This week’s episode of Alcatraz had less to do with the psyche of “the killer-of-the-week” and more to do with teasing the mystery of the reappearance of the so-called ’63s — which was definitely for the best. Even though the show has competently engaged us during these serial killer-centric last two episodes, let’s face facts: There are plenty of shows about snipers and child-killers, but there is a comparative dearth of programming entailing time-traveling prison inmates.
Speaking of time bandits, this week’s inmate was bank robber Cal Sweeney, an unsettling specimen of Aryan race pulchritude who favored using an airgun as his weapon. (A little No Country for Old Men flavor! Okay, a lot of No Country for Old Men flavor.) A veteran of Alcatraz, Sweeney was suddenly on the loose in 2012 San Fran and up to his old tricks: using his good looks (and hokey winks) to seduce lonely bank tellers, drug them, and then empty out the bank’s safety deposit boxes.
But unlike most bank robbers, Sweeney did something unusual after his first job in present day: He showed up at the house of one of his robbery-victims and demanded to know the story behind the bejeweled necklace he had just lifted from the man’s safety deposit box. When the befuddled man realized something wasn’t quite right, he was punished with an airgun to the hand and face. Grisly.
Some slick but inexpedient detective work brought Det. Madsen and Doc Soto to the house just in time to unveil the poor guy’s bloody, mangled corpse to his shocked wife. Police work! Well, she’s young and he’s new… they have time to learn.
Thanks to a ’60s flashback, we learned that Sweeney was the leading Baron of Bartering at Alcatraz, controlling the flow of cigarettes on the Rock. He even had a dippy, fresh-faced protege to hang on his every jaded bit of advice. But Alcatraz wasn’t big enough for two bosses, and to put Sweeney in his place, Deputy Warden Tiller “tossed his cell” and stole a hidden tin box that apparently meant a lot to Sweeney.
Intent on getting his box back, Sweeney finagled his way into an “extracurricular” activity for inmates: serving drinks and food at Tiller’s birthday party. Apparently the salary of an Alcatraz warden wasn’t substantial enough to pay for less-murderous servers.
NEXT: The unexpected time-hopping guest at E.B. Tiller’s birthday party