Review of ALCATRAZ: Season 1, Episode 6 – Paxton Petty
by Paul Chamberlain
This is part one of two... I'll be reviewing “Johnny McKee” later today!
The Oscars are this Sunday and I confess I've been spending more time catching up on movies than on TV shows. I've fallen behind again, but I'm vowing to get caught up and I'll do my best to stay a little bit more current in the future.
I have a few more movies to watch, but I'm also working on compiling my Top Ten Movies of 2011. Look for that here as well!
In other TV news, I just learned that COMMUNITY will make its return to NBC on Thursday, March 15th! This is the best TV news of 2012 so far!
Here we go... as always, full spoilers of the episode “Paxton Petty” are after the jump!
More intriguing than any other storyline on ALCATRAZ, except perhaps for Tommy Madsen, is Dr. Lucy Sangupta/Banerjee, her relationship with Emerson Hauser, and how she fits in to the grand scheme of things. In this 6th episode, we are finally treated to a glimpse of their mysterious past together. As I predicted, Hauser and Lucy have a romantic history dating back to 1960.
At the top of the episode, we see the moment they meet, during the arrival of the mad bomber Paxton Petty at Alcatraz. The year is 1960 and Hauser is as green as they come: nauseous on the boat ride from the mainland, and lovestruck at the first sight of Lucy. Flashforward to present day, and we learn that Lucy is dying.
Another interesting tidbit regarding Lucy: there is no record of female doctors on Alcatraz. Why would she have been kept a secret?
Paxton Petty is the focus of this episode. His weapon of choice? Land mines. In downtown San Francisco. Very bad ass, and Paxton Petty is probably the coolest name of the '63s we've met thus far.
While Dr. Soto and Det. Madsen are trying to figure out how Petty is acquiring land mines, Soto notes that the '63s are getting help and he theorizes that someone could be “unfreezing them.” This means that we can pretty much rule out the fact that they were cryogenically frozen, like Captain America. I doubt the writers would have a character make an off-the-cuff remark early in the series about what will probably remain a deep, dark secret on this show for a while.
Another one of Soto's theories is that it's a “quantum thing.” His example of a water-bug thinking that a twig is moving when it is just the water level that is moving, is easy to understand: the water-bug's only level of perception changes, so the changes he is perceiving aren't around it, but are happening to it. I tried to do some quick Googling and to figure out if I could find out anything more. Turns out quantum physics isn't something you can really learn about quickly. Or, rather, I can't.
Doc Soto really is living the dream, isn't he? His parents forced him to get doctorates in Criminal Justice and Civil War History, and he became blacklisted for writing an academic journal revolving around Batman's fictional town Gotham City. He's happily doing his thing as a comic book writer and comic book store owner and all of a sudden, all of this falls into his lap, and he is literally living the life of a superhero. Comic book geek by day, federal task force civilian authority by night.
The dynamic between doctors Beauregard and Sangupta is fun to watch. The former's idea of effective interrogation is submerging the subject in a bath of ice water, while the latter drugs his cup of hot tea and uses electroshock therapy. As the Warden puts it, “dueling sawbones. Toe to toe. Old school versus the avant-garde.” He can't get enough of it. The best part about their feud, though, is Beauregard's ridicule and one-liners against her: “a prescrition straight from the pad of Mother Goose herself!” and “What's next... crumpets?” Character actor Leon Rippy delivers these barbs brilliantly.
We get to see a different side of Tommy Madsen during this episode. We already know that he spends a crapload of time in the infirmary, giving blood – but now we now he has no idea why. He is desperate, confused and genuinely ignorant.
A moment I missed on the 1st viewing: Soto and Rebecca find a tomb where they suspect Petty was keeping his mines. They learn that he broke the lock on the tomb from the inside, and Soto theorizes that “this is where he came back.” Additionally, Petty himself states that he woke up on the floor of a tomb. If this is true, this certainly means that the supernatural is almost certainly at play, as Petty would have to have been transported from one time and place, to another – the destination being a locked tomb. Of course, someone with a key could have physically placed him there... but with over 300 inmates and 40 guards to return to present day, I don't see it likely that someone would go through that kind of trouble.
As predicted, Hauser takes dying Lucy to Dr. Beauregard in New Alcatraz: “You know her methods,” Hauser says to Beauregard. “Fix her.” This sort of aligns with my theory that Lucy had a hand in the disappearance/reappearance of the '63s. But it doesn't fully offer any kind of answer. We learned that Lucy's ailment is heart-related. We don't really have any info as to how Dr. Beauregard is going to be able to bring her back to life... other than the fact that he'll be using “her methods.”
Final grade for “Paxton Petty”: 8 out of 10