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Alias: Reprisal

Tom: "I wish there were more time. I would have asked you out."
Rachel: "I would have said yes."

No more Prophet Five. We're down to our core characters again. And that's as it should be.

The writers did exactly the right thing. I never cared about Prophet Five, anyway. They were set up as a continuing villain when the writers had more time to develop them. Once the series was cancelled, they were just in the way. Having them completely taken out before the finale by villains we cared about – Sloane, Sark, and Peyton – was perfect. And I loved what they did with Sark. Obviously reluctant to torture Rachel? When ordered to eliminate the prisoners, Sark argues for mercy? Perfectly in character, too, because he has gradually changed over the course of the series. I can feel my Sark spinoff fantasy taking root again.

Marshall showed us what he was made of. I was so proud of him, resisting torture for Mitchell's sake. The writers gave him a terrific dramatic scene – he got to tell Sloane what he truly thought of him. Marshall must have fantasized about telling Sloane off like that for years. I also really liked Carrie taking Marshall's place at APO and being the one to figure out what he was doing, because it made perfect sense and gave us closure with her character.

It's all so immediate when you know it's the end, and any character could die. I thought Sloane was going to smite Marshall for mouthing off at him. I even thought for a moment that we would lose both Marshall and Rachel. But it turned out to be Tom, which was unexpected.

Tom's heroic death was surprisingly moving. They set it up so well with all those weeks of plotty carrying on; we knew how unhappy he was, how much he missed his wife. His choice to stay with the bomb made sense to me. Rachel was right about him all along, wasn't she? His last words to her made me cry. Pretty darned good for a character I didn't think I cared about.

This episode literally ended with a cliffhanger. (Okay, a cliff dropper.) Just like so many episodes in season one.

Bits and pieces:

— Wonderful opening scene, with Sydney jumping from the building and taking photos of her target on the way down. Very Alias.

— That scene where Sloane confronted Sydney was also classic Alias. As Sloane was talking about torturing Marshall and Rachel, he actually went goochy-goochy-goo with baby Isabelle. That's our extended spy family.

— Sloane's story about young Sydney rescuing her stuffed animals was apt. "So one by one, you rescued them. Even then, I wondered when you would learn you can't rescue everyone." Sydney needs to at least try to rescue everyone. It's who she is.

— Jack finally admitted to Dixon that he hadn't been able to let go of his friendship with Sloane, and that Dixon had been right all along. Long time coming.

— That Sydney/Vaughn scene on Mount Subasio looked weird. Cold, blue, moody, and fantasy-like. Either that, or bad CGI.

— Peyton taking out Prophet Five all by herself with two machine guns was just cool. Except for the fact that she's evil, it was almost a Buffy moment. (Appropriate, since she's a Buffyverse alumni.) I just need to think of Prophet Five as vampires.

— Moonglum of Elwher? I don't know that one. Where is it from?


Sydney: "I've lived with secrets all my life. And I'm done."

Tom: "Son of a bitch. Why do I always get the assignments that involve hypothermia?"
I thought this was particularly interesting when you consider the liquid nitrogen aspect of his death scene.

Sark: "Perhaps we should reconsider our plans for the prisoners."
Peyton: "Don't tell me you're getting sentimental. Or do you just have a thing for blondes?"

Rachel: "It's an underwire. Sometimes it pays to be a girl."

Sloane: "There's no shying away from fate."
Sydney: "I don't believe in fate."

This week's...

... itinerary: Let's see. We got Sydney, Rome, Bangkok, Siberia, London, and Washington DC, all in the first five minutes. Later, we got Ixtapa in Mexico, Zurich, and the famous Mount Subasio in central Italy. That may be a new record for the number of fake locations in one episode. One more comment about the massive itinerary. Sydney finally went on a mission in Sydney, Australia. Very cute.

... language skills: Tom did Russian, and Dixon Italian.

... hot look: Sydney did have one final costume change: that leopard spot dress and the waitress uniform. Her final alias was as "Debbie."

I loved it. Four out of four spies, and more in my review of part two,

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

1 comment:

  1. My Alias comments are all out of order, and I've got to go back and catch up, but I just watched this episode and the finale, and I've got to say: incredible.

    Even as I know what they're doing, pulling my strings like evil puppet masters, I'm still affected. Tom's death? Perfect, because it satisfies my desire for stakes but doesn't kill a character that I've grown to love. In fact, it completes his arc in a beautifully tragic way while still giving us bloodhounds the death scene we hope for in these things.

    Sloane's story about young Sydney rescuing her stuffed animals was apt. "So one by one, you rescued them. Even then, I wondered when you would learn you can't rescue everyone." Sydney needs to at least try to rescue everyone. It's who she is.

    I didn't realize this the first time around, but Sloane specifies that Sydney would rescue them during a storm, because the stuffed animals were drowning. Next flashback was the stormy night her mother died, allegedly by drowning after her car went off the bridge.


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