Alcatraz
Webb Porter

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Tippi Blevins: B | Grade It Now!
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The Sound of Music
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

Chinatown, night. Hauser skulks his way down a quiet street. He's actually walking in a normal way, but he's so sneaky in general that it just looks like skulking. Doc pops out from a doorway about half a block behind him and follows. Like Hauser's not going to notice this big, sore thumb of a guy wearing 15 layers of tweed. Hauser disappears into a building, glancing behind him. The next we see of him, he's sitting on a massage table in a dark room, his jacket and tie lying beside him. A woman with Chinese tattoos gives him a little cup of pills. He looks at them and remarks the blue one is new. Little blue pill? Maybe it's one of those "happy ending" massages. He downs the pills without waiting for an explanation. The woman climbs up onto the table behind him. "I wasn't always like this, you know," he says.

To prove his point, he has a flashback to 1960. He walks Lucy to the pier. They hold hands and talk about philosophy. Young Hauser seems to be a lot taller than Old Hauser. Aging is hell. An SFPD patrol boat pulls up alongside them to take Lucy to Alcatraz for the day. They make plans to see each other later. Hauser is positively giddy at the prospect.

Once Lucy gets to the island, Warden James takes her straight up to the infirmary. He wants her to treat an inmate who's been there every night, having been taken out of the general population because of his nightly wailing. Lucy looks at his file and notes that Mr. Porter has an IQ of 162. She finds porter in an infirmary cell where he's pushed his bed up against one wall so that he can press his ear to it. He's unresponsive to their presence; Warden James says Porter hasn't spoken in a year. "His file says his mother tried to drown him in the bathtub when he was only six," Lucy says. "Undoubtedly the reason that he butchered her," says the Warden, "and four other women suffering the full magnitude of his fatal blows that very night." Lucy presses her ear to the wall and hears a low hum. "How long have you heard the ringing in your ears, Mr. Porter?" she asks. He looks up at her, surprised, but doesn't answer. She turns to the Warden and says Porter suffers from tinnitus, most likely caused by the drowning incident. Porter has been listening to Dr. Beauregard's refrigerator on the other side of the wall to mask the ringing in his ears. Lucy thinks she can help him. "Tell me, Mr. Porter, do you like music?"

Present day. Porter plays the violin in a cozy little living room somewhere. (Unfortunately, the actor is no violinist, so it looks pretty terrible. The soundtrack is fine, but the badly mimed bowing and fingering make me twitchy.) He plays with such fervor that some of the hairs on his bow come loose. He calmly goes to the bathroom, fills the tub with water, then goes into the bedroom. A woman lies on the bed in her slip, her hair cut close to the scalp. "I'm not ready," Porter says. "I'm missing something." Sanity? I bet it's sanity. "Your hair," he says, petting the top of her head. "I wish there was more of it." He apologizes, then drags her kicking and screaming and scratching into the bathroom. This scene of disturbing violence is intercut with shots of him playing.

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Alcatraz

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