‘Alcatraz’ 1.12 Recap: “There’s No Time Except Now”

Fox’s new sci-fi/mystery drama ‘Alcatraz’ aired its season finale (and given the show’s ratings performance, quite possibly series finale) on Monday. Since the two-hour event was clearly divided into two separate episodes, I’ll likewise split my recaps into separate posts.

The first episode, ‘Garrett Stillman’, picks up with Lucy recovering from her coma. She immediately sets about catching up on recorded interviews with the captured convicts, and also comes clean to Rebecca and Doc about her own time-traveling experience. Though she doesn’t actually answer their question about what happened to her, she does express how sad it is to have lost so many of her friends and relationships. Even Hauser, having had his life shaped by 50 years of his own loss and obsession, isn’t really the man she used to know and love.

(Forgive a digression for a second, but this brings to mind a recurring problem that bugs me about the show. Many of the actors, including Sam Neill, are simply not old enough for their parts. If we’re supposed to believe that Hauser was in his early 20s when he worked as a guard at the prison, he’d be in his 70s now. But Sam Neill was only 9-years-old in 1963. He doesn’t look to be in his 70s now, nor have many of the one-shot supporting characters we’ve met over the season.)

Anyway, the team soon picks up the trail of a new returning convict. Garrett Stillman was a former S.A.S. military strategist described as both brilliant and a gamesman. We meet him performing an armored car robbery, but the money doesn’t interest him. He lets it, and his accomplices, burn up in a car bomb’s flames afterwards. The truck itself was his real target. (‘Lost’ fans may be amused to note the number on the truck: 481516.) He already has two other trucks, which he uses in a clever con to steal a mystery package from billionaire Harlan Simmons, who just so happens to have been a former inmate at Alcatraz. (We may remember him as the conniving kid who betrayed Cal Sweeney and took over his smuggling racket.) Back in the ’60s, the warden recruited Stillman for a special job to steal some forms from the parole board in order to get Simmons a fraudulent parole.

While on Stillman’s trail, Rebecca and Doc theorize that he may have a “handler” who supplies him with his weapons and equipment, and may be behind all of the returning convicts. They believe this handler to be Tommy Madsen.

After Stillman successfully steals the box, he’s shanghaied by a new character named Joe Limerick, who we’ll find out more about in the next episode. Limerick kills Stillman for the contents of the box: the warden’s third mystery key. Meanwhile, back at Alcatraz, Hauser and his team of geeks discover a hidden tunnel under the lighthouse with a locked door that requires all three keys.

In other developments, Lucy becomes obsessed with Ernest Cobb, the sniper who shot her. When she questions him, he warns her that, “As long as you’re alive, you’ll always be a target.”

Why is Lucy a target? That’s just one of many questions that will not get answered in the season’s final episode. We’ll get to that a little later today. Stay tuned.

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