Tuesday, February 7, 2012

ALCATRAZ Episode 1.05 ("Guy Hastings"): Thoughts & Theories

Go grab your secret stash from the wall and get comfortable, because we are about to take a few virtual jumps between decades in an attempt to figure out what lies beneath. Lairs and nerd herds and dungeons, oh my!

The 302/63’s

1. Lucy Banerjee
2. Dr. Beauregard 
3. Mrs. Beauregard (questionable)
4. Guy Hastings, guard
5. Ernest Cobb, inmate #2047
6. Tommy Madsen, inmate #2002
7. Kit Nelson, inmate #2046 
8. Cal Sweeney, inmate #2112
9. Jack Sylvane, inmate #2024

According to Alcatraz expert and author Michael Esslinger, there were about 300 civilians living on Alcatraz at any given time. It is possible that those responsible for the abduction on 3/21/63 took the time to safely evacuate all of the guards’ wives and children, given how Hastings’ family was separated from him before he disappeared. But if you stop to ponder the logistics involved with making sure that 300 or so family members were taken into SF by ferry on a particular day, it really does prove how pre-meditated and extremely organized the entire event was. 

Whatever the reason was behind the disappearance of the 302, ensuring future generations was not on the agenda. Purposefully relocating the wives from the big picture removed any opportunities for additional offspring, leaving only the inmates, guards and prison staff to be suspended in time. 

Thus far, we have only witnessed Jack Sylvane and Guy Hastings’ re-entry into current day take place on Alcatraz. We initially saw Ernest Cobb on a picnic, Kit Nelson kidnapping a boy and Cal Sweeney robbing a bank – but not the exact moment when each first appeared to “wake up” disoriented and out place/time.  

Cobb’s programmed mission included taking out Dr. Lucy Banerjee/Lucille Sangupta. Madsen’s programmed mission clearly involved leading his granddaughter Rebecca on to the scent of the returning 63’s. I would not be at all surprised if a future returning inmate goes after Doc, if indeed his parents have ties to a former prisoner or the person responsible for their son’s childhood trauma. And at some point, ex-SFPD officer Hauser is also a likely target. 


I realize that it may have only been a throwaway comment made by Doc in the Pilot, but his statement about double-ups continues to ring true on many levels. Hastings told young guard Ray Archer, “On Alcatraz, no man can do it alone.” And a second cracked framed photo featuring a significant pair of characters (first the older Wardens James and Tiller, and now younger brothers Ray Archer and Tommy Madsen) played a role yet again in the search for the returning 63’s.  It takes two, baby. 


It was surprising to hear Hauser ask about seismic activity on the day that Guy Hastings returned.  Seismic waves are generated by earthquakes or explosions, and I have to wonder if Hauser tipped his hat with that inquiry. Perhaps there is an atmospheric or subterranean disruption at the moment that inmates and guards re-enter, or he is expecting one to occur soon... 

{Side note: we live alarmingly close to the Hayward Fault, so now when we experience frequent tremors - I'll keep an eye out for nefarious criminals with Richard Alpert syndrome}


We know that young Hauser was a police officer in San Francisco in 1963, and presumably for a few years before that. My guess is that he had encountered or arrested young Tommy Madsen and also knew his brother Ray Archer.  We don’t know if Ray’s first job was as a prison guard – it is possible that he applied for the SFPD or even worked with Hauser there before transitioning into a prison guard…

Thinking back to the Pilot episode, when Hauser informed Jack Sylvane that E.B. Tiller “was my friend” – I have to wonder when they become acquainted and how. In 1963, young Hauser was an SF police officer that assisted with prisoner transfers. EB Tiller was a socially awkward Deputy Warden who appeared to suffer from agoraphobia and likely rarely left the Rock.  I assume that they formed a friendship BEFORE the 1963 abduction; when Tiller relocated from the Rock to become a Fed. While both men were not present during the events on 3/21/63, we must consider that they were somehow complicit in what happened.

When Hauser picked up the red phone in the secret lair beneath Alcatraz, he simply said, “I need to see you.” He wasn’t addressing the geek squad of scientists behind closed doors – it was a direct line to someone not on the premises. My money is on Dr. B at New Alcatraz. Time for Hauser to call in that favor and have Dr. B save and/or wake up Lucy from the coma so that she can continue assisting his search and recovery of the 63’s. 

Was Hauser holding rosary beads at the end of this episode, and if so – why?



Ray said that he didn’t think Tommy had killed his wife, but “then I did.” I look forward to more details emerging about the relationship between the two brothers on the Rock, as well as how and why Tommy killed his spouse.
“My grandfather is more important to you than I ever imagined. Which means that you need me more than I need you.” – Rebecca Madsen to Emerson Hauser

After beating him with a tray in the mess hall, Tommy told his brother Ray that “you shouldn’t have come here.” That warning, coupled with Tommy’s knowledge about what takes place beneath solitary and his frequent visits to the infirmary for blood withdrawal – makes a strong case that he knew what was going to happen on 3/21/63…ahead of time. Tommy Madsen was very important to those who orchestrated the abduction and also to Hauser in current day.  I would venture to guess that he was the first to be experimented on before the other inmates and guards were subjected to tests, both with and without their knowledge. 

Additionally, Tommy may have been sending himself to both solitary confinement and the infirmary on purpose, to either get information or treatments…

It could be that Guy Hastings’ mission was to find the evasive Tommy Madsen, who is currently “unaccounted for” or “lost.” He may have gone rogue from his programmed agenda after re-entry into modern society, and perhaps Hastings’ programmers figured that it was better to send a guard (one of the ‘good guys’) after Tommy than a fellow inmate. 


The personal items of the inmates were left as-is when they vanished in 1963, and then boxed up and stored later beneath Alcatraz. And yet Annie Hastings received a box of her father’s items from the prison. Taking the time to provide guards’ family members with their personal affects was a very thoughtful and time-consuming process for those who meticulously masterminded the disappearance of 302 people.  Someone was responsible for making sure that these items were delivered – someone local and not wherever/whenever the 302 were taken.  Hauser referred to Hastings as a “casualty in this.” Clearly, all 46 guards and/or prison staff were casualties that someone or something was willing to sacrifice for their greater purpose…


In the Pilot episode, Ray told Rebecca to “let it go” and walk away from the Sylvane case. In this episode, Ray told her that – regarding Tommy’s crime, “I just had to let it go.” While an obvious comparison to Christian Shephard on LOST might be screaming at you in neon lights, I've moved on (which I highly recommend you can do too, without actually letting go). 
“You and me are in this together.” - Guard Ray to Inmate Tommy
Ray signed up to be an Alcatraz guard knowing full well that his brother was an inmate there (thus, the smile on his face when he saw Tommy – who greeted him with a horrified look and beating). He must have known the risks involved, if anyone found out that he was related to a prisoner. Rebecca surmised that Ray was not surprised by the ageless, returning inmates because Hauser had tried to recruit him, but it is also possible that Ray was warned by Tommy and thus left his position on the Rock before 3/21/63. Ray “left to raise his son” after all… 
Sixteen banners united over the field, where the good shepherd grieves. Desperate men, desperate women divided, spreading their wings 'neath falling leaves. - Bob Dylan, "Changing of the Guard"
Hauser offered Ray Archer a job 16 years ago. Just something to keep in mind...

“You don’t belong here.” – Alcatraz Park Ranger to Guy Hastings
Whoever programmed Guy Hastings hid the gun in the wall as part of his assignment, but also the family photos. But Hastings’ wiring was very off because he wasn’t aware that his daughter was still alive when he returned. Unlike Jack Sylvane, who was hell-bent on finding his brother because he’d married Jack’s wife – Hastings’ implanted or restored memories were blurry at best.

Did Hastings leave two gun clips in the hidden wall space because he didn’t intend to harm Ray or Tommy, or because it was another instance of faulty wiring?

They mentioned that Hastings was in the Navy and in Korea before becoming a guard on Alcatraz in 1957.  We do not know in what capacity he served, but perhaps it was at Portsmouth Naval Prison – otherwise known as the Alcatraz of the East. The brig at Portsmouth was modeled after Alcatraz, and used throughout the Korean War. Another interesting fact gleaned from Soto's book above - Tommy Madsen also served in the Korean War from 1952-1953. I would not be at all surprised to learn that he and Hastings were well acquainted long before both arrived on the Rock in very different capacities...


So Warden James has a “little one.” I can’t wait to meet the Mrs. Shall we add her to the list of the 302, or did he arrange for his wife and child to leave the Rock along with the guards’ families?

Deputy Warden Tiller was rather adamant about getting rid of Ray Archer, as if he already knew that Archer’s brother was Tommy Madsen.  Once again, Warden James took a decision out of his hands and assigned authority to someone other than his Deputy. 


According to official (fabricated) records, Hastings and 8 either guards died after a chemical spill in 1963.  Before he was abducted and suspended in time, Hastings recalled being told that there was an “accident” that killed their families, and that the guards were  sick and contaminated. 

I have already speculated about the possibility of cryogenics as an explanation for the frozen-in-time, ageless 302. When 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…

Another possible hint was the way that Hastings expressed regret to Ray Archer in current day, about missing all of the years from 1963 to present: “I haven’t been anywhere. You got to…live.”  The re-animated Hastings may not have known what happened to him, but he knows that he was robbed of his family and life – and the look on his face spoke volumes; he really is a casualty once this mission is over, and any life he might have now will not be his own. 

Thank you very much for the comments and RT’s – I have randomly selected two of you to receive an autographed copy of Michael Esslinger’s book Letters From Alcatraz (generously donated by Michael)! If you are @CV_81 or KickinAssTakingNames, please email me your shipping address: jo at jopinionated dot com. 

If you love ALCATRAZ as much as I do, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to continue spreading the good word to your friends, families and social networks. Watching the show live on Monday nights rather than online or via DVR the next day would be a tremendous step toward ensuring a second season and beyond! The ratings are steady but not as high as they could be if more fans tuned in live rather than later on other devices. Live Plus ratings (that include DVR and streaming views) always enhance the ratings, but are not included in initial overnight numbers, which the networks tend to focus on. 

I appreciate your feedback every week and encourage comments either here or via Twitter

- Jo


maven said...

I wondered about those beads/necklace/rosary was that Hauser was holding at the end, too!

I'm thinking that the Marsden clan holds some kind of "key" to the mystery. We will find out there are more connections that meet the eye.

MollyFaraday said...

I wonder how long it will be until we see another guard coming back.. Judging by how much info was revealed by Guy about his "blackout period", I don't think it will be for awhile. It was nice to see someone who doesn't have the same ill intent of the others.He seemed more confused than anything...

darq said...

Love your analysis and insight!

I usually catch the pieces, but you connect things I miss! Thanks.

Two notes that I found interesting and may help you with more theories

First, the rosary beads Hauser is holding are a Buddhist Japa Mala.
More info, a screencap and a picture below.




Withthe appearance of this Buddhist rosary I wonder if what I thought was a rose on Hauser's ring may be a stylized Dharma Wheel. Bad Robot does like to reuse their sybolism in multiple shows after all....

Second note, possibly related to the cryogenics and fog. In Ernest Cobb near the end his chatty cellmate breaks into manic religious text and shouts, ""For the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised imperishable and we shall be changed!”

That line is from the "Homily fo the Resurrection" given at most Othodox Easter services. Full Homily in the link:


Zort70 said...

Thanks for the analysis Jo, very comprehensive as usual.

16 years you say !

Loving the mystery element of the show and can't wait for it to unfold. The criminal of the week element got turned on it's head with this episode to keep things fresh.

Farnsworth said...

Guy Hastings - LOST and Found in the Fog of War
Recap: Prison guard Guy Hastings says the last thing he remembered was that a fog rolled in, the stars disappeared, and then he woke up and “it wasn‘t 1963 anymore.” Guy reappears in the present day apparently programmed to hunt down Tommy Madsen. Why? Guy does not have the foggiest. Booya!
Getting LOST in a fog in cold San Fran Harbor is not that unusual, but for Guy and the rest of the 63ers getting LOST in time is quite unusual. The betting here is the fog was actually a sleeping gas cloud meant to subdue the prisoners, and the guards were unavoidable casualties of a cold war behind the Iron Bar Curtain, as suggested in my previous 11 o'clock news posts.
Wise Guy
Tommy was programmed to kill She-Steve's (Rebecca Madsen) partner, which brought Doc XI Soto, who coincidentally admitted he “was a fraud, X-cellent” into the chase. Guy plays the role of a Jack Ruby type, sent on a mission by the (Austin) powers-that-be to eliminate loose end Tommy (Oswald type) because Tommy knows too much. (Forgive the JFK assassination references, but they did disappear in 1963 after all.)
Band of Blood Brothers
Ray Archer is strangely protective of his brother who was convicted of murdering Rebecca's grandmother. Perhaps he knows Tommy was framed for her murder. But now he tells Tommy he will kill him if he threatens the safety of She-Steve.
Tommy knew something big was going to happen because the doctors were taking the prisoners' blood. He tried to get his brother Ray off the island by smashing him with a lunch tray. Though Ray told Hastings that he left Alcatraz to raise Tommy's son, Hastings overheard Ray spilling the beans to his brother and probably was the one who sent him off the Rock.
It has been suggested the blood packing involving Tommy and several other prisoners could be connected with an experiment in time travel requiring a fast freeze process. It is known the fast freeze process depletes the blood. One of most important early workers on the theory of cryopreservation was James Lovelock He suggested that damage to red blood cells during freezing was due to osmotic stresses. If Guy Hastings and the Alcatraz prisoners were frozen like Austin “Shag” Powers secret agents, they would have to be transfused to survive.

NB. Anagram of "Guy Hastings" is "Shaggy Units." If Guy is a "Shaggy" Guy, perhaps Diego Doc Soto (anagram = Iced Goods Too) is Doctor Evil.

JoePal said...

Tommy Madsen went to Alcatraz in 1957 for killing his wife. His son, and Rebecca's dad, had a birth year of 1960 on his tombstone. How could he have a son while in prison with a women he supposedly killed 3 years earlier?

Andrea said...

First thought when Doc talked about his childhood trauma was that he (or his family) was in some way connected to the 63's, if not the Alcatraz mystery in general. I'm so curious as to how this is all going to come together. And I continue to be suspicious of Ray's involvement, I think we're dealing with a bigger conspiracy than we're being led to believe.

lennyg said...

Excellent. Always love reading your blog and then thinking "ohhhh..." Especially liked the Ray Archer analysis with the bonus Dylan quote!

Jeff said...

Great analysis as always Jo. My only question/comment though is about Hastings' arrival. I know the first time we saw him was in his house at Alcatraz but do we know for sure that's when he arrived? I know that's what we're supposed to think, especially based on Hauser's questions to his nerd herd about seismic activity at that time. But isn't it at least possible that he arrived somewhere else and then went out to his house to retrieve the items in the house? At least with Sylvane we saw him "arrive" within the cell at Alcatraz. Maybe I missed something somewhere that definitively indicates that Hasting arrival was in his Alcatraz house.

Jo said...

Darq - thanks for the informative links!
Farnsworth - entertaining & enlightening as always!
JoePal - excellent question!
Jeff - good point, we don't know for sure when and where Hastings arrived
Stacey - since we have yet to see Harlan in current day, I haven't added him to the list of 63's who have returned...yet

Mlo/Yonomeaburro said...

Prison Break Bros + Blackout Flash Forward Episode!

hbarbee said...

So what happened to the guard? All the prisoners are returned to New Alctraz. They told the guard he would never see his daughter again. What are they doing with the guards?

Tweb said...

Excellent recap as always, I patiently wait each week at the conclusion of the episode to read your insight and see what I really missed.

KickinAssTakingNames said...

Thanks for the book, Jo!

My god this show is getting complicated.

Anthony said...

One error in the episode (I think): Soto and Madsen look up census information from 1950 to find where Tommy and Ray grew up in Daly City. Trouble is, census data is under s 70-year privacy rule. The most recent data available is from 1940; 1950 won't be released until 2020.

Fun episode, otherwise. :)

Bice said...

If you go back again and watch the episode, take a look at the scene where Ray visits Tommy in the Hospital ward. The shadow tommy casts onto his pillow looks exactly like the devils. Let me know what you think.

Jbones72 said...

nice pick up on the "mints" she gave them both!