Remember last week, when we said Alcatraz was getting sorta interesting? Well... we may have spoken too soon. "Paxton Petty" was an exceedingly dull outing, in which the criminal mastermind of the week was a mad bomber, with like four bombs.
Just a quickie recap this time, as we use our patented Alcatraz-o-meter to break it all down. Spoilers ahead...
This week's time-traveling rapscallion: Paxton Petty, a Korean War vet whose M.O. is to leave land mines scattered around, according to the words of a lullaby. He's like the Riddler, except with songs instead of riddles.
What emotional unfinished business does our con-of-the-week grapple with? He feels annoyed that he didn't get a Silver Star for his service in Korea and he lost his pension and stuff... just because he went and killed a bunch of Korean kids with his pesky landmines. The idea that the Korean War, with all its M*A*S*H-esque horrors, could have driven a guy crazy, is sort of toyed with but never really explored in an interesting way.
What unethical things do the "good guys" do to keep the Alcatraz thing a secret? They're pretty cagey about letting the local bomb squad know who they're dealing with, but it's not that big a deal this time around.
Hurley's cute geeky dude moment of the week: Umm... there are a bunch of them. He makes some comics references and talks about quantum mechanics. He meets a cute geeky girl in the morgue and talks to her about the Golden Age Sandman and tries to lure her to his comic book store. Will we see morgue girl again? Let's hope so, she was at least cute and competent. Oh, and San Francisco geometry continues to be ultra-weird in this alternate universe.
Tough-but-evil Emerson Hauser moment of the week: I'm beginning to think that the writers have given up on making Emerson evil. He does shoot Paxton Petty in the leg. And he chooses to be cryptic on the phone with Rebecca, instead of just saying, "Hey, there's a lullaby, and here's one of the clues for you to check out." (And that lack of sharing basically leads to Emerson almost getting himself blown up.) But meanwhile, we learn that Emerson had a romance going with Dr. Sangupta back in 1960, when Emerson would have been like 15. (If he was 18 in 1963, as we were originally told.)
What do we learn about Rebecca's grand-daddy issues? Almost nothing. At one point, we see her grandpa back in 1960, when he talks to Dr. Sangupta and asks her to find out why he needs to spend so much time in the infirmary getting his blood drawn, despite being totally healthy. Other than that, Ray doesn't appear, and Tommy isn't around in the present day. Nor is the relationship between Rebecca and her surrogate granddad, Emerson, that interesting this time around.
The week's mystery fodder: Dr. Sangupta asks Dr. Beauregard why Tommy Madsen's having his blood drawn, and Dr. Beauregard kind of threatens her. Meanwhile, in the present day, Emerson takes Dr. Sangupta's apparently lifeless body to Dr. Beauregard and tells him to "fix her" using her own methods. Oh, and we find out that Paxton Petty basically "went to sleep" in 1963 and woke up in 2012 — in a tomb where he stored his explosives, not in Alcatraz. And like the other inmates, he knows about cellphones and stuff.
How sadistic are the flashback scenes, on a scale of Club Fed to Gitmo? Dr. Beauregard and the gang attempt to interrogate Paxton Petty in a bathtub full of ice, to find out where his last landmine is placed. (And despite being brought up a lot in the episode, that landmine never becomes an interesting plot point.) Later, Dr. Sangupta drugs Paxton and then uses electric shock therapy on him.
This week's random moment of creepiness: I guess the contrasting methods of torture — ice-bath drowning, versus drugs and electrocution — would have to be it. Kind of a forgettable episode, honestly.