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. 


“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.


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. 


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.


“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.  


“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…


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


“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.   


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. 


“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. 



“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. 


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 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. 


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...



“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. 


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. 


  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...



Just movies...for real. said...


I love your recaps. It blows my mind how much you have put together and how much you have noticed about each episode. Thanks for keeping us involved in the mysteries surrounding the '63's!

RobPerrin said...

Awesome post, equally as grand as the finale. I really enjoyed S1 and hope Fox can find a slot for the show's next season.

Anthony said...

I've enjoyed your commentary; I hope the show is renewed so I can read more of it. :)

About the "death" of Rebecca Madsen, it would be a major mistake (imho) to kill off the lead character. Rebecca is the key "everyday person caught in a weird situation" character we identify with, through whose eyes we experience the world of the show. Her experiences are central to our participation. The closest other character to her is Doc, but I don't think he could carry the lead the way Rebecca does.

What I think will happen is that Doc will contact Hauser and tell him he has to "do something." He knows he can because he saved Lucy, who'd taken a bullet to the heart. Hauser relents, and Rebecca wakes in the season 2 premier to find herself in New Alcatraz. This is how she and Doc discover the secret prison.

And I greatly enjoyed the chase scene. "Bullitt" is one of my favorite films, and the homage was appreciated and well-done. (Please tell me Sarah did her own driving. :) )

Favorite character outside of Rebecca and Doc: Warden James. Johnny Coyne is having too much fun with that part.

While I wouldn't call Alcatraz "gripping TV," it was an enjoyable season with a good mystery and a good cast. I hope it gets renewed. Too often, the networks (especially Fox) don't show the patience to let a show develop and grow an audience. Fingers crossed.

Diane said...


Totally enjoyed reading your blog today. I haven't been reading much during the season about theories and after reading your blog I realized how much I've missed. I am not quick on putting all the pieces together like you have here. Now I'm even more excited about a second season. I need to watch the show with the same inquisitive mind that I did with Lost. I really love that Jorge gets more face time than before. What a great character they have written for him. Fingers crossed here too! P.S. Also loved the car scene and the ARG that has gone on with the show. The puzzles have been a blast.

neh92207 said...

Jo -

Thanks for another great season of writing. I look forward to yours posts after each show. I've followed you during LOST and I just knew that when this show came out, you'd be right there with it and it would be great. I really hope that FOX brings back the show for many more seasons to come. I would hate to see it end now. Until next time! :)

Anonymous said...

Jo, I would like to thank you for making this show a lot more meaningful for me this season. On the surface, the show seemed kinda flat. By that I mean, the plot formula was always the same and the characters just happened to be in the right places at the right time, etc.. but after reading your posts each week, I quickly lost sight of the plot formula and cared a lot more about the story and mythology surrounding ALCATRAZ. You made it much for real for me and my puny little brain :) Thanks for your dedication. Looking forward to season 2 commentary.

Just Thinking said...

Oh-we have had fun with the podcasts and blogs and Legends puzzles- I sure hope they go to season 2.

Good work with your theory "hits" Jo!

I am getting confused with who's on what side though. I got the impression it was Madsen against Simmons and Warden. And have to think what prisoner was on what side

Want more story Fox!


maven said...

Great analysis, Jo...tying up some plot threads in an intuitive way. You have made watching Season One so much more notice so many things and connections! Here's hoping there's a Season 2!

Brutus, Ellie, Pippa and Otto said...

I really hope there is a season 2 - I love this show!

my twitter name is @cgrieze

Sean said...

Thanks for taking the time to write each week!

John Scott said...

"Prisoners of No Love"

Many noted the LOST references in "Alcatraz." Perhaps "Alcatraz" would have escaped the death penalty and not lost its audience if the protagonist had a prisoner's love triangle dilemma like the fugitive Kate-conman Sawyer-Doc Jack triangle. All work and no play would have made even Doc Jack a dull boy.

StillWatching said...

Enjoyed reading your blog this season! You catch so many little references and insights that I miss. I hope they get another season and that you continue to blog about it.

SG_Tess said...

Always enjoy reading your posts. Hoping this won't be the last on Alcatraz. It's such a great show. I love trying to unravel mysteries. Here's to a second season.

LiLi623 said...

Great post, thanks for sharing. I really, REALLY hope Fox bring Alcatraz back for another season. This show has become my favorite this season!

KickinAssTakingNames said...

Loved the finale episodes. I also believe Rebecca isn't dead (or will come back). I, too, noticed the long pause on the silver knife, so that's got to hint at something. As far as the phone number of a "friend" given to Harlan Simmons, I though that person was Tommy Madsen. Perhaps I'm confused? I'd say that's highly possible.

I'm so sucked in, I am going to be extremely bummed if this show isn't renewed. Regardless, thanks for your blogging, Jo. I have thoroughly enjoyed your analysis and theories, as well as the comments of others (sorry I didn't offer much) and hope to do so next season. Cheers!

p.s. don't include me in the prize drawing, as you know I was a winner of one of the books earlier in the season. It's awesome!

Outbck844 said...

love your work, keep it up


Anonymous said...

Jo, also want to offer my thanks to your efforts to provide us with "jumping off" points regarding all the twists and turns of the season. It would be sad indeed if Fox doesn't see the widsom of renewing. From what I have seen, the numbers have held up decently and the show warrants another season, even if a "mini" as has become the custom in some circles. I certainly don't think Rebecca is dead by any stretch of the imagination. I was disappointed that was left as the season/series-ender whatever the case. Just too "easy" to put that kind of emotional device in a finale...and considering we're dealing with "dead" people coming back to life...well, I just think the producers could have come up with another way to close it out. Truth be told, it was "wild enough" to get into that room once and for all and see the good Doctor asking what year it was, etc. Let us hope for renewal! Thanks again for the great posts and theories! @lifeattitudestw

TheRightKost said...

Your blog definitely made me rethink everything about the show, and acknowledge the deeper meanings of a lot of the things I missed on the first watch. I really enjoyed talking over your theories with my friends who also watch the show. Here's to hoping we can do it again next year!


lennyg said...

That warden poster is fantastic! Thanks for your thoughts and analysis-more insightful than I could hope to achieve even without travel exhaustion! Here's hoping those final DVR #s will convince the suits to give us more Alcatraz! Ding! @lennyg10

Stacy at The Novel Life said...

I just discovered your site tonight after catching up on the season finale and wow! I'm so very impressed with all you have surmised! And please, please, please FOX return with a Season 2!

Stacy at The Novel Life said...

I was going back through your commenters for this post and have to agree with the one about it being confusing which inmate is on which side - I too was thinking it was Madsen against Simmons but I had not worked out yet where the warden's loyalties lay...excellent show!

K P said...

BILLIONAIRE Harlan Simmons, where did his money come from?

Confederate gold perhaps?

Eyz said...

That was a fantastic recap!

I'm still crossing my fingers to hope to see a renewal. Oh, the suspense..

Love your site, bookmarked it since Alcatraz and you started this!
(^though that is my first comment here)