Last Monday a second episode of Alcatraz aired after the Pilot, personally I think this was done because the Pilot which had to explain a lot of background information was a bit too slow. ‘Ernest Cobb’ was definitely better though some mistakes from the Pilot persisted and the episode made a few of its own.
As for the story…
The episode starts with Alcatraz inmate named Ernest Cobb being introduced to Chief Warden Edwin James, who asks Cobb why he has shot a warden at another prison in the leg. Cobb answers by saying ‘I want my own private cel’. Then the show switches back to the present and we see Cobb’s ‘obsessive compulsive disorder’ when he tries to have lunch in a park, after he has finished he pulls out a sniper rifle and shoots three people dead at a fair.
The rest of the episode is centered around detective Madsen and Dr Soto and their efforts in trying to catch Cobb. Their efforts are hampered when Hauser doesn’t tell everything he knows and even assigns his righthand Lucy Banerjee to aid Madsen and Soto. However, things take a turn for the worse when Cobb shoots Banerjee in the chest, she seems to have been deliberately targeted. This alludes to aspects surrounding the reappearance of the prisoners that Madsen and Soto are not aware off.
Banerjee survives the shooting but is by the end of the episode still in a coma, instead Hauser takes a more personal interest in Cobb’s capture and in doing so hampers Madsen’s efforts. She meanwhile tries to get into the head of Cobb and comes to the conclusion that he is shooting female victims because he saw his sister when visiting his estranged mother, his mother rejected him and he blames his sister. Madsen and Soto deduce from where he will start another shooting spree nd together with Hauser capture him, Hauser in an act of revenge shoots the right hand of Cobb so he will never be able to wield a rifle again. Afterwards Hauser takes Cobb to his new underground prison bunker in the forest and gets his ‘private cell’ next to Sylvane.
All through the episode we flashbacks to the early 60’s when Cobb was an Alcatraz inmate, we see his personal fight with the Chief Warden and how he becomes part of a medical experiment, in the last scene we the Chief Warden address Cobb’s OCD problems and suggest a doctor that might be able to help, he introduces Lucille Sangupta a doctor wearing high heels and a pencil skirt like a dominatrix. As the camera pans to her face we recognise her as Hauser’s assistant Lucy Banerjee. And so one more mystery is introduced. How did she not age a day if she wasn’t among the staff and prisoners that disappeared in 1963.
This episode reminds me a lot of Person of Interest, we see the hallmarks of a villain of the week show and yet the creative staff try to introduce new aspects.
This second episode was much better than the first, the human aspect was on a knives edge. Cobb was really shown as a psychopath who couldn’t stop killing because of his OCD. One questions that did arise was is why every criminal that reappears is hellbent on carrying committing crime in an era in which it is all that much harder to get away with.
That does question does open a can of worms because the investigation made by Madsen and Soto made absolutely no sense what so ever, it was all far to convenient in the way they found their leads. One strange aspect was a gun store owner recognised having sold Cobb a Winchester model 70 because he has sold only one in the last 10 years. Yet that model is one of the most popular rifles in existence. Another goof os the fact there are no gun shops in San Francisco. Then the store owner says that Cobb paid for the rifle using a prepaid credit card and I am wondering if that is even possible.
Detective Madsen then asks to see the CCTV footage of sale which shows Cobb paying in cash! the entire scene made no sense whatsoever, sloppy writing is what it is. The rest of the episode has a few more goofs but on a whole they do not distract too much. That one scene at the gun shop can be forgiven if it doesn’t happen again.
On improvement with this episode was Sarah Jones’s portrayal of the character Rebecca Madsen, her small touches in giving the character more life were good and made her more believable. Sarah, keep it up!
Score; 8 / 10.
Viewer rating; 10.05 million.