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An improvement over the previous two, for sure, but it’s too early for even cautious optimism yet. Because let’s face it, child endangerment is a better emotional draw than the thin gruel served up as characterization and plot thus far (the con whose brother married his gal, the sniper who really, really likes to snipe). Jorge Garcia is a decent actor, and he’s certainly in his comfort zone as the cuddly but wounded teddy bear manchild. I also like that Madsen didn’t press him for what is clearly an abduction/molestation story in his past, and how even this early in their partnership, she goes out of her way to be upbeat and supportive, and to plead his case to their new boss. I like her chipper more than the usual strained, haunted, haggard chick cop they were setting her up to be, although I would be fine with that if they went back and put some effort into it.
There are still problems. Sam Neill’s assistant was injured too early for us to give a crap, and the tiny parceling out of clues about the secret behind the Alcatraz disappearance leads one to think there isn’t a lot of there, there. This episode didn’t really provide clues, exactly; we see that for some reason, Madsen’s grandpa, inmate #202, gets to hang out behind a divider in the infirmary at all times to tease, hector and otherwise bother injured inmates (and the viewer) with hints about the real goings-on in the prison, and at the end, we see that the doctor from that time is working in the new, underground prison, unaged. Is the prison just underground in our time, or does it exist outside time? I don’t really care, just give me better stories and characterization to want me to continue the ride to find out.