Monday, January 16, 2012

ALCATRAZ Episode 1.01 ("Pilot") & 1.02 ("Ernest Cobb"): Thoughts & Theories

** Warning: This post contains plot and character details from the first 2 episodes of ALCATRAZ - if you have not watched them yet, please read at your own risk! **

Welcome to ALCATRAZ! This is the very first installment of my weekly episode analysis, where I plan to kick open doors that the writers have pushed ajar, with the power of crazy theories and conspiratorial speculation. Because I had the opportunity to view both episodes, I also had the luxury of time to create a lengthy article in advance. Normally, my post-episode thoughts will appear in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, and may not be as long. 

Before we begin, a few important housekeeping items...
  • There are many sites that offer episode recaps; this is not one of them. My emphasis will always be in-depth analysis. You've seen the show, so rather than read a play-by-play, my hope is that you'll return here after each episode to engage in further thought and conversation. 
  • By no means am I an expert or authority on television analysis or Alcatraz itself; my specialty is elaborate speculation. I have been a freelance writer for several years, and have access to screeners of episodes in advance on occasion. But I know as much as you do about ALCATRAZ, and prefer it that way. Living a spoiler-free life makes television a much more enjoyable experience.
  • I truly appreciate feedback, and encourage you to leave Comments below (which will be moderated, as my policy is to provide a space for constructive criticism and discussion rather than personal attacks on me or other readers). 
  • Because this site is 100% spoiler-free, I will not post any information about future episodes, nor will I publish any comments that do. The same is true for my InsideAlcatraz Twitter account.
  • Future episode posts will hopefully include official photos from FOX and screen captures, but right now I don't have many to offer. However I will include photos taken when I visited Alcatraz while they were filming the Pilot last March.
  • Due to the fact that they aired two episodes in a row, this particular post will include analysis of both, combined. 
  • Keep in mind that I am human - there will be mistakes and/or discrepancies every once in a while! Also, as was the case with LOST, the majority of my theories will be debunked within a few episodes. The fun is in the reach and stretch to explore possibilities! 

So grab your scratchy prison-issue blanket and settle in for a while; this is going to be a long yet entertaining read and ride...


Let's address the elephant on the island right away, shall we? I have seen every episode of LOST at least 4 times, and wrote about the show extensively for years. So I am more than qualified to assert that ALCATRAZ is in no way trying to be the next LOST. While there are visual J.J. Abrams tinges to the series, this is a very different island with an entirely new story, set of characters and mysteries. Personally, I was thrilled and somewhat relieved that I did not think about comparisons to LOST at all while watching the first two episodes of ALCATRAZ. The only true commonalities are former LOST cast and crew, including Abrams, series co-creator Elizabeth Sarnoff (who has departed the show), director/executive producer Jack Bender, actor Jorge Garcia, composer Michael Giacchino and production designer Zack Grobler. That being said, of course watching and analyzing six years of LOST will come into play while watching any new show in the same genre. Particular numbers, names and key words will always remind us of elements from LOST. In the case of ALCATRAZ, however, I honestly believe that they are coincidental rather than homage. 

* Side note: Giacchino was the composer of note for the first episode of ALCATRAZ, but Andrea Datzman took over starting with episode 1.02 and will be the series composer. She is also the orchestrator for the upcoming John Carter, as she was on Cars 2Super 8 and Let Me In (among many others). 

MARCH 21, 1963
"On March 21, 1963, Alcatraz officially closed due to rising costs and decrepit facilities. All prisoners were transferred off the island...only that's not what happened. Not at all."
The Alcatraz Federal Prison did actually close on March 21, 1963, after 29 years and not a single successful prisoner escape. The order was placed by Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and prisoners were relocated to other prisons. What an incredible premise to work from and with...


When the 302 prisoners and guards (referred to as the 63's) disappeared from Alcatraz on 3/21/63, all of their clothing and personal items were left behind. Everyone literally vanished, and clearly they had no warning or time to prepare. They were taken from exactly where they were situated at that very moment. Whatever, or whomever, took them - it was a surprise and it happened in an instant. The abductors had no interest in who the 302 were (thus, leaving all inmate files and information) - only who they COULD become. If we stop to ponder the sheer number of men and power it would take to snatch up and corral hundreds of the world's most dangerous criminals...the possibilities are mind-boggling. 

Logistically speaking, such a bold takeover of the Rock would have required more than a few subs or boats to transfer 302 people. But the 302 were taken without detection of any kind, and the conspiracy to cover up their disappearance reached far and wide. Documents were fabricated and wardens from other prisons like San Quentin were in on it (as noted by Detective Rebecca Madsen while looking at former inmate Jack Sylvane's paperwork). 

You might be asking why no one figured out that 302 people who were allegedly transferred were nowhere to be found after 3/21/63, even though official paperwork noted their new locations. I trust that the writers will address it, moving forward. In Sylvane's case, his ex-wife and brother likely never visited after his "transfer" and their marriage, only to be told later that he died in his new prison. 


I find it very interesting that they named Deputy Warden E.B. Tiller after a character in Asimov's Robot novels - Elijah Bailey. In Asimov's world, E.B. is a homicide detective in the future, heavily featured in flashbacks (as E.B. will be on ALCATRAZ, now that we've seen his present day murder). What is even more fascinating is that Asimov's E.B. suffered from a serious case of agoraphobia. Given that the E.B. we've met on ALCATRAZ works in a very confined and private environment on the Rock - it is quite fitting. 

After being placed back in contemporary society in San Francisco, both Jack Sylvane and Ernest Cobb displayed robotic-like determination with regard to their kill missions - not unlike a T2 (or Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 Series 800 Version 2.4 Infiltration-Combat Unit, in nerd-speak). 

But Sylvane's demeanor and emotional state changed significantly when he sought out both Tiller and his brother. He admitted to killing E.B. Tiller out of hate, but that "I only did what THEY told me" - referring to his murder of Barclay Flynn. It seems likely that each prisoner was implanted with a memory chip rather than brainwashed; a chip that is activated from afar at very specific moments, but one that does not have complete control of all brain capacity outside of doling out mission-specific details. 

Normally, this is where I would posit a potentially crazy theory of the week, including conjecture about how the 302 who disappeared from Alcatraz were taken for the purpose of creating their robotic doppelgangers to return in the future for revenge. However, Asimov created and followed the Three Laws of Robotics - the specifications of which are contrary to the behavior we've seen exhibited by both Sylane and Cobb:
  • A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  • A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  • A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
So although it would be fun to visualize a giant spaceship with long tentacles reaching down to grab up the 302 on the Rock below, I don't feel as though ALCATRAZ is heading in the direction of Close EncountersSuper 8V or I, Robot

KELVIN [Easter Egg Alert]

You may have noticed that the boat arriving with young Emerson Hauser on Alcatraz was called Warden Kelvin. Fans of J.J. Abrams' shows and films (Fringe, LOST, MI: 3, Star Trek) already likely know that Kelvin was the name of his grandfather. For what it's worth, Lord Kelvin (William Thomson) was also the name of a famous physicist and engineer who specialized in thermodynamics. 

* Update: Many fans also kindly pointed out that there was a brief shot of a Kelvin Fish Cannery building during one of Ernest Cobb's shooting sprees.

On ALCATRAZ, we have met both Deputy Warden Tiller and Warden James, so at some point in the future I imagine we may actually be introduced to a former Warden Kelvin...


Jack Sylvane and Ernest Cobb were placed back in San Francisco not only with their avenge/revenge missions intact (via memory chip or other unknown method), but also with the supplies necessary to kick off their journeys. Cash, ferry tickets and keys were placed in their jacket pockets, even though they had no idea how they'd arrived or where those items came from. It seems to me that whomever is responsible for their abduction and re-entry...there is at least one stationed in San Francisco or surrounding area, monitoring the missions and supplies. That being said, they haven't made a move (yet) toward New Alcatraz, where Hauser is locking away the returned prisoners.


New Alcatraz, deep in the forests of Vancouver (standing in for a very lush section of the Bay Area - Marin, perhaps?), is my favorite aspect of ALCATRAZ thus far. A wee bit like Endor from the outside, sans Ewoks. It was a nice surprise and reveal, and offers up myriad possibilities about its creation, use and Hauser's involvement in the larger conspiracy. I love the hi-tech lie detector table and overall modern look of New Alcatraz, and I'm sure we'll see even more geeky gadgets put to use there.  


The young man working the desk at the YMCA/gym, where Sylvane retrieved the gun from the locker, was reading a Stephen King book. My guess is that it was Different Seasons (a novella with four stories, including the most memorable prison tale of all - Shawshank Redemption), a nice nod to Stephen King. I suspect that Deputy Warden Tiller's mention of an inmate named Red was another Shawshank shout-out...



Ladies and gentleman, the KEY to this series. Dr. Lucille Sengupta was the same age in 1960 on Alcatraz that Lucy Banerjee is in current day San Francisco. We are told that 302 MEN disappeared from the Rock on 3/21/63, but no women. Those men (at least the three we've seen so far that have returned) have not aged. Neither has Lucy. So either the former Dr. Sengupta was on Alcatraz when they vanished, or she worked with whomever was responsible for making them disappear. In New Alcatraz, she did have the key that Sylvane retrieved from Flynn, so it isn't out of the realm of possibility that she herself programmed his mission and needs that key for something that will be revealed in an upcoming episode.

Doc Soto mentioned that a special key is needed to access three buttons on an elevator in the Secret Spy lair beneath Alcatraz - the logical guess is that the horrible area referred to by inmate Tommy Madsen is accessible through that elevator...

Hauser appears to be unaware that Lucy is who she is, but they have a history. Whether it was of a father/daughter or romantic nature, we shall soon find out. We have to. 

We do know that Hauser has been waiting for the 63's to reappear "for a very, very long time." It is possible that Lucy was specifically chosen by her people to return and work for Hauser, for the sole purpose of misguiding his objectives. 

But IF Lucy somehow escaped from wherever the 63's were being held, that could explain why Cobb was programmed to kill her. The attack on her seemed much more personal than his other seemingly random shootings, and the only pending murder with a warning: the "I can see you" sign and target on the window. It was as if Cobb knew he shouldn't kill her, or didn't want to, but the mission was programmed in and the last sliver of humanity left in his cold heart wanted to warn her. 

As for the current condition of the lovely Lucy, they're not going to kill off Parminder Nagra. They wouldn't have gone to the trouble of introducing her as Dr. Sengupta in the flashbacks. But it was certainly startling to see her get shot in the second episode of the series. A bold move. I like it. is also possible that she can't die. Look, the woman is ageless. Who's to say she's mortal?

"I run a special division in charge of criminals who hold a particular allure for our government."

It is not entirely clear which branch of the government that Hauser and Lucy Banerjee work for, or even if they do. We have to question WHO financed the construction and maintenance of New Alcatraz, and if we'll ever meet Hauser's employer. Although...someone called Lucy down in the Batcave (their Secret Spy Lair beneath the prison on Alcatraz ). The jury is out whether the HIM that Lucy refers to when whispering to Hauser is in fact their boss or Madsen's grandfather Tommy.

Rebecca Madsen will discover New Alcatraz at some point, or Hauser will reveal it to her after he has collected more returned prisoners. Either way, it's going to be one hell of a revelation to her.  

At the end of the Pilot, Hauser told Sylvane that E.B. Tiller was his friend. When we were first introduced to young Hauser on Alcatraz, it is unclear whether he had met the Deputy Warden on the Rock during previous visits or after the 302 men disappeared and Tiller was a Fed. By the way, young Emerson Hauser was a police officer, and not a prison guard (thank you to executive producers/writers Bryan Wynbrandt & Steven Lilien for clarifying that with me at the premiere!); he was on Alcatraz to assist with a prisoner transfer. I certainly look forward to learning more about the relationship between Hauser and Tiller (and possibly Warden James)...especially if any of them were involved with the disappearance of the 63's together.


Any conspiracy theorist worth their salt would tell you that Detective Madsen's introduction to Doc Soto, Emerson Hauser and Lucy Banerjee was a set-up from the beginning. It was a very specific choice to place her grandfather, former Alcatraz inmate Tommy Madsen, back in San Francisco where his granddaughter was a detective. His mission likely included getting her involved with the chase that ultimately led to her partner's death. 

Hauser whispered to Lucy that "this is a mistake" after they gassed Madsen and Soto, so perhaps we are to believe that it was not his idea to involve her. Lucy responded with, "she found us, and she won't stop until she finds him. We need her." Whoever THEY are, they also need Madsen, and led her to Hauser and Banerjee. At this point it really is not clear if the vague THEY and HIM are indeed a different group that Hauser's.  

I feel as though we were told about the death of Madsen's parents because it will come into play on future episodes. If I had to guess, her parents died at the hands of either an Alcatraz prisoner or someone closely involved with the 63's. 


Archer isn't really Rebecca Madsen's uncle, although he did raise her after her parents died. I'd love to know exactly how he came to be her guardian and the reasons behind it. He knew that her grandfather Tommy Madsen was a prisoner rather than a guard, withheld that key piece of information from her, and obviously knows a great deal more regarding what happened on 3/21/63. Case in point: Archer was quick to discourage Rebecca from following her instincts to investigate Sylvane. 

At this point, it seems too obvious to assume that Archer is involved with those behind the 1963 disappearance, but one thing is certain - he and Emerson Hauser are not on the same side/team. Archer mentioned that "someone finally nailed E.B." but E.B. was a friend of Hauser's. And Archer was a guard when Deputy Warden E.B. Tiller was on the Rock, so it is possible that Hauser and Tiller have known each other since that time. Hauser specifically warned Madsen that if she joined his team, she could not tell Archer. Game on!


I hope they release Doc's comic books for us to purchase. Given that he named one of his characters after Ray Archer, perhaps they will contain clues for future episodes. 

They wanted us to know that Doc's parents are not only still alive, but they live in the Bay Area. So of course I assume that they too are somehow connected to Alcatraz or its former occupants., and that we will meet them. 

I would not be at all surprised to discover that there is far more than meets the eye with Doc Soto. Not only is he an Alcatraz expert and published author, but the man has 2 PhD's (criminal justice and civil war history); surely his background in all areas will come in handy as he investigates the 63's with Madsen. 
"You have to double up. Double up's are key."
The friendship that is forming between Soto and Madsen is a highlight for me; I like that she chose him as her partner for the mysterious road ahead. This unlikely duo may just prove to outwit and outsmart Hauser and Banerjee.

It is probably nothing, but I have to question whether or not Doc's non-alcoholic order at Ray's bar means anything (or will down the line). Again, this is what I do...overanalyze even the most minute detail. 


256 prisoners disappeared from Alcatraz on 3/21/623, along with 46 guards. Three have already returned...that we know about at this point. Rebecca's grandfather was the first, followed by Sylvane and Cobb. I noticed that we only saw Sylvane's point of re-entry, and not Cobb's or Madsen's - and if that is significant. I doubt that they are all just dropped back onto Alcatraz.

Tommy Madsen: Inmate 2002
Jack Sylvane: Inmate 2024
Ernest Cobb: Inmate 2047

It will be interesting to see how they re-introduce the guards in current day San Francisco, and how their experiences and/or missions will differ from the prisoners (if at all).

If/when they decide to introduce the crazy chatty inmate who drove Cobb crazy, I think we're in for a treat.

Rebecca Madsen brought up an excellent point: why now? Why are the prisoners being reincorporated into society at this very moment? Why was Tiller killed today, when he was very likely atop the hit list of almost every prisoner under his watch during his time as Deputy Warden on the Rock - and when previously returning inmates like Tommy Madsen arrived back in SF before Sylvane. 


Lee Harvey Oswald vibe, anyone?

In 1960, we see Ernest Cobb witness Sylvane's reaction to his wife's request for a divorce on Alcatraz. They both seem quite stunned to see one another in New Alcatraz after both are caught by Hauser. Lucy had earlier questioned Sylvane about Cobb, but it could be that he never actually knew his name (but rather recognized his face upon arrival at New Alcatraz). Were the prisoners being returned to contemporary society kept apart during the many years they were held captive or were they all aware of what was going on?

Soto noted that Cobb "spent more time in solitary confinement than any inmate on record." Or did he? Fellow inmate Tommy Madsen tried to warn Jack Sylvane about a mysterious area below the Hole (solitary confinement) in 1960, so perhaps Cobb was in fact being subjected to testing or other psychological experiments when everyone else assumed he was in the Hole. Cobb specifically requested to be put in solitary and went out of his way to ensure that he did wind up there, which could indicate that he knew what was going on and was a voluntary participant. In the end, we see Cobb in a straight jacket, meeting Dr. Sengupta - and they may or may not have met before...


Rebecca's grandfather was Inmate 2002, the man who warned Sylvane in the infirmary that "something terrible's going to happen here." He made reference to an area below the Hole, which is where I can only assume preparations were already underway for the 1963 abduction. At that time, Ray Archer was a guard on the Rock and Hauser was a police officer in SF. It is possible that Archer was warned about the terrible pending event by Madsen, with whom he was obviously close as an inmate and a guard can be. Add it to the long list of significant details that Archer is keeping from Madsen's granddaughter Rebecca. 

Tommy was sentenced to life without parole, for murdering his wife. Assuming this is the first that Rebecca learns about that fact (given that she previously thought he was a guard)...what had she been told happened to her grandmother? And what type of revenge is the newly returned, youthful Tommy seeking in SF? If I were Rebecca, I'd send any family members in the area away for a while...


They go out of their way to point out that Sylvane was NOT a murderer ("he was a thief, not a killer"), that an unlucky circumstance of his robbery attempt landed him in jail originally. He did kill a fellow inmate in self defense at Leavenworth Federal Prison, which led to his transfer to Alcatraz. We have to question whether that was a set-up, whether Sylvane was specifically chosen at an earlier date to be one of the 63's. Whomever is responsible for taking the 302 men from Alcatraz on 3/21/63 may have been monitoring them or selecting them based on a set of criteria that we may not be privy to...yet. One might argue that Sylvane was vulnerable and susceptible, making him a prime target for future experimentation. 

When Hauser brought Sylvane to New Alcatraz, Sylvane said "I know you." Even though Hauser has aged and Sylvane hasn't, it is possible that he recognizes Hauser. Which would indicate that Officer Hauser had indeed been to Alcatraz before that transfer on the night of 3/21/63...

Hauser said that Jack's brother "won't be a problem" in the future. Sylvane is now secured in New Alcatraz, but what exactly did Hauser do to his brother Alan? I doubt he would have killed him (and his son, for that matter), so perhaps they were silenced with money, or relocated.

Why would Sylvane's fingerprints still be in the system if great lengths were taken to cover up the events of 3/21/63 on Alcatraz? Of course file access was restricted, but I was surprised to see any information about him available at all. 

Is is safe to assume that the Dr. Beauregard that Hauser referred to in New Alcatraz (to scare Sylvane) is the same prison doctor who took his blood back in 1960? If so, add prison medical staff to the list of those who vanished from Alcatraz on 3/21/63...


Right now, Barclay Flynn is just collateral damage - a chess piece that someone needed Sylvane to play and then discard. We don't know who he was, why he had that key or why the person who programmed Sylvane wanted him dead. As Emerson Hauser so kindly points out for us, "even if Jack Sylvane didn't know Flynn, it doesn't mean there weren't people who wanted him dead." Hauser also instructed Madsen to "forget about Barclay Flynn; we need to worry about our next victim."


In the book about Alcatraz Inmates on the ferry, Jack Sylvane looked up his former Wardens, Tiller and James. He discovered that E.B. Tiller received a Medal of Valor (which I hope they explore/show in a future episode). The book also notes that two attempts were made on Tiller's life. Whether they took place on Alcatraz or during his stint later as a Fed - I have a strong feeling that we'll witness both. 

Deputy Warden Tiller told Jack Sylvane that "things can always get worse" on Alcatraz. If they were hinting at Tiller's involvement with the 1963 disappearance...memo received and processed.

From what we've seen so far from Warden Edwin James, he appears to be a very interesting character. Slightly less obvious in his evil intentions than Deputy Warden Tiller, he nonetheless gives off a chilly air of maniacal power and control that will no doubt be unleashed on screen soon.

"The worst criminals this country has ever known are coming back and no one's going to be able to find them, because they don't exist."
Setting aside the logistics of the who and how behind the event on 3/21/63 (and Doc's "wormhole" theories), I can't help but wonder about the possibility of cryonics - a technique intended to extend one's lifespan. Those who took the 302 may have had a successful formula for the use of cryonics, and stopped their physical decay by cooling and then preserving them in liquid nitrogen.

Perhaps the "bad guys" starting resuscitating the 302 in 2011, restoring them to good health in preparation for their assignments, meticulously returning each on a specific date with their missions programmed and pockets full. 

The oldest cryonics society still in existence is, conveniently, the Bay Area Cryonics Society (BACS). Dr. Paul Segall developed blood substitutes for use in cryonic suspension. Why is this significant? Think about the pints of blood that the prison doctor took from Sylvane in 1960, which we can assume was done to all prisoners. Perhaps it was preparation for the 1963 abduction, or perhaps it was to run tests on the blood of those who would likely undergo a cryonic procedure - suspending them in time until their services were needed again. 

A few final thoughts:
  • I appreciated some of the smaller, more subtle details in the first two episodes, including Cobb's use of the same style checkered picnic table cloth that Warden James dined on. In addition, Cobb repeated "47 slots in picket fence" before shooting his victims, which I interpreted as a nod to the Star Trek franchise. Star Trek: The Next Generation and the other spin-offs frequently incorporated the use of 47, and it has also been used in similar fashion in J.J. Abrams' 2009 reboot film, as well as on Alias and Fringe
  • I love that there is not an immediate focus on any love connections. I'm much more likely to focus on and enjoy an overarching mystery than a romantic relationship on this type of show. 
  • It is rather genius to have 302 men disappear in 1963, only to reappear now - because it allows for series longevity and new characters along the way. The mythology will grow, but people will be able to tune in without having watched previous episodes and understand the basic premise of returning prisoners. They appear to be positioning ALCATRAZ as a palatable, accessible and enticing series that both hard-core fans and casual viewers will enjoy equally. 
  • That Hauser is amassing the newly returned inmates in New Alcatraz really sets up a potentially fantastic finale and future seasons where the prisoners interact as a group both in current time and via flashbacks to 1963 and during the "lost years" before 2011. 
  • My recap of the official ALCATRAZ premiere on Alcatraz from last week is posted, if you're interested. It was an incredibly cool experience to ride the ferry over to the party and stand in front of the boat with Jeffrey Pierce, Jorge Garcia and Sarah Jones - because a few of their scenes in the Pilot were filmed in that exact location. 

I strongly believe that ALCATRAZ has the potential to be a hit and success for the long run. I didn't have to like it, and my opinion wasn't predetermined just because of Abrams and Bad Robot - but truth be told, I love it. Emotional resonance with the lead characters has been established and the primary mystery at hand is tremendously intriguing. Any show that I actually think about for hours and days after it has aired earns my respect and interest for the duration. In my eyes, this is the first series since LOST to fit that description, and I must reiterate how much I appreciate the fact that ALCATRAZ is refreshingly different from LOST. I realize how many of you will disagree and point out nods and Easter Eggs, but I am not going to focus on comparisons to any other show. ALCATRAZ deserves time to develop on its own, and the patience of both the network and fans to do so.

Thank you SO much for taking the time to scroll through this very long list of thoughts and theories! I am genuinely grateful for your interest and really look forward to both your comments and feedback. And if you do like what you've read so far, feel free to spread the word in your social networks - share a link on Twitter, FB, through email, etc. I will respond to your comments and will meet you back here next week!



joshRgordon said...

Did you catch the name of the fish market seen in the Sniper episode?

-Josh R Gordon.

ps: I've missed you Jo!

- H said...

Hey Jo - great recap. I noticed two "Kelvin" easter eggs. One on the boat, like you mentioned. And one painted on the side of a building. I think it was the scene where the sniper was shooting at the grocery store parking lot?

maven said...

Okay, Jo! It's finally here. And it's hooked me in. The pilot and the Cobb episode set up many questions that will be touched upon and painstakingly answered though out the run of the show. That's what will make this a great series...the overall mythology will keep us coming back.

The what, why, how of the 63's is something hard to fathom right now. The shooting of Lucy and the introduction of Lucille was a, intriguing ending to Episode 2. I did get the feeling that there more to the relationship between Hauser and Lucy when he said she always wanted children and she touched his hand. Who Lucy/Lucille is will be very interesting.

The connections everyone seems to have to Alcatraz makes me think everyone has a stake in why the 63ers were taken.

Jorge did a great job as Doc Soto. Since he's new to this "detective" thing his character sees things through innocent, fresh eyes.

Here's hoping we Losties all feel the need to discuss, analyze, and enjoy something again!

jmwabby said...

Good to have you back Jo :) Did you happen to read the back of Docs book from the internet search? His crowning achievement is his high score on Galaga. ;D

Can't wait for next week!

Zort70 said...

Wow Jo, that summary was almost longer than the episodes themselves :-)

A great read and introduction to the show.

Since I saw the pilot at Comic Con I was worried that the show might have been a one trick pony, but I think from the new episode and information we have that it can become something more and run for some time to come.

Look forward to discussing things further with everyone as things progress.

Zort70 said...

@jmwabby - Is that the submarine Galaga :-)

Zort70 said...

Some other potential LOST references, key number 8 for the locker and Doc mentioning "The Barracks"

Andrea said...

Love your theories! And agreed - Alcatraz is no way comparable to LOST aside from a few coincidences. Couldn't be more different.

I'm still trying to piece together information on Lucy and her connection to the interested to learn more!

lennyg said...

Great to have you back like this Jo! So do I have to read Asimov's book? Been telling people it's not LOST but I couldn't help embracing my Inner LOST while enjoying what I hope will be a long run with Alcatraz.

Zort70 said...

Just found some viral marketing / ARG like stuff for Alcatraz.

An article ( about some promo material sent out to certain people, leads to this URL -

There is a puzzle to solve and some more info once you have solved it.

Valerie Noble said...

Love all the theories! And thank you for such a great post. It was luxurious read. LOL

I like the show a lot and I love having all these crazy questions and possible theories running through my head. :)

Jom said...

Very helpful, Jo! You expanded my thinkng processes. Hey, did you notice (via the Madsen internet search), Tiller left the Rock in 1962 -- one year before the closure. Hence, he was no longer a warden on 3/21/63.

Rocco said...

At 24m 39s into ep 2 I noticed what appears to be a QR code on Jack's cell door. Has anyone been able to get a good screen cap and scan the code?

SG_Tess said...

Hi Jo
Nice summary and theories. I hate stating the obvious but this is the first show to grab me and pull me in,in the first few minutes since Lost. And make me want to rewatch it.
Looking forward to coming here and reading your thoughts discussing the show.

shar said...

Nice to read your thoughts again Jo! It wasn't as long as I thought it would be.
I definitely agree on the blood having something to do with the 63s disappearance and "reboot", but would they take blood from the guards too?
I also enjoy seeing the Bay Area in TV and films since I live here. And thought of Marin Co. when I saw the new Alcatraz too. Bummer that they don't actually film here.
Looking forward to reading each week. Do you know how many episodes this first season is?

Lisa (UFN) said...

Thank you Jo!!! Great post. I've missed this. I am SO on board with this show. I watch a lot of TV and love a lot of shows, but this was amazing and I hope it can continue to deliver. It's good to have conspiracy theory/mystery solving/thought provoking TV again. So glad it's not a LOST clone. Nothing else can ever be LOST, and I don't want it to be. (I have to go back :))

Is Hauser someone we aren't going to like when we find out more about him? Not even sure I "like" him now. I love Doc and Rebecca.

I like that along with the overall mythology, it is also a weekly crime drama. So intriguing. See ya next week!

jakuiper said...

While they never mentioned Cobb's inmate number in 1960, at New Alcatraz, it showed AZ 2047, which presumably means 2047 was his inmate number previously. Sylvane's inmate number, AZ 2024, at New Alcatraz matched up with his in 1963, 2024.

Hammer said...

Regarding your observation that folks didn't look into 302 transfers not being at their new locations, we all know that 1963 didn't have all the news/social mediums we have today. The likely hood that ANY of the families of the 302 would contact other families to see if their member also just happened to die soon after arrival is very remote.

Maniacal Movie God said...

Let me first say that I haven't read through the entire post yet or if this was pointed out already then I apologize.

In the section about Lucy you said that you didn't think Hauser is aware that she was one of the ones that disappeared from Alcatraz. 2 things that were said during the Cobb episode lead me to believe otherwise. For starters; Hauser made a comment to her pointing out that she always wanted kids. The exchange between the 2 of them was much more than that of colleagues or even recent love interests. Secondly, when Lucy is asked if she's been with Hauser for a long time she replies "with him...without him". I'm pretty sure that they knew each other and were romantically involved prior to her disappearance in 63. After all, there has to be some reason that it appears Hauser has devoted his life to figuring out why they all disappeared and why they are returning. You don't have that kind of drive just because some prisoners do that because someone you loved disappeared.

All my opinion of course.

Ashley S. said...

RE: The guy at the gym front desk reading Stephen King was actually reading "Under the Dome" not "Different Seasons." Not important, but I thought you might want to know :)

Just Thinking said...

Lots of fun reading your tips and insights on the show Jo! You really look at all the angles. Cryogenics sounds plausible too!

We Losties can't help but compare and contrast though- so here are my two bits.

Both shows have/had a big central Mystery- and other stuff that is happening around it.

Charlie expressed it with "Guys, where are we?" in Lost. Or, how and why do these weird things happen on this island? I loved Lost, but thought the answer- an all powerful "energy" at its heart-was kind of a paste on solution. Pretty sure initially Damon just thought it would be cool to have monsters shaking the palm trees.

Lost was so fantastically made though, with so many interesting stories happening, I didn't really mind.

Now, Alcatraz has the central question-"How and why did the 63's disappear and how and why are they returning?" I think this is going to require a much more detailed answer, and I think the creators know that answer now. So that may work out well. The returning prisoner stories are have exciting action,and there is potential for good character development. Not sure if it's creating a unique Alcatraz "world" for us to live in yet, not the way Lost combined setting, music, and just wonderful production. I kind of know I'm in Vancouver. Is Jack Bender directing yet?

Anyway that's what struck me so far- sure do wish it all the best!

Unknown said...

On Alcatraz today, you don't need a ticket to get on the boat back. You can just hope on any you like with no proof. They figure that you already have a ticket since you're on the Island, and there is only one company that lands at the docks (others just go around without stopping).

Also, there are already some comics written about escape attempts, and there are more being made soon.

Diego's Soul Patch said...

Finally got a chance to read this (during halftime of the SF vs NY game). Jason was right, great job!

PS Warden Edwin James has been "long dead" according to Doc i the pilot.

Farnswroth said...

"Wilde" Theory of the Week -- To paraphrase Oscar Wilde: It is a curious thing but everyone who was LOST is said to have been seen in San Francisco. Was it remote viewing or television? FYI: Alcatraz + TV associations: Emerson, Sylvania, 20(0)2 Green Street - Philo Farnsworth's Lab. NB. Philo got the idea for TV by Tilling (BE Tiller) the soil in rows. Interesting that Sarnoff and RCA stole credit for Phil-vision.

Page48 said...

Truth be told, I love that you worked a "Truth Be Told" into your write-up. It seems to me that there aren't many of us left.

Hopefully, someday, you'll find the perfect situation to sneak in a "who do you work for, you pretty little girl?"

Ashley Stuart said...

New to your blog. Just found it yesterday && I'm catching up on your post! Very excited!

Batchout said...

As usual Jo, you took us deeper. My initial reaction of "benign baddie serial" has been redacted in light of all this analysis. Now: To the next post! whee-haw.