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Alias: Tuesday

Jack: "Marshall, what's your status?"
Marshall: "Well, it's really hot here and everyone keeps calling me Chango."

See, I knew being late to work wasn't necessarily a bad thing.

I confess that I was dreading this episode because I really hate the buried alive thing. So I was surprised by how good it was, and how much I loved it. The writing was excellent; the fun Marshall-as-super-agent half of the episode was a perfect counterbalance to the horrifying Sydney-in-a-coffin half.

Jennifer Garner was terrific. She made us see how close Sydney was to panicking without actually losing control. The part where she was crying while tugging open the ropes binding her wrists with her teeth was extremely effective, as was the scene where she slowly forced herself to close her cell phone to conserve its battery. She sublimated her fear by remaining focused on her work, on saving APO from the nerve agent and finding the guy who buried her. I sure couldn't have done that, which may be why I'm a librarian and not an action hero.

The lockdown was just a plot device intended to keep nearly everyone in Sydney's support group from being able to save her. The one thing about it that didn't work for me was the artificiality of not being able to tell anyone in Havana how to rescue Sydney. Wasn't there anyone they could contact, even outside the CIA? Couldn't they lie about who was in the grave and why?

Leaving aside that one flaw, I love Marshall to pieces and he just made this episode fly by. Even though Marshall is mostly comic relief, he's brilliant and such a good person that we knew he would carry out the mission. I was also pleased that we didn't get an entire episode with Sydney in the grave; I really wanted Sydney to capture Ulrich and beat the crap out of him before killing him slowly. Having Marshall kill him by accident (and then spork him) was just perfect. I also loved his "Bristow. Jack Bristow." I even liked the chickens.

Sloane showed some emotion, to my surprise: he appeared furious by what happened to Sydney. Everyone else looked quietly upset, but Jack's lack of emotion was the most moving; he conveyed his feelings perfectly while just sitting silently in front of the monitor watching thermal images. The Sydney and Vaughn moments also worked well: they communicated, they flirted, they angsted, and then they danced. And good continuity with the train station thing; I remember the episode when he found her there.

Putting the lead of the show in mortal jeopardy has its problems, basically because the audience knows Sydney is going to live because Garner is the star. But this particular episode was so effective that I was on the edge of my seat, not even thinking about that at all. And that's good television.

Bits and pieces:

— We finally saw Carrie and Mitchell in a big way. Why is Marshall lying to her and pretending Sloane is "Mr. Heatherington"? And with her CIA background, how come she doesn't suspect he's lying?

— The opening scenes had such a fifties feel, with the old cars, shiny suits, and swirly dresses. Is it really like that in Cuba?

— I got upset when I saw Dixon go down.

— Loved the role reversal of Sydney explaining op tech to Marshall.

— Was Marshall singing the periodic table of elements to Mitchell over the phone? Very cute!

— Sydney didn't get to kill Ulrich, but she sure beat the crap out of his guards. A little suppressed rage, there?

— For posterity, I thought it was pretty funny that in the states, this particular episode was followed by the premiere of a new series called Eyes.

— It's too bad they wasted the lockdown plot, because it would have been fun to see the entire cast in makeshift pajamas camped out on the floor.


Sydney: "Do you have any idea how hard it is to maintain cover while dancing a salsa in three inch heels?"
Vaughn: "Yes, actually, I do, but let's keep it between us."
They've mentioned Vaughn in drag more than once. I remember a conversation in which Sydney told him he'd look cute in a teddy.

Vaughn: "Marshall, stop! Turn around. Your other north!"

Marshall: "This guy, he buried you alive."
Sydney: "Yeah, but he cheated. He hit me with a car first."

Sydney: "What do you see?"
Marshall: "A lot of people who are into spanking, apparently."

This week's...

... itinerary: Pretty much Havana, pretty much a coffin. Oh, and Berlin. What is it with these guys and nightclubs?

... hot look: Sydney's salsa outfit, of course.

... Jack and Marshall show: Jack had to talk Marshall through his sporking. "Approach the second one gently, like a soft boiled egg."

... gross out moment: At least we didn't actually see the eye getting sporked. And hey, couldn't happen to a nicer guy. At least he was dead at the time, which was more than he did for Sydney.

Four out of four spies,

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


  1. My latest first-world problem: Netflix didn't send me the third disc of this season. Instead, I got two fourth discs. ****WHY????*****

    Anyway, I'm glad I had a useful resource for reminding myself of the episodes I missed, and hopefully Netflix will find that missing disc soon. I think K-Directorate took it. In the meantime, onward and upward.

    This episode was wonderful! I remembered it mostly for Sydney in the coffin, and can't believe I forgot about the sporking. (I'm so glad they didn't show that on-screen.) Marshall episodes are always fun; he's sort of a prototype for Hurley: comic relief with a big heart.

  2. Marshall missed a girl who looked like Marlene Dietrich and then he says: “ I don’t think she’s in on it though”. What did he mean by that?


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