'The Alienist: Angel of Darkness' Review: Right portions of action, drama make show vaults bar set by Season 1
The storyline is a lot tighter, well-woven, and insanely audacious than Season 1
No spoilers for 'The Alienist: Angel of Darkness'
Less than 30 minutes into the season opener of 'The Alienist: Angel of Darkness', it is easy to note that a bar was set to beat the sense of epicness the predecessor brought in, and Season 2 vaults it quite effortlessly. The storyline is a lot tighter, well-woven, and insanely audacious than Season 1. The TNT psychology crime drama is based on author Caleb Carr's novel of the same name.
Jumping right into the plotline, it has been a year since the events of Season 1 and the dapper Daniel Brühl reprises his role as the slick and brilliant criminal psychologist Dr Laszlo Kreizler. Dakota Fanning's Sara Howard is now in charge of her own investigation agency while Luke Evans as John Moore is back to share some screen space as he writes at the New York Times. The first case gets them all to suit up. The mission is to find the kidnapped daughter, Ana Linares (Penelope Recupero), of a Spanish dignitary.
In addition to this, 'Angel of Darkness' adds layers in the form of societal change, gender roles, and the new attitudes that signal a sense of progression. This, coupled with the desire to explore unknown territories makes it a more impactful crime drama along. Character development is paid a lot more attention to. In case of Moore, it is about his struggle to strike a balance between his work and personal life. Ted Levine's Thomas Byrne serves as the frequent speedbumps in the trio's investigation.
And since we're talking about character developments, there's ample effort gone into Howard's evolution as the detective. Her intellectual prowess ensures she isn't just a random person sitting in the room and at the same time, she manages to stay at her feminine best. Kreizler is touched up with an extra dose of rational thinking, a keen and curious mind, and the sheer desire to get to the bottom of things. The highlight is the way they tackle the odds stacked up against them.
Kreizler in Season 2 comes across a bit more human and his chemistry with Howard might be shown subtly but is surely going to be a topic of debate as the series progresses. The 1800s was a time where the political landscape saw some changes. It was also a time when science advanced in the form of the earliest experiments in electrochemistry. As far as the changes in society go, inequality of gender was largely relevant and that's where Howard is a cut above the rest.
In all honesty, she's an absolutely brilliant sleuth. Combine that with Kreizler's intellectual tenacity and Moore's rational theories based on evidence and facts, the trio are a powerhouse. At times, there is a feeling that 'Angel of Darkness' is a bit of a rigmarole. However, add the trademark elements of suspense, gritty action, and some drama into it, there's a complete package.
'The Alienist: Angel of Darkness' airs Sundays 9 pm ET on TNT.