Monday, February 20, 2012

'Alcatraz' - Captivated, Confused or Quit?



'Alcatraz' - Are you captivated or confused? Or did you quit watching it by now?

Just to lay down the official plot summary and then some discussion:
On March 21, 1963, over three hundred inmates and more than forty guards disappeared from the Alcatraz island prison without a trace. To cover up the disappearance, the government invented a cover story about the prison being closed, due to unsafe conditions, and the inmates were transferred. As a young guard in 1963, federal agent Emerson Hauser (Sam Neill) had been one of the first to discover the inmates missing. He now runs a secret government unit dedicated to finding the prisoners. In present-day San Francisco, the "63s" (as the inmates and guards are called) begin returning, having not aged at all. To help track them down and capture them, Hauser enlists police detective Rebecca Madsen (Sarah Jones) and Dr. Diego Soto (Jorge Garcia), an expert on the history of Alcatraz. The 63s appear to be returning without memory of where they have been and with compulsions to find certain objects.

Alrighty then...here are some major concerns and questions (and intrigue) about 'Alcatraz':

It seems we don't know the order in which inmates appear (or reappear). No timeline is mapped out. One thing that is a mystery, Rebecca's grandpa was there before the first inmate was tracked down. And as inmates pop up, they are getting captured by our merry little team, but Rebecca's grandpa seems to still be on the loose. Just because each week we are introduced to another inmate, doesn't mean that they are appearing one at a time...others could have reappeared in 2012, too.

The inmates who return seem to have specific instructions that they don't even fully understand the nature or purpose of. Many have been locating those large keys that we've been shown existed and were used back in the old prison. It was surprising to hear in the last episode how that inmate said he went to sleep a week ago and suddenly woke up in the year 2012. And he didn't seem to have any instructions, but went back to his old criminal activities from the 60s (setting bombs to blow up). When he and Soto chatted, he seemed completely lost to what was happening to him.

I keep wondering what happened between 1960 and 1963. Does anyone notice how the flashbacks are always in 1960? And yet they didn't disappear until 1963? Why are we never shown any flashbacks during those 3 years? I'm assuming the disappearance actually occurred in 1963 - on whatever day Alcatraz closed.

Whew-Hauser sure looks good for as old as he'd have to be by now! If he was a guard back in 1963, let's say he was 20 years old then, add onto that 50 years passing, and that would make him about 70! You'd think he'd retire and not be hunting these inmates!

It's amazing none of the inmates decided to high-tail it out of there and make a new life for themselves...but obviously something supernatural or who-knows-what happened to them during the last 50 years and reappearing in a world they know little about, especially with all the technology, had to be shocking. And they had committed horrible crimes - if they feel like no time has passed to them, they would likely fall back into their old criminal ways out on the run. Then again, we're getting the impression they are being controlled or instructed to do certain things.

Alcatraz's doctor is deeply involved in whatever is happening to the prisoners. Remember all the times back in the 60's when he kept drawing blood from them? And when Hauser nabbed Lucy from the hospital and brought her to this doctor (who also returned - who knows when?) and told the doc to heal her! What the heck?

I would say I'm captivated by 'Alcatraz'. I loved 'Lost' (same writer) and kept telling myself how totally confusing THAT show was, but still adored it and watched every episode. I hope these shows don't get to feeling like it's the same thing every week/episode, or it could get boring. Quickly. As long as they keep feeding us interesting and question-answering details each week, I'm sticking around.

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