Sara solves one of her cases, but another baby is lost. John, Sara, and Laszlo’s lives get more complicated as they pursue Libby.
Clare Kilner directed The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Season Two Episode Five “Belly of the Beast.” Episode Six ” Memento Mori” is directed by David Caffrey. Libby escapes capture, Sara Howard finds baby Anna Linares. Libby kidnaps the Vanderbilt baby boy in the middle of the park, and Sara is hired to find the child. John Schuyler Moore feels romantically split between his work partner turned lover Sara Howard and his fiancé Violet Hayward who wants more of his attention. Dr. Laszlo Kreizler’s medical license is suspended after he finds one of his charges, Pauly hanging from noose in his office. Thankfully Laszlo saves the boy’s life, but now the institute is closed. The gangster Goo Goo Knox is dating Libby, so he will do anything to protect her.
One of the more engaging parts of these two episodes is the exploration of Libby’s dangerous psyche because this is the first time, we see her revealing her true self on screen. We learn that she has been drinking a small amount of poison each day, then eating charcoal to render her breast milk safe. Libby stops eating charcoal, meaning she is preparing to murder Anna.
As she is drinking her daily dose of poison, Anna starts crying. Libby muses that only cats and babies mewl. She says maybe the baby is a cat. Libby is starting to dehumanize the baby so she can kill her. When the nurse starts breastfeeding, Libby tells the “little cat” that she will never forget her. She remembers all “her babies.” There are close-up shots of photos of dead babies with eyes drawn on their eyelids—trophies of all her victims. Sara and Laszlo muse that Libby murders the babies when they grow older than her dead child, perhaps Anna has outgrown her purpose.
Sara Howard goes on a feminist journey throughout ” Belly of the Beast” and “Memento Mori.” First, in “Belly of the Beast,” Libby breaks into the private detective office to seal Sara’s father’s rifle. John cajoles Sara into staying in his apartment for her safety, but she refuses to remain hidden until they find Libby. She is a strong independent woman who doesn’t need anybody’s protection, especially since this is her case. Sara and Libby are in a cat and mouse game.
Sara sneaks down to Goo Goo Knox’s territory, where she finds Libby breastfeeding her gangster boyfriend. Knox drinking her breast milk raises a question for me. If Libby poisons her breast milk, then how is Knox not dead yet?
Sara follows Libby to an apartment where the two fight for the stolen gun. Thankfully, Sara wrestles the gun away from the murder but cannot stop her from running away. She finds baby Anna in a drawer just before John comes running in after hearing Sara went to track Libby in the sketchy part of New York. Sara is the only one of the team who faces Libby straight on.
At the end of ” Belly of the Beast,” the team returns Anna to the happy Linares family. Sara and John retire to his apartment. He congratulates his friend on finding the baby girl on her own, but Sara is hard on herself because she did not capture Libby. John has been attracted to Sara’s independence, intelligence, and strength for a long time. John tells Sara that he loves her. After witnessing the love inside the Linares family home, Sara can finally hear John’s affection in a positive light. The couple makes love in the guest room. For a long time, Sara saw marriage as a trap that would force her to conform to societal rules of femininity. She finally understands that John loves her, but still respects her as a detective.
” Memento Mori” starts with Sara shutting down any discussion of their night together because of John’s engagement to Violet. Violet sees her fiancé’s love for Sara and is delighted when her father publishes a scandalous article about the other woman. The article mentions Howard’s brutish “masculine” detective techniques. Hearst calls Sara out of letting Libby escape even though she saved Anna. He hopes that writing about her “unnatural” behavior as a working woman will lead to the socialite’s business failing. The opposite happens, the publicity from the article leads to Sara’s detective agency booming with case requests.
Cornelius Vanderbilt hires Sara to find his kidnapped grandson. Sara, John, and Laszlo track down the apartment where Libby kept Anna and the Knapp’s baby. The apartment is full of cribs and trophies, such as hairbrushes and jewelry chests with the Linares’ family crest and the Vanderbilt family crest. Libby watches wealthy families for a long time before stealing the babies. The team knows that the jewelry chest with the Vanderbilt crest means she is about to kidnap a new baby. Sara and the team try to discover which Vanderbilt owns this particular jewelry chest, but they don’t figure out which one until after the baby boy is kidnapped. Because of success one of the most powerful men in New York trusts a woman detective to find his baby grandson during a time when women of her social standing are meant to stay quiet.
Sara and Libby have an unspoken connection because both their fathers committed suicide. When the team finds out Libby’s name is an alias, they try to find out who she really is. Sara recollects that Libby’s vulnerability made her feel comfortable enough to share that her father shot himself in the head with a rifle. Then Libby revealed to Sara that her father hung himself from the Brooklyn bridge. They look through newspapers to find an article about a man who hung himself from that particular bridge. They find out her real name is Elspeth Hunter. John and Sara believe that Libby is hiding from the NYPD in Brooklyn, where they now know she is raised.
The episode ends with Libby, the baby boy, and Goo Goo Knox sleeping on a roof facing the Brooklyn bridge. If anybody can bring Libby to justice, it is Sara, who, instead of letting the trauma of her father’s death corrupt her mind, became mentally tougher after the loss.