It’s just a SLIGHT twist on that old tale…
Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair…so that I can chop it off, string it on my violin bow, then violently drown you in the tub. It’s the stuff that dreams are made of, ladies.
We are getting SO CLOSE to the season finale of Alcatraz, guys!! Still no word on a definite second season – or a cancellation – so WHO KNOWS what our future holds! I, for one, am hoping for another round, if for no other reason than the fact that a show like this would have a hard time leaving us with a satisfying conclusion if the producers were unaware that it’d be their final episode.
You know what I’m saying.
But on with this week’s show! We begin episode 11 with the ever-mysterious Emerson Hauser as he strolls along the streets of what looks like Chinatown. But what’s THIS? Our fearless leader is being followed – STALKED!
Worst. Tail. Ever.
That’s right, Hauser is being tracked by none other than our beloved Doc, who’s doing a pretty piss-poor job of being sneaky. It’s fairly obvious that Hauser is well aware of his unwelcome guest, but that doesn’t stop him from buzzing his way inside a dark and foreboding building.
Are we finally going to see the place Hauser calls home??? Nope. Looks like it’s some sort of Chinese massage parlor, where they offer ‘natural remedies’ along with spine cracking and happy endings.
Wait, is that woman supposed to be Chinese?!?
The not-Asian lady gives Hauser a bunch of pills (the blue one is new to him) and proceeds to crack the heck out of his spine. But they also have an interesting exchange of words:
Not-Asian: ‘You seem better than the last time I saw you.’
Hauser: ‘Define better. [beat] I wasn’t always like this, you know.’
Hm. Does this woman hold an ancient Chinese secret to long life? Is that why Hauser looks suspiciously young for his age (which we assume is somewhere around 75)? And what exactly was he like before? Does he just mean he used to be young and spry?
CLANK-RATTLE-SLAM! Well, here’s Hauser looking all young and spry – isn’t THAT convenient. He’s walking hand in hand with Dr. Lucy, discussing philosophy, which he apparently studied at Yale before joining the SFPD. Hauser sends Lucy off on the ferry back to Alcatraz Island, but not before making a date for later that evening…at which point he smiles, something we have yet to see the current day Hauser do. Or Sam Neill in general, really. The guy is always playing such DOUR dudes.
Warden James meets up with Lucy once she’s back on the island, and they head off to the infirmary to see a Mr. Porter – Webb Porter, I presume. Apparently, Mr. Porter has been sequestered from the general prison population due to his tendency to scream at all hours. Lucy is intrigued by this new problem to solve.
It seems that one particular infirmary cell is the only place where Mr. Porter can find peace.
There’s your sweet spot.
Lucy quickly realizes what the other dum-dums haven’t – Mr. Porter is being soothed by the humming of Doc Beauregard’s refrigerator next door. She believes that this means he’s a victim of one hell of a case of tinnitus, likely caused by an incident in Webb’s childhood when his mother tried to drown him in a bathtub. Lovely.
Oh, and I should mention that Mr. Porter has a genius-plus IQ, and that he’s in prison for butchering his mother and four other women. Just some MINOR details.
Lucy tells the warden that she’s got a new type of therapy she’d like to try out on Mr. Porter. The sadistic warden looks gleeful at the prospect, but sadly for him it doesn’t look like this new therapy is going to involve any brain-frying.
Dr. Lucy asks Mr. Porter if he enjoys music, aaaaaaaand….
CLANK-RATTLE-SLAM! In present day, Webb Porter is playing the violin like a true virtuoso – this is one of the few (maybe only) episodes where we actually meet the prisoner of the week in 1960 before seeing him in 2012. Interesting.
He plays until his bow breaks, then angrily stalks to the bathroom where he starts to run a bath. He enters the bedroom, and for the first time, we realize that maybe this isn’t Webb Porter’s house.
Maaaaaaybe it’s hers. MAYBE.
Webb says that he isn’t ready yet, that he’s missing something. When I first watched this episode, I thought maybe he was talking about killing her, but since he goes on to do just that (and pretty soon thereafter), I knew THAT wasn’t it. Through information we glean later on, we know that’s he’s referring to his audition for the San Francisco Philharmonic.
He tells the closely-shorn chick in the bed that he wishes there was more of her hair…again, a bit of a mystery that we’ll solve in just a minute…and then tells the woman that he’s really, really sorry, grabs her off the bed, and violently hauls her off to the bathroom. Where we know a full bathtub is waiting. I think we can connect the dots from there.
Across town at some dive-y bar, Detective Madsen is having a rare social moment with none other than medical examiner Nikki – they’re even drinking beer! Nikki gives the hunky bartender the once over, and we all let out a mutual groan on behalf of poor, lonely Doc. Looks like he might not be getting a romantic interest after all.
Both ladies’ cell phones ring. Madsen’s call is from Doc, who informs her about Hauser’s ‘abduction’ of Lucy from the hospital. Madsen doesn’t seem overly concerned. Nikki’s call, on the other hand, was a hot new case…a college gal drowned in her bathtub with all of her hair cut off. Wonder who THAT could be. Workaholic that she is, Madsen asks if she can tag along to the crime scene.
Right after she auditions for the touring company of ‘Grease.’
See? They kept warning us it was a musical episode.
Over at the dead chick’s house – hey, what kind of college student can afford her own house, by the way? Must be a rich kid. Phooey. Anyway…in case you weren’t able to connect those dots earlier -
A nice, relaxing bath.
The neighbors said they had heard a violin playing, but since the dead gal was a music student, the lady cops think nothing of it. Nikki notices the ligature marks on Bathtub Chick’s wrists and ankles, by which she judges that the lady had been tied up for at least three days.
Madsen wonders what the killer did with Bathtub Chick’s hair – he even took whatever strands had been gnarled into her hairbrush. And if you’ve ever had long hair like I used to, ladies, you KNOW how difficult it is to get all that hair outta there. Can I pay this guy to clean MY hairbrush?? And no, that’s not a euphemism, you sickos.
Nikki notices that the dead woman broke her fingernail, probably in an effort to thwart her attacker. The medical examiner wonders if the gal got a piece of him. Madsen wanders off, and she manages to find the other half of Bathtub Chick’s fingernail before any of the other cops, who have all been there way longer than she has. Probably because she has such a better vantage point than them. Being so much closer to the floor and all.
BECAUSE SHE’S SHORT, GET IT?
God, I hope that actress never sees this site, because she’d probably hate my guts for ragging on her height so much. I’m just jealous of her petite, 12-year-old boyish figure.
Back at Alcatraz HQ, Doc has pulled up the mug shots of all of the prisoners who were sent to jail for killing women – but there’s a whole mess of them, and the dynamic duo don’t know where to begin. None of the convicts specifically picked on musicians, so that’s out. They wonder if this case is the work of a ’63 at all.
Madsen asks Doc what’s up with Hauser, to which Hauser replies, ‘he’s right here.’ D’oh. That sneaky bastard crept up on them when they weren’t looking! Doc should take lessons from him.
Hauser warns Doc never to follow him again. Madsen counters – maybe YOU should TELL US things, like where the hell you’ve stashed Lucy. Hauser effectively ends the argument with a brusque, ‘none of your business.’ He says that a lot.
He then notices the images on the computer screens and wants to know who the dead chick is. Madsen tells him that she thought it might have been a ’63, and that Nikki had gotten a blood sample from underneath Bathtub Chick’s fingernail, but unfortunately it was contaminated. Contaminated how? Why, by colloidal silver, of course.
This leads Hauser to tell the dynamic duo that yes, they are indeed on the hunt once again for a murderous ’63. Madsen and Doc are confused – how does he know that? Hauser admits that they’ve done some testing on the captured returnees, leaving Madsen to wonder aloud where the hell he’s been keeping those dudes. Man, I would have been pestering Hauser EVERY G-D DAY for that info.
Our dynamic duo head off to interview one of Bathtub Chick’s professors, who can’t ID any of the Alcatraz prisoners but does tell them that the chick played the cello. All in all, it’s a pretty worthless scene and I’m not sure why it exists.
The action shifts to my favorite locale – quasi-Alcatraz! There’s a hilarious moment where Doc Beauregard tries to figure out how to use a webcam – I really appreciate the brief moments of levity that occasionally pop up in this show. Like, remember this lighthearted moment?
Oh. Right. My bad.
On the other end of Dr. B’s webcam conversation, Hauser informs him of the blood sample they just obtained. He’s gonna send it over to the doctor, who will see if it matches Lucy’s blood type. Remember, they believe that colloidal silver has healing properties that could possibly help revive Lucy.
Hauser asks Beauregard if he’s sure about the silver, and the doctor tells him, ‘as sure as I am that the sky is blue…not that I’ve seen it in some time.’ So the poor reappeared doc has been trapped down here with the other ’63s, huh? Does that mean Guy Hastings (the returned guard) is around as well? And why did Lucy get the privilege of wandering free around San Francisco???
The doctor tells Hauser that Lucy is starting to slip away, and Hauser takes a moment to gaze sadly via webcam at his comatose lady love.
Hey, remember that hairbrush we were discussing earlier…
Just kidding. I’m actually quite pleased that they went ahead and let Lucy look disheveled and unkempt, since the woman’s been unconscious for several months.
CLANK-RATTLE-SLAM! In 1960, Lucy tells Webb Porter that she can help him eliminate those pesky memories associated with that time his mom tried to off him. But Webb doesn’t seem very responsive. So Lucy gives a nod to a nearby guard, who walks into Beauregard’s neighboring office and unplugs the fridge. Webb Porter immediately freaks out as his tinnitus comes back.
Instead of complying, Lucy turns on some music and instructs Porter to listen. She tells him he can carry this with him in his head, even when it’s not playing, and use it as an escape from the ringing in his ears. This seems to work, and Porter calms down. Lucy wants him to talk about the day his mother tried to kill him, so he begins to tell his story.
You are gonna have SO many hairballs in your drain.
Webb talks about how beautiful his mother looked, and how her hair floated on the water above him as he was drowning. And now that he’s begun to open up, Lucy can finally offer him her help.
CLANK-RATTLE-SLAM! Mr. Porter is busily playing the violin outside of the house of a pretty young lady with super long hair. She opens the door for him – apparently she remembers him from some party the week before – maybe the same party where he espied Bathtub Chick?
The two flirt a bit, but when Webb starts acting a little strange – and edging ever closer to her – the pretty lady realizes something’s not quite right. Unfortunately, she comes to this realization about a minute too late, as Webb wrestles her inside and shuts the door.
At quasi-Alcatraz, Dr. B tells Hauser that the blood sample is indeed a match for Lucy – so now Hauser is DESPERATE to capture the mystery killer.
Across town, Webb Porter is now auditioning for the San Francisco Philharmonic. On the stage behind him are some truly weird puppet-things, which we’ll assume are the remnants of some unknown production.
Entitled, ‘The Three Faces of David Carradine’
Webb, of course, does a stunning job, and the judges all seem bowled over. Until they ask him to perform a piece of music that THEY provide to him, rather than the stuff he hears inside his head. Oops – looks like Webby never learned how to read music. He doesn’t get the gig.
Majorly P.O.’d, Webb storms back to Pretty Lady’s house, where she’s lying trussed up on her bed, all of her lovely locks cut off. He tells her that he didn’t get the job because he wasn’t good enough…because SHE wasn’t good enough. He tells her how sorry he is as he begins to untie her. Oh Pretty Lady, we hardly knew ye.
CLANK-RATTLE-SLAM! Deputy Warden E.B. Tiller, that pasty little weasel, is bopping his head while the prison band plays a little jazz number.
FUN FACT!! Did you know that while Al Capone was on the Rock, he played banjo in the prison band? And that Machine Gun Kelly was on drums? If what I read was true, anyway…that’s a hell of a musical act.
Back to our show! Lucy shows up with Webb Porter in tow, which effectively brings the music to a jarring stop. Seems no one’s very fond of Webb, what with his notoriety for all that screaming he used to do.
There’s also a guy filming the jam session, who happens to swing around and capture Lucy in a few frames before turning off the camera…hmmmmm – do we think this might just come into play at some point? PROOF that Lucy is either an Alcatraz returnee or has one hell of a skin care regimen!
Lucy’s come to the music room to borrow an instrument on behalf of Mr. Porter, since his therapy consists of both ‘listening’ and ‘playing.’ Tiller, not a fan of Mr. Porter – but hell, is this a-hole a fan of ANYBODY?? – scoffs at the idea. And when Webb first picks up an old violin and begins to squawk out some rusty sounds, Tiller’s opinion seems to be justified.
But then! Webb gets the hang of it, and beautiful music begins to flow from the instrument. Tiller thinks he was fooling them all this time, but Lucy knows better – Webb Porter is a savant.
CLANK-RATTLE-SLAM! Oh no. I’ll never consider bath time relaxing ever again.
She must be REALLY prune-y by now.
Detective Madsen shows up at the crime scene, only to be given a thorough dressing down by Hauser – why did it take her a full 25 minutes to waddle over here? Um, first off – traffic in San Fran can be a bitch. Also – I know I rag on her a lot for being short, but telling her she ‘waddles’ is a bit much, don’t you think?
Hauser continues the public scolding, telling Madsen off for wasting her time talking to ‘boring people.’ Which is funny, since that scene with the music professor was, indeed, incredibly dull. But we know that Hauser’s just on the rag because he’s so anxious to get Webb’s silver-laden blood for Lucy.
Doc shows up with some interesting information – the landlord heard someone playing the violin – and very well – earlier in Pretty Lady’s house. Only problem – Pretty Lady doesn’t play the violin, or any instrument for that matter. So now the Justice League knows that they’re not looking for a killer of musicians, but rather a killer musician. DOUBLE ENTENDRE POINTS!!!
Doc and Madsen head back over to Alcatraz to see if they can dig up any information on a prisoner who played the violin. Oh yeah – Doc mentions the Al Capone thing here, I forgot about that. And here I thought I was being all smart.
The duo digs through albums and sheet music, and Doc tells Rebecca that there wasn’t a violin player in the prison band – it was strictly brass. Except for the drums and banjo, I guess.
During the course of their snooping, Doc comes across some old film reels – films of the prison band. Films that we know Lucy shows up on.
PLAY THEM!! PLAY THEM!! PLAY THEM!!
Of course, they don’t. INSERT HUGE ENORMOUS GROAN OF FRUSTRATION HERE.
Luckily, the search isn’t fruitless, as Rebecca finds a violin – a violin with a name scratched on the back.
Well isn’t that conVEEEEEEnient.
So now they’ve got a name. Webb Porter’s now a pattern killer – but what’s the pattern? Doc gets to work checking personal records from the victims.
Meanwhile, Hauser is elsewhere – an old, beat-up jazz club named Ratty’s, to be exact. Seems he’s buddies with a piano player there named Elmore. Elmore knows all the musicians in town (really??), so Hauser tosses out all of the details that he knows.
He gets lucky. Elmore’s recalls that his friend Deke sold his old violin to a ‘new arrival’ the week before. The kid had tons of talent, but was working at the Philharmonic ‘stacking chairs.’ Bingo. Hauser heads out, giving the old place a nostalgic smile as he goes.
Um…SWISH-WHOOSH-SIGH! Instead of our usual jail cell segue, it’s more reminiscent of blowing air, or the ocean coming in. But that makes sense, since we haven’t traveled back to Alcatraz, but rather to an earlier version of Ratty’s jazz club itself. Guess who’s on a daaaaa-aaaaate?
They share some sweet words, then Lucy tells Emerson a little about her new patient – Webb Hauser the violinist. But soon she stops – Emerson doesn’t seem to be paying much attention. Or rather, he’s almost TOO focused – because, as he tells her, she’s unlike any woman he’s ever met. They get all smoochy-woochy, and I have a real moment of compassion for old, grizzled Emerson Hauser, who was cheated of his youthful romance. Poor guy. No wonder he’s so dour.
CLANK-RATTLE-SLAM! At Alcatraz HQ, Doc and Madsen make a discovery – both of their bathtub victims made purchases the previous Friday at the San Francisco Philharmonic. Just then, Hauser calls to let them know that Porter works as a stagehand at the Philharmonic – did we really need the double findings?
Hauser’s obtained Webb’s home address from the Philharmonic, and they all head off to meet up there. Of course, Webb’s not home – that would be WAY too easy. But his violins are. As well as his violin bows.
As Hauser examines these bows, he makes a nasty discovery…he knows what Porter does with his victims’ hair.
Do you prefer blonde or brunette?
Yuck-ola. Oh…also – I guess the landlord told the gang that Porter had moved in months ago, so it looks like the reappeared inmates are making themselves right at home in 2012. Any guesses as to why Webb Porter waited until last week to start drowning girls? (he also bought that violin just last week, remember?)
Hauser finds another bow lying beside the bed – and this one has red hair. Just this ONE bow. So now they know – he uses his victims’ hair to string his bows, and he can make two bows from each girl…so this must mean he’s got a redhead tied up somewhere in the city – well, a half-redhead, anyway.
Isn’t that sweet.
By the by, there’s also a quick shot of Webb Porter’s hand, where we can see this:
A prison tat?
Have we seen any other reappeared prisoners sporting a number tattoo? For some reason, it rings a bell, but I can’t place it. Did Cal Sweeney have one? Maybe I’m just making things up in my head. Anyway.
CLANK-RATTLE-SLAM! Lucy informs Webb that he’s going to be transferred back into the general population – and that he can take his violin with him. He’s touched that Dr. Sangupta would do so much to help him…and he says that he hopes he can return the favor one day. Methinks that day is upon us, don’t you?
CLANK-RATTLE-SLAM! Alcatraz HQ. Doc pulls up DMV photos of all the female guests at the Philharmonic fundraiser that took place the previous Friday – the one that both victims attended. They winnow the field down to just two redheads – and since one of them just recently checked in on ‘Friendsquare’ (LOL), Webb’s current victim and hair provider must be option #2. AND WE’RE OFF!
The Justice League arrives at Gal #2′s house to find her tied on the bed, sobbing hysterically. Hooray, we’ve finally saved someone!! They ask her if she has any idea where Webb might have gone – and she remembers that he said that he was hired by the Philharmonic, and that tonight is his first performance. Well, THIS should be interesting.
At the Philharmonic, Webb is indeed giving a stellar performance…to an empty auditorium. He hears thunderous audience applause in his head, and bows deeply to his adoring fans.
I DID IT!!!
Commercial break, then we’re back in 1960 on Alcatraz, as the newly ‘rehabilitated’ Webb Porter is being escorted to his new cell amongst the general population. Several inmates boo and throw catcalls his way – they clearly remember his incessant screaming quite well, and everyone likes to get a good night’s sleep, even homicidal maniacs.
Of course, the raucous prisoners are in for quite a surprise, as Webb Porter pulls out his violin and starts to play – well THAT quiets them down nicely. We see a bunch of the prisoners as they’re lulled by the haunting tones of Webb’s music, including a bunch of our well-known buddies:
(I actually had to look that guy up…I thought I had a pretty good recall of all of our reappeared baddies, but for some reason I couldn’t peg Paxton Petty the Human Minesweeper. I was probably focusing too much on Eggs in that episode. And worrying about puppies being blown up.)
Watching from the balcony, Tiller remarks that you can teach an old dog new tricks, but it’s still an old dog. ZING! Tiller, you bitch, why don’t you take a time out.
Next to Tiller, Doc B says that although he’s not ready to raise his white flag of surrender just yet, it appears that the warden has himself a new toy. Lucy admonishes the good doctor that Webb Porter is NOT a toy, and the doctor corrects her…he was talking about LUCY. She’s the warden’s new plaything, though apparently Beauregard is more than willing to fight her for Warden James’ affections.
Guess that makes the warden Reese Witherspoon.
Didn’t that movie look awful? Did anyone see it? I’m a chick who happens to really dig a good action movie with a little romance thrown in – I thought Mr. & Mrs. Smith was pretty badass – but this just looked heinous to me. And why is Reese going the Meg Ryan route – America’s sweetheart gets a little older, starts to feel a little insecure, and suddenly she’s selling herself as a tousle-haired sexpot. It’s kind of depressing.
But I digress…like always. Webb finishes up his piece, and the prisoners break into massive applause. That’s sweet.
CLANK-RATTLE-SLAM! Madsen and Hauser show up at the Philharmonic just as Webb’s rushing out the door…but they spot him running along the catwalks above and quickly clamber up after him. After a lengthy chase, the two finally corner him – so he attempts to throw himself from the catwalk to the stage far below.
Of course, Hauser is DESPERATE to take Webb alive, so he rushes to make a grab for Webb’s ankles.
Best. Face. Ever.
Hauser manages to catch Porter before he plummets to his theatrical death, and Madsen helps pull him back onto the catwalk with her brute dwarf strength.
Who knows where Madsen headed next, but Hauser shows up at quasi-Alcatraz with Webb Porter in tow. When Webb sees Lucy in her coma, he’s startled – ‘she’s here, too?’ Hauser and Doc B tell him that Lucy might live, with his help. And what with his debt of gratitude to the lovely lady doc, he gladly obliges.
Bet she never saw THIS in her future, back when she was on ER.
Doctor Beauregard sets up shop, sticking a needle in Webb Porter’s arm to drain a bunch of the red stuff outta him, to put into Lucy.
Over at Alcatraz HQ…YES!!! Doc’s got those old music room film reels playing – thank GOD!!! I was so sure they were just gonna let that pass; just one more missed opportunity for Doc and Madsen to find out what the hell is going on.
Doc’s digitizing the reels, in hopes of using them for his new book. As he ponders what Hauser is up to, Madsen watches the footage and sees…..LUCY. In 1960.
Doc and Madsen are shocked…holy flying f*ck, Lucy’s a ’63!!! And Hauser must have known all along. Doc in particular looks quite upset, probably because amidst all his many years of research on Alcatraz he somehow completely missed the fact that Lucy existed. We know she was there for three years, too…was there NO record of the island prison sporting one of the nation’s first lady shrinks???
Doc guesses that Hauser is probably keeping Lucy wherever he’s stashed the rest of the ’63s, and of course we know he’s totally right. NOW will they start hounding Hauser a wee bit more about this secret hiding place, for GOD’S SAKE?!?
Meanwhile, back at quasi-Alcatraz, Lucy’s being pumped full of that good ol’ colloidal silver-soaked blood. Doctor B looks on with concern, and Emerson Hauser sits at Lucy’s bedside, holding what looks like a rosary or prayer beads of some kind. I never took him as a religious guy, but there ya go. The prison is filled with the sound of music as Webb Porter plays the violin in his brand-spankin’-new cell. And as the final notes of his music fades out -
I wished MY eyebrows looked that good after ignoring them for several months.
Yep. Lucy’s finally awake. And as Rebecca mentioned in the previous scene, she might just end up being the key to this whole mystery, seeing as how she was on the island when all this weird shit went down. Why she didn’t explain everything to Hauser as soon as she popped back into existence, we’ll never know.
And as JimmyT mentioned in this week’s MiniCap, will Lucy now be as violent as the other returned ’63s? I’m gonna guess no…it doesn’t seem like she was when she first reappeared, and I don’t think the colloidal silver is what’s turning these dudes into killing machines…at least, not on its own. But if a reappeared Warden James (or whoever the mastermind is behind all of this) gets a hold of her, then she may very well be turned into a pretty little homicidal robot herself.
And will we ever get to see a flashback of what happened between Hauser and Lucy when she first reappeared??? THAT I would like to see! After all, for Lucy it will have only been a day or so since the last time she saw him…but he, of course, has aged 50 years in the interim. He clearly still loves HER…but are the feelings mutual? Or is he too changed, too different of a man, from the young guy she used to love?
Well kids, next week will be our last time together (until next season, hopefully), so make sure you get all of your questions and theories booted up and ready to go, because I’ve got a feeling we’re gonna get a whooooooole bunch of answers in the final episode – but a few things will be left majorly hanging, too, juuuuuuust in case the show gets picked up for another round. Gotta have SOMETHING to come back for, right?
Til next week! In the meantime, if you’d like to catch up with prior recaps, you can find all of them right here. Thanks as always, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts!!! Mwah!
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