It was bound to happen sooner or later but seven episodes in Alcatraz delivers its first 'meh' episode. If television had a scale for good and bad entertainment this week's episode "Johnny McKee" would remain horizontal the whole way through. Not quite that bad but not quite that good either.
Alcatraz inmate Johnny McKee is this week's latest to resurface and continues the convict trend of leaving bodies in his wake. McKee's poisoning method of killing maybe be cleaner then the others so far but where he lacks in blood he makes up in numbers. Four dead on his first day back, then nine by day two, so the gang uses McKee's former cell lot mate, Jack Sylvane, to prevent the body count from going into the double digits.
At times "Johnny McKee" had great potential but seemed to be holding back for some reason. It wasn't like Alcatraz was spinning their wheels, trying to come up with ideas, just that the series was afraid to give too much away too soon. Its hard to pin point this impression to one particular scene but if I had to narrow this feeling down it would be during Madsen's one-on-one with Sylvane. Madsen doesn't get much information from Sylvane other than a few hints of what McKee might be up to. The reason that scene seemed a bit off was that even before Sylvane started to give Madsen some extra info on her uncle Tommy and the blood Dr. Beauregard was taking from him, Hauser was trying to hurry her time with Sylvane like it was one of those speed dates. Again, the only thing I can think of is the show doesn't want to give away too many of it's secrets too soon.
The rest of the interesting moments in the episode are just that, moments. They're briefly in a scene then off to something else. Moments like Soto and Nikki having their second awkward meeting. Its obvious those two characters will have some kind of future interaction with each other, but with a running time of 60 seconds or less together on screen its hard to make any chemistry believable between the two. As for the other onscreen couple, Hauser & Lucy, the same issue comes up. Not enough screen time for the two together to make an audience accept they're, or at least Hauser, in love with each other.
What it all comes down to is pacing. Alcatraz is still in its freshman, new show on the block, phase so it deserves a little slack. The show has definitely planted seeds for many great stories in the future so maybe it's the impatient viewer in me that wants them to grow quicker. As of right now Alcatraz has been a little predictable in that they have someone new from the past reappearing in each episode but I'm like to see them break this routine just once. The show could either bring a handful of inmates back in one episode to make things crazy or just have an episode where no one comes back and Madsen, Hauser, and/or Soto get some individual attention. But what do I know? I'm just a self-appointed TV critic.
Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.