One of the easiest ways to get the audience on your side right away is to put a little kid into jeopardy. Parents will freak out and join the story right away for obvious reasons, and everyone else recognizes the drama inherent when there is an innocent in trouble. But it’s a cheat. It’s like Brad Pitt showing up on Friends during sweeps week; it’s like having a 20 year old Dominican pitching your Little League game. It happens, and the that’s how the world works, but folks paying attention find it distasteful nonetheless.
And that’s sort of what happened here with the third ep of Alcatraz.
I gotta give it to ’em, I do; they’re trying to flesh out characters and expand the mythos and whatnot, but it all seems a little… rote. You know? Me, as an audience member, I’m excited to see who’s behind the time-travel. Or, is it, even, in fact, time travel? Something’s going on, and that’s the larger picture. The Detective’s grandfather seems to know something about it and is in the present day, too. That’s a lot going on without adding in Lucy and Doctor Beauregard into the “I’m not old” mix. So I’m not going to recap or delineate the white-chrsyantheum/11 year-old-in-danger thing, because it bums me out, like The Road and any movie with Macaulay Culkin.. But I’ll make some observations.
1. I get as much joy from seeing “Walnut Creek” from Alcatraz as I do from seeing place-holder scene-settings like “Rutland, Vermont,” on Fringe. It’s like Hollywood is following me around, and filming it in Vancouver.
2. I loved Doc Soto saying, “So, what you’re saying, is that I’m a 16 year old’s wet dream?” Because, I mean, really.
3. I also really enjoyed the “SF Comic Expo” sticker on the side of the register in his shop. Although they film in Vancouver, it ostensibly takes place in San Francisco, which means I can go buy boots at Sports Basement down at Chrissy Field and snap a pic of Alcatraz for verisimilitude.
4. One of the things that gives me a bit of agita is that Detective Madsen is referred to as “detective,” when anyone who knows any better knows that detectives in SF are referred to as “inspectors.” All you need is a buddy of yours to be robbed at gunpoint and the perps to call in later to see if he will continue to be a rube to know that in San Fran it’s “inspector” instead of “detective.” But I can see what Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public don’t need to know that.
5. Granpa Madsen again, behind the veil. That means something, and I hope it bodes well for our main characters.
6. All of the flashbacks are taking place in 1960… and yet all of the time-bums are coming forward from 1963?
7. Kit Nelson is operating on his own, in this episode, which is different than the two previous guys, who are obviously operating under instructions. Not sure what that means… but it means something.