The Alienist: Season 1 – Episode 2 ‘A Fruitful Partnership’ REVIEW
On the blood-soaked streets of New York, the plot thickens.
The Alienist takes a breather in “A Fruitful Partnership” as it dives further into its twisted, morbid narrative. The episode begins with Kreizler in a morgue with an elderly man. Surrounded by dead bodies, this elderly man is busy at work inserting candle wicks into the bodies. If you recall, the series premiere ended with Kreizler receiving a nicely wrapped tongue. His visit to the morgue is in hopes of identifying whose body it might belong to. Unfortunately, the elderly mortician is not interested in helping and states that the “boy-whore had it coming.” His sentiments match that of the NYPD, who are gung-ho about keeping this case and its details a secret.
The second episode focuses on the shady antics of the NYPD, namely Captain Connor (David Wilmot). For reasons unbeknownst to the audience, he is dead-set on burying the series of murders involving young male prostitutes. He and his merry gang of minions visit the Santorelli home and pay off a child to keep quiet about anyone inquiring about the Santorelli family. Connor returns to the NYPD office and conveys to Sarah that he hit a dead-end with Giorgio’s case and there is no need to continue digging. However, thanks to Sara, her detective work and interest in helping Kreizler leads her to finding hidden files in Connor’s office. These files contain information and pictures regarding other murders similar in nature to Giorgio and the Zweig twin.
The encounter with Connor pushes Sara to visit Giorgio’s home to learn more about what may have happened to him. Moore accompanies her as the Santorellis’ live in a sketchy part of town. They learn that Giorgio’s father was beat by two cops (cough, Connor, cough) because his son was committing sins. This visit also reveals that the family was well aware of Giorgio’s interest in dressing up like a girl – and not too thrilled about it. Giorgio’s brother tells Sara and Moore about the “other boys” who were also murdered, which up until this point, they knew nothing about. This is what leads Sara to continue poking and prodding until she finds the files mentioned above.
Upon learning about the secret files, Sara takes this research to Kreizler. This is the moment the wheels begin turning in his head – and the idea of partnering up with one another finally comes to fruition. I personally loved this epiphany that Kreizler had, because it truly set the stage for what we will start to see unfold with each episode. The trio’s chemistry in working together shines on the screen, and it is the driving force for The Alienist.
A creepy, disturbing flashback shows who we can assume is the murderer, with Giorgio. The only piece of information we are able to glean away from this is something about his mouth/smile isn’t right. This was a very brief but haunting moment in the episode because The Alienist wants to slowly peel back the moments that lead to Giorgio’s death, which means witnessing his gruesome demise.
The episode focused quite a bit on the revelation of multiple murders, but it also introduced the gradual insight into each major character. Conversations between Moore and Kreizler were quite hilarious, to say the least. Kreizler confronts Moore multiple times regarding possible interest in Sara. Being an old family friend, he is taken aback by this notion – but Kreizler does not give it up. We also learned a bit more about Sara’s past, and the death of her parents. This insight into Sara’s background is important for the story, because it makes connecting with her even more beautiful. She is a badass woman, working and on her own, in the 19th century. Talk about girl power!
This episode also ushers in a night at the opera for Moore and Kreizler, but their intentions are to connect with Roosevelt over their investigation. Kreizler reveals to Roosevelt that he is aware of multiple murders involving young male prostitutes, and he wants to conduct an off-the-books investigation into the matter. He is gathering a group of people who will assist him, inclusive of Moore, Sara, and the Isaacson twins, Marcus and Lucius. Each possess a certain talent or quality that will help Kreizler to locate and find the serial killer behind these gruesomely specific murders. In order to conduct such an investigation, he also needs the custody of Giorgio’s body, in order to compare and identify specific similarities.
With a group behind him, Kreizler organizes a partnership dinner to discuss their progress thus far. The Isaacson twins reveal that they have figured out the weapon that may have been used to cut the torso and take out the eyeballs – also known as the Arkansas Toothpick. One of the most interesting moments of this scene was the twins discussing the study of fingerprints. At the time, fingerprints were not used to identify individuals. I loved that this fact was a part of the story because it gives the show substance and history – which makes it that much better. Lucky for them, the twins had found a bloody fingerprint on a timepiece that was in Giorgio’s suit. This could be a game-changer for the plot moving forward if they are able to use science to capture the killer.
Moore warns Kreizler of Sara’s involvement in this whole debacle, as it feels inappropriate and too much for a woman to stomach. However, Kreizler knows Sara’s help is vital to the investigation and denies Moore’s request. This leads Moore to storm off as he heads to Paresis Hall. In an effort to learn more about what or who Giorgio dealt with the day he died, Moore put himself in a very dangerous situation. While trying to extract information from one of the workers, Connor shows up – but not before we realize Moore has been drugged – and about to become a victim of some heinous act. How will Moore get out of this one? And why is Captain Connor hiding the murders? There is so much to unpack and I for one cannot wait to see what is headed our way.
The second episode was much slower than the premiere episode, but it still played out in an engaging manner. I am personally enjoying the plot and character development, and finding myself sucked into the morbid narrative. The story-telling in The Alienist is very addicting and possesses a certain allure and vibe that you can’t look away from. The next episode can’t come soon enough!