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TV Review: ALCATRAZ 1.5 - Guy Hastings

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Alcatraz has been really disappointing up to this point, "Guy Hastings" wasn't promising to make things much better to start with but I do think it provided an improvement on what we've seen already. I think what worked better this week was the fact they brought a guard from 1963 back rather than a prisoner, also the story of Detective Madsen thickens with her family seemingly more involved in the mystery of Alcatraz than she knows.

Guy Hastings was a guard on Alcatraz, where he lived in staff quarters with his wife and their daughter, a family man who ruled with somewhat of an iron fist during his time as head of the guards. This far we have been lead to believe that Rebecca's uncle Ray (Robert Forster) is not her real uncle, that was blown out the water this week when we were shown that Ray was a guard on Alcatraz (which we knew already) and was trained by Guy Hastings, it also showed us that he only went to Alcatraz for one reason his brother Tommy Madsen (David Hoflin) Rebecca's grandfather imprisoned on Alcatraz for killing his wife and the first "escapee" in the modern day.

I say that Tommy Madsen is the first prisoner to come back in the modern day, at this point we can only assume that's the case but, what if this has happened before. We found out that Hauser tried to recruit Ray Archer when Rebecca was still young suggesting that it's either happened before or that Hauser has known for long enough that this was going to happen. Maybe Ray knows that Tommy has been back for the last 16 years, they clearly don't get along so they would have no reason to speak with each other.

What made the story so much better this week was the fact it was personalised towards the Madsen family, meaning the show could focus more on the main characters rather than some prisoner who has just returned from 1963 and no one has heard about. I felt "Guy Hastings"was better paced than the others have been to, he wasn't just captured and returned to the modern Alcatraz. I can't say that I have particularly cared about any of the people who have come back thus far or the stories (or lack of) they brought with them and that's another reason this was refreshing. I know to reveal things this early on would be a little crazy even for a J.J Abrams show but I think questions will have to be answered sooner rather than later here otherwise people may well loose interest.

I like Doc Soto, George Garcia's character but I struggle to see where his awkwardness fits in here. Don't get me wrong some of the stuff he comes out with is funny but the genius Alcatraz historian is starting to realise that everything he has ever wrote and studied is completely fabricated. I'm still not a fan of Sam Neil, I just don't don't get it. And I'm still not convinced on Sarah Jones who plays Rebecca Madsen just yet.

Although this episode was better that's pretty much all I can come up with right now, I just hope Alcatraz can turn into the show that we were all expecting as right now it's running along the same sort of lines as NCIS and such other shows. Where did guy hastings go? Anyone? I'm presuming that he wasn't returned to Alcatraz. Did they just let him go? Or was it something really obvious and I just wasn't paying enough attention.
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