And just like that, the first season of The Alienist has come to an end. It is hard to believe that the case has come to a close leaving us wondering if there will be a potential second season (after all, does limited series really mean limited anymore?). After last week’s cliffhanger, fans went into the season finale wondering what Joseph’s fate had in store for him. Did he become Beecham’s next victim? Not exactly. The finale begins with the authorities discovering a body in the bathhouse and as we hold our breaths hoping it is not Joseph’s, Moore comes rushing in to see who the body belongs to. While he is deeply saddened by the loss of another child, he takes a sigh of relief when he realizes it is not Joseph’s body.
Thankfully, Kreizler did not spend the finale just moping around – Sarah convinced him to aid with the investigation since they are so close to tracking down Beecham. They have a bittersweet moment as they each share their past traumas and relationships with their fathers. Sarah’s father committed suicide but failed to succeed. With his face half blown off, Sarah shares that she helped him finish the job. This is the push Kreizler needs to get back into the game and find Beecham once and for all.
Sarah and Moore finally have a tender moment in this episode as Moore reveals he loves her and then proceeds to kiss her. While there seem to be sparks flying in that moment, it’s hard to gauge how Sarah truly feels. Kreizler visits the latest crime scene and then makes his way to Beecham’s home where the Isaacson twins are hard at work investigating what they can.
Whether through an epiphany or some other revelation of sorts, Kreizler decides that on June 24th he will attend the opera. He tells Moore to come with him to the opera while he has afternoon tea with Moore’s grandmother but Moore tries to convey to him that June 24th is the feast of St. John the Baptist and most likely when Beecham will strike next. And with Joseph M.I.A. (the audience knows he’s with Beecham), Moore is concerned for his well-being. There is a disturbing scene with Beecham who walks into the room where Joseph is tied up with a cat in a bag. He proceeds to smash the bag against the wall brutally killing the cat and then whispering “I love you so much” into Joseph’s ear. Yikes.
So why exactly does Kreizler want to go to the opera? It is because he has noticed that someone has been following him and keeping track of his every move. And just like clockwork, Brynes follows Kreizler to the opera on the night of the 24th and keeps an intense eye on him and Moore. When the perfect moment arises, Kreizler and Moore make their escape. Time is running out, because Sarah and the twins are waiting at Highbridge Tower, while Roosevelt has an army ready at the Brooklyn Bridge. However, Kreizler changes the plan and has their carriage take them to a reservoir. He realizes that the latest murder indicates that Beecham has changed his ways and has an affinity for water now (whereas before it was heights). Kreizler is determined to catch Beecham alive because above all, he wants the opportunity to talk to him and find out why he did what he did.
It appears Kreizler led them to the correct location because as they enter they hear Joseph crying out for help. Unfortunately, it’s two against one serial killer which doesn’t bode well for rescue purposes. Beecham knocks the both of them out and Kreizler wakes up to realize Beecham is hovering right above him. All Kreizler wants is a moment to talk to him and learn about his behaviors. When he calls Beecham by his birth name, you see the facial tic we have heard so much about. It is way more frightening than was anticipated and makes the moment more dark and gloomy.
Kreizler makes a ballsy move when he mentions Beecham’s mother and connects his need to murder little boys to his relationship with her. Before any more discussion can take place, the obnoxious Captain Connor shows up and shoots Beecham. As morbid as it is, it breaks Kreizler’s heart because he is left with many unanswered questions and hopes Beecham still has some breath left in him. The Captain decides to take a step further and decides he is going to kill everyone and then blame it on Beecham. However, Sarah shows up in the nick of time and shoots him dead like a badass. Scrambling up to the roof to find Beecham, Kreizler runs after him. But before he can get any answers, Beecham draws his last breath.
Later, during Beecham’s autopsy, Kreizler examines Beecham’s brain and finds nothing is wrong with it and there is no indication of any decay that might have alluded to the behavior he presented. Being the Debbie-downer he is, Kreizler feels defeated despite catching a serial killer and putting an end to the brutal murders. There is a haunting beauty with how the season ends, because while Beecham’s death wasn’t as epic as we might have expected, it left so many questions and a void that is frustrating and exciting all at the same time. We have to remember the time period they are in and what advances are yet to come. While they may not have figured out what makes a serial killer tick just yet, there is much to come in regards to solving crimes. If only Kreizler knew what the future holds for his profession.
The group celebrates their victory and also that they have found friends in one another. Kreizler even hands Moore a ring that was meant for Mary and hopes Moore will give it to someone he loves one day. There is no definitive reveal as to whether or not Moore and Sarah will harbor a relationship but the season ends on a somber note regarding their relationship. And in the final moments of the finale, Kreizler is seen visiting his father. He has come to forgive him for the past and seems ready to face what the future holds. Cue the end.
The Alienist was a hell of a ride and took us through quite the rollercoaster in finding Beecham. There wasn’t really ever a dull moment or one in which we felt the story began to feel dry. The psychological struggles of each character played a big part in the season and really resonated with the viewers–allowing them to relate to characters not unlike them. The stand out moments of the season were watching Fanning kick ass at portraying Sarah. The show did not hesitate in keeping her front and center and advocating for women’s rights when they had very little. Whether or not there will be another season is yet to be seen, but either way, The Alienist, we will miss you!