And what, exactly, are you shining that light at, missy?
After being pre-empted for a rain-delayed NASCAR race, Alcatraz was back this week with a vengeance – and two new episodes! This recap covers the first of those episodes, ‘The Ames Brothers’ – I will be posting a second recap covering the episode ‘Sonny Burnett’ later this week.
Episode 8 begins in the now VERY familiar present-day Alcatraz prison, where a ranger is leading a tour group through the main cell block. He mentions that in the 29 years that the prison was in operation, there were no successful escape attempts – though many prisoners probably tried, considering the cramped 5′x9′ cells they were shoved into each night.
While the ranger is rambling away, a bald guy totally reeking of BADDIE edges away from the rest of the group, making his way inside of one of the cells. He shakily touches the wall…
Did I mention he seems to be missing a FINGER?
…and when the ranger demonstrates a lock-down procedure, the baddie shudders as the cell door slams shut behind him. Pretty obviously a ’63, wouldn’t you say?
There’s no place like home, there’s no place like…crap.
CLANK-RATTLE-SLAM! We’re gettin’ right into it this episode, aren’t we? Woot! Sure enough, Big Tall Baldy is living in this very same cell back in 1960 – must be one of the Ames brothers. He heads off to breakfast.
Holy CRAP that’s a lot of toast.
Big Tall Baldy sits down at a table with a couple of other dudes, one of whom calls him Pinky – heh heh. That’s awesome. I guess that guy must be his brother.
And henceforth he shall be known as the Brain.
I know that’s just my dorky attempt at a humorous connection, but the more I think about it, the more it actually makes a nerd-tastic sort of sense to me…Pinky and the Brain were lab mice – remember our convo about lab mice during Johnny McKee’s ep? – trapped in what was basically a prison – look at those bars! One was tall, the other short (and the brains of the operation), which seems to fit our Ames brothers pretty perfectly. Now, if they try to take over the world, I’ll KNOW I’m brilliant.
The third prisoner at the cafeteria table is getting harangued by the bros, so he moves to take off – but before he can rise, Pinky grabs his hand under the table and starts to squeeze (and not in a romantic way, either). Apparently the bros want this guy’s spoon, which the guy is loathe to give up because the guards count the silverware coming back into the kitchen; therefore, he’ll get tossed into the Hole if he’s short a spoon.
The Ames Bros don’t give a flying you-know-what, so after a bit more squeezin’, the guy gives up his precious spoon. Remember that spoon, folks, as I don’t think the bros will be using it to start a prison band.
SPOONS! the musical.
Oh, by the by, we’ve now learned that Brain’s name is actually Herman. BOOOOORING. Also, the Ames Bros are fraternal twins. Moving on.
Brain tells Pinky that Donovan said the plan is on, that it’ll happen during the warden’s homily on Sunday, since D block will be empty. Brain doesn’t trust this mysterious Donovan fellow, but he tells Pinky that everything Donovan has told them so far has checked out, so they might as well go for it. Brain says that if they succeed, they’ll be walking out of Alcatraz as rich men, with no one the wiser. So I guess they’re going to try to escape – but what gives with the whole ‘rich’ business? Hm.
(Oh and by the way? Every time Pinky and the Brain (the cartoon version) tried to take over the world, they had to start by breaking out of their cage. Just sayin’.)
We get a quick shot of the young Ray Archer making his rounds in the cafeteria, just before…
CLANK-RATTLE-SLAM! There’s a helluva storm raging outside of present-day Alcatraz. Detective Madsen arrives at the HQ to find Doc watching the video monitors (which keep flickering due to the storm)…he’s waiting to espy ‘Dandruff,’ aka one of the science dweebs from the mysterious locked room that Hauser never lets them into. It appears Doc has all sorts of cute names for those guys: Dandruff, Two Shirts, Glasses, and The Whistler. Who sounds like a baddie himself.
Just then, Dandruff appears on the computer screen – Doc tells Madsen that every night after the last ferry leaves the island, Head and Shoulders here pops over to the main cell block to conduct eerie experiments. Doc has been itching (no pun intended) to find out what this guy is up to, and since Hauser isn’t around tonight, this is his big chance.
Over in the cell block, Dandruff is setting up some strange sort of case full of science-y stuff when he hears a noise.
I hope he didn’t get a bunch of flakes in there.
Of course, acting like any highly intelligent person in a horror movie, he heads off to investigate. He’s passing by the cells when all of the sudden there’s a TOTALLY CREEPY dark figure sitting quietly – Dandruff passes right by him.
Um…I swear it was totally scary.
He pauses to look around, and that’s when Pinky explodes from a cell behind him, bashing him upside the head with a giant bolt cutter. Dandruff falls to the ground, and Pinky thwacks him a couple more times for good measure. The sound of Dandruff’s poor dandruff-y head being bashed in is disgusting and squishy. Imagine a watermelon at a Gallagher show, if you will. This show just got REAL, yo.
Doc has arrived on the block just in time to witness Pinky dragging Dandruff’s body into a cell and bashing in his head one last time…hidden behind a wall, Doc immediately recognizes the Big Tall Baldy as Pinky Ames – and just as he does, who shows up behind him but Herman the Brain, looking extraordinarily murderous.
You’re freaking me the fuck out, stop it.
Back in the computer lab, Madsen is starting to wonder where the hell Doc is. Then she notices the camera feed, which is showing the abandoned box of science stuff lying on the cell block floor. Was she not looking at the screen when Dandruff was getting his brains smooshed, or when Doc was carted off by the Ames Bros??? Anyway. Seeing the abandoned box clues her in to the fact that somethin’ ain’t right, so she heads down to check it out.
Meanwhile, poor Doc is being grilled by the icky brothers – they wanna know how he just happens to know their names. He tells them he’s an expert on Alcatraz, and that their escape attempt in 1961 was legendary, though he’s never been able to figure out how they thought they were gonna escape once they made it down into the tunnel system underneath the prison.
Staring contest, perhaps?
Doc also says that he tried to retrace their steps by using a copy of their antiquated escape map…when they hear this, the Ames Brothers get hoppin’ mad – see, they ALSO have a copy of that map, which they had been hoping to use here in 2012. Now, knowing that the map needs a serious update, they only have one choice – force Doc to do it for them. At least it keeps him alive…for now.
That blood is gonna totally rust your cutters, bro.
Pinky tells Doc that he drew this map from memory, that the original was drawn by someone else…leading Doc to discover that his long-held theory that the brothers had a third accomplice was indeed correct. Then he has an epiphany – if the brothers want to get back into the tunnels in 2012, that means they were never down there to escape at all – instead, they must have been looking for the gold that was rumored to lie beneath the prison. How come no one’s ever told ME about this gold?? Boo.
CLANK-RATTLE-SLAM! Back in past Alcatraz, Warden James and Deputy Warden Tiller are having a heavy discussion about religion and prison – Tiller thinks the convicts only go to services in order to escape their cells for a short time, but James is convinced they’re learning to accept God or some such BS. And what do you know – Pinky Ames is a GD altar boy, bwahahahahaha!
Please tell me I don’t look as ridiculous as I feel.
He impresses the warden with some babble about being spiritual rather than religious, since spirituality is all about understanding and religion is all about reward. Actually, I completely agree with that. Uh oh – keep me away from your wrenches!!!
Pinky offers to take the warden’s suit jacket, and WHAT A SHOCKER – subsequently steals the keys out of his pocket. Keys that look suspiciously familiar.
So where’s the soft, black bag? Wah wah.
Keys in hand, Pinky tells the guard – whose name happens to be Donovan, FYI – that he needs a bathroom break. The two head into the kitchen, where Donovan gives Pinky a package and proceeds to stand watch by the door. Pinky quickly moves to the back of the kitchen, where he takes a couple of bars of soap out of the package, then presses the keys into them.
CLANK-RATTLE-SLAM! Detective Madsen has finally made it to the main cell block, only to find a menacing pool of Dandruff blood on the floor. Of course, she sees ol’ Squash Head’s dead body, and NOW she knows there’s REAL trouble. Because two missing people weren’t clue enough.
R.I.P. Dandruff, we hardly knew ye.
Hauser arrives at HQ and almost immediately sees the video feed of the abandoned science-y box. He proceeds to do what Madsen SHOULD have done, and rewinds the footage – which of course reveals a giant dude wielding a pair of bolt cutters like nobody’s business. At least SOMEBODY knows how to handle things wisely. Sheesh.
Meanwhile, the Ames Brothers are stashing Doc in the Hole, which he is definitely NOT a fan of. They’ve decided to keep him alive in case they need more information from him, which seems sort of unnecessary but we can’t go killing off our beloved Hurley, now, can we? As the Ames Bros depart, Doc keeps yelling out names in an attempt to guess their third accomplice – this is fun because he uses a few that we’re already familiar with, like Cal Sweeney and Sonny Burnett. The bros ignore him and leave.
CLANK-RATTLE-SLAM! Back in the ’60s and…oh no. Oh boy. We’ve opened on a close-up shot of a slab of meat being pushed through what looks like a goddamn table saw – this canNOT be going anywhere good. Ay yi yi.
I’ll take mine medium rare, thanks.
Pinky and the Brain are hard at work in the Alcatraz prison, using their soap mold of the warden’s keys to make new copies for themselves. This involves a lot of melting metal (hence the spoon from earlier) and pouring stuff. Enough said.
You know, Home Depot has a nifty key copying machine. Just sayin’.
The fellas are just about done, when a guard yells out, ‘SHIFT CHANGE!’ Brain freaks out, saying he needs more time. Pinky knows just what to do. He grabs the dude working the table saw and tells him, ‘it was an accident – the pinky finger, it’s not so bad.’ Aaaaaaaah. I am terribly embarrassed to just now realize that his missing finger is the reason behind his nickname. D’oh.
So yeah, he’s basically telling this guy that getting his pinky cut off by a band saw won’t be so bad – he should know, since he’s short one digit himself. The next few minutes are totally disgusting and sort of rad in a gross way – I’m kinda shocked they got away with this stuff on a network show – good for them. Ready?
Uh, are we sure that’s just a pinky missing??
The guards rush over to see what’s the haps, and ol’ Hamburger Hands tells them it was an accident, just like Pinky instructed him. And wouldn’t you know it – this ploy did indeed buy Herman the time he needed to finish up those keys.
As everybody files out of the kitchen, young Ray Archer shows up. He does a little looking around, and voila! He spots a ladle full of melted metal (try saying THAT ten times fast), and he knows somethin’ fishy is goin’ on.
CLANK-RATTLE-SLAM! Madsen is still looking for Doc, calling out his name even though she knows perfectly well there’s someone in the building who just re-arranged Dandruff’s brain case. No wonder baddies are always getting the jump on this chick.
And what a coincidence, just then a guy jumps out of the darkness, but she quickly knocks him to the floor and points her gun at the back of his head. He claims he’s a ranger and that he saw two guys stay behind after the last ferry left, that they chased him around with guns and he hid out down here in the mess hall. But as soon as he turns around, we see that it’s none other than Frank Whaley, aka Donovan the guard (see picture numero uno)…so all three accomplices are back from the past and back on the island.
Of course, Madsen doesn’t know who this guy is, so she buys his story. They head in the direction of the lighthouse, where Donovan claims the two baddies have gone. Yeah, right.
Elsewhere in the prison, Herman is bitching about Donovan’s absence – he was supposed to meet them, but of course we know how he got sidetracked. The brothers argue about cutting Donovan out of the heist, with Pinky reminding the Brain that it couldn’t have been mere coincidence that they ran into Donovan on an Alcatraz tour one month earlier. So that explains that – but how did the brothers find each other? Hm…maybe they woke up in the same place?
CLANK-RATTLE-SLAM! The convicts are at church, listening to the warden’s homily…when Herman starts to laugh. And he can’t seem to stop.
The guards, thinking he’s drunk (just like he planned, I’m sure), start to cart him out of the room. But once he’s near the warden, he says, ‘no hooch, no hooch – wine.’ Warden James wants to know where he got this so-called wine, and Herman tells him ‘right from God’s table.’ Pinky whispers at him to shut up – leading the warden to believe that Pinky stole the communion wine and gave it to Herman. So they’re both headed for the Hole. Luckily for them, their escort is none other than guard Donovan.
However…UN-luckily for them, young Ray Archer’s hackles are raised – he senses a plot, and he approaches the wardens with his suspicions. They’re not buying it, but they head to the Hole just in case…and who do they happen to find? It ain’t the Ames brothers, that’s for sure.
It’s Donovan! And he looks like shit!
Tiller yells, ‘LOCK IT DOWN!’ And the hunt is on. You know…I’m surprised they never suspected Donovan, aren’t you? I mean, sure, they beat the hell out of him so that his story of being overpowered was convincing…but wouldn’t you suspect him anyway? Ah well.
Thinking, the warden pulls out his keys – he’s got a pretty good idea of where the boys are headed, so he grabs a shotgun and instructs a few guards to follow him.
CLANK-RATTLE-SLAM! Doc is making phone calls from the Hole, trying desperately to reach someone – and finally, he does. His buddy Chet is on the line, and Doc instructs him to find out if the Alcatraz cells have been retrofitted with release locks in case a tourist got trapped inside one accidentally. SMART!! I never would’ve thought of that.
In another neck of the Alcatraz woods, Madsen decides that perhaps she and Donovan should head to the ranger’s station – but when Donovan asks for a gun, she denies him. So at least she’s not totally inept. He tells her he didn’t show up at Sally Port yesterday – oops. She immediately realizes that his choice of words pegs him as a ’63, and she quickly turns her gun on him.
She instructs Donovan to get down on his knees, but just then a noise rings out – it’s the Ames Brothers, passing by on their way to find either the tunnels or Donovan. Whatever the case, once they see Little Miss Pistol Popper they immediately open fire. Bullets fly back and forth, and one catches the Brain on the side of his neck.
You’ve got a little something on your chin there.
(I don’t know if you can see it clearly, but there’s a helluva lot of blood oozing out of his mouth-hole. It’s pretty gross. Not meat-saw gross, but still gross.)
Donovan takes advantage of the situation and attacks Madsen, and they grapple for a while. Meanwhile, in the hallway, Herman Ames dies in his brother’s arms, and Pinky is P-I-S-S-E-D. Madsen has just escaped Donovan’s clutches when Pinky comes busting in with his bloody bolt cutter raised high. But before he can make a meat pie out of Becky’s brains, Hauser shows up and starts shooting. Sam Neill saves the day a lot, don’t you think?
Because he’s BAAAAD ASS, YO!!!
The shootout at the OK Corral goes on for a while, then Hauser runs out of bullets – except for the bullet that hit him in the side, that is. NOOOO! He and Madsen make a run for it, Pinky hot on their heels. They make it to HQ – and behind an electronically locked door – in the nick of time.
Donovan wants to just go for the gold as planned, but Pinky’s got revenge on his mind – so he runs off to do something bad to poor Doc in the Hole. NOOOO!
In HQ, we learn that the bullet passed clean through Hauser – whew. But he still looks like he’s in a lot of pain. Madsen tells Hauser about Donovan being a ’63, so he guesses that all three men must be returnees. Madsen wants to head out to save Doc, but Hauser manages to convince her to wait – they’ve kept him alive this long, and if she goes out there blasting away it could only cause problems.
They decide to use the computer’s facial recognition program to figure out who these guys are, in case that helps them deduce what they’re up to. Or they could just read Doc’s book, already.
In the Hole, Doc has figured out how to spring the lock on his door, thanks to Chet’s help. Unfortunately, as soon as he exits the cell, Pinky comes running up behind him and throws him to the ground.
Pinky beats the crapola out of Doc, which totally sucks. But Donovan makes him stop – he wants to use him as bait instead. Pinky thinks that’s a great idea, since Madsen’s the one he really wants, anyway.
Back at HQ, Rebecca finds out that the Ames Brothers were known for pulling off big-time robberies (like a federal reserve bank), and Hauser sprinkles some sort of powder on his bullet hole.
Rubbing salt in the wound. Heh heh.
By the by, Hauser got this mystery powder from a mystery case full of mystery bottles and needles and such. Mystery!
Smarty-pants McGee (that’d be Emerson Hauser, FYI) thinks he knows what the Ames brothers and Donovan are up to…if they robbed the federal reserve, perhaps they were going after gold…and Hauser clearly knows all about the rumors of gold on Alcatraz. So does Madsen, actually, but she thought it was all a hoax.
Just then, some people show up on the security camera feed – it’s Pinky and Co., of course. Donovan’s got a gun to Doc’s head, and Pinky tells the camera that he wants to see the blonde, otherwise he’s gonna start cutting up Doc. Now, where’s that meat-saw?
You killed my brother, prepare to die.
Madsen has a plan…she thinks she can split up Donovan and Pinky, since they want two different things. She’ll draw off Ames and somehow get Donovan to take Doc to Hauser, luring him with the promise of gold. This seems like a shaky plan, but Hauser’s down with it. Just as soon as he injects himself in the leg with something else from his mystery kit. WHAT IS THAT STUFF?!?
Commercial break, then back to 1960 – wait a second. Doc said the prison break attempt by the Ames Bros occurred in 1961 – but the title card says otherwise. I imagine that’s just a small goof by the production staff, but I couldn’t help but point it out.
I’m gonna believe the screen, I guess.
The Ames Bros are in the tunnels, searching for the hidden stash of gold. They find what they’re looking for – a barred door, locked with two padlocks – but sadly, their keys don’t fit. Of course, WE know where those keys fit – the creepazoid door in the dungeons. But somehow, I don’t think there’s gold behind THAT door.
The brothers, realizing they’re screwed, start to run back to the Hole – but before they make it more than two steps, the warden and his posse show up, guns at the ready.
Dems a lotta guns ya got dere.
Warden James tells the brothers that he’s impressed with their attempt – but it’s too bad they stole the wrong keys. They insist that their keys MUST be important, since the warden never lets them out of his sight – but he’s not about to explain that dungeon door to these schmoes. He tells Tiller to take the brothers back to the Hole – and he tells THEM that they owe him two spoons. Haha.
Young Ray Archer isn’t ready to back down just yet – he’s convinced that this was no ordinary escape attempt…what could they possibly want behind that door? But the warden dangles a tempting carrot in front of Archer – a major commendation, along with a place in the history books for his role in thwarting a major escape attempt…if he’ll just let his suspicions go. And sadly, he does.
(Man! When is older Ray Archer (aka Uncle Ray, aka Robert Forster) gonna get around to telling any of this interesting stuff to Rebecca?!?)
The warden invites Archer to dinner at his private residence…and Archer sneaks off to tell his brother Tommy Madsen that he’s accomplished his goal of gaining the warden’s trust. Ray then asks Tommy if HE trusts him – and Tommy tells him, ‘you’re my brother…I trust you.’ Seems Ray is bound and determined to find out what the hell is going on with Tommy boy, why he’s always in the infirmary.
CLANK-RATTLE-SLAM! Madsen has made her way to Donovan and Doc – no sign of Ames at this point. She tells Donovan that they know where the gold is, and that Doc will lead them to it if they let him go. NOW Pinky shows up, swinging his trusty old bolt cutters – not sure why he waited to go after Madsen, unless they really were hoping to get information on the gold from her.
Madsen somehow manages to get the best of Pinky and knocks him to the ground (it involves a weird metal spoke-wheel thing she hits him with – it might have been a large stove burner). As he starts to come around, the blonde detective takes off – Pinky starts to follow, but Donovan tells him to wait – that this is exactly what Madsen wants. But Ames is far too worked up to listen to reason, and he heads off after Rebecca.
Donovan grabs Doc and heads to the electronically locked door, which he assumes leads to the tunnels where the gold is hidden. But Doc doesn’t have a key, so he asks Hauser – via the security camera – to please let them in.
Hurley NEVER had it this rough on Lost.
Instead of merely unlocking the door, however, Hauser cuts the power – which, due to the storm that’s still raging outside, might seem to Donovan like a simple act of nature. The door, now unlocked, swings open easily, and Donovan and Doc head inside.
Back at the main cell block, Pinky is searching for the elusive Detective Madsen – where could she be hiding? He taunts her as he walks along the cell block…and when he reaches the end, suddenly Madsen yells out, ‘PINKY!’ and tosses a metal bed frame from the upper cells square onto Ames’ bald noggin. It makes a satisfying squishy noise when it hits him, and it looks totally gnarly, but as much as I tried, I couldn’t get a screen shot that did the act any justice – you’ll just have to watch for yourself. It’s narsty.
It ends like this, anyway.
Massive Head Wound Harry.
And over at HQ, Hauser is nowhere to be found – Doc tells Donovan that perhaps he escaped via the back door in the file room. He leads Donovan to the hallway leading to the dungeons and tells him that he won’t tell anyone what happened – and Donovan knocks him out cold. What an a-hole.
Madsen enters the scene and manages to wake up Doc, who tells her where Donovan was heading. She thanks him for saving her life and takes off after the baddie.
Down in the tunnels, Donovan manages to find that padlocked door, and just as I’m wondering how he managed to get the warden’s keys THIS time, he pulls out a bunch of dynamite. Well played, sir.
Hauser shows up – and where WAS he, anyway?? He tells Donovan to step away from the door, but Donovan quickly flips his lighter open and ignites the dynamite instead. The resulting blast sends him flying, and it knocks Hauser to the ground as well. Madsen, hearing the explosion, runs in that direction.
Hauser’s out cold, but Donovan recovers rather quickly – strange, considering how close to that blast radius he was. Anyway, he makes his way inside that mysterious door, to find…nothing. Absolutely nothing. Which is about what we were all expecting, right?
Madsen shows up and tells him to drop his weapon. Totes bummed, he finally does. What is life worth living for, anyway, if you don’t have gold?
Time to head to QUASI-ALCATRAZ! Hauser is telling Dr. B a charming tale about an eagle who takes two men to a moon made of gold, only one of them decides to kill the other along the way so that he can keep all the gold to himself, and the eagle gets really pissed off about this so he eats that second guy. So then does the eagle get the gold?
The camera pulls back, and now we see that there’s a third person in the room – Donovan, strapped into a chair. Looks like ol’ Doc B is about to put some torturin’ on his ass!
Torture via tuning fork.
Hauser is interested in the discovery that the mystery keys once belonged to the warden. He wants to know why everyone was so interested in Tommy Madsen back in the day, what Ray Archer knew, and most intriguing of all…whether or not Warden James has come back. Dun-dun-DUNNNNNN!!!
So now we know that although Deputy Warden Tiller didn’t disappear with everybody else (whether he was on the island or not remains to be seen), Head Warden James did indeed vanish. Ooh ooh, I can’t WAIT to see that guy in modern day!!
Hauser wants to know if the warden is the one who’s willing to kill for those damn keys…and it looks like he’s willing to do just about anything to Donovan to get him to spill his guts.
CLANK-RATTLE-SLAM! Back in 1960, Warden James is heading for that padlocked door…he opens it, steps inside, and wouldn’t you know it – he whips a dusty cloth off a GIGANTIC PILE OF GOLD BARS. That scheming bastard!! So there WAS Civil War era gold hidden in that room at one point…the question is, when did the warden move it, and where is it now???
And why did he want to make out with it?
Whew! All right gang, that’s it for this episode – any thoughts? I’ll be back in a day or two with the recap for the second episode from Monday night, Sonny Burnett, which is chock-full of even more gory mess – woo hoo!
Thanks for reading! See you soon. Oh, and as always, if you want to get caught up with earlier recaps, you can find them all here. Bye!
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