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Friday, February 10, 2012

Alcatraz - Guy Hastings

We are still watching this show, even though we don't usually follow shows with such a procedural format for long (well, Ern doesn't). We figure that once we've seen a couple of procedural episodes, we've as good as seen them all, with the occasional finale or episode that hits it out of the ballpark. However, there's just something about Alcatraz that makes us want to keep watching for now. This week was just OK, despite a few revelations and forward-moving plot. This show could stand to get a little creepier, we think. 

Guy Hastings is the first guard out of the missing 63s. Back in 1963, he’s a good guy and a family man. He loves his wife and has a daughter named Annie. His job at Alcatraz was training new guards. One of the new guards is Ray, the man who raised Rebecca. Young Ray became a guard so that he could get close to Rebecca’s grandfather, Tommy. It was revealed in this episode that Ray and Tommy were actual brothers. Ray changed his last name so that he could become a guard in Alcatraz, because there is no way he would have gotten the job if the hiring committee had known an inmate was his brother. Ray is Rebecca’s real uncle, and now she knows it.

In the present day, Guy Hastings makes a beeline for his old apartment and is surprised by a park ranger. He beats up the park ranger, which gets Hauser, Rebecca, and Doc on his tail. Rebecca and Doc visit the grown Annie, Guy’s daughter who has kids of her own and very fond memories of her dad. Rebecca and Doc ask to see Annie’s father’s old stuff. Annie has a photo of Guy with Ray back when they were guards.  Rebecca then gets a call from a bartender at Uncle Ray’s bar. Uncle Ray is missing.

Guy Hastings grabbed Ray, and Ray was not surprised to see him. Guy is looking for Tommy Madsen, because whoever took the 63s and made them travel through time wants Guy to find Tommy. Ray leads Guy to his old childhood home where he grew up with his brother. Rebecca and Doc figure out the secret sibling-ness and the location of said childhood home. They go there, and Guy grabs Rebecca, holding a gun to her head. Hauser shows up (he has a tracking device on Rebecca’s car) and Rebecca shoots Guy in the leg to keep Hauser from taking him out.

Guy is arrested, but Hauser isn’t as mean to this one. Guy was not a criminal and what happened to him was undeserved. Hauser lets Guy get a glimpse of Annie and her family before taking him wherever the guards are going to go. Hauser says that this is the one look at his family Guy is ever going to get. Sad.

Rebecca figures out that there is something unique about Tommy, and that Hauser needs someone connected to Tommy in order to succeed. Hauser admits that he offered her Uncle Ray a similar job, years ago. Rebecca realizes that she has leverage over Hauser by her very cooperation. Finally, Tommy comes into Ray’s bar. Ray tells Tommy that he needs to stay away, because he is putting Rebecca in danger. In fact, if Ray sees his brother again, he is going to shoot him.

Episode grade: B-


  1. Lostcatraz (sorry, did I mean "Alcalost"?) has a 3-men-and-a-dog feel to the whole thing, like an amateur dramatics production that's had too much money thrown at it. It just feels so damn flimsy and insubstantial.

    In fact the pair of unlikely detectives running around an American city investigating stuff reminded me strongly of "Bored to Death", but without the intentional humour.

    The question of when TV companies will stop making these Lost rehashes is an interesting one. I guess it'll be when someone comes up with another genuinely groundbreaking new genre, not something which I see any evidence of right now.

    1. We see your point. One of the great things about LOST was that it went off of classic books, philosophy, and some Stephen King. Rather than imitating the imitator (LOST), TV writers should use such substantial material to jump start their own creativity.

      The worst LOST imitator was The Event. This one, at least, might turn into something good if it ups the stakes soon. For now, we think it's watchable.

      You might want to stay away from The River...

    2. Funnily enough I quite enjoyed The River premiere, probably because of the mildly subversive way it kept rapping on the very TV industry which spawned it. But otherwise yes it's another hopeless Lost knockoff, and I doubt said snarkiness will be enough to keep me watching long.

      Like your line about going back to non-TV source materials for creative inspiration. Very good point! And it perfectly explains why I'm liking Grimm a lot, despite its various faults. :)

    3. If the lead actors on Grimm were good, I think the show would have been better. I look forward to the guest stars/Monroe more then the lead actors. It shouldn't be that way. That's one of the reasons I gave up on the show before last week's episode...and watching it after Fringe makes it worse...and I'm usually pretty easy. Actors need to be good!

    4. TV Shows don't need to be original. They need to be interesting. The Vampire Diaries/Revenge aren't really original but they are deliciously good. Some of the other good shows aren't original...but they consistently deliver good episodes.

      I don't mind procedurals as long as it has a bit of serialized stuff in Person of Interest or Alphas...or this show.

    5. Yeah, I had a problem with the guy they picked for the lead in Grimm. If he had been capable, he could have carried the show and made it watchable. But no. Charisma of a piece of bread.

  2. I'm still not really on board with either Alcatraz or Grimm, but I have enough free time at the moment that I'll probably keep watching them, hoping they'll draw me in before either the end of the season, or I'm forced to drop them for more worthwhile pursuits. Alcatraz just seems too procedural (ATM) for me, and I've already got a person-forced-to-deal-with-and-live-amongst-supernatural-creatures-in-the-real-world show that I'm already invested in (Lost Girl).

    I'd have to say that my favourite Lost clone would be Persons Unknown from 2010. From what I can tell, not many people watched it (probably why it never got a second season), but it was a show where a handful of people have been kidnapped and isolated in an set-like town which has an invisible barrier surrounding it. I get why it got cancelled, it definitely made a few bad steps here and there, but it had found its feet by the finale episodes. There was a fitting end for the season, but it ended on a reveal that set the show up for a season 2 that would never come.

    1. Is Lost Girl that good? Worth checking out?

      Ern agrees about procedurals. Leeard generally likes them, which is why she is the only one still watching Grimm. Persons Unknown was awesome, however the ending made us want to punch everyone involved. Not fair.

  3. I wouldn't say it's good per se, it doesn't really break any new ground but if it's on a day when you have some free time in your TV watching pattern you could do worse. It's fun and sexy and it has more than just the normal supernatural creatures (from memory only one werewolf like being, no vampires or witches so far).

    I enjoy it more than Grimm, largely due to it having more main characters each with distinct personalities that interact well with each other. The main character is a succubus who never really knew what she was, and as such she cares more for her victims (read: humans) than the other supernatural beings she meets. Credit goes to the writers in making the one main human my favourite character.

    I find Supernatural shows need to strike the right balance for me to draw me in. The variety of a monsters in a show like Lost Girl or Grimm is a plus (no vampires vs werewolves for me, unless it's something truly exceptional like TVD), but unless they're careful it's too easy to fall into the trap of a monster of the week type show. I've been finding more luck in the urban fantasy genre with books lately.

    I agree the ending to Persons Unknown was unfair, I wish there could have been a bit of closure, but it keeps it in memory even after some time has passed.