‘The Alienist’ Season 2 Episode 2 Recap: “Something Wicked”

The Alienist Season 2 Episode 2
Luke Evans and Dakota Fanning in ‘The Alienist: Angel of Darkness’ episode 2 (Photo by Kata Vermes / TNT)

TNT’s The Alienist season two episode two starts off in what appears to be a meat locker. We see a man hacking away at what we think is a pig since there are so many hanging nearby on hooks. Another man comes in and hands him a saw for the bones. The second man says, “Those boys won’t be telling any secrets where they’re are going.”

It becomes obvious the first man was actually cutting up a corpse when he stands up, holding a severed finger. He removes a ring while his friend snorts drugs. Body parts are then tossed to a very hungry dog.

John Moore (Luke Evans) meets with his boss Bernie Peterson (Demetri Goritsas), and Bernie believes another missing baby doesn’t mean anything and doesn’t care what Crazy Kreizler thinks. (It seems that is the nickname people have given Laszlo Kreizler.)

Bernie asks if he really thinks Dr. Markoe is kidnapping babies and killing them. John admits he doesn’t, but he wants to accompany Sara and see if the two are connected. The boss doesn’t see how they could be, given one baby came from a poor woman and the other from a rich diplomat. John points out not only could they vindicate Martha Napp, but quite possibly have the scoop of the century.

John heads over to Sara’s office and goes over his conversation with his boss. He admits his boss is sure the two cases aren’t connected. Nevertheless, Bernie gave him permission to investigate.

Sara (Dakota Fanning) informs John that Laszlo will be accompanying her to the Spanish consulate to interview their servants. Laszlo (Daniel Bruhl) walks in as John’s asking if she thinks the servants are lying. Laszlo claims it’s easy to tell when one is lying by their face. John doesn’t buy it and Laszlo decides to demonstrate on John, asking him how he feels about small dogs. (John’s fiancée has a small dog.) John proves Laszlo’s point by getting upset and telling him to stop it.

Sara changes the subject and wants to know what Laszlo’s holding in his hand. It’s a flyer for a public lecture by D. Markoe. Laszlo plans to attend and ask him publicly about what’s happened. John offers to also attend and ask questions as a New York Times reporter.

The Isaacson brothers test different poisons on rabbits. There’s a line of dead rabbits on the table as a result of the injections.

While Sara and Laszlo are on their way to the Linares house, Laszlo wonders if he can get Señora Linares to agree to be hypnotized. Sara’s completely against this idea and doesn’t want him to even ask her about that.

Sara and Laszlo begin to interview the servants one by one, asking basic questions including how long they’ve worked for the Linares family and if there are poisons kept in the house. Laszlo jumps in and asks if they think Señora Linares is a good mother. Sara glares at him. He then asks the nanny if she ever brought the child to the department store. The nanny’s unable to answer because she’s crying. He then asks if Señor and Señora Linares seem happy together. Sara quickly whispers Laszlo’s name in warning.

Narciso Linares (Diego Martin) asks if they spoke with everyone and Sara says she believes so. Laszlo asks if he can speak to his wife and Narciso informs him his wife is resting. Laszlo’s insistent that he speak with her and Narciso says more firmly, “Not today.”

As they’re leaving Laszlo admits he thought the interviews would yield more information. Sara says their only two avenues right now are the doll from the department store and the body of the Napp baby.

Dr. Markoe (Michael McElhatton) is delivering his lecture when Laszlo comes in late, drawing attention to himself. The lecture ends and Laszlo begins to loudly ask questions. John’s there and jumps in, stating the body of Martha Napp’s baby was found in a department store. Dr. Markoe questions if it’s really Martha’s baby at all. Laszlo confirms he examined it himself. Dr. Markoe makes jokes and Laszlo questions if this is funny to him that he had a mother executed for being a murderer when she, in fact, was not one.

Dr. Markoe calls it an outlandish claim.

The room clears out and Dr. Markoe’s cleaning up when Thomas Byrnes (Ted Levine) arrives. Dr. Markoe informs him Laszlo Kreizler showed up there tonight and accosted him. And Kriezler was with a man from the New York Times. Thomas informs him the reporter is John Moore and that Sara Howard is also a part of their team. Thomas calls Laszlo a nuisance and Dr. Markoe admits Laszlo could ruin all of them. Thomas assures him they’ll take care of not only Kreizler but his friends as well.

The Alienist Season 2 Episode 2
Douglas Smith and Matthew Shear in ‘The Alienist: Angel of Darkness episode 2 (Photograph by Kata Vermes / TNT)

Marcus (Douglas Smith) and Lucius (Matthew Shear) Isaacson go to see Sara and find Laszlo and John are there as well. Sara asks if there are any results from the autopsy. Marcus reveals they’re still analyzing the poison, but it appears one component is nightshade. It’s a calming agent but lethal in too big of a dose. Only someone with medical expertise would know the correct dose to administer.

The Isaacsons were shocked to find the black substance they thought was just blood in the infant’s mouth was actually powdered carbon. Laszlo seems confused by this because powdered carbon is used as an antidote for poison. That’s true, but the amount of poison swallowed was only enough to render the baby unconscious. Which begs the question, how did the baby die? John asks this and the Isaacsons believe the baby died from asphyxiation.

John sums up the current theory: someone poisoned the baby, changed their mind, and then provided the baby with powdered carbon. Sara adds, “He then decides to smother the child.”

As the brothers leave Sara’s building, Thomas is across the street watching through a window.

John and Sara head over to the Siegel Cooper Department Store to speak with the manager, Sterling Hessler (Oliver Maltman). After exchanging pleasantries, Sara gets to the point. She lets Sterling, who she seems to know well, in on the fact there’s another missing child. They think the doll can help.

Marcus heads out to pick up supplies and Thomas suddenly shows up, catching Lucius off guard. He informs Thomas that Marcus isn’t there, but Thomas explains he wants to see him and not Marcus. Lucius seems taken aback by that. Thomas assures him it’s a sensitive matter involving the brothers, Laszlo, Sara, and John. Thomas tells Lucius he knows he’s loyal and does not fault him for that. He won’t go after him and instead he’ll go after his brother. Lucius asks him what he wants. Thomas simply says, “Information. That’s all.”

Back at the department store, Sterling says the doll found at the Linares place is called Ruby Red. The store keeps a record of everyone who bought items there. As he goes through the book, he finds it odd that someone that goes by E.H. bought the doll. They did not leave an address.

As he continues to go through the book, it appears this E.H. purchased the doll at least four times! Upon looking further he spots a fifth purchase of the doll. On that occasion, E.H. did leave an address.

Sara and John make a plan to visit that address, which is in a bad neighborhood, that evening.

William Randolph Hearst (Matt Letscher) and Violet chat about whether John Moore will be joining them for dinner that evening. Hearst believes John and Violet will make a good match, and notes John has an excellent pedigree. He hands her a check which he describes as being large enough to cover the running of a small nation.

As Violet leaves, Thomas arrives to inform Hearst another child is missing. This time it’s the daughter of the Spanish Consulate General. They’re keeping it hush-hush and Hearst compliments him for doing a nice job of digging up the news.

It appears wealthy men take their mistresses to Dr. Markoe to “take care” of unwanted pregnancies to avoid scandals. The latest man to go to him wants to know what will happen to the child. Dr. Markoe tells him that will be of no concern. He assures him there won’t be any scandal.

John attends a dinner with a group of people that includes Violet and William Hearst. William seems to be watching Violet and John closely during dinner when John suddenly gets up to leave. William questions whether his duty lies with his fiancée. John admits it does, but he really must leave for work. William insists when Violet and John get married, he must come work for The Journal where the hours are more social. John politely says goodnight and with that he leaves.

Sara and John show up at the address listed in the department store’s register. They find the building has long since been abandoned. From the sign hanging outside it appears it once housed transient people. John suggests they can still find out who once occupied it from the landlord.

Some younger men appear and begin to walk toward Sara and John. The two quickly walk down the street and observe they’re being followed. They duck into an alleyway and lose the men stalking them.

Sara and John enter a saloon, still in the slums, to speak with whoever is in charge. Sara asks if the man, Cyrus (Robert Wisdom), if he ever heard of any of their patrons kidnapping children for ransom. Cyrus admits he wouldn’t put it past them.

John wants to know who’s in charge of the criminal group currently populating the bar. Cyrus says Goo Goo isn’t there but he’ll introduce them to some of the men who are. Cyrus says they’re all bad but compared to Goo Goo Knox they are altar boys. John asks about the old boarding house on Hudson Street. He said Goo Goo used to own the place and it burned down last year. John asks him if he can introduce them to someone from Goo Goo’s gang and Cyrus doesn’t think that’s a good idea.

Cyrus realizes Sara and John won’t take no for an answer and brings Ding Dong (Peter Coonan) over to speak with them. Ding Dong asks what Sara and John want with Goo Goo, assuming they’re cops. John introduces himself and informs him he works for the New York Times and would like to speak with Goo Goo about 247 Hudson Street. That elicits a shocked look from Ding Dong who was cocky just a few seconds ago. Sara chimes in saying it’s about a missing baby. Ding Dong says, “I ain’t seen him in months” and ends the conversation.

Laszlo goes to see Señora Linares by himself. He explains he was hoping to see her husband and she says her husband is busy. War is a possibility between their two countries and even with their unimaginable situation, her husband still must attend to his duties.

Señora Linares would like to know why he’s there and Laszlo explains he believes he can help access her deepest memories through hypnosis. Señora Linares is visibly upset by this suggestion, just as Sara had assumed she’d be. He says he understands her reservation but thinks it will help find her child. She declines and dismisses him, saying someone will escort him to the door.

A body is pulled from the water at the docks. Most of it is missing and it appears what’s recovered is just a torso. The Isaacson brothers are there to examine the body and determine someone used a scalpel to remove identifying marks, such as tattoos.

Thomas Byrnes is also on the scene and speaks with Captain Doyle (Martin McCreadie) who thinks it’s hoodlums that did this. Thomas plants the idea that it was the Spanish who did this to a Cuban. He thinks it would be most helpful for the headlines if the Spanish were blamed. He also tells Doyle there have been nefarious goings on over at the Spanish consulate. He reveals one of their children have vanished and not one word about it was spoken to the authorities.

John is typing away on his typewriter when a woman comes running in to inform him that word is two men Goo Goo Knox was feuding with wound up dead in the Hudson River by the pier. He asks the woman to put in a call to Sara and to have her meet him down there.

John overhears Thomas say the police are saying the dead men are Cubans. John spots someone he once knew and that man tells him word has it that Goo Goo Knox had an altercation with two fellas. John hands the man some money and tells him he needs to talk to Goo Goo about something important.

The man assures John he’ll take care of it.

Shortly thereafter, John’s walking down an alleyway when he finds himself surrounded by men. Goo Goo Knox (Frederick Schmidt) appears and puts a knife to John’s throat, revealing he’s aware John’s been asking a lot of questions about him. Sara suddenly appears and points a gun at Goo Goo Knox. He lets go of John as Sara asks him what he knows about 247 Hudson Street. Goo Goo claims he knows nothing about it. John informs him they heard he was the owner and he suddenly remembers the place.

Sara asks if he knows anything about a missing child. He claims not to know what they’re talking about. She asks who lived at 247 Hudson Street and he says it was mainly pimps and whores. Maybe one of them has the baby because he definitely doesn’t.

The baby is shown sleeping and then suddenly wakes up, crying. We see different vials including one with nightshade.

Sara shows up at work and is informed she received a call from Señora Linares and she isn’t happy. Cut to Sara showing up at the restaurant Laszlo frequents and now she’s the one who’s unhappy. Without greeting Laszlo, she says, “I explicitly told you not to contact the Linareses and yet you did.”

Laszlo acknowledges Sara’s angry and she claims what he did was a violation of not only her trust, but of their friendship as well. He invites her to join him at his table for a meal, even though she’s obviously mad at him. She asks for a glass of Bourbon, but refuses any of the food he ordered for her.

Sara takes a seat and calms down a little. She questions whether he really thinks Señora Linares would benefit from hypnosis. He explains why he thinks she will. Laszlo then changes the subject and reveals he saw something rather curious during his visit to the Spanish consulate. He reveals they did not interview the staff member who let him in and she seemed to be a close confidante of Señora Linares’. Sara is shocked by the news and says they must speak to her immediately.

When they show up the police are there arresting Señora Linares. Laszlo and Sara demand to know what’s going on and Captain Doyle tells them Señora Linares is being questioned about the disappearance of her baby. Sara, thinking quickly, tells Captain Doyle she applauds his bravery. That confuses Doyle. Sara insists because the Linareses have diplomatic immunity, if they arrest Señora Linares it will be a diplomatic incident of the highest degree. It could even hasten a war with Spain.

After first protesting it wasn’t his call, Captain Doyle lets her go rather than cause a diplomatic incident.

Inside the consulate after Señora Linares is released, the woman they didn’t get to interview is standing next to Señora Linares. Sara informs her they need to talk to the woman who’s name is Eva. For some reason Señora Linares doesn’t want them to speak with her, and they insist they must.

After Eva leaves, Señora Linares tearfully recalls an incident that happened with the baby. While she was drawing a bath, the baby fell. She asked Eva not to tell her husband. She took the baby to the hospital and the doctor there insisted the baby stay for a few days and so she had Eva stay with the baby. Sara asks what hospital they visited.

Back at her office, Sara meets with Laszlo, John, and the Isaacson brothers to go over what they’ve learned so far. They don’t think Goo Goo is stealing babies unless he’s doing it for money. Lucius says the child had three different poisons in it and two of them are easy to get while the other isn’t. The other is a sedative most commonly used in a maternity ward.

The episode ends with Dr. Markoe helping a woman give birth. The woman passes out after her final push. The doctor says there’s one final thing that needs to be done as he grabs a scalpel. The baby is very much alive and crying when the matron asks what she should tell the woman when she awakens. He replies, “Tell her the child did not survive.”