“The Alienist: Angel of Darkness” 2×1 & 2×2 Review: ‘Ex Ore Infantium’ & ‘Something Wicked’

Something Wicked The Alienist Angel of Darkness episodes 1 and 2 review
Sara, Lazlo, and John in ‘Something Wicked’ (Image: Screengrab)

TNT’s highly enjoyable crime-mystery series The Alienist is back for a second season titled Angel of Darkness. The two-episode premiere showed Sara, Lazlo, and John coming together to find a kidnapper who kills babies.

While some TV series benefit from weekly episodes, some need to be binge-watched. In my opinion, The Alienist: Angel of Darkness is a show that should be binge-watched. That’s why I’m glad that TNT will be airing two episodes every week. The current season will only be eight episodes long. The finale’s currently scheduled to air on August 9, 2020. 

The two-episode premiere covered ‘Ex Ore Infantium’ and ‘Something Wicked’. The first episode helped set the stage for what to expect. There’s a sinister hospital involved in the main mystery and I can’t wait to see Sara, Lazlo, and John uncover its secrets.  

Our three main characters have changed since we last saw them. John (Luke Evans) has been working for the New York Times and is engaged to a woman whose godfather’s in charge of the New York Journal. Dr. Lazlo (Daniel Bruhl) is continuing his passion for unlocking the secrets of the human psyche. He’s also, kind of, calmed down compared to the very arrogant version we saw in the first season.

Sara (Dakota Fanning) has her own detective agency and has employed a number of women to help run it. However, she hasn’t been handling big cases. Her work mainly revolved around figuring out if servants were stealing from their rich employers. She’s been waiting for a serious case to appear. Sara and her employees are also quite interested in a case involving a young woman named Martha.

It’s revealed that Martha got sentenced to be executed via electric chair after being found guilty of murdering her baby girl. Of course, Sarah, Lazlo, and John don’t believe that she’s to blame. Many other people, especially women, also took to the streets to oppose Martha’s execution. 

Due to the toll that Martha’s (unjust) death took on the trio, they are all focused on uncovering what happened to her missing child. Marcus and Lucious also got involved, near the end of the first episode, and are willing to share their expertise in forensic science. It was fun to see the group come together.

Now, I do have to say that Angel of Darkness might not be for everyone because of how the mystery features babies. There’s a scene where the murderer dressed up a kidnapped baby like a fake doll and said dead baby was later picked up by a little girl in a store. This series doesn’t shy away from showing horrific scenes. So, be aware of that.     

One of the things I enjoyed about The Alienist involved how it showed viewers who the bad guy was and we had to wait for our sleuthing trio to be on the same page. In my opinion, such a narrative choice helped amp up the tension in the first season. In Angel of Darkness, we’re encouraged to suspect a couple of new characters. In a sense, we might have seen the kidnapper already. That’s why I can’t wait to see Sara, Lazlo, and John crack the case. I wouldn’t be surprised if more than one evil person was involved in what’s happening.  

Currently, the mystery includes a dead baby, a kidnapped baby, a sinister hospital being run by Dr. Markoe (whom I don’t trust), trouble between gangs, and a possible war with Spain. There’s a lot happening and I’m here for it.

As for the queer representation, there was a lot of it in the first season. So, I waited for queer people to be present in Angel of Darkness as well. There weren’t any in the first episode (as far as I could tell). However, the second episode ‘Something Wicked’ shared that the manager of the store where the dead baby was found was a queer character.

Even though Angel of Darkness is set in the 1890s and was filmed last year, it still felt very relevant. The first two episodes showcased police brutality, classism, racism, sexism, misogyny, fake news, and xenophobia. The more things change the more they stay the same, I guess.

All in all, the two-episode premiere of The Alienist: Angel of Darkness was quite intense and I can’t wait for more!

What did you think of ‘Ex Ore Infantium’ and ‘Something Wicked’? 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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