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,
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. 


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. 


“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. 


“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…


“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.   


“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. 


“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…


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. 


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!  


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


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. 


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 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…


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. 


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.


“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. 

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.  



bryanwynbrandt said...

Jo -- 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.

Farnsworth said...

Webb Porter" - What's all this violins on TV?"

Add Webb Porter to the list of the "Alcatraz Dirty Dozen." Porter, a violinist savant, fills the role of musician Trini Lopez, whose character met an untimely death in the "Dirty Dozen" movie when he broke his neck parachuting onto a tree. Interestingly, Porter tried to break his neck jumping onto the wooden stage of an empty theater after he played his swan song, but was caught by Emerson Hauser in the nick of time. And what's with all this violins on TV?

That scene could be indicative of the future of "Alcatraz," as the show is playing to a dwindling audience. The final episode promises to reveal what the heck happened to the Alcatraz prisoners, but the show has been on life support too long like a certain character waiting for a special transfusion. It may be too late. In a post-mortem evaluation of the show JJ and company may come to understand the audience needs to know the big stakes early and not interested in a repeating story of dealing with the random reappearance of a menace to society. She-Steve and Doc Hugo are not compelling characters for the audience to care, in contrast to LOST's Doctor Shepherd and the fugitive Kate.

When the Iron Curtain is pulled back to reveal the Great Oz pulling the levers of power behind the mystery will the audience care? Or will they leave the stage like Emily Litella with this goodbye: "Nevermind."

Zort70 said...

I'm trying to think of something to add to your, as usual, excellent summary.

You are right that tt some point very soon Doc and Rebecca are going to have to be inducted into Hauser's inner circle. They are not going to be able to stay out of his secret business for long.

What intrigues me is why he felt it necessary to exclude them in the first place. What is the bigger picture that the geek squad know, that Doc and Rebecca have to be kept away from.

I actually thought the fact that Doc didn't know who it was immediately added something extra to this episode as the instant spot removes the investigation element that can sometimes be the most intersting part of a procedural investigation.

Do we think all the prisoners arrived back at once and the further away we get from re-entry the harder it will be to spot them ? Or are they being introduced a few at a time to serve whatever purpose the man behind the curtain has for them ?

(p.s. the immature person in me has just noticed the verification code is "hiney")

Valerie Noble said...

Another fantastic post!

I do enjoy this show and I hope it gets a 2nd season. I love its mystery and the fact that it's set in the Bay Area. ;)

I loved the scene where they were reviewing the old tape. Nicely done!

Fractalman93 said...

Jo - Great blog! I enjoyed reading it! Alcatraz got off to a little bit of a slow start, but has definitely capture my attention with the last few episodes. I haven't seen the season finale yet.

I too am a Lost fan. So, I hope to read some of your Lost posts as well. I enjoyed it up to about the last season and a half. I didn't like the direction it took after that and was quite disappointed with the series finale.