Previously on The Alienist: Requiem
And so it comes down this: with Joseph on the missing list, it’s time for Moore, Kreizler, and Sara to look within and beyond themselves and search for that one important clue, hiding in plain sight in John Beecham’s room, that will lead them to catching their serial killer. It’s quite literally a race against time. Knowing that Beecham will murder Joseph on the Feast of St John the Baptist, Kreizler, newly reunited with his team of detectives after dealing with his grief over the loss of Mary, senses that if the police get their hands on Beecham first, he won’t get the answers he is looking for – namely why Beecham kills in such a signature fashion. He resorts to lying to Sara, Roosevelt, and the Isaacsons, encouraging them to go to High Bridge Tower to look for Joseph, all the time knowing that the killer will strike elsewhere. Dragging Moore to yet another opera so they can be seen by Chief Byrnes, they wait for a distraction on stage before making their escape. Moore is enraged his friends have been lied to, but he goes along with Kreizler’s plan.
Tracking Beecham to a different part of the city, Moore and Kreizler come upon the killer just as he’s about to butcher the young boy. Beecham drops Joseph and the men give chase, but the killer gets the better of both men. Although it wasn’t his intention to, Captain Connor arrives on the scene to prevent the murder, putting a bullet in Beecham’s back. He sees the situation and works it to his advantage, planning to kill everyone and making himself out to be the hero of the hour. But Sara has other ideas. Working out where the men were, she surprises Connor as he’s about to shoot Kreizler. Connor thinks he has everything sewn up and allows himself one more jab at Sara and goes to strangle her. She shoots him dead with a gun she had hidden. Kreizler tries to get Beecham to talk to him but the killer dies from his wounds, taking his murderous motivations to the grave with him. The alienist is distraught, but there’s nothing more he can do about it.
Although Moore attempts to take the rap for shooting Connor to Roosevelt, Sara confesses. The commissioner is impressed, telling her she always had the courage to do what needed to be done, and that her father would’ve been proud of her. Kreizler, meanwhile, is disappointed that their adventure gleaned them no new insight into why killers kill. They set out to catch a monster, but ended up finding a wounded child. This analogy ends up being the central theme of the show when it comes to the three main characters. Moore struggles with his relationship to his father, particularly after the death of his brother; Sara helped her own father commit suicide after a botched attempt went horribly and painfully wrong; and Kreizler’s father maimed his son’s arm while either drunk or angry (probably both). The alienist has to satisfy himself with the likelihood for there being further murderers to find and catch.
The series ends on a number of satisfying codas. Because Roosevelt can’t as yet allow Kreizler and his team to take the plaudits for solving the case, and in order to save face in front of the city’s elite, he awards Connor a posthumous medal of honour, thereby saving the man’s family from unnecessary disgrace and hardship. Chief Byrnes approves. (Ted Levine does wonderful eyebrow work in this episode. The actor had no lines of dialogue at all, but his sneers and disdain told more than words ever could.) The team bond over a fancy dinner, pledging to remain fast friends and should the need arise, they would continue to work with each other. Moore and Sara agree to disagree over whether or not Moore is in love with her, but the future is bright for both of them, especially if Moore lays off the hard stuff.
Kreizler visits his father, whose mind has gone to wherever minds go to when they no longer reside inside a person’s brain. Kreizler is gentle with the man who brought him so much pain, telling him that the lessons he learned from his father only served to put him on a path to truth – basically saying that we always have the potential to subvert whatever nature has set in store for us. He walks away a more peaceful man.
As satisfying as the finale was, I still have some regrets. I loved the Isaacson twins. They were a gentler foil to the trio’s inner torments. Yes, they had to put up with anti-Semitism within the department, but their generous nature lifted them above their more reprehensible colleagues. I felt, though, that Marcus’ romantic attachment with Esther could’ve used more screen time. Having said that, I found it cute that Marcus came to his senses at the end of the day. Both Douglas Smith (Marcus) and Matthew Shear (Lucius) were excellent in their roles, imparting knowledge, rational logic, and innocent exuberance at every turn. Less satisfying was the show’s treatment of Cyrus and Stevie. We should’ve spent more time with Kreizler’s wards, and I thought we were going to get just that with Cyrus in particular. After all, he did witness Mary’s death and came so close to putting Connor down for good. Maybe if we get an adaptation of Caleb Carr’s sequel, The Angel of Darkness, we’ll get to see more of them. I hope so.
Overall, The Alienist is a superb production: luscious, exciting, challenging, and so well played out. I’m so glad I got to spend quality time with Kreizler and his team of intrepid detectives. Perhaps I’ll pick up a copy of the sequel in the near future.
"Castle in the Sky" The Alienist – Episode 10: “Castle in the Sky” | Starring: Daniel Brühl, Dakota Fanning, Luke Evans
The Alienist S1E10 Review Score
"Castle in the Sky"
The Alienist – Episode 10: “Castle in the Sky” | Starring: Daniel Brühl, Dakota Fanning, Luke Evans