Why ‘The Alienist’ Makes Me Feel Like An Idiot
The Alienist is a new show on TNT that's making me feel like I should go back to school...
The Alienist is a show that premiered on TNT a few weeks back, and I quickly got addicted.
In the 19th Century, persons suffering from mental illness were thought to be alienated from their own true natures.
Experts who studied them were therefore known as Alienists.
-The Alienist, opening credits
The show takes place in 1896 New York, during the birth of what is now known as 'criminal psychology'. It was a time right after Jack the Ripper when police and psychologist/alienists started asking the question "Why?" Why would a person do this? What causes a person to do this? And how can we stop them and prevent it from continuing to happen?
In other words: Victorian murder show? Count me in.
The show is basically a Victorian who-done-it. There's a murderer killing child prostitutes (Yeah, I know. The show just throws you right into the nitty gritty. Blood, guts, sawed off limbs and all...) and an Alienist, a Crime reporter, and a police officer are trying to figure out who is doing it and how to stop them, because the police are just trying to sweep it under the rug, which gets harder and harder to do when the murderer keeps leaving bodies closer and closer to the general population. (Someone wants attention...)
But while I really like this show, it makes me feel like an idiot. It's so well put together that you don't figure out anything about anyone until the show wants you to. And they do it intentionally. Everything is subtle until it's not.
And I know you might be thinking "Well, shows do that all the time." No. I don't mean "Woah! They just revealed that this person who we thought was a good guy has been working for the bad guys all along and we just randomly found out about it in this episode! What????" I mean subtle things. Things that, when they get revealed make you feel like a damned idiot for not noticing it sooner.
In episode 3 a lot of subtle things were revealed and, I cannot emphasize this enough, I feel like an idiot. To steal a phrase from Gordon Ramsey, I am an idiot sandwich.
Like, it took me 3 episodes to realize that a character never used their right arm. They revealed that someone had a deformity in their arm last night and I was on the floor with my stupidity. I was like "Why is it taking them so long to take their coat off? Why are they flopping the other arm around to get it off like a child? Just use your other arm-OH MY GOD." And I thought back to previous episodes and realized that I've never seen this person use their right arm to do anything. I just never noticed until now.
Another character was revealed to be deaf and/or mute. They just popped up in the episode and started using sign language and I thought "WAIT. WHAT." I never realized that this person had never spoken the whole time they were on the show.
How can I try to solve this Victorian murder if I can't even detect basic things about characters in the show???
The moral of the story is: You should watch the Alienist on TNT, Mondays at 8p. Because it is VERY good, and I'm addicted, and also I need someone else to be an idiot sandwich with me...