I find myself constantly aware I’m living in an era where our society has the tools to solve crimes and murders at a much quicker rate than the world of The Alienist. There are moments when I personally find frustration in the group’s ability to track down the killer who has to have left behind so much evidence on the bodies he mutilates.
But given the time period, tools such as fingerprint identification are only just beginning to gain momentum. This week’s episode of The Alienist is a tad bit slower, but given their recent failure of tracking down the killer, it makes sense.
The episode starts off with Moore trying to make a sketch of the man Stevie saw at the brothel. However, Stevie is unable to fully recall every detail which ticks off Moore to no end. As Stevie tries to explain his version of the killer, Roosevelt makes a statement that catches the group off guard. The most recent murder reveals that along with being mutilated, the child was scalped as well. According to Roosevelt, he has seen murders similar to this style out in the West.
Kreizler has a lightbulb moment as he begins to piece together details about the killer. He heads off to the Museum of Natural History to talk to an anthropologist who confirms Kreizler’s theory. The manner in which the child was scalped mimics that of murders that take place in the Western states by Plains Indians. This method of killing indicates the killer has seen such murders take place and may come from that area. However, the native group would not inflict such harm on a child, so Kreizer comes to the conclusion that the killer must not be a native, but has taken the rituals to suit his way of killing.
Havoc has broken out all over the city ever since the brothels were shut down, which results in a citywide riot. Moore and Kreizler have an interesting discussion with pimp Paul Kelly, who recommends that the brothels be opened up again. The power and control of the rich in this society seems to be taking an interesting turn regarding the killer. You see it in Kelly’s conversation with Moore and Kreizler, and in their interactions with the former police chief Brynes and J.P. Morgan. They all seem to have a stake in the investigation and keep forcing it to take the direction they please. What their intentions and motives are will be interesting to find out.
Sarah attempts to dig deeper and visits a sanitarium, a place where she was once a patient herself. Her investigation here helps her uncover that the suspect she is following was a patient there, and that the sanitarium is actually a government hospital for soldiers. Could our killer actually be a victim of some twisted form of PTSD? Moore also learns from Sarah about Kreizler slapping her and in a true knight in shining armor moment, he goes to confront Kreizler about it and also tell him about Sarah’s discovery.
During this episode, the trio seem to grow more distant from one another, particularly Kreizler from Sarah and Moore. He can’t seem to get a grasp on the chaos inside his head and this episode is a testament to this. Watching him attempt to mutilate the child’s body was quite frightening, even if it was his attempt to feel the same adrenaline as the killer. I still secretly believe he is the mastermind behind this whole ordeal, and by the finale the joke will be on everyone else when we learn he is the killer or at least one of them.
After Cyrus was attacked in the previous episode, Kreizler goes to pay him a visit. However, his niece is not keen on his visiting as she blames him for putting her uncle in danger. An interesting shift starts to take place in Kreizler’s mind at this moment as he reflects on his behavior with all those that work for him, including Mary. After all the back-and-forth Kreizler has had with his emotions, surroundings, and past, this episode seems to bring him back to the present. He even shares an intimate moment with Mary (after telling her to leave out of respect) as all the past side glimpses and stares finally come to fruition as they physically connect with a kiss.
From the start of the season to now, a lot has changed in the dynamic between Kreizler, Moore, and Sarah. Kreizler was a kind, understanding man when it all started but now has transformed into someone falling deep down the rabbit hole of this murder mystery. His friction with Sarah and Moore has ultimately resulted in a drift between the three. This has not stopped Sarah from continuing the investigation on her own, even if it means making Moore her messenger.
I am concerned to see where the story is heading from here, and am definitely harboring some theories about Kreizler being the puppeteer behind it all. His mental state of mind has slowly been showing signs that he has the potential to snap–just as he has said many times. Could he be the culprit behind it all? That would be one hell of a plot twist, right?
As we anticipate the next episode, there is a lot to look forward to. After Sarah’s investigation in this episode, it appears Kreizler will head off to the Western states to try and learn more about their suspect. Whether or not he will succeed in finding anything is yet to be seen but can only add to the tension of the season. I do hope in the coming weeks that the trio find a way to come back together because they truly make an excellent team (unless Kreizler is the murderer, of course). The Alienist continues to be a thrilling adventure each week as it takes us back into time, places us front and center in these murders, and brings us along for the scary ride.
Catch up on our previous reviews of The Alienist here!