The Alienist Season 2 Angel Of Darkness Episodes 5 And 6- Review And Recap
Sara, John, and Laszlo head into the belly of the beast as the rescue of Baby Linares is only the beginning for Libby on a suspenseful Angel of Darkness Episode 5 and 6.
The core three each had pivotal moments this week. Laszlo showed rare vulnerability with his ward Paulie who may have tried to commit suicide and with new friend Karen Stratton. The fellow Alienist is perfect for Kreizler. She is just as confident and intelligent as Laszlo but with a more expanded world view. She is not hampered by Laszlo’s inability to read emotions and is a modern woman. Karen forces Lazslo to reconsider his preconceived notions of sexuality, especially concerning women. Lazslo is convinced Goo Goo’s interest in Libby’s lactating breasts is a fetish, but Karen chastizes that women enjoy sex too. It is a sexually charged conversation that highlighted Kreizler’s naivete and Karen’s open-mindedness. Lara Pulver(Karen) from Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes is calmly in control of every scene with the mesmerizing Kreizler.
That is no small feat as Daniel Brühl has almost black hole gravity to his brilliant but emotionally stunted Kreizler. The man deeply cares for those he loves. His ward Paulie at the Kreizler Institute, is a troubled boy who has an interest in magic. When the boy hangs himself in his office, Kreizler worries that this was a cry for attention from Kreizler and not a magic trick gone wrong. Kreizler sees mental illness in everyone with a problematic past and sees it in Paulie. He was concerned with the wrong disease, however.
Being Sara’s friend and partner has put Laszlo and John in a bad position. When word of Paulie’s attempt reaches the police, he has his license stripped, and his institution is under investigation. Paulie will be moved into an orphanage if the problem doesn’t get resolved quickly. Hopefully, Vanderbilt’s grandchild’s kidnapping will allow Kreizler to get the persuasive help he needs. Hearst, Markoe, and Byrnes may think they run the city, but there are those with more money and control, and Vanderbilt is one of them.
John and Sara’s hardly concealed love has not gone unnoticed by Hearst and Violet. She is tired of being left for Sara and is jealous of the way John looks at the capable woman. Hearst is embarrassed by John scooping his stories and walking out of dinners with him. He is a man who is used to people cowing to him. People are simply commodities to him, including his wife and Violet’s mother.
It would be easy to dislike Violet for pushing Hearst to hurt Sara and heel John, but an enlightening conversation brings clarity and sympathy to her. She has been an afterthought and treated as an embarrassment by her father. She is a woman without a family, a name, and any worth. Although it is wrong to lash out at Sara, her insecurity is understandable. Violet loves John and wants to belong. Ironically, asking her father to help made Sara more not less successful.
The story Hearst ran in the paper gave Sara notoriety that Vanderbilt latched onto when his grandchild was taken. Sara agrees to take his case with the condition that Laszlo’s license is reinstated, and Byrnes works for her. That does not go over well with Byrnes, but he is also beginning to learn the rich tolerate him and nothing more. He might even be realizing Markoe is the one thing he can not accept. If Markoe is killing those babies, Brynes might just become an ally to Sara and the gang.
Sarah is a good detective because she internalizes the killers. She tries to think like them, and it often works. It allowed her to find Libby’s bizarre shrine and nursery. The production design by Ruth Ammon is terrific. She manages to bring the creepy, burnt-out room to life in a short but memorable scene. Every moment is a feast for the eyes. Jammed with details it is a set that must be paused to catch every item. Sara’s inquisitive mind works overtime. Even after Baby Linares is saved, she can’t let Libby go. The one thing that does distract her for a time is John and a rekindling of their love affair.
It is no secret John still has strong feelings for Sara. Every longing look and remorseful glance speaks volumes. After weeks of anticipation, John and Sara found their way back to each other. Sara pushed him away before because she was afraid. She was fearful of losing her independence and afraid of hoping for a family. The naked need reflected in her eyes as she watched Baby Linares is hard to watch. For the first time, she realizes she there is something more important to her than being self-reliant.
The minute she has that revelation, John and she connected. It is a beautiful interlude capturing what desperate quiet love looks like. There is also a decidedly female gaze to the way the scene is shot. Director Clare Kilner chooses to focus on the breathless love these two shares and the natural beauty of Sara, which is modestly covered. John, in contrast, is bare in all his male potency. That conscious choice singlehandedly defines The Alienist. The show may be named for Kreizler, but the focal point is Sara. Where they go from here is anyone’s guess. He wants her, but she has already started to pull away.
Cyrus and Joanne continue to be underused. Used more as plot devices than actual fully fleshed characters, they are a product of the show as opposed to an integral part. Their story is compelling and could add another aspect to the emotional beats in future seasons.
The Alienist Season 2 Angel of Darkness Episode 5 and 6 were Libby’s to carry. Rosy McEwen continues to impress as the unhinged young woman. Libby can not compartmentalize her behavior anymore. The appearance of sanity and propriety are now gone, leaving only obsession. When Episode 5 begins, she is struggling with Baby Linares, who is feeling sick from poisoning and is tired of being mistreated by the strange woman. The lovely scariness of Libby is enhanced by fantastic camera work this week that captures her unbridled insanity with top-down shots that put the focus firmly on her fiery hair and limitless performance.
Libby may be a killer, but her allure makes her a perfect partner for Goo Goo Knox. The leader of the Dusters is extremely dangerous, and Libby is perhaps even more so. Like Harley Quinn to the Joker, Libby may be unstable, but she has firm control over the crime boss. He would do anything for her, including put up with her idiosyncrasies. By the end of The Alienist Angel of Darkness Episode 6, Libby and Goo Goo are on the run in Brooklyn. She brazenly stole Cornelius Vanderbilt’s grandson from the park, and the makeshift family is hiding out. The Vanderbilt baby is mild-mannered, but it won’t be long before the stress of hiding and motherhood is too much for her again. Let’s hope Sara and the gang can find him before it is too late.
Keeping with the female-centric trend of The Alienist Season 2 Angel of Darkness, Libby is in charge of Goo Goo, not the other way around. She may be a baby murderer and a wack a doo, but she is a hypnotic force to be reckoned with. Her final words to Baby Vanderbilt on the roof in Brooklyn leave more questions than answers. Why does she know so much about her father’s death? Was she somehow involved or just a witness? Kreizler is worried trauma has changed Paulie. He may be right about childhood trauma and mental illness. He just was looking at the wrong person.
The Alienist Season 2 Angel of Darkness Episode 5 and 6 proved last week’s explosive storyline was just getting started. There are only two episodes left, and we are racing towards a climax. Opposing forces are lined up to hurt Sara, John, and Laszlo. There are some important names on both sides. Catch up on all our coverage here.
- Absinthe- The potent alcoholic drink is also called the Green Fairy. While a strong drink, it does not cause hallucinations as many believe. It was very popular in the late 1800s.
- Vanderbilt Kidnapping- In 1874 the two sons of Charles Ross were taken and held for ransom. It was the first wildly publicized kidnap for ransom case, and the child Charley Ross was never found. The two men claim they were contacted by a mysterious third party to kidnap a grandchild of Cornelius Vanderbilt. There is some speculation that a ransom note tied to Charley Ross might also have a connection to the Vanderbilts.
- Mourning Brooch- Often black and gold, they are pieces of jewelry worn by women to memorialize the deceased. The tradition lasted well into the 1900s.
As the TV/Streaming Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre tv. I grew up with old school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. When I’m not watching and writing about my favorite movies and series, I’m introducing my family to the wonderful world of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. My only regret, there is not enough time in the day to watch everything.