresne after crawling to freedom in The Shawshank Redemption, I ain’t kidding.

Nasty. Nasty, nasty, nasty. Basically, we open with a child killer named Kit Nelson in full creepy mode as he kidnaps an 11-year-old boy. Then we’re expected to watch said child killer drag the boy around doing all kinds of stuff his kid brother used to do while the flashbacks detail that he killed his kid brother. And that he enjoyed doing it. And that he enjoys describing it even more. Some gratuitous prison sadism thrown in for good measure. Fun for the whole Manson family.

Short review tonight because I’m going to spare you the details and concentrate on character riffs. Sam Neil’s Howser is a total jerk. He broods over his comatose assistant, Lucy Banerjee. Then he cancels an Amber Alert for the missing boy because… The Alcatraz child killer’s MO is to kidnap a child on Friday and return the body on Sunday. So Howser figures if they keep the pressure and police off him, they can retrieve him when he returns the body of the boy they don’t bother to save.

So… As bosses go, how’s yours?

Protagonist Rebecca Madsen is stoic and determined and chipper and pissed all at once. I found myself taking a liking to her, though, since at least she didn’t disgust me to the core of whatever Judeo-Christian-Islamic-Buddhist-Zoroastrian sense of moral responsibility keeps most people from being like Kit or Howser.

Protagonist comic-store genius Diego Soto had something bad happen to him when he was eleven, so he wants to save the boy. Which puts him morally one-up on a rabid maggot. Or Howser. Unfortunately, his sleuthing skills are kind of embarrassing. He remembers that the killer likes cherry pie. So, and I kid you not, he starts going to every diner in San Francisco to order cherry pie and ask if they’ve seen Kit. Last time I checked, San Francisco is a pretty big city. That could, however, explain Soto’s weight issues if he makes a habit of this sort of thing.

Of course he just happens to be in the one diner at the exact moment Kit brings the kid in for cherry pie. And of course they blow the capture when Kit threatens to kill the kid. But Soto then communes with Kit’s few possessions from his box at Alcatraz and realizes he had money to buy brand cigarettes, which means he got a check from a defunct bomb shelter manufacturing company that went out of business in the 60s, but not before leaving a detailed list of all the bomb shelters it ever built top be uploaded on the Internet fifty years later. And did we mention Kit likes to kill kids in bomb shelters? Or that there’s only one bomb shelter built by the company in Walnut Creek.

It makes Hawaii Five O look like Joe Friday meticulously gathering actual facts.

So they show up at the bomb shelter where the kid is making a run for it. Kit catches him and threatens to kill him, whereupon Howser appears out of nowhere and kills Kit. He remains a rabid maggot in my book, though.

Basically, we still have the evil jerk of the week returning as an evil jerk with no sense of time dislocation and determined to be the worst evil jerk he can be. With sloppily thrown together procedural work. We still don’t know, though, what Howser’s excuse is.

The final minute is kind of neat. We see Howser lugging Kit’s corpse into his modern underground Alcatraz. He takes him to a room where the mysterious Doctor Beauregard from Alcatraz is, also the same age as fifty years ago. Says he has work for him, which implies resurrecting Kit. Then says he may have some work on a colleague for him, too, implying Lucy. Then he leaves. Dr. Beauregard puts on some upbeat music and starts dancing to it.

They’re teasing us with a little dab of something that might be interesting while forcing us to sit through a pig wallow to get to it. I'm not a fan.

Will conservatives like this: Nobody should like this episode. I’m going to go take a shower now.