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Alcatraz Review: "Webb Porter" (Episode 1.11)

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<i>Alcatraz</i> Review: "Webb Porter" (Episode 1.11)

When watching Alcatraz, I like my criminals to be as weird as possible. I don’t mind the occasional bank robber or innocent guard, but I’m always more keen to a crazed man sniping women at an amusement park or a mixologist poisoning rude people at a country club. “Webb Porter” is probably one of our creepiest criminals thus far and ushers in another pretty good episode before the season, and possibly the series, ends next week.

Porter was known in Alcatraz as a criminal who would not quit screaming, so much so that he was imprisoned away from the only inmates. Lucy determines that Porter has a ringing in his ears, which he has had since his mother tried to drown him as a baby. Lucy figures that Porter would be able to overlook this constant sound through music. Porter, who has a genius IQ, picks up the violin quite fast, using it to overcome the sound. Oh, and did I mention that Porter brutally murdered his mother?

Even worse is Porter in the modern day. He wants to become a violinist, yet he can’t read music. Porter likes to thread his own bows…with the hair of women he captures until they are out of hair and he drowns them in a bathtub. On the list of weird Alcatraz criminals, Porter ranks up there as one of the weirdest.

Eventually Soto, Madsen and Hauser catch Porter after he kills two women for their hair. In the episode’s best scenes, we see Porter playing the violin in the ‘60s Alcatraz, calming the prisoners, most notably the ones that have shown up in the present. In the modern day Alcatraz, Porter also shares his gift with the recently recaptured criminals. But Porter brings another gift to Hauser, as his blood, filled with the colloidal silver, is just what Lucy needs to come out of the coma that she has been in for weeks.

“Webb Porter” gives us plenty of great insight into Hauser, as we see his past with Lucy and the beginnings of their relationship. We also get a greater look into who Hauser is in the present and just how clueless he really is about all this.

Even more clueless are Soto and Madsen, who discover that Lucy is one of the 63’s, a fact that Hauser has kept from them this entire time, and that she may be an important aspect to the show’s overall secrets.

By the end of “Webb Porter,” mostly everyone is vulnerable. Soto and Madsen realize they have been left out in the dark, while Hauser is still clueless as to what about the blood is so important. The criminals are left imprisoned, wondering what their fate will be in the present they don’t belong in, and Lucy reawakens, surely to cause concern and raise even more questions.

“Webb Porter” shows that Alcatraz does know how it needs to handle the show, balancing the criminal of the week, mythology and deepening of the stories of the main cast. I also truly appreciate whenever we see the growing modern prison as more criminals gather in the present, which will surely bring some importance if the show comes back for another season. Next week Alcatraz ends its season and possibly its series, with more important criminals and questions sure to be answered and asked alike. If Alcatraz can keep up the quality of its episodes like that of “Webb Porter,” a second season could be quite great with the lessons learned from the first.

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