In the most ambitious and satisfying episode of ‘The Alienist’ so far, the stark socioeconomic differences between the classes of 1896 New York came to the forefront. This plays directly into the “whodunit” narrative that is continuing to build, pitting working-class cops, high society families and the poorest immigrants against one another.
Dr. Kreizler’s foresight to bring in the Isaacson twins has proven extremely fruitful. Marcus and Lucius seem unconstrained by general forensic methods and are on the cutting edge of analysis. Getting a more in-depth view of the killer’s fingerprint, they are able to see the striations and a possible scar on one finger. It’s a breakthrough…they just need a comparison print to match.
This episode provided the fullest spectrum into the personal lives of the trio of Kreizler, Sara, and John. We discover Kreizler’s attachment to his housekeeper Mary goes beyond professional (and that she killed her abusive father); we learn John was dumped by his fiancée, lost his brother to the sea and doesn’t speak with his father; and then there’s Sara. Orphaned, wealthy Sara. Wholly focused on her career, she can barely sit through a Vassar reunion. And when faced with the question of “Do you have a beau?” alludes to an early (non-existent) relationship with Kreizler.
To be sure, our trio are all a bit nutty but the whole of upper-class New York seems to be that way. When the former (dirty) chief of police Byrnes informs the hoity-toity Van Bergens that their son Willem needs to keep out of the bathhouses (and out of trouble), they look unsurprised (and unbothered). It is a singularly rich people problem.
In the end, there is another brutal murder of a young, sexually exploited boy. And as before, the corrupt NYPD are there to cover things up. Also, John Moore continually mucks things up by simply being him. This time, it’s dropping his sketchbook at the crime scene, where the killer picks it up.
‘The Alienist’ is picking up speed and the killer is drawing close to the team. We’ll see how much danger they’ll be in next week.
‘The Alienist’ airs Mondays at 9PM on TNT and on-demand.