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Alias: The Two

Jack: "Michael Vaughn is just a boy who was never good enough for you, anyway."

Last season's cliffhanger left us with questions. The season premiere really didn't answer many of them.

Although I liked a lot of this episode, I wonder if some of it was simply intended to catch new viewers up with the basic storyline at the end of season two; i.e., Sydney's two-year memory gap, her now-defunct relationship with Vaughn, Sloane's obsession with Rambaldi, the dysfunctional Jack/Irina/Sydney spy family.

Having Jack imprisoned for collaborating with Irina was interesting and moving, but wasn't it a bit too easily resolved? And hey, parents in prison, is this a theme, with Daddy this year, Mommy last year? I had worried after the last season ender that Jack might go back to Sloane if he believed Sydney was dead. Looks like that didn't happen.

Do I believe that the Rambaldi artifacts all came together to spell "peace" and that Sloane has turned over a new leaf? Yeah, tell me another one. Something happened when Sloane turned on the Rambaldi device, and it must have something to do with Sydney's lost two years. Sloane's new business must be a cover. He's working with children and with health care for a reason. Something to do with immortality? Something like Project Christmas? Is it a cover for the Covenant?

I'm pleased that Dixon is now The Boss (can't hurt to have your former partner in charge), and I really do like Weiss a lot. Marshall is still around, and still a hoot.

There are major cast changes, though. Bradley Cooper (Will), Merrin Dungey (Francie), and Lena Olin (Irina) are gone, and although it was intimated that all three are still alive and could be back, we really don't know anything else about what's going on with them. Greg Grunberg (Eric Weiss) and Melissa George (Vaughn's as yet unintroduced wife) are now cast members.

The Sydney/Vaughn relationship has completely imploded. I was surprised at how angry and emotional Sydney was with Vaughn for not waiting. I guess what I'm most confused about is, why didn't Jack ask Vaughn for help looking for Sydney?

Bits and pieces, and more unanswered questions:

— Who is Nasty Assassin, the guy who works for the Covenant? He appeared to recognize Sydney. In the video clip that Jack showed Sydney, someone who looked like Sydney killed the Russian guy in exactly the same way that Nasty Assassin was going to kill Weiss. Did Nasty Assassin die at the end of that episode? That was a vicious knife wound he inflicted on himself, but was it fatal?

— Where did Sydney's scar come from, and what does it mean?

— I like Will. What happened to him? And did Allison/Francie get away? Allison and Sark had a relationship; we may find out what happened, since Sark is still in the cast. Even though we haven't seen him yet.

— What does "The Two" in the title refer to? Two years? Sloane and Sydney?

— Carrie, Marshall's girlfriend, is pregnant, but they're arguing about getting married. That's interesting.

— Vaughn is now married, a teacher, and no longer with the agency. How will they get him back into Sydney's life, which I assume they will since he's the male romantic lead and still in the cast?

— Kendall is gone, but now we have this Lindsey guy. He seems like an absolute prick, and Dixon clearly doesn't like him; there was almost an amused expression on Dixon's face as Sydney was blackmailing Lindsey by holding a blowtorch to the chip.

This week's...

... itinerary: Hong Kong; Lyons; Paris; Zurich; Prague... or their Los Angeles counterparts.

... McGuffin: a microchip containing schematics for a radar-evading drone plane.

... hot look: red dress, red hair, red car, big gun. Why did she blow up the car? What if the chip had burned? Did she expect Nasty Assassin to jump out in time, with the chip still on his person? Seems like a pretty big chance to take.

All in all, not what I'd hoped for, but an interesting set up for the rest of season three. I'm certainly still hooked and I can't wait to find out what happens next,

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


  1. Just started re-watching a couple of Alias episdoes recently. Hadn't seen the show in so long and almost forgot how good it was.

    I remember being disappointed when I originally saw this episode when it aired eight years ago (has it really been that long?), but I enjoyed it a lot more this time around. It probably helped that I didn't re-watch the (amazing) first two seasons. It's certainly a dark episode, but it was a dark time for Sydney.

    Forgot how great the soundtrack is as well. Michael Giacchino still manages to compose pieces that still manage to raise the hair on my arms.

    Your reviews are also a nice accompaniment to the episodes, even after all these years.

  2. I looked up Kurt Fuller (Robert Lindsay) on Imdb to see why I hated him so much. I remember him from SPN, of course, but I knew it was something before that. My god, the man has been in a billion things! But I think it was Ghostbusters II and Wayne's World that first introduced me to his special slimy evil. 1989 and 1992.

    I loved this episode. Things I loved, in no particular order:

    1. Sydney's different reactions to each person that she re-meets. Distrusting Vaughn, feeling a weird sense of dislocation with Dixon, treating Weiss like the "boyfriend's best friend" that he is, hugging Marshall, hugging Carrie (maybe just because she was a familiar face?), and having a beautiful moment with her father.

    2. Jack Bristow. He's not wrong, at least given what we've seen so far: he didn't give up and Vaughn did. Right now, Spy Dad is winning that competition. Despite all their family drama, Sydney and Jack really do go the extra mile for each other. And his speech to her was wonderful; it was a perfect lead quote, Billie.


    3. Sydney's speech to Vaughn at the end. It reminded me of Oz's speech to Willow, about how she wanted to talk to make her feel better. I've always loved that speech, because so many post-breakup talks do boil down to someone wanting absolution for being a jerk.


    4. The dress, the wig, the car exploding.

    5. The way old ideas are repurposed. Parent in jail (Season Two). Sydney locating a device to gain leverage with a boss who wants to cause trouble (1.1). Weiss almost dying (most episodes that he's in, right?). The eavesdropping device, like Jack used to use in the SD-6 conference room. The hot wig. And Zurich, which seems to be Sloane's favorite city. He spends a lot of time there.

    6. Sloane as evil philanthropic mastermind.

  3. I'm glad to see you loved it too Josie. So many people hate this episode (and the season) but I found it to be all I could ask for. It completely flipped the show over and reshuffled the chess pieces in fascinating ways. Even when the season faltered, I think the whole "2 years" mystery fueled the show and kept it going (unlike season 4's boring standalones for example).

  4. Although I liked this episode, the confrontation between Sydney and Vaughn in the classroom always bothered me. She really lights into him and he treats her with more respect than she probably deserved right at that point.

    I understand that losing two years of one's life would be unsettling (to say the least), but what I've always wanted Vaughn to do is to remind Sydney that she (1) slept with Noah less than a year after Danny died and (2) she had moved onto Vaughn in less than two.

  5. To which she could remind him that he's such a serial monogamist that he kissed Sydney ("Phase One"), broke up with Alice the next morning ("A Double Agent") and promptly started dating Sydney. :-)

    (I feel like we're about to start a flame war!)

    I think I'm wholeheartedly on Sydney's side in this because Vaughn has never been very developed. He's handsome and smart. He likes hockey. That's not enough for me to root for him, so it's easy for my loyalties to shift entirely to Sydney, however irrational she's being. If it were a battle between Dixon, Weiss, and Marshall, I'd have no idea who to root for.

  6. Good point! I agree with you about Vaughn as a character. As a result, I never invested in them as a couple the way I have for some others.

    I like the idea of your three way battle. That's a tough one as I really, really like all three of them.

  7. I suppose it would depend on the battle. Marshall would win at D&D. Weiss would win at magic tricks. And Dixon would win at a crazy mission involving wacky disguises.

  8. Cool episode. Still love Alias.after all these years, and yes even that sneaky Lauren.

  9. I so love Marshall. "I've lost my keys" always makes me laugh out loud.

    A lot happens in this episode, but a great deal of it does feel like a road we've been down. Still irritated at Sydney for her tirade, but it honestly bothered me less this time around.

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  11. The exploding car scene is one of the coolest!

    Like Syd, I was hoping Vaughn was a double, but no. However, she grabbed onto Jack's comment (your lead quote, Billie) and placed blame on him. She doesn't really hate him or think he's not worth it. She just hurts and wants him to feel some of that hurt.

    However, I have always wondered why Jack didn't enlist Vaughn's help.

  12. Oh, and why is this episode titled "The Two"? I don't get it.

  13. I also like the parallels between this episode and the series premiere. Sydney going off on her own to get whatever was needed to establish trust with the agency was reminiscent of getting the Mueler device to gain SD-6''s trust. When she went to see Sloane and the secretary tried to stop her, I half expected Syd to reply with "Tell him he's got a walk-in."

  14. Billie, this is my first time seeing Alias and I am enjoying your fantastic reviews, just as I enjoyed your reviews of La Femme Nikita before.
    I'm watching Alias for the first time, after seeing La Femme Nikita again and discovering Nikita (with Maggie Q).
    I agree with everything you said about Jack, Vaughn, Michael Samuelle (LFN) and Roy Dupuis in your article "Alias versus La Femme Nikita". Excellent analysis!

    I agree with Jack Bristow: "Michael Vaughn is just a boy who was never good enough for you, anyway."
    I thought that Vaughn was never good enough for her from the first moment they met. I don´t know what is going to happen in the next episodes but, up to now, Michael appeared as emotionally unreliable and with a lack of determination. He broke up with his girlfriend just after they kissed! Sydney needs a stronger man like Michael Samuelle, from La Femme Nikita, that transmits power in his eyes, that never resigns. Michael Samuelle is a man, Michael Vaughn is a boy. At least so far…

    I agree with Sydney: “Don't use rational thought as a defence with me. Not after all you and I have seen. Vaughn, you and I live and breathe madness. Every day on the job there is no rational thought. […] if it had been me... I would have waited... I would have found the truth... I wouldn't have given up on you! And now I realize... what an absolute waste that would have been!”
    Yes, Michael Samuelle wouldn't have given up on Nikita. He would have continued investigating.

    I hope I was able to express myself correctly because my English is a bit rusty.

  15. Marime, thanks so much for your comment. I'm glad you're enjoying Alias. And your English is just fine.


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