Alcatraz: 106 “Paxton Petty” Review
Paxton Petty (Season 1 | Episode 6)
WARNING – FULL SPOILERS
J.J Abrams new show continued to go from strength to strength with a brilliant episode, which depicted a real sinister villain in Paxton Petty. Alongside this we found out more information about what Dr Lucy Banerjee’s was doing on the island back in 1960. Another great thing about this episode was how personal it was to Hauser, giving us a chance to draw more from the show’s puzzling leads.
Former soldier Petty’s weapon of choice was a landmine. Not content with the amount of destruction that these devices cause on their own, Petty decided to modify each one with broken military medals, such as the Silver Star. The opening sequence where a series of mines are detonated at a park was truly horrific, as each of them goes off we see all manner of people killed or injured including a jogger, an old man walking his dog and even a man with a push chair. This was devastating to witness but I’m glad the show portrayed the chaos in this way; it made it a lot more shocking and really established Petty as pure evil.
Alcatraz did the same thing in the way it began the Ernest Cobb episode a few weeks ago when it began with Cobb firing into an open crowd. I’m glad to see a similar plot device used again as it’s vital to remember that this show is dealing with the inmates of 1960s Alcatraz and as glossy and glamorous as it could be, it’s has to present these inmates as they were in real life – the most dangerous men on the planet.
The post mortem scene was both sweet and sour for Soto. Once again he reminded us that his still 90% civilian and 10% cop as he tried to keep his breakfast down. Seeing the doctor wearing a Sandman t-shirt really took his mind of the limbless corpse and could possibly provide him with some geek-filled romance later on.
Hauser’s played a huge part in this story and it was great to see how personal the case had become for him. Sam Neill was once again brilliant in bringing this dark, complex character to life and showed real grit and charisma in the climatic scene with Petty. This character we still know the least about but it’s clear to see his relationship with Dr Banerjee goes beyond a purely professional one. In the flashback where he asks if she needs a lift back to the mainland it’s clear to see his crush on her is huge. In the present he still wants to protect her and the way he carries her in at the end, telling Dr Beauregard “you know her methods, fix her” shows how deeply he cares for her. He needs Madsen around for her connection to Tommy and she needs Soto so he’s stuck with the pair. Lucy on the other hand is part of his internal team and whatever her ‘methods’ are they’re sure to be playing a big part in what’s going on.
It was interesting to see her interrogation skills on the island, she’s was willing to give Petty some shock therapy to get the information she needed and she had the intelligence to figure out the lullaby code. What she didn’t know was why Tommy Madsen spent so much time in the infirmary, a secret that Beauregard was not going to give away that easily. What this all means then is still open to interpretation but it looks like there is at least one group involved in the 63s returning.
The discovery by Soto and Madsen that Petty ‘came back’ in the tomb was intriguing, Petty himself added more to this when questioned him, saying “a week ago I fell asleep…and now it’s 2012”. Hearing Soto discuss theories with him gave us more insight into the criminal’s knowledge, they know as little about what’s going on as we do. Petty came so close to giving away the fact that Banerjee was on the island in 1960, only to be interrupted by the opening cell door.
The finale on the beach was immense, Hauser getting The Hurt Locker treatment was extreme especially as poor Tanner scrambled to defuse the detonator. After a few moments though it was easy to tell that something was going to happen. The music was so high pitch that you just knew it wasn’t going to end well for the bomb tech. It’s a shame because he seemed to have a good relationship with Madsen and could’ve added more to other explosive filled episodes later on. Seeing Petty sneer at the sight of his destroyed face was a nice touch of sadism, it made it all the more satisfying when Hauser slammed a bullet into his thigh stating “my leg hurts” – brilliant.
This episode marked the halfway point in the season and I’m happy to say that after a shaky start it’s become an exciting, intriguing and unique show.
Scene of the Episode – The mine filled Park – a devastating opener that really symbolised just how violent Petty was, rolling the mine down the hill towards Madsen added even more excitement and really set us up for a great episode
Reviewed by Rich Jepson, cult TV enthusiast and author of 24: Terrorism Through Television.