Alcatraz: The Ames Brothers

Posted by: Andrew Burns  //  March 6, 2012 @ 10:28am

Filed under: TV Recaps/Reviews 

After last week's rain delay at the Daytona 500 stole Alcatraz's Monday time slot the show returns with a double feature evening this week. Oddly enough FOX doesn't air the episode that was supposed air last week ("Clarence Montgomery") to start the Monday night back-to-back Alcatraz marathon but the next down the line instead.

Monday's double bill of Alcatraz kicks off with a horror-heist vibe in "The Ames Brothers". As the episode's title alludes to more than one inmate returns to the present day, instead of the usually one per show. The brothers are two twins that look nothing alike but share the same diabolical mindset. Herman Ames is the brains and Pinky Ames is the muscle. The two come back and go on a tour of the prison at night just as a big storm starts to roll in. Just like in 1960 the two brothers begin searching the Rock for its urban legend treasure; buried gold from the civil war. While searching the prison late at night the Ames duo run into Soto and one of Hauser's scientist and then things get bloody.

I'm not one to say I told you so but I did suggest after Alcatraz's last air episode, "Johnny McKee", it would be a good idea to have multiple 63ers return in one episode. "The Ames Brothers" brings back a variety pack of returning 63ers as both the brothers and a crooked guard, Donovan, come to the 21st century. Its never really hinted at but I don't think it was a coincidence that both Donovan and the brothers were brought back at the same time for no reason. Given Donovan was the brothers' guy on the inside helping them sneak around for Alcatraz's mythical hidden gold back in 1960 someone might have paired the three of them up again to finish the job. That someone is still the show's biggest mystery.

Both of the brothers proved to be more than a handful for Madsen and Hauser but Pinky was definitely something else. Pinky was a prime example of being one of the 'worst of the worst' type of inmates Alcatraz was notorious for. To say Pinky was a violent inmate would be a huge understatement. Pinky was vicious in his deadly attacks, one of which that claimed one of Hauser's men, making his handy work look like he could have his own slasher movie franchise. The whole episode, not just including the human messes Pinky made, was bloody from start to finish. Some of the onscreen gore maybe off putting to the average audience member but maybe its because I'm part of that young male demographic that I found the ultra-level of violence refreshing for network TV.

Keeping in horror theme tradition the episode had its fair share of comedic relief at certain points. Personally I found it funny that Alcatraz Island is still doing tours for tourists after knowing what is going on. I guess cancelling or stopping any and all tours on the Rock would probably draw more attention to the situation going on. I still thought it was amusing seeing sightseers there snapping photos of the old prison while Hauser has a new secret prison in the basement. Sarah Jones also even pokes fun at some of the horror movie conventions when Madsen starts whispering after the power goes out, as if she was in a haunted mansion or something.

At the end of the episode Hauser and Dr. Beauregard have Donovan in the secret prison trying to solve the coincidence of his return with the Ames brothers. All the stuff with this secret basement prison on Alcatraz usually is left till the very end of the episodes making viewers at home wonder what is going on in there. There is just as much mystery about how the 63ers are returning to the present day then there is about this second Alcatraz. Its not just the audience at home that is in the dark on this issue as both Madsen and Soto still haven't been brought into the loop either. So much so that Soto has come up with nicknames for the group guys in Hauser's think tank inside because none of those characters have been properly introduced. According to Soto so far Hauser's group of guys consists of: dandruff guy, two shirts, glasses, and the whistler. Not hundred percent sure but I think it was 'dandruff guy' that Pinky had into human hamburger this episode so he won't be coming to the next group meeting.

Its kind of confusing why the "The Ames Brothers" episode here aired instead of the scheduled "Clarence Montgomery" this week. And even more confusing that "Clarence Montgomery" now won't air until next Monday on the 12th. Given the almost retinue structure of most of Alcatraz's episodes they could get away with reorganizing the order of their episodes, but I still think there might be some continuity issues for the show to run into here with the last minute episode shuffle. If stuff doesn't add up in between episodes just blame Nascar or FOX, not the show.

Tags: Alcatraz, Sarah Jones, Jorge Garcia, Sam Neill, Parminder Nagra, Jonny Coyne, Jason Butler Harner, Leon Rippy, FOX

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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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