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Alias: Resurrection

Vaughn: "You like the electric batons and the injections. I'm not into accessories."

It would be impossible to top last season's cliffhanger, but still – what the hell happened to Alias this season? There were interesting story lines, but they either didn't gell or something else was lacking. And there was too much vitriol in this episode, with Katya trying to kill Vaughn and Sydney, everyone trying to kill Lauren, and Vaughn uncharacteristically beating the crap out of Sark.

Jack has been making Vaughn over in his own image as the vengeful, betrayed husband, part two. He wasn't completely successful, although Vaughn's experiences this season have given his noble Boy Scout character some much-needed edge. Can you imagine Vaughn actually torturing Sark last season, for any reason?

What I don't understand is why Sark needled Vaughn like that. It's almost like Sark wanted Vaughn to lose it. "... in my car, or an elevator, or a garage... that woman was deliciously filthy." Certainly there's no love lost between them, but Sark is usually measured and calculating, especially when he doesn't have the upper hand. The only other reason would be love, and I just don't believe that Sark was in love with Lauren. I'm also surprised that Sark fell for Sydney's Lauren impersonation. Physically, they got way too close, certainly close enough for him to notice makeup and appliances. Sark is smart enough to realize that any jailer with a brain wouldn't put two conspirators together, for real. Was this just bad writing?

Speaking of bad writing... after months of Sydney/Vaughn deprivation, the final episode ended with a clinch. But it was a stupid clinch! They fall into each other's arms, and neither one checks first to see if Lauren, who has a gun in her hand, is actually dead? Bad writing takes all the voyeuristic fun out of watching them smooch, let me tell you.



Lauren spouted a lot of info before she died. Why are Sydney and Nadia both agents? Did the CIA indeed know about Sydney's kidnapping by the Covenant? Did they let it happen? Why hasn't Irina contacted Sydney? (Yes, they couldn't sign Lena Olin, but they could have gotten around that somehow.)

This is what we saw on the black documents in the bank vault:

S.A.B. 47 Project
Project initiated: 17 April 1975
Project subject: Sydney Anne Bristow
Project status: Active
Senior project manager: Jack Bristow

What does it mean? Well, I can guess that Sydney is a genetic super-spy of some kind, and so is Nadia. Or the CIA is experimenting with them both, perhaps. I don't believe Jack would intentionally hurt Sydney, though, and he did try to rescue her from the Covenant. If the CIA pisses her off, next year Sydney could be fighting against the CIA. That would be interesting.



Arvin Sloane and Nadia Santos are off to see the Wizard. How did the two of them manage to bond? Is she just super needy, or did she become a Rambaldi devotee against her will? Are we actually going to be dealing with Rambaldi himself next season, possibly in cahoots with Sloane and Nadia? If Nadia is "The Passenger," will she be carrying Rambaldi's consciousness at some point?

Bits, pieces, and unanswered questions:

— Why was the title of this episode "Resurrection?" Rambaldi is still stuck in his "sphere of life." No one was resurrected, unless I missed something.

— Vaughn ended up in a hospital bed AGAIN. Enough already! At least he still managed to kill his wife. Please tell me that six bullets were enough and Lauren is really dead, because I don't want her back.

— I like Katya as a character and I was hoping that her passion for Jack was sincere, but it's certainly no surprise that Irina's sister would turn out to be devious and deceptive. Since Katya was the traitor, did we ever learn who told Lauren that Sydney wouldn't be at the Rotunda that evening?

— When Sydney was trying to talk Vaughn out of killing Lauren, she called him "Michael" twice, something she never does.



— Why did Sydney lie to Vaughn about what "1062" means? Was she just being super cautious because Vaughn was acting like a psycho?

— Any bets on how long Sark remains in custody this time?

This week's...

... itinerary: Palermo, and a bank vault in Wittenberg.

... hot look: I liked Sydney and Lauren impersonating each other. There was something symbolic about them taking each other's place, too. They've been doing it all season.

... hair report: Sydney is again experimenting with bangs. No, Sydney, no.

This episode, and this season as a whole, fizzled instead of popped. But I'll still be watching when they return in January for an uninterrupted fourth season. Maybe the long break will give them time to get it right.

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

1 comment:

Josie Kafka said...

Perfect lead quote, Billie! As I said in an earlier comment, I think Vaughn's willingness to use his fists is one of the ways this show subtly signals to us that he's trustworthy. "Accessories" are for sissy villains.

This last string of episodes was odd, and there are points I'm still confused on: Vaughn thinks he revealed Nadia's location, right? Hence the guilt and Sydney's anger. But he didn't reveal it: Sloane tipped off Lauren and Sark via phone call. And did Vaughn even know Nadia's location? Shaft didn't tell him that--at least not in a scene that we saw.

I agree, too, that a lot of the OMG! moments were manufactured from bad writing rather than occurring naturally. I watched the last 5 or so episodes of this series in bits and pieces, 20 minutes at a time, and that may be influencing my experience of them...but this season as a whole wasn't as tightly plotted as the last two.

Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. But the first two seasons of this show were so, so good--emotionally fulfilling and well made--that by the end of Season Three I started to feel like the show was coasting on our attachment to the characters. Anything can happen, in other words, since the writers rely on us to care just because we care about Sydney and Vaughn and Jack, rather than because we're in it for the interesting, complicated plotting. And I do wish they'd introduced the masks earlier; as is, they feel like a less-exciting version of doubling technology.

I think "Resurrection" refers to the series' attempt at a re-set. Not a massive Superbowl episode re-set, but a rejiggering of the character relationships, the set, the context in which the spy games take place, etc.

Sometimes it feels like the Alias writers have a big top hat filled with slips of paper on which are written possible plots: Blow up headquarters; Introduce creepy parent figure with ambiguous motives; Jack talks about game theory; Sark gets beaten; Character speaks ambiguously.

That's all very complainy, isn't it? This season is still better than 90% of the stuff out there, and I'm still incredibly excited about the rest of my re-watch.

(And one last thing: I'd spent this entire season thinking that the final cliffhanger was the cliffhanger that (I now realize) is actually at the end of Season Four. So that was a surprise!)