The Alienist (S01E04): “These Bloody Thoughts’

Another episode that opens with a scene where excessive propriety provides a sharp contrast to a decidedly improper conversation. Kreizler is sitting in a parlor with a woman and a maid brings in a tray with a silver coffee service. Only the maid isn’t a maid, if the walrus-y mustache is anything to go by. Cue a classic double take, on both my part and on Kreizler’s.
The woman, who is a dominatrix, is being consulted by Kreizler as one student of human nature to another. I’m sort of unimpressed by her simplistic statements about how a man who takes pleasure in inflicting pain has in turn been on the receiving end. Yawn.

At Police Headquarters, Connor rather ostentatiously returns the sketchbook found at the crime scene to Roosevelt. Oops! Sarah is dispatched to Kreizler’s house to return the sketchbook, and is sent by Cyrus to the park where Kreizler goes to meditate or something. At the park, he indicates an obviously well bred young lady with a baby carriage (or perambulator) and tells Sarah that the young lady was suitably married and promptly gave birth to two children in rapid succession. And then drowned them both in the bath. He then tell her that she is only what society and society’s expectations have made of her. Sarah seems skeptical, and I kind of agree with her. Again, it all seems way too simplistic. He make people sound like a chemical formula. Take this, add that, then remove the other, and watch the resulting explosion. Of course, it’s easy for me to say, I live in a world that knows post partum depression exists. I do agree that her family covering the whole thing up and preventing her from receiving treatment only created a woman who did nothing but push an empty baby carriage around the park.

Moore, who apparently never learns, visits a brothel called the Golden Rule that has been closed by the police. (Again, the hanging boots!). It’s where the most recent victim worked. He runs into Marcus, who quickly figures up that he went out the window and up the wall to the roof (the clever Isaacsons figured out that the murderer is an accomplished climber). On the roof they find rope fibers and a boy named Joseph, who was friends with Ali the murder victim, who had a regular customer. He calls the man a saint, and said he promised to take Ali to a ‘castle in the sky.’ Since Ali was found on the roof at Castle Garden, he didn’t exactly lie.

Byrnes visits the Van Berger house again, and tells Mrs. Van Bergen, who has a small, fluffy dog and a sour expression, that Willem should leave the city.

Moore arrives at Kreizler’s house and learns he’s out with Sarah. Annoyed, he decides to take Mary to the movies. As one does. Later, when Kreizler is looking for Mary, he ends up in her room sniffing her undies. Really, Laszlo? When Moore and Mary return, he gets into a pissing match with Moore over the investigation, and tells Moore that if he thinks the silver smile is important, go visit a dentist and ask. Moore does, and learns that mercury salts would have that effect. Mercury salts are a treatment for syphilis.

Giorgio’s mother is hurrying through the streets, a letter in her hand.

Kreizler arrives at a club, and sits down at a table with Moore. What did Moore want to see him about, he wants to know. But wait, Moore thinks that Kreizler called this meeting. So do the Isaacsons. And Sarah, who shows up with the letter and is pleased at the serendipitous timing of the meeting. Except, it’s no coincidence. The entire thing was orchestrated by the murderer, who knew Mrs. Santorelli would take the letter to the police and that Sarah would bring it to the meeting. Apparently, he knows psychology and human nature far better than anyone else in this story. The letter is full of murder, child abuse, racism, and cannibalism. The Scooby Gang is clearly unnerved.

Three boys are in a candy store (metaphor alert!) eating ice cream sundaes. They are approached by a well dressed man who asks which of them is interested in some fun. He has a silver smile.

Other things:
– Joseph mentions a pigeon man. Is he going to be important?
– When Kreizler kicks the ball, who do you think he’s pretending it is?
– Does the choice of ‘Rose in Bloom’ have any significance?

“If the purpose of this story is to annoy me, you’ve succeeded.”
“We do a lot we’re not supposed to do.”
“One night with Venus, a lifetime of Mercury.”