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Alias: Double Agent

Sydney: "I was thinking... I can actually go to the CIA through the front door."
Vaughn: "And I can actually give you a ride."

So we had two Ethan Hawkes' running around and causing confusion, which gave us an explanation of where alt-Francie actually came from. And we had Sydney and Vaughn finally hitting the sheets... while being observed, ick, by the previously mentioned alt-Francie.

I don't care much for Ethan Hawke, but I think he did well here – at least as poor, real Lennox, who lost his fiance, made a drunken pass at Sydney, was tortured, and broke his own hand. He wasn't all that threatening or believable as fake Lennox a.k.a. Markovic, though. Why did Sloane duplicate Markovic? Was Markovic just testing his own invention on himself?

If the ocular scan won't detect the duplicate, the only way is by tripping up a duplicate's prior knowledge, then. Alt-Francie seems to be faking it well, although Sydney was unsuccessful in getting a reaction from her about Vaughn. It occurred to me that if the "Helix" prototype was really destroyed, alt-Francie is now stuck in her current form permanently.

Bits and pieces:

— The opening scene with Emma and the bubblewrapped C4 in the street was effective, and sad.

— A new character was introduced: Christine Philips, a clandestine services graduate. That was sure a fun first day, seeing a workmate blown up in a Berlin street.

— Lennox was held in Room 47.

— Irina, Will, Dixon and Marshall weren't in this episode. I guess they had to make room for two Ethan Hawkeses.

— Weiss: "You like Italian food?" Christine: "I have a boyfriend." Weiss: "Yeah, me too." I like Weiss. I'm glad he's back. (I also love Kendall. Please keep him!)

— That final train yard scene with all of the Ethans running around made me think of Star Trek. ("Kill us both, Spock.")

This week's...

... itinerary: Berlin, Somewhere in Poland, and Cayo Concha. (Where is Cayo Concha, by the way?)

... cool language skill: Sydney speaks German.

... cool look: champagne-colored hair on top of a champagne-colored pant suit.

Two out of four spies,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. According to the internet, this was originally--in the writing stage--supposed to air before the Superbowl episode. I'm glad it didn't, as the shocker ending of Francie's double would be less shocking if we knew what was going on.

    One of Alias's techniques for creating a sense of real tension has been the combination of family drama with spyjinks. That technique gets extended and becomes a quick way to extinguish the good guys from the bad guys: the bad guys break up families or close groups of friends, through horrible scenes like the opener of this episode or through longer cons like Irina's relationship with Jack.

    In the politically fraught climate during which Alias aired and was written, this is a great way to create real stakes without getting into a geopolitical quagmire. "Oh no! They might firebomb Dresden" isn't much a threat, because we doubt that Alias will take itself so far out of the world that we live in as to create an alternate history in which Dresden gets firebombed (again) in the 21st century. But "Oh no! Francie isn't Francie!" has real stakes, and because these are fictional characters (operating in the real world) we know Francie can and does die. Irina can and does hurt Jack. And Ethan Hawkes' finacee does explode. Perversely, or perhaps not, Alias is more willing to cause personal tragedy than large-scale political tragedy.

    "Double Agent" works less well as a coda to "Phase One," and better as a thematic introduction to the problems that are more fully explored in "A Free Agent," the next episode. So there I go!

  2. My problem with this episode has always been Sydney’s talk with Lennox about Danny. She seems to be saying that she is still grieving, still getting over what happened to him, but then we see her fall into bed with Vaughn. I’m never completely sure if (a) she’s just trying to say something comforting and so exaggerates the truth to Lennox or (b) she is genuinely not over Danny and Vaughn is not the man she loves. Or, at least not the man she loves yet. Either way, it is an interesting character beat for a woman who spends her life lying to those she cares about. Has it become a habit?

  3. So, originally Sydney and Vaughn hung out at her home and slept together before destroying SD-6 and that orbital kiss? I'm glad they swapped it - it definitely works better the other way around!

  4. I'm not a huge fan of this episode. I think it's because after the super bowl episode, I was expecting we'd be seeing Sloane and whatever he's really up to.

    But, my comments are to be focused on relationships, so here it is...

    No matter what, Sydney will always be fighting to avenge Danny's death. She's ready to move on (obviously), but Danny is still on her mind as she is pursuing Sloane. She brings a humanity to the job and validates Lennox's feelings for his fiancée.


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