The following two episodes are named for their respective antagonists, "Ernest Cobb," and "Kit Nelson." Cobb is a compulsive sniper who follows a ritual when claiming his victims, at least eight innocents whom we watch get shot through the telescopic sights of Cobb's high powered rifle as he fires unseen from a great distance. 

It was at this point that I began to feel how brutal and brutalizing the new show was. In flashbacks to Cobb's days on Alcatraz, the reclusive inmate was intimidated by the Warden Edwin James (Jonny Coyle) and forced to mingle with the other prisoners. Kit Nelson is a child killer, who at Alcatraz was despised and badly beaten by other prisoners and whose present snatching of a boy triggers alarm in Soto, who himself had been abducted as a youth. As in Lost, Garcia's character is the audience surrogate, although a character with a Ph.D who owns a comic book shop may be a little too much pandering to the desirable fanboy base.

The mythology of Alcatraz naturally raises the question of how the prisoners disappeared from 1963 to begin appearing in the present and there are hints of some dire conspiracy that Hauser and others are privy to which Rebecca and Soto are not. This is a now pretty standard formula for such series, the very gradual  revelation of more puzzle pieces which may or may not  continue to fascinate and compel audiences to keep watching. 

If episodes continue with the killer-of-the-week pattern, it will take a startling run of three hundred episodes or thirteen seasons, an awfully ambitious project for any series. That's a lot of torturing, serial killing, and blood to endure in a broadcast series for what so far has offered only slight compensation in intrigue, suspense and compelling characters.

*This review first published 1/31/2012

**Watch Alcatraz Mondays on FOX