The Alienist 1×10 Review: Castle in the Sky

The Alienist Castle in the Sky Review

TNT’s The Alienist aired the season finale this week with ‘Castle in the Sky.’ While the ending to the mystery was predictable, I liked seeing the growth of the three leads and the groundwork laid for a possible second season.

I was provided a screener of ‘Castle in the Sky’ for review. The opinions are my own.

I enjoyed watching The Alienist. The first season wasn’t without a number of faults, but it still made for good TV. I am glad that ‘Castle in the Sky’ was able to tie everything up in a satisfying manner. Even if we don’t get a second season, the story felt complete. Everyone got a moment to shine in the finale, and by the end of it all, they felt like different people (in a good way) from the ones we met during the premiere.

John Moore (Luke Evans) displayed a lot of personal growth over the course of the 10-episode first season. He transformed from someone who drowned his sorrows in alcohol into a man who thought about others and didn’t let his past keep him down anymore. ‘Castle in the Sky’ opened with John rushing to the scene of the murder. Of course, he thought it was Joseph who had been killed. I liked seeing the guilt he felt over not being able to protect Joseph. I don’t know about all of you, but I wouldn’t mind if a second season showed John adopting Joseph. His affection toward the young boy even surprised Sara (Dakota Fanning) during the tense scenes at the reservoir.

Talking about Sara, we all knew she was going to shoot a gun sooner or later, and she finally did in ‘Castle in the Sky’ to save John and Kriezler (Daniel Brühl). While I liked getting to know more about her past (she had to help her father kill himself) when bonding with Laszlo, I do think the two mended their relationship too soon. Perhaps she decided to forgive Laszlo because she realized he was dealing with father issues just like her?

What I really didn’t like was Kriezler deciding not to involve Sara in his plan to confront Japheth at the reservoir. Laszlo divided Team Alienist on purpose at the last second and it just felt weird, especially when he talked about seeing them all as friends later in the episode. Though we saw Kriezler become more open during the season, he still has a lot of work to do.

Some thoughts and questions:

  • Laszlo being able to see what happened to Joseph without having a lot of clues made no sense to me.
  • It was awesome seeing Sara figure out where Kriezler was going. However, I would have liked more of an explanation. Her deduction felt too rushed.
  • John needs to adopt Joseph!
  • Japheth’s CG facial tick was very distracting.
  • We got no explanation about why Japheth turned out the way he did. I don’t know if such a decision was made to annoy Kriezler or the writers weren’t sure how to answer such a question in a satisfying manner.
  • Laszlo’s one-sided conversation with his father didn’t do anything for me.
  • John being sexually assaulted was never addressed. Sigh! Don’t use sexual assault for mere shock value, The Alienist.
  • John should have died or at least be gravely injured when Japheth bashed his head into a brick wall.
  • Fun Fact No.1: I saw the actor who played Japheth during the second episode of the queer-centric CBS show Instinct starring Alan Cumming. I went to IMDb because he looked familiar. His name is Bill Heck.
  • Fun Fact No.2: Bill Heck also starred in the queer-centric film Pit Stop which everyone should watch.

In the end, the characters made The Alienist an enjoyable show for me. I didn’t find the mystery portion too interesting. It kind of fizzled out near the final few episodes. However, if we do get a second season (the ratings seem okay), I hope the writers, while continuing to focus on character growth, also create a more interesting mystery for Team Alienist to unravel.

What did you think of The Alienist? Did ‘Castle in the Sky’ serve as a satisfying finale for you? Let us know.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Masters in Psychology and an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Arousing the Legacy, Missing in Somerville, The Game Master of Somerville, and The Escaped Murderer of Somerville. He gives us insight on comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.



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