Alcatraz: Paxton Petty

Posted by: Andrew Burns  //  February 19, 2012 @ 12:37am

Filed under: TV on DVD Reviews 

Alcatraz started easing in their audiences with some of the sick & twisted variety of felons in the beginning but it looks like they are getting to the hard-core criminals as of late. Cal Sweeney and his No Country For Old Men-isk captive bolt pistol killing spree from a couple episodes back drops to second place on Alcatraz's most dangerous alum after Paxton Petty arrives in town; quadrupling the body count.

In "Paxton Petty" Hauser gets a second chance to solve and prevent some horrible crimes with the reappearance of Alcatraz's latest inmate. Back in 1960, Korean War vet turned mass murderer, Paxton Petty, arrives on the rock after killing multiple civilians with three separate landmine bombings in San Francisco. Implying there was a fourth, undiscovered, public location Petty promised more deaths after his capture. Warden James uses both Dr. Beauregard and Dr. Banerjee (Lucy) to make Petty crack, but to no avail. Flash forward to present day Petty is back on the main land and picked up where he left off by planting landmines in four new public locations.

"Paxton Petty" had one of the more interesting character arcs for it's inmate of the week. Interesting in that this was the first time the show didn't really try to make the criminal sympathetic to the audience in any way. Granted, Petty wasn't completely evil but out of all the criminals shown so far he without a doubt had the least amount of redeeming qualities to him. Maybe that's what made him so fascinating to watch. Petty was ruthless because of the amount of innocent people he was willing to kill and incredibly sadistic for watching their deaths with a grin on his face the whole time. Being a formerly trained army officer Petty also had that added confidence to him that made him that extra bit more dangerous. Seeing Petty slap a landmine and then roll at Medsen like it was nothing more than a Frisbee was both freaky scary and pretty damn cool at the same time.

The episode's flash back moments shed a lot of light on Lacy & Hauser's relationship, as well as a fraction of the secrets Dr. Beauregard is keeping hidden. Since Neil's present day Agent Hauser only comes off as a dick, the 60's flashbacks help make the affection between him and Lucy seem more genuine. Finding Petty's fourth mystery location back in the 60's turned out to be an odd yet real beginning to Hauser and Lucy's love story. There is more ground work laid then blanks filled in for their relationship in this episode. With Lucy's fate in the present day maybe still undetermined, even with a possible cure by Dr. Beauregard, Alcatraz looks to have plenty of stories to reveal for the two love birds back in the 60's.

A series in it's first season normally begins adjusting into a groove and starts forming it's identity after a while, but after the last couple of episodes Alcatraz's IMDB page reveals some sizable changes since their "Pilot" episode. Usually its just the more popular guest star or secondary characters (ex. Leon Rippy as Dr. Beauregard) that start frequently appearing on the show more amount get added to the main cast. However the oddest change here – according to IMDB – is the absence to Santiago Cabrera's character of Jimmy, the uniform San Francisco beat cop. Jimmy is (or was) supposed to be Rebecca Madsen's fiancée but in the only opening two episodes Cabrera was in that relationship between the two of them was never even hinted at. It seems that the show may have switched Madsen's love interest for one for Soto with this episode's introduction of the police department coroner Nikki (played by Canadian Jeananne Goossen). From the looks of things Goossen will be a reoccurring character on the show right now and having already tossed out two comic book references she looks to fit in with Garcia's Soto just fine.

Tags: Alcatraz, Sarah Jones, Jorge Garcia, Sam Neill, Parminder Nagra, Jonny Coyne, Leon Rippy, Jeananne Goossen, Santiago Cabrera, IMDB

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Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.

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