The Alienist (S01E10) “Castle in the Sky”

Okay, this is it, the season (and as of now series) finale of ‘The Alienist.’ It was quite a ride, and I’m quite sorry it’s over. I had some quibbles with the show, but overall it was some amazing television.

The opening scene was terrifying. Moore fights his way through the crowd at the bath house, terrified that the body was of Joseph. His fear and his subsequent relief to see that the latest victim is not Joseph is almost palpable.

Possibly it is that realization about how quickly we can lose someone prompts him to tell Sara when nextbshe visits his office that he loves her (awwwww!!!) and Sara doesn’t seem too opposed to the idea of a relationship with Moore. She certainly has become more open since the start of the series. The kiss he plants on her forehead was everything! I was positively melting!
Her next stop was at Kreizler’s home, where they make up and he tells her what happened to his arm. It was his father, and reading between the lines, it seems that he was a drunken brute who broke Laszlo’s arm so badly, it was rendered useless. Sara then tells Laszlo that she found her father after he’d blown half his face off, and made her help him pull the trigger and blow off the other half. Something tells me neither parental unit is in the running for Father of the Year. Sara is able to convince him to rejoin the Scooby Gang. Yay, the alienist is once more an active part of, well, ‘The Alienist.’

Kreizler visits both the bathhouse and the murderer’s home. The pickled eyeballs and heart in a box (aka, the ‘organic evidence’) have been removed, but Kreizler is more interested in the map of the sewer system.

Joseph is tied up and lying on a floor. Japheth comes in with a cat which the promptly kills. He then kneels beside Joseph and mutters something biblical about cleansing and tells Joseph he loves him. If anything, that’s scarier than the cat killing.
Sara tells Roosevelt that Japheth’s thing with water relates to John the Baptist, which is where he got the ‘John’ part of John Beecham, his alias. The Feast of John the Baptist is approaching, and she thinks he will take his victim to the highest part of the city, Highbridge Tower.

Esther wants to talk to Marcus, who has been avoiding her since learning about her child. She tells him if he doesn’t want to see her anymore, fine, but could he stop crossing the street when he sees her? Later, he shows up and tells her he wants to try again. Why, exactly?

Moore discovers Kreizler having tea with his grandmother, who is seriously awesome. He isn’t very happy with Kreizler, and is even less so when Kreizler invites him to the opera, even though this is the same night that the murderer will strike. Kreizler explains that it’s a necessary subterfuge to throw his stalker off the scent. That would be Byrnes, who watches them at the opera with a gaze that could burn a hole in the ozone layer. The opera is Don Giovanni, and there are fireworks. Byrnes is momentarily distracted by the pyrotechnics, and Our Heroes make good their escape. But what they don’t know is that Connor is also on their tale. And follows them not, as Moore assumed, to meet Sara, Roosevelt, and the police at Highbridge Tower, but to the reservoir.

And here we come to another one of my issues. Seriously, how did he know it would be the reservoir? New York City is built on islands, there’s water literally all around. But, of course, he was correct.

They get to the reservoir, and soon find the tied up Joseph, still alive and unharmed. They also find Japheth, and I can’t imagine anyone is surprised that the big, menacing guy who collects gambling debts has to trouble getting the best of the academic with only one functioning arm and the party boy. But before he can do anything permanent, he is killed by Connor. Being saved from Japheth by Connor is kind of like the scene in Jurassic Park when the humans are saved from the velociraptors by the Tyrannosaurus rex, amirite? Of course, Conorrhen plans to kill the others, blame Japheth, and be hailed as a hero for killing Japheth. Had he just done that, he’s probably have succeeded. Unfortunately for him, he chose to make a speech about it, allowing Sara time to arrive (and how the heck did she figure it out?!?) She has a tiny little purse, in which she carries a tiny little gun. She kills Connor. I’m happier about Connor dying than Japheth.

Kreizler follows the dying Japheth, who in some final ritual, makes it up to the roof before dying. Kreizler wanted him to live, to find out why he did what he did, but he gave nothing away. Not even the autopsy, showing a brain that was developmentally perfectly normal, could give any enlightenment.

The case is closed, the murderer caught, and the Scooby Gang proved their new method of profiling worked. Time for a celebratory dinner at Delmonico’s, of course! Kreizler slips a tiny box into John’s hand under the table, whispering that it was supposed to be for Mary and maybe he could find a use for it. Sara’s gown is gorgeous, and her after dinner stroll with John is ridiculously adorable. Can you see the Sara of the first episode voluntarily linking her arm with John’s? Hell no!
The last scene is Laszlo visiting his father. He seems to live in some kind of sanatorium, where he’s sitting in a wheelchair in the garden, unresponsive to Laszlo’s presence. Laszlo seems to come to some kind of closure about his father and what he did. I have to admit, what he said to him was a bit beyond me, possibly because I’m not of a very forgiving nature. But closure is good, for all of us.

Loved this series and this episode. I am curious how everyone seemed to figure out about the reservoir, it seemed a bit of a leap, and for Kreizler and Sara to make the same leap independently was a bit much. I’d love another season, as there was a sequel, so that’s not a huge leap. Could someone make it happen please?

Other things:
– I really need someone to explain to me what the point of Esther was. There’s a murderer and I’m supposed to care about Esther and her issues (or issue, as the case may be)? This is the most useless storyline ever conceived (ha!). Like Esther herself, it serves no purpose to the main plot.
– There were a lot of people called ‘John’ in this episode. There was John Moore, John Beecham, John the Baptist, and Don Giovanni.
– Since Mary is dead, who cooked that elaborate meal odor Kreizler a the beginnnig of the episode?
“The last thing an honest politician can expect is gratitude.”
“God works between the lines.”
“John Moore, you just took my cab!”