Alcatraz: 109 “Sonny Burnett” Review
Sonny Burnett (Season 1 | Episode 10)
“Catch him or kill him”, never has this sentence carried more weight than when Nikki stated it about Sonny Burnett.
Fans of Sons of Anarchy will have had no trouble identifying this week’s killer as Theo Rossi, or ‘Juice’ as he is known in the popular FX drama. They will have also known what a great actor he is and thankfully he brought that skill to an excellent episode of Alcatraz. Playing the role of Sonny was a tough job, going from a skinny businessman, trying to barter protection in the prison yard, to an absolute psycho in a matter of weeks. Not to mention the physical pressure of undergoing the ‘Captain America’ treatment, bulking up to take on one of the rock’s kingpins.
And what a psycho he was – decapitating that businessman and leaving the head in the stable for Madsen not to mention the kidnapping and live burial, truly sick. What was even worse was when he literally took the meaning of “you won’t live to see another day” to the extreme. Squeezing the eyeballs out of Hick’s sockets was horrific. This guy could even give the likes of Dexter a run for his money.
Interestingly enough, Sonny’s actions were heavily influence by Tiller. By giving him food and pushing him to his psychological limits he created a monster. But why did he do this? Why was Burnett bred to be a sinister, evil murderer when he didn’t have that much to offer at the start? Tiller’s got a lot to answer for, he still remains one of the most intriguing characters in this show and the worst part of it is that he’s underused.
Sonny’s previous crime of passion was kidnapping, no bloodshed, no violence, just a good old-fashioned ransom. As Madsen questioned Helen about her so-called kidnapping when she was 14, I couldn’t help wondering what Soto felt of all this. He revealed that someone ‘took him’ when he was a child, back in the Kit Nelson episode but it wasn’t mentioned here. This was annoying because it would have been a great chance to learn more of the big Doc’s past. Given Soto’s age there was no way Sonny could have been involved but maybe there is a link with his past and Alcatraz. Soto has never really explained why he is so fascinated with the island prison. Surely there is some explanation, or some moment in his younger years that created this obsession.
The story of this episode played out quite well but in the end it was an easy find for the buried girl. The kid at the hardware store should’ve probably called over his supervisor when Sonny asked about his height, surely that was a ridiculously creepy hint as to what he wanted a few pieces of timber for. On a side note, another thing we learned about Hauser this week was that his car’s got Apple’s Siri built into it – pretty neat.
It’s interesting to know that Hauser has surveillance on Ray and Hauser needs to find right blood to fix Lucy. The key to her survival obviously revolves around the contents of Tommy’s veins. Blood has been a big talking point of the show for many fans and again it was a significant part of the flashbacks. The blood is used to bring people back to health or, in Sonny’s case, back from the dead.
Madsen and Soto have now been on the task force for ‘months’ according to Hauser, back in the pilot episode Madsen saw her partner’s death at the hands of her, then unknown, granddad Tommy. Now the end of the first season is only a few weeks away it seems that he’s starting to refigure in her life, no doubt poised to play a big role in the finale. Watching over her at the end was hopefully a big teaser for what’s to come.
Scene of the Episode | Predator or Prey? – Sonny waking up in the infirmary was a very pivotal moment. Warden James divulged a lot about prison life and Tiller’s empathy for the wounded inmate resulted in him igniting the attitude of a psychopath.
Reviewed by Rich Jepson, cult TV enthusiast and author of 24: Terrorism Through Television.