Alcatraz Pilot and Ernest Cobb S01E01-02 (Fox)

Alcatraz intertitle, via Wikipedia

Alcatraz is J.J. Abrams next show, and it’s currently being broadcast on Fox. The overall setup is eerily similar to Fringe, since it features an FBI task force investigating crimes, however that’s where the similarities end. Although, the show does feature Jorge Garcia from Lost and another blonde female lead, à la Anna Torv, but she’s much younger and starts out as a detective before getting assigned to Hauser and his team.  It turns out that Alcatraz was never closed. The prisoners just vanished and they have started reappearing for some unknown purpose. Each of them accomplishes some task for some nefarious over mind that we’ve yet to meet. The exact mechanics of the transport is unknown, but certain clues point towards wormholes of some kind.

Warning: spoilers ahead.

As I mentioned in the beginning, there are a lot of similarities with Fringe. Time will tell if this show has a different way of functioning, but naturally, they don’t dwell into fringe science. However, the methodology is somewhat akin to what we’ve come to expect from Fringe. The first two episodes were good. I didn’t dislike them, but we haven’t learned much about the exact reasons why the prisoners of Alcatraz were abducted and how. The show plays out in different times, which hasn’t been confusing yet, but it could become tedious if not properly dealt with.

* * * * *

The story starts on March 20th, 1963. The voiceover implies that prisoners weren’t transferred off Alcatraz. Two guards arrive on a boat on Alcatraz. Two other guards were supposed to meet them, but they aren’t there. They find Alcatraz deserted. 302 men disappeared that night.

In the present day, lots of people are taking a tour of Alcatraz. A girl finds one of the prisoners who just woke up. He puts on a coat and gets out. His name is Jack Sylvane.

Back in 1960, Sylvane was being harassed by Tiller, the guy in charge.

Two police officers are chasing a perp. The girl is Madsen and she let her partner die. At least that’s what she thinks. Her LT wants her to partner up again. It’s been a couple of month. She wants to take the day to decide.

EB Tiller has been found dead. They discover that he was an FBI agent. The FBI arrives to take over, led by Special Agent Emerson Hauser.

Madsen runs the search on some prints that she found on a smashed picture frame. They belong to Jack Sylvane, but the records are restricted. Tiller was the deputy warden of Alcatraz.

She traces a book about Alcatraz to a Dr. Diego Soto. He’s got Phd’s in Criminal Justice and Civil War History and he’s written four books on Alcatraz.

Sylvane was a WWII vet, who was sent to Leavenworth for robbing a grocery store, which sold stamps, so this was a federal offense. In Leavenworth, things got frisky in the showers and an inmate died, so Sylvane was sent to the Rock.

Sylvane accesses a locker in some club and finds a gun. The attendant sees it and gets beaten up.

Madsen goes to see Ray Archer, he was a guard at Alcatraz. Soto knows him. He studied him. Archer raised her after her parents died. Archer tells her to drop her investigation because it isn’t her case.

Sylvane is supposed to be dead, but then how did his prints end up on the picture. Soto and Madsen go to Alcatraz and go into the barracks. They find the belongings of the inmates. Then, they are gassed by a smoke grenade.

Madsen wakes up facing Hauser. Soto is right next to her. Hauser says that he runs a special division in charge of criminals who “hold a particular allure for our government”.

They have CCTV footage of Jack Sylvane tracking Tiller. He’s not old, he’s the same age as in the inmate photos. Lucy Bannity says that Sylvane disappeared from Alcatraz in 1963.

Coz you gassed me and now you owe me one.
Madsen to Hauser

They get a call. An Alcatraz uniform has been found at another crime scene. Soto and Madsen go with Hauser.

In the past, Sylvane meets a strange guy in the infirmary, a month after he was put in the hole. He was warned that something terrible would happen.

In the present, the clerk identifies Sylvane and had the presence of mind to jot down the number of the taxi. SFPD is about to apprehend Sylvane, when he takes out two cops. Syvlane has come for Barkley Flynn. He came for a soft, black bag. There is a big key inside of it. Sylvane shoots Flynn.

Madsen, Soto and Hauser arrive on the scene. Madsen sees Sylvane making a run for it, so she pursues. He gets away.

Sylvane’s wife married his brother, who is still alive. Soto and Madsen drop Hauser and go see Sylvane’s brother.

Sylvane is already at his brother’s place. He meets his wife’s and brohter’s son, Alan Jr. In the past, his wife asked him for a divorce a month after he missed seeing her. Alan thinks that he’s seen a ghost. He pulls a gun on his brother.

Madsen and Soto arrive. They find Alan Jr duck taped to a chair. They find Sylvane at the cemetery. He says that he killed Flynn only because they told him to do so. Backup arrives. Alan is still alive. He asks Madsen to shoot her and he gets shot by the ARU. It was only a flesh wound in the shoulder.

Hauser is there and he takes Sylvane in. Later, Madsen and Soto come to the Batcave. They are already looking at the next victim. Sylvane was only the beginning. Hauser knew that this was going to happen. They have been waiting for this to happen for a long time.

Hauser shows them the 63s composed of 256 prisoners and 46 guards. Hauser was the young guard who found that Alcatraz was empty. Madsen founds that her grandfather wasn’t a guard, he was an inmate at Alcatraz. He’s the one who killed her partner, Inmate #2002.

Hauser has already got Madsen transferred to his division. She wants Soto as a partner.

Hauser brings Sylvane to a facility in the middle of some woods. It’s a replica of Alcatraz.

Alcatraz Ernest Cobb S01E02

A new inmate arrives in Alcatraz in the past. He’s welcomed by the warden. He was convicted of killing 16 people. He was some kind of sniper. He wanted to come to the Rock for the private cells.

In the present day, loony sniper is going out for a picnic. It looks like he’s got OCD. Then, he readies himself for a shot. He starts shooting.

Madsen comes to see Soto. She wants to know more about there grandfather. He says that there isn’t much more.

All the shots were to the heart and there are dead crows at the scene. It’s Ernest Cobb. He does three shootings in three days and then goes underground. Madsen deduces that Cobb is using an antiquated rifle, so he must be closer than what the police think. They find his sniper spot at about 500 yards. Madsen finds shell casings.

Lucy is questioning Sylvane with Hauser watching via webcam. Sylvane doesn’t know who took him nor why.

The casing match Cobb’s favorite gun. Madsen and Soto check out firearm merchants who sell old rifles. Madsen immediately finds the place that sold Cobb his rifle. They have CCTV footage of him buying it. He puts a room key to a motel room on the counter while he pays.

They find a seedy motel. Lucy is babysitting them. Soto asks Lucy about his theory on wormholes. Immediately, she looks at him in a different light. She obviously suspects that wormholes are involved.

Cobb isn’t in his room. It was a trap. Cobb shoots Lucy. That was stupid on Madsen’s part (going in without backup). At least she’s not dead. She’s in a coma.

Hauser asks Sylvane if Lucy was a target.

At HQ, Madsen realizes that Cobb keeps shooting 15-year old girls with some other victims. She thinks that he might have been trying to hide his intended victims.

It turns out that Cobb had a younger sister, about 16. Her name was Eloise and she died years ago. His mom treated him badly but she took the time to raise another child. His rage might stem from there.

In the past, Cobb gets himself into solitary after the warden refused his request to go there voluntarily. He doesn’t stay alone long. The warden puts his annoying cell mate into the same cell.

Madsen discovers that Cobb made himself a scope out of a rolled up magazine, a magnifying glass, some rubber bands, and his glasses.

Cobb is shooting again. It’s his second shooting. Madsen figures out where he’ll go next. Hauser and Madsen go to the buildings in question. They offer high vantage points. Madsen and Hauser get him. Hauser shoots him in the right hand. He won’t be shooting again.

In the past, after numerous rule breaks, the warden calls in a specialist. It’s Lucy. She looks the same as she does in the present.

* * * * *

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