The Alienist Episode 5
We left off last week with the man with a silver smile picking up a boy. Will we find out if he is Willem Van Bergen? Is this boy the next victim? Will the killer continue to stalk Kreizler and the others? And will we learn any more about what makes the doctor tick? So many questions to be answered. And even if they are answered, by the end of this episode, I’m sure there will be many new unanswered questions.
We open with a blurry look at the letter Mrs Santorelli received. We can hear a distant voice describing a disturbed person. Everything comes clear as a Graphologist explains to Dr. Laszlo Kreizler (Daniel Brühl) what kind of person wrote the letter. A male, with several years of Penmanship classes in the United States, no more than 15 years ago. Using these clues they place the killers age at between 24 and 35.
After the Graphologist leaves Lucius Isaacson (Matthew Shear) explains how he and his brother Marcus (Douglas Smith) discovered a fingermark that matches the killers on the letter’s stamp. Kreizler shows the team a list of words and phrases from the letter that he finds crucial. They include “dirty immigrants” “saucy boy” “dirt and paint” and “19 February.” Kreizler believes the killer could be reliving something horrible that happened to him as a child.
Sara (Dakota Fanning) suggests that the killer had a dominating women in his life. Kreizler finds this absurd and begins arguing with Sara. I’m not sure why this idea set Kreizler off, perhaps he had a dominant mother himself. When Sara presses him on why he doesn’t believe this could be true he completely loses it. He yells that if a dominant woman had been in the killer’s life he never would have killed. I’m not sure why he makes that connection. Everyone is stunned at his outburst, and Sara storms out. John Moore (Luke Evans) chases after her which pisses Kreizler off even more. I’m now convinced that Kreizler did have a very domineering mother (or other woman) in his life growing up.
Moore catches up to Sara as she is leaving Kreizler’s Institute. He tells her she should not take the doctor’s outburst personally, that he treats everyone that way. Moore is right about this, he seems to treat everyone with equal condescension. When Moore tells Sara there is no man alive that could bully her she tells him not to patronize her. I have to say this made me smile, because she pronounced it correctly. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who pronounce it in the way that means “to frequent as a customer.” While this is going on a shoe shine boy keeps pestering Moore to have his shoes shined.
Will You Marry Me?
In a truly bizarre scene Moore suddenly agrees to have his shoes shined. Sara is as befuddled by this as I am. When she asks if he expects her to wait he says he does, because she thinks he’s handsome. I had started thinking Moore was a sweet guy, this reminds me of how annoying he can be. When he claims he is just giving a poor boy honest work Sara calls him out on what he knows about honest work. I’ll give him credit for answering honestly that he knows he doesn’t care for it.
Sara tells Moore hard work can help him with his laziness and fondness for alcohol. He tells her she sounds like his grandmother. When Sara says he should listen to his grandmother, he suddenly asks her to marry him. Moore then jokingly starts reciting wedding vows as he continues to get his shoes shined. When Sara says if she thought he was sincere she might consider it the joking nature leaves Moore. Is she serious? Would she really marry Moore?
Look at Your Bird
Kreizler meets with his old mentor, Professor Cavanaugh. We find out that Kreizler was a remarkable student, which I’m sure surprises no one. What he lacks in personality he certainly makes up for in intelligence. The pair reminisce about the time Cavanaugh gave Kreizler a Hildebrant’s Starling specimen to study. The Professor repeatedly sent Kreizler back to “look at his bird again.” When the bird finally began to molt Cavanaugh told him he had finally seen his bird. Kreizler tells Cavanaugh he finds himself only being able to see what he can see, even when contradicted. He asks the Professor what he should do and Cavanaugh tells him to “look at his bird.”
We find Kreizler and Moore in the dining car of a train. Moore is not thrilled to be going to a “god forsaken penitentiary.” Kreizler tells Moore he needs him because people like him more than himself. The doctor tells him they are going to see Jesse Pomeroy, The Boston Boy Fiend, and this news shocks Moore. He appears to be very anxious about meeting this man, but he blames his nerves on having quit drinking. Has he quit drinking to win over Sara?