blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

The Alienist (2018) s02e07 – Last Exit to Brooklyn

Rosy McEwen and especially Frederick Schmidt are a lot better this episode. They’re on the run and having couple’s arguments over their new “adoptee.” Schmidt wants to take a reward for the baby’s return—with Ted Levine acting as the go-between, of course, without the good guys (Dakota Fanning, Daniel Brühl, and Luke Evans) knowing about it, also of course—and McEwen wants to kill him for even suggesting the thing.

The previous episode ended with McEwen and Schmidt Brookyln-bound, and Fanning sure it meant something, like McEwen was going home to familiar territory to counterattack or something. But—and the episode, script credited to Tom Smuts and Amy Berg, just skips over it—McEwen doesn’t have some rosy history back home. In fact, we soon find out from her mother, Matilda Ziegler in a “probably too good for ‘The Alienist’” performance, things didn’t end well for anyone.

So are they in Brooklyn to catch a ship? There was nowhere else? It’s unclear. There’s definitely a plan. It’s just not discussed. And seems like a bad one.

Thanks to Levine (of course to extremis), McEwen finds out the Scooby gang has been around her mother’s place and retaliates, leading to some pretty intense sequences, especially for this season of “Alienist.” Yes, it finds another kid—Brooke Carter—to throw into a dangerous situation, but Carter’s not exactly in danger (yet, presumably)—but director David Caffrey does do a good job with McEwen and Schmidt as a late nineteenth century romantic criminal duo. Given how flaccid the subplots for the main cast—Brühl is in his chemistry-free romance with Lara Pulver, who’s comically affectless, while Evans and Fanning try to figure out their whole thing. Evans’s father-in-law-to-be Matt Letscher is getting impatient.

Though it’s Letscher’s best performance in a while. Maybe not having him opposite Levine helps.

Big cliffhanger setup for the finale. There’s a lot of intriguing Fanning acting this episode and Evans is more likable than as of late. This season of “Alienist” feels like they had enough for four episodes and stretched it to eight.

Better than ten, I guess.

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