Alcatraz: S01E03 “Kit Nelson”

4.5 Overall Score
Acting: 2/10
Production: 7/10
Plot: 3/10

Production Value

Where do I start?

This episode had mediocrity written all over it. In my opinion, the pilot episode of Alcatraz was crap, and if it weren’t for the second episode premiering right after and my patience holding through, I may have called this show a lost cause. Hence, I had high hopes that maybe the pilot episode was simply a bad fluke and that this show may actually turn out alright. “Kit Nelson” threw that theory right in the gutter.

We now have seen that this is basically going to be a procedural show with very small main story bits and mystery thrown in. I’m alright with procedural shows. As expected, serialized dramas do come off as stronger shows since they rely strictly on the plot. And if that plot is good, well then it is almost a given that the show will be good. Procedural shows work on a totally different pace though, and episodic hit or misses are much more common. Procedural shows can be strong shows in all the same fields as serialized shows though. I love the first two seasons of House and Person of Interest seems to be holding my interest quite closely.

Alcatraz seems to share absolutely no qualities with those shows. It seems like everything the writers and director wanted the audience to feel this episode failed. The main villain this week comes off almost comical instead of the intended creepy. Jorge Garcia’s emotional scenes involve such bad acting that I now can no longer take his character seriously in any fashion (I openly laughed during some of the more “emotional” moments). Sam Neill’s scenes of emotional outbreak are so damn cliche that it’s hard to watch. On top of that Sarah Jones’ character (Rebecca Madsen) takes a complete backseat in this episode after being introduced as our main character and could have essentially been replaced by a mannequin for most of the episode.

The best way I can put the acting is to say you can take most of the emotional scenes out and upload them to YouTube and you will get countless laughs in the vain of the old Walker Texas Ranger clips or any Nicolas Cage clips found on Youtube. Usually you watch shows and you get your little outbreaks of poor acting, and its forgivable. That was how it was in the pilot episode of Alcatraz. This whole episode does a complete role reversal and you literally have to struggle to find a single actor that doesn’t completely fail at their delivery.

With this acting, that honestly I can’t seem to get past at all, the villain this week was a complete waste. Last week we saw our villain shoot teenagers on a ferris wheel with a sniper while creepily reciting phrases in an OCD fashion. It worked. It worked very well. On top of that, last week’s villain had flashbacks to his stay in Alcatraz and they really showed us what makes him tick and how evil he really was. Kit Nelson (the name of our villain this week) is so damn one sided and generic that it virtually ruins any redeeming quality left in the episode. All we get is that he kills children. That’s it. It almost felt like the writers wanted the character to be the stereotypical crazed child killer, but were too lazy to expand on it and just wanted the viewers to accept it as so. We get no shocking scene to show off his evil and no strong references to his past deeds (besides the murdering of his brother which still was barely fleshed out). I try to imagine that maybe if the delivery of the lines were better that this character may have been more interesting, but I honestly don’t know.

The production value is still strong (by production value i mean budget) and the wounds on Kit’s face in Alcatraz are very well done. Overall it seems like this show may be nothing deeper than its budget (See: Terra Nova, another new FOX show this season…). It feels like its coming from a bunch of kids fresh out of film school trying to make a show and they had their rich uncle give them a ton of money make. Everything comes off mediocre: the directing, the acting, the writing. It fails on all these levels but it gets wrapped up in a pretty package. At one point Jorge Garcia literally recites this line, a line that is supposed to be one of the most emotional lines of the episode: “No, Its not complicated its simple, i know this cause I’m a human being, and I’m not like you”. I would scold a middle schooler for writing something that poor, and to be honest after hearing that line, I now see Jorge’s character as having the mind of a middle schooler.

The show does give off some main plot reveals at the end, but nothing worth sitting through the hour of absolute boredom to get to. Am I intrigued at all still? No. Forced would be the best word to describe this episode. Forced and mediocre.

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Author: Chris Fadeley View all posts by
I am UF alumni and a computer engineer. I know virtually every useless fact about videogames ever. I like computers and potatoes.

121 Comments on "Alcatraz: S01E03 “Kit Nelson”"

  1. Pat Haynes January 24, 2012 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    I forget what it was exactly, but Sarah Jones’ character had a line early in the episode where I openly laughed loudly. It was so stupid. Something along the lines of “Well, that’s where the killer must be!” like she was thinking out loud. I don’t mind the cheesy acting as much as I do the horrendous writing.

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