‘The Alienist’ Portrays Politics and Power Not too Different than Today

Politics and power is playing out a little differently this season of The Alienist, but it’s still infuriating as ever, but the characters know just how to navigate them all.

Fans may have mixed feelings with how John and Sara finally got together. (TNT)

The writers didn’t give us much reason to like Violet (Emily Barber) or her godfather, Mr. Hearst (Matt Letscher). As the season progresses, they are even giving us reason to hate them.

I’ve been perplexed about Violet and her godfather since the start of the season. Now, we finally understand what their relationship is. Her mother was his mistress, and it appears she might actually be his daughter.

I don’t think he has done her any favors by making her a frivolous girl. I realize in the late 1800s, women weren’t meant to get a job and have their own ambitions like Sara (Dakota Fanning) does, but that doesn’t mean she has to be so reliant on material things.

I only somewhat sympathize with her that John (Luke Evans) has eyes for Sara. He should have made his intentions much more clear to Sara. When he proposed, it seemed more like a joke than a real proposal.

I’m not sure how I feel about Sara and John finally getting together. The timing is bad. He’s engaged, but he will clearly give it all up if Sara gives him the word. But her integrity may prevent her from letting him do just that.

Nonetheless, Hearst will do anything to keep his girl happy, and he’s lashing out at Sara to do it. He wrote a scandalous article about her in his paper.

Luckily, it hasn’t seemed to have any effect, yet. Vanderbilt (James Faulkner) not only hired her to find his grandson but also will help Laszlo (Daniel Brühl) get his institution back, and Byrnes (Ted Levine) has to work under her.

Sara continues to focus on the case. (TNT)

That was one of the best scenes. Hearst and Byrnes were bad-mouthing Sara, and she walked in, stood her ground, and got what she demanded. She did find the other baby, after all. What have the police done?

It’s so tiring watching these men waste so much time undermining Sara and Laszlo when they could be spending that time solving the case.

While it’s to be expected, given the time, it’s hard not to notice the similarities to today. Women don’t have it quite as bad as back then, but we still don’t have equality. Minorities still face prejudices, and new scientific advances are again met with skepticism even today. It seems not much has changed in over 100 years.

I will never get tired of watching powerful women navigate and succeed in living in a man’s world, though. It doesn’t matter what period, it’s still fun to watch.

This season has been excellent about bringing more women to the forefront. Even the killer is a woman. It’s fascinating listening to Laszlo analyze Libby’s psyche.

There are so many levels of detective work going on in this show. You have the police work done by Sara and John, Laszlo does the physiological part, and Marcus (Douglas Smith) and Lucius (Matthew Shear) do the forensics. The writers take their time to have the evidence unfold to find the killer. It reminds me of Zodiac and Mystic River. Those are great crime movies. Procedural shows like Chicago PD and Bones are fun, but they don’t get the same level of detail as movies, since they have to solve the case in one episode. It’s more intellectually stimulating to watch a crime unfold through an entire season than one episode.

Sara and John continue to work on the case together. (TNT)

The one thing that has annoyed me about this season is we still don’t know what Marko is doing to the babies. No one is looking into that aspect. All those babies of the mistresses of rich men can’t just disappear. He has to be doing something with them.

With only two episodes left, hopefully, the writers will fill in those blanks. As for Libby (Rosy McEwen), we know you she is, and now the team has to find her and save the baby before Libby decides this one isn’t hers either.

It should be one roller coaster of a night next Sunday.

What have you thought of the second season of The Alienist so far? Tweet me @MandyTTCarr or comment below. 

Mandy Carr

Editor and Founder, Primetime Addiction

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