The Alienist: Better Angels
April 1, 2021 3:57 AM - Season 2, Episode 8 - Subscribe

The case is brought to a close, and Sara, John, and Laszlo struggle with decisions about their future paths.
posted by orange swan (4 comments total)
My goodness, Libby and Goo Goo were hell on wheels to catch. It took so many bodies to finally wrap things up. At least the Vanderbilt baby and Clara were ultimately returned safely, though Clara is probably deeply traumatized. I suppose she can be treated at the Kresizler Institute, now that it's reopened. 

Such a sad resolution to the John/Sara/Violet love triangle. I think John and Sara didn't have a future, given that they wanted different things, but it was still a mistake for John to marry Violet. He didn't really love her and she wasn't the right kind of woman for him, and her "godfather" (who is of course her actual father) is going to be a nightmare to deal with. However, given that he had stupidly gotten Violet pregnant, he had no choice but to go ahead and make the best of it. What a schmuck. 

And Laszlo's running off to Europe with a female version of himself. 

Oh, poor Lucius. What a tragic end for him. If only Marcus hadn't hesitated when he had a clear shot.  I am glad that some of the minor characters get good endings. Joanna is going to be a reporter at a smaller newspaper. Cyrus owns his own bar. And Bitsy is presumably dating Marcus, though poor Marcus is going to be a wreck for some time to come. 

And I think that's the end of this show. There are no more books to base a season on, and they've effectively split up their leads by sending them in different life directions. It wasn't such a bad series, but the writing could have been much better. The first season was marred by contrived conflict between the characters, and though there was less gratuitous psychoanalyzing this year, it still all felt rather stiff and contrived. 

I said at the beginning of the first season, and I'll say it again now: this show's strongest point is its visuals -- the amazing costuming and set design that evoked the moody, sinister feel of Gilded Age New York so incredibly well. It's extremely rare for a show to succeed in making a period piece this evocative. I honestly can't think of another to equal this one in that regard. I was mostly watching for that reason, because the writing was pretty weak.  
posted by orange swan at 4:00 AM on April 1, 2021

(I think it was Marcus, not Lucius, who was shot, yeah?)

Anyway, yes. I found this whole series a bit painful to watch as a show, but I kept watching because it was so nice to look at.

And Sara dodged a bullet, I think. She and John would have hated each other in short course. I didn't care enough about Violet to feel bad for her.
posted by gaspode at 6:36 AM on April 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

Oops, yes, it was Marcus who died. I kept having such difficulty remembering which character had which name, and the one time I didn't check to be sure....

Yes, it would have been a mistake for Sara and John to marry. They love each other, but they aren't compatible. He is a good, kind, loving man at heart, but he doesn't have the strength of character to be the right man for Sara, and he wanted children and she didn't.

I didn't like Violet much, but she is someone I feel sorry for. She has spent her entire life as the unacknowledged daughter of a wealthy, powerful man, subject to whispers and cold shoulders for her illegitimacy, and how she's marrying the black sheep of a wealthy, respected family, because it's her only chance to get the status she has never had. And John doesn't even love her, and while he'll be kind to her and love their child, I doubt he'll ever be faithful to her either emotionally or physically, or if he'll overcome his bad habits for her sake so that they can be accepted in society. Being married to him is going to be uphill work for her.

Sometimes when you push too hard to get something you want but that isn't objectively right for you, something terrible happens: you get it.
posted by orange swan at 7:27 AM on April 1, 2021

I found this season more annoying than last season. I didn't have empathy for any of the mains. At all. Even Sara, who is the most likable to me. It is indeed beautiful to look at, especially that engagement party, but if I wasn't self isolating and therefore using netflix as a substitute for socializing I would not have made it through this season.
posted by miss-lapin at 12:28 AM on April 3, 2021

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