Sara, Laszlo, and John figure out the murderous kidnapper is most likely a nurse who works at the “lying-in” hospital. “Lying-in” hospital is another way of saying a maternity ward.
The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Season Two Episode Three ” The Labyrinth” and Episode Four “Gilded Cage” directed by Clare Kilner follows our three investigators as they search out the clues that lead them to the suspect nurse Libby Hatch (Rosy McEwen). The team believes that the kidnapper is a woman who had a stillbirth baby girl or a miscarriage. At first, she dotes on the surrogates. Eventually, this killer views these babies as “changelings,” then kills them. Sara Howard digs into Dr. Markoe’s “lying-in” hospital catered to needy women. Dr. Laszlo Kreizler uses hypnosis and art on Senora Linares to pull out information about who could have possibly kidnapped baby Anna. John Schuyler Moore focuses on his bachelor and engagement party with his fiancé Violet Hayward.
Both “The Labyrinth” and “Gilded Cage” did a great job peppering the episodes with red herrings, so the ending is surprising. John uses his connection to the heir of one of the hospital’s donors Auggie Gildersleeve to help Sara gain access. Sara is quietly disgusted with what she sees at the lying-in hospital. The women in the maternity ward are treated like children or animals. The grouchy matron doesn’t care about the dignity of her patients and abuses the staff. The misogynistic Dr. Markoe dismisses Sara by stating that many young, uneducated girls often harm their unwanted babies instead of looking further into what happened to Martha Knapp. She automatically suspects the hardened matron and the patriarchal Dr. Markoe of being part of the kidnapping. The matron takes Sara to the room where Martha Knapp slept the night of the crime.
Sara connects with Libby after she witnesses the nurse being rebuked by the matron. Meek Libby seems to care for her patients. She is a woman who’s been beaten down by a system controlled by wealthy men. When the matron leaves the room, Libby reveals that Martha slept somewhere else the day her baby girl was taken. The private detective believes the nurse could be a legitimate source of information, so Sara invites her to lunch.
Libby doesn’t give her much information, but the two connect since both their fathers committed suicide. Sara is an authority in her chosen profession because she came from a wealthy family while Libby was left with little opportunity but to be a punching bag for the matron. After lunch, the young nurse reveals that the matron kept the Linares baby sequestered.
The private detective finds the matron’s apartment with Libby’s help. Sara can’t gain access to the apartment, but the landlady reveals that the older woman has brought home babies in the past. The matron doted on the babies before she had to return them. Her forceful behavior and her desire for children convince both Sara and the audience to suspect her. Sara tells Laszlo that she thinks that the matron might simply be an unpleasant person but still warrants more attention.
“Labyrinth” ends with a creepy peek into what’s happening to baby Anna as the investigation continues. There is an out focus wide shot of a woman picking up a crying Anna from a crib as she hums a lullaby. She sits down in a rocking chair and breastfeeds the baby. This fact makes sense since the Isaacson brothers found breast milk and the poison in the Knapp baby’s stomach. The “sequence killer” the investigators are looking might be a wet nurse or recently pregnant woman.
In ” Gilded Cage,” Sara sends one of her assistants Bitsy Sussman to infiltrate the “lay-in” hospital. She instructs Bitsy to spend time with the maternity assistants who were ex-patients and from the more deprived areas of New York. Sussman gains a job as one of the maternity assistants, saying she has looked after many babies. Meanwhile, Libby brings Martha Knapp’s patient folder to Sara. She is risking her job to help the private detective. Libby seems like an ally to Sara standing up to her bullies and the young women thrown away by the men who impregnated them.
Bitsy learns that Dr. Markoe has a particular research wing where he keeps pregnant mistresses of New York’s elite. They give birth, then the doctor sterilizes the women and sends their babies off somewhere. The mistresses are thrown away by these men. Dr. Markoe tells them the babies were stillborn. Dr. Markoe’s donors are wealthy men who take advantage of these poor young women and then leave them unable to have a family of their own. These mistresses are just tools of pleasure to these men.
Sara comes to suspect a maternity assistant with a vicious temper named Collen. Bitsy tries to get closer to Collen, but she clamps up whenever she asks her questions about how she lost her baby. We learn that she used to be a mistress to a New York elite, maybe even Dr. Markoe, but became pregnant. Collen is one of the lucky ones who can still have children after being a maternity patient at the hospital.
There is a sequence with parallel action where the red herring is revealed, and we learn the shocking truth. When Bitsy pushes Collen too far, she attacks her violently. The undercover investigator appears to be in real danger from the killer, so she locks herself in an examination room. Bitsy turns to see Libby is inside the locked room with her. Meanwhile, days after the hypnosis, Senora Isabella Linares remembers that Libby creepily stared at her at the lay-in hospital. She spotted her again at the park before the kidnapping. The diplomat’s wife realizes Libby took her daughter.
Libby poisons Bitsy with a syringe but is scared away by the innocent Collen before she finishes the job. The nurse escapes, but thankfully the investigators rush over right in time to save Bitsy. The episode ends with the murderer stabbing the matron to death. Libby draws eyes on the matron’s eyelids with blood. We now see the anger that has been hiding underneath Libby’s submissive behavior the whole time. She is the baby kidnapper and murder.