This THE ALIENIST review contains spoilers.
The Alienist Season 2 Episode 3
Rarely does a crime show build to a satisfying reveal if the series settles in on its first suspect, then reveals that suspect to be the killer. That’s why despite the circumstantial evidence pointing at the matron, Dr. Markoe’s right hand woman at the Lying In Hospital, it seems almost too obvious that she’s the culprit. However, the episode certainly wants you to think that the barren, slightly crazy-eyed matron has kidnapped the Linares baby, with a lot of “Labyrinth” dedicated to investigation and plot. However, the final stinger, that whoever harmed the baby fed it breast milk, seems to suggest the show is already moving away from the matron.
That said, the episode only truly came alive after Dr. Kreizler indulged in a little too much fruity brandy and champagne. John Moore’s Bachelor Party was by far the highlight of the episode, with Kreizler’s moving best man speech and John’s blatant disappointment over his bride to be giving these characters something to do that isn’t so procedural. John’s disappointment came across loud and clear when the only good words about his fiancée he could muster was that his late grandmother would have been happy with the arrangement. He so obviously wants to be with Sara that he can’t bear to have her not be at the gathering of his closest friends, even if he has to act like he’s ok with Sara getting together with his friend. The Alienist needs to embrace this camp and soapiness more often.
One thing that they’re absolutely nailing is putting Sara at the center of the action. Her fiery determination and focus opposite Dr. Markoe is excellent; you can tell she barely tolerates the man she’s sitting across from. Then later, she shows her compassion and observational skills to figure out how exactly to communicate with Libby, the nurse from the Lying In Hospital that seems willing to help with the case. What Sara doesn’t expect is for Libby to deftly get a read on her; Libby keys in on a sensitive subject, Sara’s father’s suicide. Both of these scenes strike the right balance for the show — they further along the case, but they keep a certain emphasis on character.