The Alienist returns this week with a deepening of the mystery as all the pieces start to slot together. While most of the episode revolves around the investigation, there’s some nice bites of characterisation that help tease toward some dramatic confrontations to come in the future.
Episode 3 of The Alienist Season 2 begins with Laszlo hypnotizing Sara but he reminds her that this will only work if she fully embraces it. Eventually it works and the visions depict a young Sara clutching a red balloon. These moments from her past transform from tranquil to nightmarish when she looks down and finds blood on her hands.
Back at the lab, Sara and the others discuss the doll’s stitching and the clothing. Their initial ideas and complicated theories are soon straightened out by Laszlo, who reminds them to look simply at the problem. They suspect it may be a female that’s to blame here, given the intricate sewing work. As they continue to talk, Sara’s fellow PI reads out a number of names but one of them John seems to know the family of.
Using this contact, Sara has a “chance encounter” with John who, by extension, meets Auggie. She asks him for a favour and he very much obliges, granting her a visit to the Lying-In Hospital. There, she sees first-hand the squalor and dire conditions the wet nurses are dealing with.
Sara arrives before Dr Markoe and cuts straight to the point. The report she received last episode regarding the medicine paints the Lying-In Hospital in a pretty unfavorable way. Markoe scoffs at the notion though, telling her the ward girls are not reliable witnesses given the trauma they’ve been through.
Sara continues to press though, eventually being shown around by the Matron surrounding where Martha was. Asking questions surrounding what happened that night, Sara learns that they’re not being wholly truthful with her. Martha was in that room but not the same night Matron claims she was. It turns out none of the Ward Nurses know what happened that night.
Something is clearly not right at this ward though and as tensions between Matron and the different Ward Nurses grow, Sara is left to watch from afar. In the wake of this, she brings one of the nurses, Libby, out for lunch.
She confirms that there may well be a report written down somewhere but Libby is agitated and unsure how she can help. As they continue to talk, the pair discuss their Fathers and show they’ve both suffered trauma in the past.
On the way out the door, Libby lets slip that Matron kept the baby away from everyone. She also goes on to admit there’s no way Matron would harm a child. When Sara heads to her house, Matron is nowhere to be seen but her neighbor confirms that Matron couldn’t have babies of her own. Because of that, she’s sometimes bring children home. Could she be the killer?
Back at the ward, Libby overhears Markoe talking to Burns. While he sounds legitimately passionate about his work, Burns throws him off-guard by asking about the two cases. With Libby hiding around the corner, Markoe confirms there’s nothing there to link both cases together.
John receives a visit at work from Violet. As she looks over the list of names heading to the party that evening, she comments that Sara is one of the names. Shes encourages John to put her down for two.
Laszlo finishes his session with a young child named Polly before sitting with Sara. She feeds back what she learned and points fingers at the Matron as the one responsible. However, for now she can’t be sure. However, she has spoken to Senora Linares whose agreed to be hypnotized. Only, it’s far too traumatic for her and she eventually collapses.
Markus and Lucius continue their autopsy report and start to look at the stomach. As they look at extracts they notice something else that backs up the earlier discussion – breast milk is found. However, Lucius has a secret to tell. It turns out Burns was there earlier and he was forced to spill details about the Linares case.
After the failed hypnosis, Laszlo decides to try and channel Senora Linares’ memory and frame that around her artwork. With renewed vigor, she talks through her memory regarding the presence creeping closer to her. “She’s here,” Isabelle mutters before passing out again.
However, it’s enough to paint a portrait of the scene which allows Sara to head off and investigate. First port of call is the photographer, whom she tasks Millie to speak to in order to gain every photo taken that day.
Back home, Libby returns and hands over the file for Martha and her baby. It turns out the last nurse to see her that night was Colleen, which gives them a solid lead. In order to try and quell any doubts, she speaks to Laszlo and John about the possibility of infiltrating the hospital.
That evening, John’s bachelor party gets underway where Laszlo gives a telling speech about friendship and love. As he mentions the final point, John looks instinctively at Sara.
Meanwhile, baby Ana is still alive and whoever has taken her, picks the child up and starts breast-feeding.
The Review Write-Up
With the plot thickening, there’s plenty of clues to chew over. The idea that Matron could be involved certainly looks probable but clearly there’s something else going on here too. What part does Markoe have in this tale? And will there be more victims to come?
There’s lot of questions hanging over this one and so far The Alienist has done a great job to keep that mystery flowing. Quite what will happen next, remains to be seen.