Alcatraz: 112 “Garrett Stillman” Review
Garrett Stillman (Season 1 | Episode 12)
WARNING – FULL SPOILERS
The penultimate episode of this JJ Abrams’ produced series had its moments, but ultimately just felt like a convenient set-up for the season finale. This isn’t necessarily such a bad thing because it’s good to see two episodes of Alcatraz overlap making it a more intricate story.
Depending on which side of the ‘pond’ you’re on, you may have seen the Alcatraz episodes in a different order to what was originally intended. Clarence Montgomery was penciled in before The Ames Bros & Sonny Burnett double header making it the 8th episode of the season. However, due to a sporting event overrunning it was pushed back to the following week so it became episode 10.
What’s very worrying about this is how easily the show’s timeline can be manipulated, meaning that everything we found out in that episode was either irrelevant or unimportant. It simply shows that the characters aren’t going to give follow up on any story threads until it’s convenient for the series to do so, this shouldn’t be the case as it means that the plot influences the characters and not the other way round.
That’s why I was quite pleased to find out that Tommy Madsen and Harlan Simmons were not only involved in this episode but the finale as well. What didn’t quite please me was Garrett Stillman. Don’t get me wrong; Greg Ellis (Pirates of the Caribbean – On Stranger Tides) did a great job as the evil, super-intelligent British guy, it was just all so formulaic. Ellis played a very similar character back in season 3 of 24 (as Michael Amador) and did it well, for this episode it felt like someone had simply watched that and thought, “Hey, he’ll make a good baddie” and then stuck him in near the end. In Hollywood it seems as if British guys are either perceived as goofy, posh and befuddled (i.e Hugh Grant) or sophisticated, evil and of an astronomical IQ. Personally, I prefer the latter but come on America – think outside the box.
Talking of British and thinking outside the box, Lucy is a character that has been devised and developed well throughout the season so far. Her speech about missing the people around you was a tender part of the episode and adapting to a new world is an area that’s rarely been touched upon in great detail. Most of the villains have pretty much just got on with either killing or stealing with little reaction to their environment. I guess the question is how long have these characters been in their new surroundings and how long did it take them to fully come to grips with the transition?
As for the overall story of this episode, well it was entertaining enough with the usual ups and downs that we’ve come to expect from the Alcatraz format. Stealing an item that was linked to both The Warden and the prison was good to witness. It wasn’t just another serial killer or master thief committing crime for the hell of it. Also, seeing ‘Ghost’ shoot Stillman in his trailer just before the climax was a welcomed surprise, it prevented another standoff between either Madsen, Hauser and the baddie-of-the-week.
Soto used a nice touch of initiative putting his smart phone with GPS tracking in the truck was a stroke of genius showing he can still bring a lot to the show other than being the walking Wikipedia of Alcatraz.
Oh and ‘Hello, Art’. We finally have a name for one of Hauser’s geeks and what’s more he’s getting warmer in his hunt for what’s surely The Warden’s room. On to the finale then and fingers crossed we’ll find out just what is going on. Don’t let us down JJ!
Scene of the Episode | Check the envelope – Stillman’s bluff paid off, setting the wheels in motion for The Warden’s plan. This was a pretty good twist and sparked a lot of suspicion between Tiller and The Warden.
Reviewed by Rich Jepson, cult TV enthusiast and author of 24: Terrorism Through Television.