Musing Review: Alcatraz – Guy Hastings (S1, Ep5) – VIDEO
I’ve got to say that this episode of Alcatraz felt quite refreshing. Although we never really left the prescribed format of the past four episodes the fact that it focused on a good guy, a guard, really changed the overall feel. I liked the episode. The story was well done, had a lot of great undertones and provided us with some new revelations and of course, more questions.
This week’s episode focused on Guy Hastings, played very well by Jim Parrack (whom I recognize well as Hoyt from True Blood), one of the missing guards. Guy was a not only a guard, but a guard trainer. When we found him he was back in his old Alcatraz apartment looking for memories of home. He assaults a park ranger, gets a gun and starts on a hunt for Tommy Madsen (Rebecca’s grandfather).
This time, the trio of Rebecca, Diego and Hauser do not have a previous M.O. to start their hunt for Guy. They’re pretty clueless until Rebecca get’s a call that her uncle, Ray Archer is missing. We already knew that Ray was also a guard at Alcatraz and the flashbacks started to tell that story and we got to see some very interesting interactions.
The flashbacks started with a young Ray Archer being taught by Guy Hastings how to be a a guard. On their first walk through the mess hall Tommy recognized Ray and beat him with a tray until the fight was broken up. Now why would that happen? While being stitched up the Warden and Deputy warden question why this would happen and Ray claims to have no idea and that he doesn’t even know Tommy. Guy is a little bit skeptical but in the end they let him keep his job.
As they move on in the flashback storyline Guy and Ray build a relationship together. Guy teaches Ray that he needs to have “respect” of the inmates and he has to set an example of Tommy. After questioning one last time about whether Ray has a relationship with Tommy, Guy sets up a situation where Ray beats up Tommy in front of the entire cell block. After that happens we do learn that they did know each other during a scene between the two of them.
Guy was always skeptical of whether or not Tommy and Ray had a relationship so in the present he kidnapped Ray at gunpoint and demanded he helped him find Tommy. Of course Ray denies it and they spend a couple of scenes delaying until they get to the final scene of the episode. Guy did figure out that Rebecca is Tommy’s granddaughter though.
Meanwhile Rebecca and Diego make some discoveries of their own on their search for Ray. This one is quite a big revelation. Yes, Tommy and Ray had a relationship alright, a familial relationship. Tommy and Ray are brothers! Ray had changed his last name in order to get a job at Alcatraz in the first place. Using this newfound information and a picture that Ray had given Rebecca they know that they can end their search for Ray and Guy at Ray / Tommy’s old house in a San Francisco neighborhood.
The conflict ends when everybody ends up at the house together (including Hauser – who was tracking Rebecca / Diego all along). Guy manages to take Rebecca at gunpoint but Hauser and Rebecca diffuse him enough with a combination of threats and talks of his daughter that Rebecca has enough time to shoot him in the leg / foot and get out of there.
As the episode ends Hauser let’s Guy see his daughter and grandchildren from a distance. Hauser says he’s sorry that Guy was just a good man caught up in a bad mess. Although they don’t show it explicitly I’m sure he was taken back to 21st century underground Alcatraz for “safe keeping.” Before the credits rolled we did get two more revelations. It turns out Ray has known all along about Tommy’s return and has already had contact with him. Ray was actually keeping Tommy safe in his old house. Ray now wants to keep Tommy away. Also Rebecca mines Hauser for some information and she learns exactly how valuable she is to the investigation. Maybe this’ll give her a leg up so she can get some answers.
I really liked the fact that this episode was themed around family ties. Ray and Tommy have a long and complex relationship and Ray would go through great lengths to “protect” his brother. Guy’s family ties are what eventually diffused the gunpoint situation in the house. I love when they can thread themes together well through different storylines.
Of course the episode generated more questions. In particular, is Tommy a rogue? Did he get sent back without permission? Did he escape his “captors?” We know that he showed up seemingly earlier than most of the other prisoners from the past four episodes. We also know that Guy was sent back to hunt him down. I guess we’ll find out as the season progresses. Are the guards always going to be “better men?”
One last note about the episode is that I’m digging on the fact they’re trying to explain these reappearances via science. I’ve always been a fan of science fiction so I like it. It also just seems to “ground” the episodes in a certain way.
The next episode seems to be centering around another prisoner. I hope it’s as refreshing as Guy Hasting’s. Watch Alcatraz Monday Nights on Fox. Catch up on Fox.com or Hulu. Also try watching below (while the video is available).Tags: Alcatraz, fox, revie