Friday, March 30, 2012

ALCATRAZ, Episodes 1.12 ("Garrett Stillman") & 1.13 ("Tommy Madsen"): Thoughts & Theories


A few housekeeping notes before we dig in. First of all, the writers revealed to TVGuide that the transfusion man tracking the colloidal silver-infused inmates is named Dr. K. Second, most of this was written on little sleep, on several planes and in various countries at all hours. So please excuse any omissions or errors! In addition, I was unable to take screen captures while abroad so there are not as many photos as I would have liked to include.


While it would be easy for me to gloat about the fact that several of my theories since the first episode are now coming true, that is not my style. I am honestly thrilled and very satisfied to be on the same wavelength with regard to any speculation. 



“Even though you’re in their world, you’re not of their world.” – Lucy 


The 302/63’s
  1. Herman Ames, inmate #2178
  2. Pinky Ames, inmate #2177
  3. Dr. Lucille Sengupta/Lucy Banerjee
  4. Sonny Burnett, inmate #2088
  5. Dr. Milton Beauregard 
  6. Mrs. Beauregard (questionable)
  7. Ernest Cobb, inmate #2047
  8. Donovan, guard
  9. Guy Hastings, guard
  10. Warden Edwin James
  11. Dr. K
  12. Joseph "Ghost" Limerick, inmate #?
  13. Tommy Madsen, inmate #2002
  14. Johnny McKee, inmate #2055
  15. Clarence Montgomery, inmate #2214
  16. Kit Nelson, inmate #2046 
  17. Paxton Petty, inmate #2223
  18. Webb Porter, inmate #2012
  19. Garrett Stillman, inmate #2109
  20. Cal Sweeney, inmate #2112
  21. Jack Sylvane, inmate #2024
Not all inmates among the 256 who disappeared on 3/21/63 were selected to receive a colloidal silver blood transfusion. The Warden clearly chose those he deemed worthy based on their skill sets (which would come in handy both during the escape and upon re-entry to society).  The map in Dr. K’s lair illustrated the inmate numbers of those they were tracking, but the prisoners without colloidal silver must have simply rejoined modern day to wreck havoc on their own, sans programming. However, it is also possible that the Warden killed them, as ageless inmates (without missions/purpose/resources) reappearing would draw unnecessary attention. 


MIGHT AS WELL JUMP


“The jump was caused by a geothermal event, possibly tectonic plate slippage.” – Warren 


Doc had previously mentioned that was of his theories about 3/21/63 was a “quantum thing.” Hauser’s lead nerd herder Warren suggested that time dilation, quantum tunneling or cryogenics were also possibilities. I have explored a few of these theories in previous posts, but will now drill down further.


CRYOGENICS


I believe it is possible that the 302 who vanished in 1963 were cryogenically frozen in time. They were subjected to myriad chemicals during the process, which made a particular subset of inmates appealing to the Warden: the Korean War veterans. It is my theory that those prisoners were previously exposed to elements that prepared their systems for the cryogenic process.  


“Someone’s helping these guys, maybe unfreezing them.” – Doc Soto (“Paxton Petty”)


Comic book expert Doc knows that Captain America spent decades frozen in a block of ice, in a state of suspended animation.  He was injected with a super soldier serum that replenished itself, a virus-like organism that altered his genetic and biochemical makeup. The 302, cryogenically stuck in time from 1963-2012, were likely injected with a serum designed to reanimate them on very specific dates in the future. And in addition to Dr. K, the Warden must have had an entire team dedicated to unfreezing both himself and his subjects. 


When guard Guy Hastings remembered his last night on Alcatraz, he described a “fog that took all the stars away.” Vapors released from cryogenic liquids tend to condense the moisture in air, creating a visible FOG. 


EARTHQUAKES, QUANTUM TUNNELS (WORMHOLES) & TIME DILATION


Time dilation is a difference of elapsed time between two events; in this case, between 1963 Alcatraz and 2012 San Francisco. Applying the theory of time dilation, one can travel thousands of light-years and their lifespan will increase.


The quantum mechanics of the Casimir Effect can be used to produce a region of space-time, and that negative effect could then be used to stabilize a wormhole to allow faster-than-light travel.  On 3/21/63, if Dr. K and the Warden were somehow able to use the Casimir Effect beneath Alcatraz – it may have resulted in a geothermal event, causing tectonic plate slippage.  In other words, they created a wormhole that caused an earthquake…their great escape route. My theory is that they built a tunnel deep beneath Alcatraz after the quake and wormhole opened up that space, creating a massive location to store and transport 302 people…unbeknownst to anyone up above.  [Side note: I believe this tunnel was located much lower than the one under the lighthouse that was constructed during the Civil War.]


The tunnel beneath Alcatraz may actually connect 1963 with 2012. On one end of the wormhole, an exit point from 1963. On the other end of the wormhole, a re-entry point to 2012. I am starting to believe that the 302 in 1963 were frozen in time right beneath the very location where they vanished; that the Warden’s hidden cryogenic lair, equipped with reanimation technology, has been dispersing inmates and guards one by one from below the Rock. Along that line of thinking, it is entirely possible that the Warden himself still resides/hides down there. At some point after the 302 vanished in 1963, he had someone seal off the dungeon door where the colloidal silver tracking map was located. But he needs to access it once again; thus, the programmed inmates seeking his 3 keys.


If we stop to think about how 302 people vanished without a trace, it sounds logical that they all traveled down the same rabbit hole after being knocked out by chemicals dispersed throughout the island.


BLOOD MAKES NOISE


“Water: elixir of life!” – Dr. K


Blood consists of 92% water.  Colloidal silver suspends silver in water. But it may have been mixed in the blood of some on Alcatraz in methods other than blood transfusions…


It is possible that some of the inmates, guards and staff among the 302 who vanished in 1963 without previously receiving any blood transfusions were instead quietly dosed via their drinking water. Colloidal silver may have been added to the water filtration system on Alcatraz (electrolytically dissolved silver has been used as a water disinfecting agent in the past).


For what it’s worth, I think the concept of colloidal silver as a liquid GPS is quite clever.  


KOREAN WAR  


“I’ve had my eye on you since 1952.” - Mr. K
“You were in Korea too?” – Tommy Madsen 


As I had pointed out in previous posts, several returning Alcatraz inmates (and one guard) had served in Korea: Guy Hastings, Tommy Madsen and Paxton Petty.  Given the revelation about Dr. K’s interest in Madsen dating back to the 1950’s, I am now certain that the future 63s were “recruited” to serve time on Alcatraz based on their exposure to specific chemicals from biological attacks during the Korean War, in preparation for their abduction (and for the “fog” that likely knocked them out en masse on 3/21/63). 




Alcatraz inmate Garrett Stillman was a military strategist for the British SAS. In 1950, the British SAS deployed a squadron to the Korean War. In 1959, they deployed a regiment comprised of experts in escape and evasion.  That Stillman wound up on Alcatraz is no surprise, and was very likely the Warden’s personal strategist for the great escape in 1963. After all, he “enjoyed moving pieces around” – 302 chess pieces, to be exact. Tommy Madsen had said to Stillman that, “you worry about the chess pieces, I’ll worry about the board.” In 1960, Stillman was playing chess when the Warden appeared and moved some pieces on the board. 2012, Madsen was trying to re-collect the pieces (inmates, guards) and reconfigure the Warden’s board/game. 


It is not a coincidence that Hauser is working with the military to help recapture the 63s…


LOST AND FOUND




Of course Stillman’s stolen armored truck was numbered 481516 – the numbers are bad, after all. 


MUSIC


“We want to move on, to move forward. But the trauma blocks us. So we repeat it, like a skipping record.” – Dr. Lucille Sengupta (“Clarence Montgomery”)

“You’d be surprised how fast you adapt to what a record player and a phone looks like.” – Dr. Lucy Banerjee (“Garrett Stillman”)


We have seen two record players in 2012, purposefully placed for Lucy (Dr. B’s infirmary in New Alcatraz, Lucy’s original hospital room), as well as one in 1960 at the Warden’s house during the dinner party she attended. Given her use of a record player as an example while describing her experience during the last 50 years, I am certain that music played a role in her reintegration process.   


EMERSON HAUSER


In 1960, young SFPD officer Hauser advised his paramour Dr. Lucille Sengupta to back off when she was inquiring about the blood letting on Alcatraz. So Hauser KNEW about the Warden’s experiments from someone other than Lucille. My two best guesses: his friend Deputy Warden Tiller, who may have been aware of but disapproved of said experiments, or young Alcatraz guard Ray Archer – who was trying to help his brother Tommy Madsen and may have also been friends with Hauser at that time.


“Does this mean the Warden is back?” – Secretary of Defense
“That is the first question I’ll be asking Madsen after I catch him.” – Hauser


Someone as high up as the Secretary of Defense knows about the 63’s, which helps explain why Hauser’s team is a) able to escape media and local authority questions and b) so well funded. I found it very interesting that the Secretary referred to Lucy as Lucille – which makes me question whether he used to work with Hauser in the 1960’s with the SFPD or as a guard on Alcatraz….


“Paraguay is complicated for me, given the last time.” – Hauser

We now know that at some point during the last 50 years, Hauser traveled to Paraguay. My theory is that the Warden chose to place his pet project Dr. Sengupta back in modern society in that location, where he thought she would be unable to communicate with or find anyone she knew/loved.  Thus, Lucy’s referral to “some unmapped wireless Cambodian village.” But Hauser, with his military and financial resources, was actually able to locate his beloved. 


REBECCA MADSEN


“Detective Madsen has proven her worth, just like I knew she would.” – Lucy


In the Pilot, Lucy revealed that "she found us, and she won't stop until she finds him. We need her."  But do they any more? I am a big fan of Sarah Jones and I love her in on this show, but I wondered if they possibly killed her character because Hauser and co. will use the relative of another former inmate next season to assist their search.  That being said, Tommy Madsen is still out there and although it is VERY bold to off your lead after one season – I seriously doubt that Rebecca Madsen is actually dead. At least I hope so. 




Tommy Madsen pulled a John Locke, stabbing Rebecca in the same basic location as Jack Shephard. But while we won’t see Rebecca joining her BFF’s in a church next season, I believe that we will see her reanimated. Her grandfather specifically used a silver knife, which the camera lingered on, leading me to believe that he knew she’d live…and possibly activated colloidal silver in her blood. Of course we do not know how and when she received such a transfusion, but I have a suspicion that her parents were involved. Tommy had brought the death of her parents to Rebecca’s attention right before stabbing her…likely not a coincidence.


Throwing a serious wrench into that theory, however, is the fact that Harlan Simmons was paying Rebecca’s former partner to keep eyes on her. If she did indeed have colloidal silver in her blood, they could have been tracking her – and would not need a fellow detective to do so…


I appreciated the nod to and consistency with the Pilot – when Rebecca was chasing Tommy and he paused to eye her from above. They had the same shot in their chase scene together in the season finale. 


Side note: watching Jack Bender direct the car chase scenes and homage to Bullit in the streets of San Francisco last month was an unbelievable experience. The only way to describe standing so close to speeding cars jumping hills right in front of me: kick-ass. Here is a video behind the scenes, taken on my iPhone. 


video




THE PRISONERS


TOMMY MADSEN


“This is your future. You’re going to be our advance man.” – Dr. K


As early as 1952, Madsen was on Dr. K’s radar. This was long before he was used as a guinea pig for the colloidal silver blood infusion on Alcatraz, so we have to ponder what made Madsen so special. 




“The silver emits a frequency. The problem is, I can’t separate it. The silver attaches itself to platelets and it becomes one and the same.” – Dr. B


In 2012, it certainly appears as if Madsen is no longer traceable. He somehow went rogue, off mission, escaping the clutches and programming of the Warden. I have a strong feeling that he is able to remove any traces of colloidal silver from his blood, using an antidote that he discovered upon his return in 2012. After all, there have been many technological medical advances in the 50 years since he vanished. 


“Give me the key and I’ll protect you from Harlan.” – Tommy Madsen


I would not be at all surprised to see that Madsen is working with and for Harlan Simmons. Together they could be attempting to retrieve the keys to the tracking dungeon, united against the Warden’s maniacal end game.


When Hauser and Lucy discovered Dr. K in 2012 behind the sealed dungeon door where he was tracking the inmates, his first word was “Madsen?” Dr. K was expecting Tommy Madsen to be the one who had all three keys…


“Consider me a genie; the power to offer you one perfect day, right now. What do you want most in the world?” – Warden James


Madsen chose family when offered the chance to make one wish. While he confessed to Ray that he had indeed killed his wife, I believe that he was lying and pushing his brother away – convincing him that Tommy’s son was much better off with Ray as his guardian. 


HARLAN SIMMONS


They used to refer to a section of Alcatraz cells as Broadway – so it was a nice touch that Harlan’s company was called Broadway Mutual. 


“Mr. Simmons won’t be eligible for parole again until 1965 and I’d like him off my island before that time.” – Warden James


Billionaire Simmons is likely the man who financed both the Warden’s 1963 vanishing act and 2012 reappearing act. That is why Warden James went out of his way to ensure parole for Simmons three years before the main event took place. 


“Harlan broke a promise to Warden James.” – Tommy Madsen


Simmons has not been seen in public since the 1970’s. So perhaps Simmons became a recluse when he discovered that the Warden had re-appeared and was coming for him.  [Side note: yes, I believe it is possible that the Warden re-integrated himself into society long before reactivating his inmates to do so...giving him ample time to set up his operation.]




Although we did not witness Simmons’ infamous visit with the subterranean visitant (Dr. K) in 1960, it preceded the Warden’s decision to arrange for his parole.  Whatever Dr. K said or did to Simmons, it resulted in the Warden’s trust. 


THE GUARDS

It does not appear as if the Warden subjected any of the guards to colloidal silver transfusions, at least not at first glance of the tracking map with inmate numbers only. I find it fascinating that he did not feel the need to track the men who were likely smarter than the returning inmates and may have felt compelled to investigate their own disappearances...


THE WARDENS


EDWIN JAMES


“In any Faustian tale, a devil is often needed…however misunderstood.” – Warden James


Upon their re-entry, Jack Sylvane, Cal Sweeney and Garrett Stillman were all programmed to retrieve the 3 keys to Dr. K’s Alcatraz dungeon. The Warden needed those keys in order to access the tracking equipment and monitor his subjects in their various locations around the country.


However, Tommy Madsen was working with Stillman to retrieve the final key – so it is possible that his rogue mission involved finding the keys before the Warden did. Perhaps Madsen’s end game is to deactivate the tracking equipment so that the Warden will no longer be able to find his subjects and potentially reprogram them. Or Madsen himself may want to locate his fellow inmates to instruct them how to proceed in life under the radar/out of the reach of the Warden, or how to deactivate the colloidal silver.  


The Warden gave Harlan Simmons the phone number of “a friend; someone who will help you find your feet on the outside. He’ll know how to get us in touch when the time arrives.” Add this mysterious accomplice to the long list of Why Alcatraz Deserves a Second Season. 


E.B. TILLER


Before Ernest Cobb shot HIS target, Lucy – Jack Sylvane had killed HIS target, E.B. Tiller. The Warden’s first order of business upon the 2012 reentry of his subjects was to kill his former right hand. The Warden needed to silence the two people who knew too much, starting with the skeptical and suspicious Tiller. 
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TOP 10 REASONS FOX SHOULD GREEN-LIGHT SEASON 2 OF ALCATRAZ

  1. Warden James: To see him in 2012, as well as when/where he first re-entered modern day. 
  2. Warden James’ Man on the Outside: To reveal who he is and if he’s still working with either the Warden or Harlan Simmons.
  3. Tiller & Hauser: To show how and when Deputy Warden E.B. Tiller and former SFPD officer Emerson Hauser became friends (in the 1960’s or 2000’s).
  4. Rebecca Madsen: To reveal whether she lived or died, and also what really happened to her parents. 
  5. Re-entry & Reunion: To see when/where Lucy and Dr. B reappear, as well as when/where Lucille first sees with the aging Hauser again.
  6. Medical Examiner Nikki: To see if she is indeed a plant, working with the Warden, conveniently assigned to any cases relating to the 63s. 
  7. New Alcatraz: To see the moment when the colloidal silver tracking map is reactivated; to see the look on the face of Doc and Rebecca, Tommy Madsen, Warden James or Harlan Simmons when all of the prisoners are traced to the same exact location and the map illustrates the inmate numbers crowded in one single area. That would be one hell of a way to discover/uncover New Alcatraz. 
  8. Harlan Simmons: To show not only his visit with subterranean visitant Dr. K in 1960, but also what the recluse looks like in 2012. 
  9. Doc Soto: To further explore his childhood trauma, and whether or not his abductor had either been incarcerated on Alcatraz or had connections to someone there. 
  10. Alcatraz, 1961-1963: To witness the Warden’s further actions leading up to the 3/21/63 disappearance.

Like you, I am really hoping that FOX renews ALACATRAZ and we are gifted with a second season. Expect an announcement from the network either way in the next few weeks, and definitely by May. 


Whether this will be my last post until the second season or the final post for a single season, I wanted to express my gratitude for your support . Without you, this would have been yet another site discussing a television show. Your interest and participation elevated and enhanced the experience for me, and for that I am grateful. The number of fans who visited this site over the last four months is double the number who visited my LOST site in the first two years it existed. That is an amazing and humbling statistic. 




To thank you for your feedback and the word-of-mouth, I am giving away an autographed copy of Michael Esslinger's book Alcatraz: A Definitive History of the Penitentiary Years and a limited edition Warden DING poster created by @Zort70! If you're interested in either, simply leave a comment below with your email or Twitter name - I will randomly draw two names by April 6 and announce the winners on Twitter.




Regardless of what happens, it truly has been an honor and joy for me to cover ALCATRAZ so extensively. In addition to the many hours watching and writing about the show, I had the privilege of attending both the premiere on Alcatraz and the filming of the finale in San Francisco. I believe in and support the vision and direction of this series, in the creative minds who have planted seeds that I hope to see grow in future seasons.  Should ALCATRAZ end after one season, I will continue to follow those both in front of the camera and behind the scenes, wherever they land. And so should you. Mark my words – Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt are the next Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis. 


As always, if you'd like to leave any feedback or comments, please do so in a constructive manner! Until we meet again...


-Jo 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

ALCATRAZ Episode 1.11 ("Webb Porter"): Thoughts & Theories




Get the bow going, let it scream to me.
Violin, violin, violin.
“Violin” – Kate Bush


The 302/63’s

  1. Herman Ames, inmate # ?
  2. Pinky Ames, inmate #2177
  3. Dr. Lucille Sengupta/Lucy Banerjee
  4. Sonny Burnett, inmate #2088
  5. Dr. Milton Beauregard 
  6. Mrs. Beauregard (questionable)
  7. Donovan, guard
  8. Guy Hastings, guard
  9. Ernest Cobb, inmate #2047
  10. Tommy Madsen, inmate #2002
  11. Johnny McKee, inmate #2055
  12. Kit Nelson, inmate #2046 
  13. Paxton Petty, inmate #2223
  14. Webb Porter, inmate #2012
  15. Cal Sweeney, inmate #2112
  16. Jack Sylvane, inmate #2024

BLOOD MAKES NOISE


Blood makes noise,
It's a ringing in my ear.
“Blood Makes Noise” – Suzanne Vega


For what it's worth, some people have claimed that colloidal silver cured their tinnitus. 


Now we know for sure that the Warden did not force Lucy to have her blood infused with colloidal silver before the great abduction and disappearance in 1963. He needed his inmates to have the healing powers upon their return to modern society, to fulfill his programmed missions, but the future of his doctors (I’m including Dr. B in this) and likely the guards - was not as vital. 


THE MATRIX


This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. 
“The Matrix” – Morpheus



Had young Officer Hauser been on Alcatraz earlier in the night on 3/21/63, he may have ingested a red pill of his own (dispersed discretely via “the fog”). Instead, he managed to avoid vanishing along with his beloved Lucille and 301 others that night, and has been chasing the 63ers down the rabbit hole for 49 years. Perhaps his “new” blue pill (courtesy of the Chinese herbalist) is a sign of resignation, of weakness, of exhaustion; his girl is slipping away, the criminals are getting more challenging to track and capture, and his massive efforts are seemingly futile. 


MAKE YOUR OWN KIND OF MUSIC


“Listen, take it in – each note, one after the other. Logical, reliable, a pattern. You can carry it with you in your head, even when it’s not playing.” – Dr. Sengupta

That line is essential because I believe that the returning 63ers are indeed playing what’s in their head – the programming they were subjected to during the last 49 years plays over and over on a loop in their brainwashed minds. 


I have been asserting in almost every episode post that they have included record players and music on the show as part of a brainwashing technique – both in 1960’s Alcatraz and in 2012 reintegration. See my continued Crazy Theory of the Week below for additional thoughts. 


DR. LUCILLE SENGUPTA/LUCY BANERJEE


“I believe man can change, has the right to change.” – Dr. Lucille Sengupta

I have a feeling that after Lucy wakes from her coma in New Alcatraz, we will discover that she believes she’s still in 1963. The trauma will have affected her re-wiring in some way. 




My guess is that the Warden had Cobb shoot her because she knew too much about how he was able to make 302 vanish in 1963. I’m quite sure that the Warden will be surprised to learn that Lucille survived the attempted murder. 


“The Warden’s got a new toy…I was talking about you.” – Dr. B


In 1960, Dr. Sengupta started to figure out that the Warden’s initial plans for her were dishonest and altered once he started to see her psychological successes with the inmates. Oh how I wish we could see how their relationship changed between 1960 and 1963, how she managed to work on Alcatraz for that long and why, if she knew what was going to happen and if young Hauser was warned but did not believe her…


DR. MILTON BEAUREGARD


“As certain as the sky is blue...not that I’ve seen it some time.”


In the 1960’s, Dr. B worked for the Warden on Alcatraz. In 2012, Dr. B is working for Emerson Hauser in New Alcatraz. At what point did his alliance change? Or has it? If the Warden was responsible for the allocation of re-entries into modern society, when did he re-insert the good doctor and where? I can’t imagine that Dr. B’s mission was to assist the man responsible for putting the prisoners back in jail. I hope that if we are lucky enough to see a second season, we get to see a flashback of Dr. B’s current day awakening – as well as how he came to work for Hauser. 




It is clear that Dr. B is working for Hauser in New Alcatraz, but with limited freedom. Although we only saw Mrs. B at the Warden’s dinner party, I am under the assumption that she is also a 63er and living at New Alcatraz with her husband under the same conditions.   


EMERSON HAUSER


“All that’s needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” – Young Emerson Hauser, misquoting Edmund Burke

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” – Edmund Burke


The kid went to Yale – he should get the quote right (even if distracted by the beauty of Dr. Sengupta). 

Side note: on LOST they named Juliet’s douchey ex-husband Edmund Burke, and he met his demise in front of a bus. So of course I thought about that when Hauser dropped the line above. 



Hauser does not appear to be a target of the returning 63ers, which leads me to believe that he was never on the Warden’s radar. He may have only occasionally accompanied prisoner transfers to Alcatraz as part of the SFPD, and the Warden was also unlikely to care whom Dr. Sengupta was dating. 


REBECCA MADSEN


“It’s like I’m living someone else’s life. I just want to press stop, go back to the way it was.” – Rebecca Madsen


I’m fairly certain that the guards and prisoners who have been forcibly returned to modern day would agree with that statement. 




Rebecca and Doc finally start asking questions about where Hauser takes the prisoners after they are captured, discover that Lucy isn’t in the hospital and that she was a 63er. I am hopeful that in the season finale, Rebecca and Doc force Hauser’s hand and get to see New Alcatraz…


DOC SOTO


Update: ALCATRAZ co-creator/executive producer/writer Bryan Wynbrandt corrected my error. "Webb Porter didn't drown his victims in the past. He bludgeoned them one murderous night as the Warden said early on. I realize it was a quick line. But that's why Doc didn't know it was Porter."


I just have to point out that I found it odd that Doc did not connect the dots, given that he was familiar with Webb Porter’s trauma in the bathtub at the hands of his mother. Although recent events have proven his research and books to contain erroneous information, he nonetheless should have figured out that the man drowning his female victims in bathtubs was Porter. 



NIKKI


She may not have been wearing a comic book tee, but Nikki was very interested in Rebecca’s task force. Because SHE’S A PLANT. I believe that Nikki works for the Warden in 2012, and is the medical examiner assigned to all crimes committed by returning inmates.  She knows what to expect, because the Warden is the man behind the curtain – programming the missions and assigning her to clean up their messes.

I have a suggestion if we are lucky enough to see a second season of ALCATRAZ: Rebecca should date Nikki. RATINGS!  



THE PRISONERS


“They’re getting comfortable in our world.” – Rebecca Madsen
“It means they’ll be harder to catch.” – Doc Soto

WEBB PORTER


While composer/songwriter Cole Porter was known primarily as a piano man, he did learn to play violin when he was six years old. I assume that they named Webb Porter after him.


“Maybe one day I’ll be able to repay the favor.” 



Porter re-entered modern society in 2012, and his colloidal silver-filled blood just happened to be a match with Dr. Sengupta/Dr. Banergee. Was it a coincidence that his inmate number was 2012? I think not. 


THE GUARDS

Guy Hastings and Donovan were nowhere to be found in New Alcatraz. I seriously doubt that Hauser has them killed, so the question remains – in what capacity are they being held in New Alcatraz, if not as guards again? 


THE WARDENS


EDWIN JAMES


The Warden is still alive as a 63er in 2012, and likely responsible for the missions that have been programmed into each inmate he has re-integrated back into society. The very first crime scene we witnessed (aside from Tommy Madsen’s rooftop assist) was that of E.B. Tiller (at the hands of Jack Sylvane). It seems likely that the Warden’s first priority was to take care of the man who questioned his methods all along; the man who was supposed to be his right hand but somehow managed to escape his duties on the Rock before the Warden orchestrated the vanishing act in 1963.




WHEN we see the Warden appear in 2012, I have a feeling we’ll discover that he also has colloidal silver in his blood – insurance against future harm that is likely headed his way…


E.B. TILLER


After leaving Alcatraz, we were told that Tiller was a Fed. He probably worked alongside Hauser, which is where they became friends. My guess is that Tiller knew about the 63’s and was working with Hauser to prepare for their return; thus, Warden James had him killed right away. 


NEW ALCATRAZ


I didn’t take note of exactly who we saw, aside from Jack Sylvane, Ernest Cobb, and Paxton Petty – but I don’t believe Cal Sweeney or Johnny McKee were there (both were injured by alive when we last saw them). I realize that it is a matter of actor availability, but I hope to see all re-captured inmates and guards together in New Alcatraz in the season finale!  


Dr. B had told Hauser that, “The 63’s you’ve been rounding up, they’re all in perfect health. And I mean straight from God’s own factory floor. Any ailments they used to have are now gone.” So does colloidal silver also have the power to reanimate? In addition to the missing returned guards, we still do not know the status of the deceased inmates: Kit Nelson, Clarence Montgomery, etc.


CRAZY THEORY OF THE WEEK…CONTINUED


“Bombers, poisoners, sharp shooters and every ignoble variation of lag…I put you to the test.” – Warden James

  • Herman and Pinky Ames: metal shop (key creation & duplication)
  • Kit Nelson: bomb shelter construction (the subterranean dungeon and/or wormhole)
  • Johnny McKee: organic chemistry teacher (“the fog”)
  • Webb Porter: music (the lull before the fog; the audible brainwashing trigger)



Add Porter to the list of skilled inmates that the Warden amassed to help pull off the events of 3/21/63. While I am unable to wrap my head entirely around the logistics of it, it is possible that Webb’s musical talents were put to use immediately preceding the chemicals that were dispersed (knocking out the 302). They have inserted music in very specific scenes thus far this season, many of which seem to indicate that the songs trigger memories or missions…


“You can teach an old dog a new trick, but it’s still an old dog.”  - E.B. Tiller


Regardless of how the Warden (and his unknown crew) managed to knock out 302 people and relocate them without a trace, the fact remains that these were the worst criminals in the country; no matter what they were subjected to before and during the 50 years in limbo, the inmates were incapable of changing their very DNA and instincts. 


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Please excuse the brevity of this post, as well as the belated delivery. Life has been very hectic, and I will be out of town again for the season finale next week (last year when I booked this trip, I didn’t think the end of March would interfere with any of my shows!).  Long story short – I won’t be able to watch Monday night’s 2-hour season finale, nor write about it, until Friday, March 30. Thank you in advance for your patience!


As always I appreciate your constructive comments and feedback! I owe you another apology for not having enough time to edit and post videos from the WonderCon pressroom yet, but I plan to – even if after the season finale.  


-Jo

Monday, March 19, 2012

ALCATRAZ WonderCon Photos & Schedule Update



WONDERCON


Yesterday I attended the official ALCATRAZ panel at WonderCon in Anaheim, and also had the opportunity to interview the cast and creative team. I am editing the videos and aim to post those later this week. Because this site is 100% spoiler-free, I will not be sharing any of the season finale hints and teasers that were unveiled, nor will I post any videos that might reveal any details you would consider spoiler-ish. Trust me - we're all in for one hell of an exciting ride with these last three episodes, and will enjoy it so much more without knowing any details in advance!


While we await tonight's new episode, here are photos from the panel, autograph session and press room! They are in chronological order, and I recommend viewing them in Slideshow mode.




As a general courtesy, all I ask it that you please do not copy and paste any of these photos without providing a link back to me.


EPISODE & ANALYSIS SCHEDULE


Tonight: 
Episode 1.11 "Webb Porter"
- My analysis will be posted tomorrow night


March 26 (2-hour Season Finale): 
Episode 1.12 "Garrett Stillman" & Episode 1.13 "Tommy Madsen"
- My analysis will be posted on Friday, March 30 (after I return from abroad)


Special thanks to Jeff, Noreen, Steven and Lindsay, Bryan and Katie, Kiran and Parminder, Jorge and Beth, Jonny, Sarah, Robert and everyone involved with the show for making yesterday such a memorable and entertaining experience!


-Jo

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

ALCATRAZ Episode 1.08 ("Clarence Montgomery"): Thoughts & Theories


 


You look like a real human being
But you don't have a mind of your own.
You can talk, you can breathe,
You can work, you can stitch, you can sew,
But you're brainwashed.
“Brainwashed” – The Kinks


Please excuse any typos or errors in advance, as I stayed up very late to finish this rather than wait to post it on Tuesday. There are some episodes of television that stay with me; theories formulate and percolate and prevent my mind from shutting down for slumber. This was such an episode. So grab a Goldie's Carolina tea cake, tape your eyes open and allow me to subject you to some wild speculation...


The 302/63’s

  1. Herman Ames, inmate # ?
  2. Pinky Ames, inmate #2177
  3. Dr. Lucille Sengupta/Lucy Banerjee
  4. Sonny Burnett, inmate #2088
  5. Dr. Milton Beauregard 
  6. Mrs. Beauregard (questionable)
  7. Donovan, guard
  8. Guy Hastings, guard
  9. Ernest Cobb, inmate #2047
  10. Tommy Madsen, inmate #2002
  11. Johnny McKee, inmate #2055
  12. Clarence Montgomery, inmate #2214
  13. Kit Nelson, inmate #2046 
  14. Paxton Petty, inmate #2223
  15. Cal Sweeney, inmate #2112
  16. Jack Sylvane, inmate #2024

Former inmate Emmett Little was told that Clarence Montgomery had died in Lompoc Prison in 1965 (which is located on the California coast; I actually know someone who works there). Someone took the time to create fake prison transfer and death certificates for 302 people well in advance of the 1963 abduction. This was a meticulously planned and executed undertaking, and there is no way that the Warden was the only one overseeing it all. 


BLOOD MAKES NOISE


Keep in mind that this episode was originally supposed to air before the two last week, so Doc’s speculation about possible experiments on Alcatraz was a major clue to what was revealed in the next two episodes. 


In the early 1960’s, ten Utah State Prison inmates were indeed subjected to radiation tests and blood samples were taken. That blood was then mixed with unknown elements and then re-injected.  So the colloidal silver revealed in the last episode is a story not far from alleged reality. 


KOREAN WAR CONNECTION


As I pointed out in previous posts, several returning Alcatraz inmates (and one guard thus far) had served in Korea: Guy Hastings, Tommy Madsen and Paxton Petty.  I am convinced that many of the future 63s were brought to Alcatraz based on their exposure to certain chemicals from biological attacks during the Korean War, in preparation for their abduction (and for the “fog” that likely knocked them out en masse on 3/21/63). And now there is another influence from that war that we have to take into consideration: brainwashing. 


During the Korean War, some believed that brainwashing was implemented to confuse captured soldiers so that they would resist escape, resulting in an unusually high number of soldiers deserting their country and joining the enemy after becoming prisoners-of-war.


As was the case with biological warfare, the US government and military still deny the use of brainwashing. 


LOST AND FOUND




While there have been very few LOST Easter Eggs on ALCATRAZ thus far, I’m going to assume that Leigh Dana Jackson (who wrote this episode) was a huge fan. Not only is this episode 108, the prison brainwashing room is a nod to Room 23 and the booking number on the rap sheet of the real criminal who killed Ellen Casey in 1958 is 48151623 – and he is from Tallahassee. Nicely played!


MAKE YOUR OWN KIND OF MUSIC…AGAIN AND AGAIN
“We want to move on, to move forward. But the trauma blocks us. So we repeat it, like a skipping record.” – Dr. Sengupta
We have seen two record players in modern day (Dr. B’s infirmary in New Alcatraz, Lucy’s original hospital room) as well as music played from Hauser’s nerd herd experimental briefcase of tech gadgets in the abandoned cells of modern day – and one in 1960 (at the Warden’s house). From the get-go I have asserted that returning inmates had been brainwashed, and that music played a role in their reintegration process. It appears that I may be on to something. 


It isn’t a spoiler to simply say that next week’s episode involves a musician – and I can’t wait to find out if the returnee relates to any of my left field musical conspiracy theories. 


PARLAY “ROCK” ANTHEM
“Parlay: a discussion or compromise between enemies over terms of truce.” – Warden James
The Warden’s interpretation of the word sheds new light on the scenario where young inmate Harlan was brought down to the dungeon because there was a “subterranean resident who desires to have a parlay.” Harlan’s enemy in 1960 was Cal Sweeney, whom he had elaborately bamboozled. But the look of sheer terror on Harlan’s face when the dungeon door opened seemed to indicate a far more nefarious enemy… 


WILSON’S DISEASE


Montgomery suffered from Wilson’s disease, a rare and inherited condition where too much copper in the body causes damage to the nerves and liver. While Wilson’s has been associated with violent behavior resulting from damage to the central nervous system, it seems quite cruel to have subjected the innocent Montgomery to brainwashing - as many of the resulting effects from that experiment are similar to the side effects of Wilson’s Disease: uncontrollable movement, limb tremors, weakness, personality and behavioral changes, dementia and delirium. 


In addition, Montgomery was a chef but those with Wilson’s are supposed to avoid using copper cooking utensils and foods as diverse as nuts, shellfish, chocolate and mushrooms. And to add insult to injury, Montgomery had to drink tap water likely flowing through copper pipes. 


DR. MILTON BEAUREGARD


“I was hoping you would tell me know what you’re doing to their blood…between the time I take it out of them and put it back in.” – Dr. B
The Cigarette Smoking Doc is subjecting prisoners to psychological experiments and removing pints of their blood to mix with colloidal silver, but has no idea why. We have to question whether he was and continues to be a passive order taker, or if he knows far more than his few scenes have indicated so far.


EMERSON HAUSER




Emerson met with the Chief of Police, and it was not the first time. The Chief must be his main source for keeping the 63s investigations relatively unquestioned by other agencies like the SFPD, FBI, etc. Because Hauser himself is former SFPD, he has probably made connections over the last 50 years in preparation for his current assignment and obsession. 
“I know what happened in ’58. You never killed that girl. You were innocent.” – Emerson Hauser
Hauser obviously knew who killed 1958 victim Ellen Casey before Montgomery re-emerged in 2012. But he pretended to be surprised when Rebecca and Doc told him that Montgomery wasn’t her killer. Aside from the obvious surreptitious nature of Hauser’s secret spy operation, I can only assume that he has withheld certain leads until he could play those cards when necessary while capturing the 63s. 


DOC SOTO & NIKKI


Now Doc is spending all of his spare time and late nights in the Secret Spy Lair on Alcatraz. They really need to speed up his relationship with medical examiner Nikki, or reveal her complicit connection to the 63s…




In many earlier posts, I have overanalyzed the potential significance of each comic book tee that Nikki has sported, and in this episode she switches it up to Black Orchid. In what is likely the shape of things to come for Nikki’s true intentions, the Black Orchid was a master of disguise…often pretending to be someone’s girlfriend, for example. 


THE PRISONERS

TOMMY MADSEN


Given that Rebecca’s grandfather has gone rogue and appears to be on his own mission, perhaps he somehow escaped the brainwashing that the other 301 who vanished in 63 were subjected to before returning. Almost every inmate and guard we’ve seen thus far in 2011-2012 seemed to be on a programmed mission, with memories in place and wires crossed. But Madsen is on an entirely different path…


CLARENCE MONTGOMERY
“I’m not the same.” – Montgomery 


The Warden created a similar situation for Montgomery in prison that he faced in the real world. He was the first African American chef at an all-white country club, and then the Warden forced him to become the first African American prison chef to supervise and cook meals for white inmates. Without a doubt, I would consider that to be one of his many manipulative pre-brainwashing preparations; agitate and push buttons first, drug and mentally coerce second.


Montgomery knows that they did something to him in Alcatraz, but unlike previously returned inmates - he appears to be more traumatized by what happened to him. He immediately expressed remorse after murdering both inmate Gant and his female victims, which has not been the case with other prisoners in modern day.


“I got a bad feeling about this.” I am unable to think about anything other than Star Wars whenever any variation of this line is uttered. So if it was intentional – thank you, Leigh Dana Jackson. 


Another dead inmate put into Hauser’s SUV, another assumption that he brought the corpse to New Alcatraz for possible revival. 


Random aside: Montgomery’s victim was Megan Palmer. A possible hat tip to Twin Peaks and Laura Palmer?


EMMETT LITTLE, INMATE #2410


The gun-toting activist in the wheelchair was released from Alcatraz in 1961, before the abduction in 1963 (in case you didn’t catch it, he was the young inmate trying to convince Montgomery during his shave that the chef opportunity presented by the Warden was a good idea). In 2012, Emmett had no idea what Montgomery was referring to when he said they took his blood and messed with his head; he must have been one of the inmates that the Warden took less interest in, and thus allowed him to leave before the big event. He didn’t ‘qualify’ in the Warden’s mind…


WILLIAM GANT


So Montgomery killed the chatty cathy, last seen in the Ernest Cobb episode – and there go our chances of finding out what landed him on The Rock in the first place. Even now, it is not illegal to be annoying. I should know. 

THE WARDENS


EDWIN JAMES
“Our good Warden thinks he can convert you all; convert and rehabilitate you. The Warden thinks you can change. Myself, I’ll admit to doubt but I am itching to see the results.” – Deputy Warden Tiller 
“Mark the day, son. Your new future has begun.” – Warden James
Once again, the Warden played spiritual advisor to another of his incarcerated subjects. This week’s pet prisoner project was Montgomery, and the Warden’s seemingly self-programmed mission with him was “a chance for redemption.” 




“If we were in private, you’d see my true intentions with this bone.” Perhaps the best line yet from the strangely poetic Warden! Although, “bon app├ętit, you sons of bitches!” is a close second.


E.B. TILLER


One thing is for certain – the Warden and the Deputy Warden were not on the same page regarding treatment of the prisoners. Like many of you, I strongly believe that the Warden was one of the 63s. Tiller’s clear disdain for his superior’s methods likely led to his banishment from Alcatraz – forced off by the Warden because he didn’t feel that Tiller was worthy of the great time traveling escape he’d been planning for years.


CRAZY THEORY OF THE WEEK: CONTINUED




To add to the already mounting evidence that the “fog” Guy Hastings referred to as the last thing he remembered on 3/21/63 before vanishing was some type of dispersed chemical or aerosol cloud – I would offer that the “gas chamber” mess hall was a cover and practice space for Warden James. As seen in this episode, they sprayed fighting inmates with tear gas, but I believe that there were large quantities of hidden dispersion devices or small holes discretely installed throughout Alcatraz leading up to the abduction. 


Also – the MKULTRA 1950’s mind control experiment illegally administered by the CIA that Doc alluded to? They experimented with a pill that could be slipped into food and beverages, as well as into an aerosol - with the goal of causing amnesia. So far, no one remembers what happened to them after 3/21/63. Except, perhaps, Tommy Madsen….


[NEW] CRAZY THEORY OF THE WEEK: INSANE IN THE MEMBRANE, INSANE IN THE BRAIN!


“You think you know who you are, but they push you, and they twist and something in you just snaps. I’m not the same. I’m not innocent, not no more.” – Montgomery 
While my first inclination was to believe that Dr. Lucille Sengupta designed the brainwashing techniques applied to the inmates by Dr. B in the 1960’s (one of her “methods”), it seems counterintuitive to her memory removal emphasis; she was interested in removing rather than implanting specific visceral imagery that caused the prisoners to react violently.  


“Trauma is a roadblock inside our psyche. We want to move on, to move forward. But the trauma blocks us. So we repeat it, like a skipping record. Your record is stuck at the moment you killed Ellen Casey. If you let me in, I can help you. I can take that memory away. All those memories.” – Dr. Sengupta
“It works in one direction; I don’t see why it can’t work in reverse.” – Dr. B
There were two different types of experimental treatments being forcibly applied to the inmates in the 1960’s on Alcatraz: Lucy’s electroshock therapy and the Warden’s brainwashing. I would speculate that the Warden and Dr. B implemented option #2 without Lucy’s approval: implanting memories and images that would later influence their missions and behavior upon return to society. 


“You took her methods into madness.” – Warden James“You asked if it could be done.” – Dr. B.
Dr. B, Deputy Warden Tiller and Lucy were probably unaware of the reasons WHY the Warden used such a technique, but none were in a position to question him. The location of the Clockwork Orange-inspired brainwashing chair appeared to be in a subterranean room, where Lucille was unlikely to wander or have access. In fact, it may be the horrible place that Tommy Madsen referred to beneath Solitary. 
“I can only be what the world wants me to be.” - Montgomery
In the 1960’s, Lucy tried to understand Montgomery’s motivations, while the Warden was fixated on reinforcing and reactivating them. Montgomery was key to the Warden’s future success – more than likely his first 'victory' in the big picture (brainwashing transformed Montgomery from an innocent man into a murderer at an alarmingly quick rate). 
“I can only be what they tell me to be.” - Montgomery
While it may have been LSD, my best guess as to what type of liquid Dr. B used to accompany the brainwashing - one that contained strains of Nightshade.  Some of the chemicals derived from those plants (found on Alcatraz) can be used as a sedative, and side effects include confusion, agitation, hallucinations, paranoid behaviors and delusion.
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As always, I am so grateful for your interest and appreciate all of your feedback! I love reading your comments, and ask that they simply be constructive in nature. 


Last week I was lucky enough to watch an entire day of filming in San Francisco while they were in town for finale scenes. This is a spoiler-free site, so I will not be posting any photos or videos from that day until after the season finale airs on March 26! What I can tell you is that is was amazing to watch the action unfold live, and that it was an absolute pleasure to meet and speak with both Sarah Jones’ stunt double and David Hoflin (Tommy Madsen). It was also a huge thrill to see former LOST executive producer/director (and ALCATRAZ executive producer/director) Jack Bender directing the car chases in “my” city and before my very eyes.


One last reminder: I am heading to Anaheim this weekend for the official WonderCon ALCATRAZ panel and pressroom. Look for live tweets and photos on Sunday, as well as interviews here on the site next week and beyond!


-Jo