The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Episode 4 Review: Gilded Cage

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If you’re a worker at the Living In Hospital, you’re directed to carry out ghastly orders against these women, all while being verbally abused by the matron. If you’re particularly unlucky, you get both sides of the horrific spectrum, transitioning from patient to nurse. That’s the case for Colleen, a nurse that’s under suspicion for kidnapping the Linares baby after being the last nurse to care for Martha Napp. Colleen is a volatile person, but understandably so after what she’s experienced, and that doesn’t necessarily make her capable of harming a child. Still, she does an adequate job serving as a final red herring before we arrive at the identity of our red-headed killer.

I just want to pause to give the writers credit for making me feel emotionally invested in Bitsy’s near-death experience. By just planting a subtle scene earlier in the season of Bitsy and Lucious sheepishly flirting, it allowed me to get invested in the survival of a character that I’ve barely had the chance to know. It also added some drama to Lucious being tasked with reviving her, once he and the rest of the team arrived at the hospital after having the park photographer’s developed photos identify Libby. It was a small character choice that was easy to execute, and it ended up paying dividends. Let’s hope their relationship progresses from here.

Now that we’re on the topic of relationships, John and Violet’s relationship, specifically their engagement party, provides most of the episode’s drama. In the midst of an extravagant costume party setting which was a visual feast, John and Sara finally confront each other about their lingering feelings. Sara tells John definitively that he’s marrying the wrong woman after Hearst, Violet, and all of their upper society friends belittle and embarrass John in front of the entire party. Perhaps already angry about the public humiliation, John forcefully reminds Sara that it was her that turned down his engagement. Violet catches all of this and getting jealous herself, sneaks John away from the party for some sultry one-on-one time.

Meanwhile, Kreizler takes in the obscene decadence of the party and ends up making the acquaintance of Karen Stratton, a fellow pedantic alienist. Watching Kreizler get flustered by the female version of himself is immensely fun and has just the sort of campy quality that I’ve been looking for. The Alienist thrived last season when it utilized levity to counteract the darkness and formalness of its subject matter. A foil and possible romantic interest for Kreizler is exactly in that wheelhouse.

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