TNT’s The Alienist
Angel of Darkness: “Better Angels”
Directed by David Caffrey
Written by Karina Wolf

* For a recap & review of “Last Exit to Brooklyn,” click here.

Father Son Holy Gore - The Alienist - Crime Scene PhotographyLibby has John with a knife at his throat, and Sara’s left to decide whether she’ll shoot. The mad killer wants to know where her Clara was taken. Sara begs the woman to let Moore go, only making Libby more determined to use him as her bait. When Libby starts to run her blade across John’s throat Sara blurts out: “Shes at the Kreizler Institute.” This distracts her long enough for John to knock her over. They want answers about the Vanderbilt baby, though it’s unclear whether they’ll get any just yet.

Byrnes and the crew are at the scene of Captain Doyle’s murder. Marcus is there to grab a few photos and evidence, even if they’re sure who did the deed. At the hospital, John’s gets cleaned up from his superficial wounds and Sara admits to being frightened of losing him. Their love continues, however, Sara wonders whether John will actually want her as a wife as he does a friend. He explains all the things he loves about her. I don’t think that’s going to change. Although perhaps she’s just concerned their worldviews are incompatible.
And while the regular world’s spinning round, the former police chief has Libby in a dark room with a bucket of water, preparing to put the woman through the “Byrnes third degree.” A lot of big, touch men in a room with one helpless woman. Pretty disgusting, no matter her crimes. She does give one cop a nasty bite in retaliation. Tough lady.
Father Son Holy Gore - The Alienist - Laszlo and Sara HideProfessor Karen Stratton’s been contacted by Vienna, specifically Dr. Freud. She and Dr. Laszlo Kreizler are saying goodbye to their budding relationship. She’d love him to go along with her, yet he feels he’s needed in New York. If Laszlo is anything he is a man of conviction, you have to give him that much.
Elsewhere, Goo Goo Knox is left with the Vanderbilt baby.

How will they get anything from Libby?
Dr. Kreizler thinks Sara can get answers. So, Ms. Howard willingly goes into the cell alone with the crazed killer, not long after their meeting at gunpoint just a while ago. The two women talk about motherhood, particularly Libby’s mother, as well as Sara’s, too. These two women have much more in common than either could’ve imagined. Sara uses her cunning to trick Libby, making the woman believe she’ll see her daughter if she gives up info on the Vanderbilt baby. Thankfully they get the info, even if Sara feels it was an “unnecessarily cruel” method. Ironic since she’s learning what they call ‘real police work.’ And, also, she’s right. Quick as they can round up, Byrnes leads charge to an address Libby gave Sara. In the warehouse, they hear the baby crying. He’s alone on the floor where we saw him last.

Where’s Goo Goo?
He and the Dusters are headed for the police department, looking for war. They walk inside and immediately begin bashing heads. Laszlo and Sara are caught in the middle of it, so one copper locks them in a cell and hands them the keys. Goo Goo and his men systematically take the cops apart. He gets the keys and lets Libby loose again. She goes directly looking for Sara but Goo Goo convinces her they’ve got to leave fast. When they’re gone, Sara and Laszlo survey the carnage. Not long later, the Isaacsons get a visit from Goo Goo and Libby at the institute, which leaves Marcus shot in the gut and Lucius knocked out cold. Libby finds Clara and steals her away.

In the aftermath, Marcus dies, leaving Lucius and his family to mourn, as well as his friends. Naturally Lucius feels responsible for not having defended his brother, yet it wasn’t his fault. Nobody’s to blame but the gangster who shot Marcus. Everyone’s thinking of mortality now, how quickly the flame of life can be extinguished. John knows he has to make decisions rather being indecisive too long, or else time could prevent him from having what he wants, and that’s Sara. Later, Laszlo and Sara talk about their potential respective futures. She feels “pulled every which way” though does want to be with John, and Laszlo’s still mulling over whether he’ll go to Vienna after all.
Father Son Holy Gore - The Alienist - Frederick DouglasLibby may just be headed home, back to where she lived with Mallory. Sara decides to lean on Byrnes’s help because she believes he genuinely wants to solve the case once and for all. They track down the old address. Byrnes knows that Goo Goo and Libby are inside. He also knows if they go head-on for an attack they’ll tussle with the Dusters again. They’d better hurry because Libby and Goo Goo’s relationship is splintering quickly, not to mention Clara’s not responding the way her mother wants.
John, Sara, and Laszlo make it to Libby. They try convincing her to let the child go. Libby allows Clara to go free, dropping her weapon. She says “the only thing that ever loves you” is a child. She believed having a baby would “stop the pain” of her existence. It never does, not truly, and never permanently. Sara stops the cops from shooting Libby, and they arrest her.

When everything’s over, real life resumes.
Will Laszlo spread his wings and fly to Vienna with Professor Stratton? Yes, indeed. Will John leave Violet for Sara? Maybe not, considering V’s pregnant. Not everything works out like a fairy tale. Some things do, but others just cannot. Dr. Kreizler, John, and Sara get together for a goodbye dinner together. They toast to friendship and speak of return visits.
After that, it’s goodbye.

“If there’s no struggle, there is no progress.”

An impressive follow-up season to the excellent first. Although Season 2 isn’t my favourite of the two it remains a great group of episodes, and the last several, after the revelation of Libby, managed to keep up the tension and suspense despite our knowing the killer. For that, Season 2 deserves much credit. I could watch another season.
Father Son Holy Gore - The Alienist - Sara's Eye

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