Jack: "You beat death, Arvin. But you couldn't beat me."
Ending a long-running, complex series can be a losing proposition. No matter what they did, it was going to make somebody unhappy. But personally, even though I was mildly disappointed about a few things, I think they did it right. It was about Sydney, Jack, Irina, and Sloane. And they have always been the core of the story.
They began with Irina's fake death when Sydney was a child, and ended with her real one. Death, as she was reaching for immortality. (Ironic, huh?) Irina trying to kill Sydney made sense plot-wise, but I found it disappointing. All the character development they did with Irina in season two was pretty much thrown out the window, pun intended. But hey. She was a KGB assassin and a power junkie, not a college professor.
It was oddly fitting that Jack and Irina died within moments of each other; Sydney became an orphan in the space of an onscreen minute. Jack has always been my favorite character, and I was pretty upset when he died; I've watched that final Jack and Sydney scene three times, and it makes me cry every single time. It was satisfying that Jack managed to get down into the tomb in order to take Sloane with him, taking a huge threat out of Sydney's life forever. (Not to mention finally, finally, finally exacting revenge for Danny's cruel and premature death. Remember Danny?)
I knew when Sloane fell into that big pool of red miracle crap that he wasn't dead, but burying him alive in that tomb was outright shuddery. Okay, karmic, very monkey's paw, but still. I wonder if Sloane will be entombed for eternity? It doesn't make total sense. Didn't Sydney at least try to recover Jack's body? And I can easily imagine some Rambaldi fanatic accidentally digging Sloane up at some point. If he was a megomaniacal nut before, imagine what he'll be like after a couple of decades of isolation. Or a century or two.
My major disappointment was that they never clearly explained Rambaldi's end game, or how Sydney was the Chosen One. On second viewing, I understood that Sloane had planned a sort of Halliburton scenario, making billions with reconstruction after the missiles hit. Since Sark referred to global genocide, I am also assuming Sloane expected a nuclear exchange to occur. How could Sloane be certain he would survive a nuclear exchange? (Well, okay, Mongolia, but still.) Sloane and Irina believed that they would be filthy rich and powerful and that they would live forever. I'll have to be happy with that explanation, I guess, since we're not getting any more.
The flashbacks were so appropriate. We got a new scene with Francie one last time, and I liked that it was Francie, not Alison. We saw many big events we'd heard about but had never seen before: Jack telling little Sydney about her mother's death; Jack's reaction to Sydney telling him she'd taken a job with Credit Dauphine, i.e., SD-6; Sydney being approached by the CIA. They were mostly centered on Jack and Sydney, too, which was just right. After all, the emotional center of the pilot episode five years ago was the strained relationship between Sydney and Jack, and how they finally began to connect when they had to work together undercover. The corresponding emotional center of the finale was Jack dying to protect Sydney from Sloane.
I loved what they did with Sark in both of these final episodes. Sark is just not as bloodthirsty as he used to be, if he ever really was. (He's older and wiser. What is he now, 25?) He was ready to go along with Sloane and Peyton, but his reluctance was like a goodie payoff for all those years that we enjoyed that character. I was pleased that Vaughn let him live, even though he'll cause trouble for future Sydney. And I'm glad they didn't make him into a good guy, because I never would have swallowed it.
And finally, the ending. Thank God they didn't go for a Shakespearean bloodbath. Sydney and Vaughn retired to the beach in Malibu to raise their kids. It made sense for their characters; we could tell they'd had enough of the life. I loved them naming their son Jack. I liked the resolution with Dixon as a deputy director at Langley, Marshall and Carrie with four boys, and Rachel as an active undercover agent, too.
And Isabelle with the Indicator puzzle? Had to happen. I am currently envisioning a future Isabelle battling a freed, immortal Sloane. Wouldn't that be fun?
Bits and pieces, for the final time:
-- Was Nadia's ghost real after all? I thought she was Sloane's guilty conscience. But if she were just that, wouldn't she have stayed around to torment him? Did his subconscious realize that total isolation would be a worse punishment?
-- Sloane's evil turn, or return, would have had more oomph if he had done it sooner in the final season. But they did have to wind up the series sooner than expected, so I understand.
-- Liked the Mexican standoff, with Vaughn, Sark, Jack, and miscellaneous other bad guys all with guns on each other.
-- It was subtle, but in that final Jack/Sydney scene, I felt that Jack essentially passed care of Sydney on to Vaughn.
-- Francie mentioned that Charlie was bringing a friend, Danny something. Sloane mentioned him, too. Danny died in the first episode of the series. And Jack finally avenged him.
-- What happened to Peyton? Is she languishing in some federal prison somewhere?
-- The number 47 had to be in the finale. I saw it twice. Marshall's computer screen showing the payoffs said, "Transaction 8447 Boris Nemikov." And the code to stop the launch was "398 alpha 4 tango 647."
-- The card that the CIA agent gave Sydney was blank, with just a phone number: 1-800-654-2192. Maybe they should have gotten a third 47 in there, instead.
-- This week's itinerary: Siena, Mongolia, Hong Kong again, and Sydney's past.
-- No outfits, and no magenta wig. No Eric Weiss or Will Tippin, either. But there wasn't time for everything and everyone, and we did get farewell episodes with them, so I'm okay with that.
Vaughn: "Sydney, stop. All right? Let's not overlook the fact that you basically died today. You and I have gotten pretty good at impossible."
Sark: "Did it have to be so filthy? I mean, really. If Rambaldi can prophesize the future, he might have advised me not to wear $500 shoes."
Sydney: "This is my purpose. It's in my blood. It's who I am."
Jack: "I never wanted this life for you, you know. I never wanted you to bear this kind of responsibility. But you were a very difficult little girl. You were far too driven, far too strong to let someone like me stop you from becoming who you are."
I'm going to close with future Sydney and future Dixon:
Dixon: "Low risk insertion. Simple alias. Who knows? It could be fun."
Sydney: "That's what you say every time you show up on my doorstop. Next thing you know, I'm jumping over canals in three-inch heels while napalm explodes around me."
Dixon: "Yes, that's how I define fun."
This final season wasn't all it could be, but they went out with class. Four out of four spies,
Billie Doux is the founder of Doux Reviews and has been reviewing her favorite shows for quite some time. More Billie Doux.