Heading into the final stretch of its first season, Alcatraz still has yet to give up its deepest secrets – apparently clutching on to them for its double-sized (last?) hurrah next week to end out season 1. While ‘Webb Porter’ doesn’t offer any major revelations about the prison, it does give Dr. Lucy Banerjee/Sengupta (Parminder Nagra) a chance to show off her medical expertise and, possibly return to consciousness in the present.
Speaking of the present, it’s interesting to see how much weight there is behind the role of Emerson Hauser (Sam Neill), and his connection to the escaped ’63s. Hauser’s seeming indifference to which returned inmates are incarcerated, and which are returned to his secret facility in a body bag, makes him all the more fascinating when he’s adamant an inmate the likes of Webb Porter (Rami Malek, The Pacific, Larry Crowne) is captured, but not harmed.
For his part, Soto (Jorge Garcia) has certainly recognized that Hauser’s half-truths are beginning to wear thin, and decides to shadow Hauser to a (holistic?) healer in Chinatown. There, Hauser downs a handful of pills and the woman mentions he looked better the last time she saw him. Maybe it’s just a typical massage parlor/drug den, but as Soto and Madsen (Sarah Jones) are quickly learning, Hauser doesn’t do anything without purpose – like move Lucy from her hospital room in San Francisco to his secret prison/medical facility located out in the woods.
Given Hauser’s inclination for shooting people and being generally as deceptive as possible, the scenes of his past suggest some drastic event set Hauser on his current path. Tonight we learn that young Hauser studied philosophy at Yale and enjoys jazz clubs – which he takes Lucy to on one of their dates.
While Soto is ineffectually stalking Hauser through Chinatown, Porter is claiming a young music student as his first victim. While fighting for her life before Porter eventually drowns her in the bathtub, she manages to break a nail clawing her killer’s face – leaving a healthy amount of DNA for the team to sample. After putting said DNA through some tests, Dr. Beauregard (Leon Rippy) finds the blood to contain the colloidal silver first discovered in ‘Sonny Burnett,’ and that it is a match for Lucy.
Given what’s at stake for Hauser on a personal level, he naturally reacts to the case with a renewed sense of determination. Unfortunately, by the time Porter has struck again, the team has still been unable to positively identify him, and that sends Hauser into an uncharacteristic tizzy.
Back on Alcatraz, Porter has been sequestered in the infirmary because he won’t stop screaming at night, which it turns out is due to chronic tinnitus brought about by his mother’s attempt to drown Porter in the bathtub. Porter would later earn his ticket to the Rock by killing his mother and four other women. Considering Malek’s last two significant roles had him playing characters not entirely in command of their faculties, playing Porter was clearly no stretch for the actor.
Dr. Sengupta quickly diagnoses Porter, and given his above-average intelligence, begins music therapy to help ease his scrambled thoughts, as well as the tinnitus. As with the other therapies Dr. Sengupta employed at the prison, the musical therapy seems to be successful, and Porter is soon returned to his cell in the general population.
Back in the present, Porter’s identity is discovered through some deductions Madsen and Soto make while his whereabouts are uncovered by Hauser’s sleuthing. After searching his residence, the team discovers Porter is cutting his victims’ hair to string his bow, but more importantly, Soto broaches the disturbing subject that the ’63s are renting apartments and making themselves comfortable in the present – which Madsen indicates is making them harder to track down.
Madsen and Hauser are able to find what would be Porter’s third victim, and she tells them of his plans to play the violin that evening. The two end up at the San Francisco Philharmonic where Porter is finishing up his ravishing performance for a crowd of no one. After a brief chase, Porter is apprehended before he can kill himself, and he’s taken to see Dr. Beauregard to begin a blood transfusion for Lucy.
Back at time-displaced-inmate HQ, Madsen finds Soto going through some old Alcatraz films, and happens to catch a glimpse of Dr. Banerjee/Sengupta looking remarkably like she does in the present.
Meanwhile, as Porter plays his violin in his new cell, Hauser and Beauregard wait patiently for Lucy to emerge from her coma – which she does in the episode’s final seconds.
Now with a key player in Lucy back in the fray, and Madsen and Soto more aware of Hauser’s deception than ever, will the secrets of Alcatraz come more readily in the final two hours, or will we be left with just as many questions as when the series started?
Alcatraz season 1 will air its final two episodes ‘Garrett Stillman’ and ‘Tommy Madsen’ next Monday @8pm on FOX.
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