‘The Alienist’ Season 2 Episode 3 Recap: “Labyrinth”

The Alienist Season 2 Episode 3
Melanie Field and Dakota Fanning in ‘The Alienist’ season 2 episode 3 (Photograph by Kata Vermes / TNT)

TNT’s The Alienist season two episode three begins with Sara (Dakota Fanning) being hypnotized by Laszlo (Daniel Brühl). She doesn’t want to subject Señora Linares to something she does not fully believe in, so she tries it out for herself.

She sees herself as a child, 12 years old and running with a balloon. She seems happy until she looks down and notices her hands are covered in blood. She somehow wakes herself up and tells Laszlo to stop.

The Isaacson brothers join Sara, Laszlo, and John (Luke Evans) at Sara’s office to examine the clothing the Napp baby was found in. It appears to have a black substance on it and when Sara’s assistant, Milly (Georgia Lowe), asks what it is they reveal it’s charcoal and blood.

Upon further examination of the baby’s dress it appears to be handmade. They’re debating whether Dr. Markoe has done this or a woman, perhaps a woman who is angry. Maybe she can’t have a child or lost a child.

Another of Sara’s employees, Bitsy (Melanie Field), comes in with a list of donors to the Lying-In Hospital since this particular hospital relies on donations. John recognizes one of their names. Sara asks if they can meet with him.

Later, Sara meets John at his fencing practice where he’s sparring with his friend Ogden Gildersleeve (Paul Reid), the donor John recognized. John pretends Sara’s visit is unexpected and Ogden seems to take a liking to Sara. He agrees to lend his help, however she needs it.

At the hospital, the woman we saw in the last episode giving birth is asking the doctor where her baby is. He simply states, “I’m afraid your child is with the angels now.” The woman becomes hysterical and they inject her with drugs to calm her down.

Sara takes a trip to the hospital and finds a room full of women lined up and breastfeeding. Another woman is being held down and having medication shoved down her throat. The matron (Heather Goldenhersh) finds her and asks if she’s lost. After introducing herself to the matron, she informs her she’s there to see Dr. Markoe.

In his office, Dr. Markoe (Michael McElhatton) recognizes Sara from the Martha Napp execution. She thinks he seems unconcerned the baby’s body was discovered after Martha was put to death. He tries to tell her that’s not true and she gets to the point; the baby was found poisoned with a substance that can be found in his hospital. She asks what happened the night the baby went missing. He attempts to blame the staff, calling them simple ward girls.

Sara wonders if there’s a report from that night and he tells there isn’t. He claims they have nothing to hide and agrees she can see the room where Martha was kept.

The matron explains she was kept in a room by herself due to the fact she had a bowel infection. Sara asks if this infection was written down somewhere, surely in Martha’s file. If so, Sara would like to see it. The matron claims they can’t be giving it out to anyone.

The matron turns her attention to a nurse and asks why a patient is sleeping. It’s discovered she’s bleeding heavily. After the matron berates the nurse, she leaves to get the doctor. Sara takes that opportunity to question the nurse who introduces herself as Libby (Rosy McEwen). Sara is curious if she knew Martha Napp and if this was Martha’s room. (She doesn’t believe the matron.) Her suspicions are correct. Libby says, “It was when she came, but not the night you are talking about.”

Before Sara can ask anything further, the matron and doctor arrive and ask Libby to show Sara out.

On their way out, Sara asks Libby if she can tell her more about the maternal research ward. She asks if that was where Martha was kept that night. Libby states no, she was in delivery and postpartum. She adds that Martha’s roommate from that night won’t tell her anything. “But you will, won’t you?” asks Sara.

Libby says she can’t and doesn’t know what happened to Martha’s baby. She adds that none of them do.

Their conversation is abruptly cut short when a woman screams. A nurse is attempting to de-lice her, but the nurse seems to be pulling out her hair. The matron comes running in to help as the nurse is being overly aggressive and suggesting they chop off her hair. The matron tells the nurse, Colleen, to go to the doctor’s office immediately. The nurse responds with a firm, “No.”

Sara has been taking all this in and says if she the nurse doesn’t want to go to the doctor’s office, she’s quite certain she doesn’t have to. The matron doesn’t pay her any attention and says, “Colleen, you are to go to the doctor’s office right now!”

After stabbing the scissors into a bedside table, Colleen leaves.

Laszlo puts Martha and her baby to rest, throwing the blanket Martha gave him in the grave.

The Isaacson brothers are back at their lab discussing how strange it is for the baby’s stomach to be with them, but the child has already been buried. Marcus (Douglas Smith) talks about how we have a soul and conscious, while Lucius’ thinking is more along the lines of bodies being made of biological material. Lucius seems off and Marcus asks if something’s wrong. Lucius (Matthew Shear) tells him no. So far, the brothers have found poison, powdered carbon, and breastmilk in the baby’s system.

Sara’s waiting outside the hospital in her carriage for Libby to leave the hospital. She spots the young woman and offers to take her to lunch. When Libby seems hesitant Sara promises she can trust her.

Over lunch, Sara asks how the woman from earlier is doing – the one who was bleeding. Libby says she’s fine and then admits she knows why Sara invited her to lunch but claims she doesn’t know very much. Sara wants to know if anyone came and asked questions and wrote stuff done, and Libby says yes. When Sara asks if she would be able to see that report, Libby becomes nervous and says she must return to work soon. Sara assures her they still have time and Libby spots a photo of Sara’s dad she keeps in her watch. They soon realize they, unfortunately, have something in common. Both their fathers committed suicide.

Before parting ways after lunch, Sara confides in her that another baby has gone missing and she believes they are connected. Sara tells Libby who the missing child is and notes that baby once stayed at the hospital. Libby remembers them and recalls it was all very hush-hush. Libby says the matron kept that baby close to her and wouldn’t let anyone near the baby. Sara asks if she knows where the matron lives.

Obviously the answer was yes as Sara shows up at the matron’s place. An older tenant stops her from trying to enter the apartment and Sara tries to play it off saying she was going to knock but didn’t want to wake the baby. The woman informs her that tenant doesn’t have a child. Sara asks if the woman ever brings babies home. The neighbor says she used to from time to time but hasn’t done so in quite a while.

When Sara asks if she remembers the last time she brought a baby home, the woman reveals the last one she brought home she really showered with attention. But, she had to give her back. She adds that it was sad because she can’t have her a child of her own.

Back at the hospital, the woman who just gave birth and lost her child wakes ups to see the matron trying on a gorgeous gown the rich man who got her pregnant sent over. The woman begins to cry, stating she doesn’t want the dress. Bizarrely, the matron dances around the room in the dress.

Libby sneaks into where the files are kept and secures Martha’s file. She suddenly hears the doctor’s voice draw near and he’s standing in front of the door. She overhears him talking to former chief Thomas Byrnes (Ted Levine) and complaining about Sara Howard showing up there. He explains the matron caught her snooping and he’s sure the hospital’s donors wouldn’t like what’s going on. Thomas asks if there’s anything to unearth on the Martha Napp case that could connect the hospital to the missing Spanish baby. Markoe assures him of course there isn’t and both men finally walk away.

The Alienist Season 2 Episode 3
Emily Barber and Luke Evans in ‘The Alienist’ season 2 episode 3 (Photograph by Kata Vermes / TNT)

Violet (Emily Barber) shows up at The New York Times with her little dog and asks John about the papers he’s holding. He reveals they’re death certificates of the babies at the Lying-In Hospital. Regretting she asked, she asks him not to tell her such horrible stories because they’ll give her nightmares. She’s actually there to obtain the guestlist for their upcoming wedding.

Sara pays Laszlo a visit while he’s in a session with a boy. He allows her to come in and watch. After the session, he asks if she’s gotten anywhere with the Martha Napp case. She says sadly no, but she feels she has a confidant who will help. She has suspicions about the matron. Laszlo thinks they’ve reached an impasse. Sara informs him not quite; Señora Linares has agreed to be hypnotized.

As the session begins, Señor Linares (Diego Martin) is skeptical. Sara assures him she herself has been hypnotized and it will be all right. Laszlo asks Señora Linares (Bruna Cusí) what she sees. She describes a painting in the Metropolitan Museum and he instructs her to turn away from the painting. We see her walking in the park outside the museum. As Laszlo repeatedly asks who or what she sees, she faints.

While Marcus goes over what he discovered about the chemicals mixed together in the baby’s body, Lucius’ guilty conscience gets the best of him and he confesses he needs to tell his brother something. He reveals he did something horrible and explains Thomas came to see him one day and he told him about the Linares case. Marcus asks why he would do that and Lucius explains Thomas had threatened Marcus. Thomas warned he would find a way to destroy Marcus if he didn’t give him information about the Linares case.

John, Sara, and Laszlo discuss what went wrong with Señora Linares and how they could fix it for the next session. Señora Linares once was a painter so she sees things very vividly. John suggests maybe they can get her to paint next time. Sara believes they should ask Señora Linares’ art teacher, Cecilia Beaux, to assist them.

Cecilia agrees to help them since the baby’s life is at stake.

Laszlo puts Señora Linares under again and asks where she is. She relives her visit to the park outside the Museum of Art on the day her baby disappeared. She describes where she is and they realize she’s at The Tea House. She believes she’s being watched and describes a dark presence that’s threatening her as female. She can’t see it, but she can feel it. She’s afraid. “She is close. I feel it. I can sense it,” says Señora Linares.

She sees a flash, like a gunshot. She sees the woman and describes her heart as beating fast. She wakes and says it is gone.

Sara and Milly go to The Tea House to investigate and Sara spots a photographer. When he takes a photo, there’s a flash – like a gunshot. She tells Milly to ask him if he still has anything from that day.

Libby meets Sara outside her building and hands over the Martha Napp file. She needs to put it back before anyone realizes it’s missing. Libby has to leave and asks if she can pick up the file from Sara the following day.

It’s the night of John’s bachelor party and he doesn’t seem interested in it, wanting to call it a night early on. Ogden tries to talk him out of it and suggests they slum it somewhere and get a nightcap. John agrees, but says he gets to choose where they’re going.

Laszlo picks up on John’s subdued behavior and asks if they should have a toast together. They toast to John’s grandmother who would be happy John is marrying Violet.

Sara’s still at her office looking over papers when John and Laszlo show up asking her to join them. At first, she declines because she isn’t interested in attending John’s bachelor party. He insists this part of the evening will be an intimate setting with his closest friends. She picks up on Laszlo being intoxicated and finally agrees.

Sara tells them in the carriage she has the file on Martha Napp and her baby. She also informs them of her plan to have someone go into the hospital undercover. She thinks she’ll send in her assistant, Bitsy.

They group shows up at the Oyster Saloon where they know the bar owner. (It’s the same bar they were in looking for Goo Goo Knox.) Cyrus (Robert Wisdom) the owner congratulates John on his engagement while Sara asks Ogden about getting someone employed at the Lying-In Hospital. He admits it sounds very cloak and dagger-ish but seems happy to help her.

John asks Cyrus if his daughter is still studying the law. She is, but Cyrus admits this isn’t the best place for her to do that. John recalls she used to work for the newspaper in Philly and suggests maybe he can get her a job at The New York Times. Cyrus is stunned by the suggestion and very appreciative of the offer.

Laszlo draws everyone’s attention so he can deliver a toast to John. Surprisingly, it’s a very touching, heartfelt, and beautiful speech. With the way Laszlo is you never know what’s going to come out of his mouth. Most of the time he manages to offend someone, but not in this instance.

As the episode ends, we see baby Anna crying and a woman picking her up. Of course we can’t see the woman, but whoever it is appears to be breastfeeding the baby.