The Alienist 1×6 Review: Ascension

The Alienist Ascension review TNT
Sara and Kriezler in The Alienist Season 1 Episode 6 ‘Ascension’

This week’s episode of The Alienist had a lot happen. However, I’m not sure ‘Ascension’ did a good job of painting Team Alienist as a smart murder investigation team. The mistakes the team made could’ve been easily avoided. Having said that, it was still an enjoyable episode.

I was provided a screener of The Alienist. The opinions are my own.

The thing I liked about ‘Ascension’ was how it proved my suspicion to be right. I knew from the start young Van Burgen wasn’t the actual killer. He’s still a dangerous pedophile, but not one who’s able to scale walls and murder little children. While we and Team Alienist have no idea who the actual killer is, at least it’s good to know young Van Burgen’s name has been scratched off the list. Also, kudos to Kriezler for sharing his doubts about Van Burgen even though no one believed him. I’m looking forward to seeing how the suspects death will affect the police department and Team Alienist’s investigation.

‘Ascension’ was all about Kriezler and co. coming together to capture the murderer. I liked seeing them putting in the work, creating a plan and everything, however, the execution left me wanting a lot more. They had the killer escape from their grasp twice. Once when Stevie’s cover was blown outside the street and then again inside the brothel because John Moore and Marcus were distracted. You need to do a lot better, guys! I can’t root for a bumbling team. At this point, Team Alienist might end up catching the killer by accident because the script demanded it.

Seeing characters develop is one of the reasons I enjoy watching The Alienist. John is a softie and I really liked his scene with one of the child prostitutes. John has also given up drinking, and while I’m happy for him, I hope being rejected by Sara (if it happens) doesn’t make him fall deeper into alcohol than before.

Talking about Sara (Dakota Fanning), she’s very curious by nature and has impressive sleuthing skills. I can understand if her interest in Kriezler comes across as infatuation to some viewers. But to me, it looks like Sara just wants to understand him better and go ‘Ah-ha!’ when she finds out all of his secrets. Turns out Kriezler wasn’t a cripple from birth. An old article from a society paper revealed to Sarah that young Kriezler was able to use both his hands. So, something clearly happened which made Kriezler lie about his condition.

Sara, being able to look at Kriezler’s past, made the alienist so mad he slapped her right in the face. It was a shocking scene, and I can’t wait to see where their relationship goes now. I’m not sure if Kriezler will apologize to Sara, but I’m sure she won’t stop until she digs out every secret he’s hiding and make him face his demons.

Some thoughts and questions:

  • Connor killing young Van Burgen didn’t have the impact I was hoping it would. However, I’m interested in seeing what’ll happen next.
  • Seeing Roosevelt not back down from doing what’s right, even under immense pressure, is so much fun.
  • I should’ve said this sooner, but kudos to The Alienist for casting actual young actors to make the killer’s predatory nature feel real. I don’t think it would’ve worked quite the same, especially in Stevie’s case (Mattew Lintz is 16-years-old), if the show had actors in their 20’s playing teenagers.
  • The scene where Stevie-in-drag was revealed to Roosevelt needed better editing. Seeing the strap of Stevie’s dress fall from his shoulder in one scene, be back on his shoulder in others, and then off again was distracting.
  • I can’t understand how Team Alienist thought sending John and Marcus inside the brothel (to keep an eye on Stevie) was a good idea when the killer already knows who they are.
  • Kriezler and Mary’s relationship is getting weirder and I love it!

Did you enjoy ‘Ascension’? Who do you think is the killer? Let us know.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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