Alias S01E10-11: That is brand new information!

Well, we’re halfway through the season, so it’s time for J J Abrams to show back up and write us an episode or two where everything will change. He’ll be back again at the end, and then midway through the next season, and so on. Now, me, I kinda like the sheer stupidity of turning your show into an entirely new show every dozen or so episodes. I think it shows spunk. But the oh-god-the-entire-world-is-upside-down episodes are also some of the worst written and most laugh-worthy. I guess they sort of provide a concentrated example of everything I hate/love/am confused by about the show.

 

S01E10-11 Recap

So, Sydney has been captured and is being held for questioning by SD-6 about her suspected status as a mole. For once the fact that she goes into every mission with, like, 80 CIA devices strapped to her person caught Marshall’s attention. Sloane sends in Russek, Sydney’s temporary partner, to act like he’s been tortured because they suspect him as well and he will be killed if Sydney doesn’t come clean. Sloane knows this tactic should work because, well, if anyone knows about manipulating Sydney through the use of threats to those close to her…. But she figures out the truth because Russek blinks wrong. No joke.

Sydney refuses to talk. Meanwhile Jack falsifies some data to prove that Russek is a K-Directorate agent and it was his signal Marshall picked up, not Sydney’s. Russek totally gets tortured to death. Good thing Dixon was conveniently out of commission for the last few episodes and Sydney needed a new partner no one really cared about!

Will stumbles across the term SD-6 and meets with an imprisoned computer programmer who is the only person to have ever spoken about SD-6 on record. He is told in no uncertain terms to kindly fuck off. He won’t, of course, but it’s always nice to see someone treating Will with the amount of respect he deserves.

Once Sydney is cleared of suspicion, she’s sent after Hassan once again. She finds that he’s been given a fake nose a new identity, complete with a whole new face that makes him unrecognizable, and is now living in Cuba. Sloane sends Jack to Cuba to kill Hassan, but he’s actually gonna fake his death and turn him over to the CIA, except he gets captured by Hassan instead. Sydney sneaks into Cuba to save Jack, except she gets captured by Hassan too. Jack is ordered to kill Sydney to prove to Hassan he’s telling the truth about helping Hassan fake his death to get SD-6 off his back. Jack – seriously no joke – blinks out Morse code instructions to Sydney on how they can fight off the bad guys together, and then they totally do. And, what with all the blinking that’s been going on and also the retinal scanner stuff coming up later in the episode, I cannot even tell you how upset I am that there was not a single quote I could pull for the title of this post from the episode of Friends where Michael Vartan played an eye doctor. It’s like the universe doesn’t even love me today.

So, Sydney and Jack fake Hassan’s death and then he leads the CIA to his secret bunker of weapons. He intentionally almost gets Sydney killed during the bunker mission as a way of forcing the CIA into providing protection for his family, but don’t worry, because Vaughn is basically never not ready to take drastic measures to save Sydney’s life, so all ends well.

Also, it turns out fighting off bad guys together can bring a girl and her father closer, but – SHOCKER! – just when Sydney starts to think that her dad is sort of OK, she gets information that changes everything she thought she knew about him. The CIA has analyzed the secret codes Sydney found in her mom’s old books and determine they were orders to a KGB agent to kill CIA agents, including Vaughn’s dad. Sloane’s thing about how the best way to get Sydney to act is by giving her The Sads over her friends is spot-on, so she and Vaughn turn Jack into the CIA. But Jack shows up at the meeting to set the record straight. Yes, basically everything that Sydney has suspected about the FBI investigations and the codes in the books and the murder of Vaughn’s dad is all correct. “But, Sydney, I was not that [KGB] agent,” says Jack. “Your mother was.” (DUN DUN DUUUUUNNNNNN!)

 

Yay-Boo Analysis

Yay!

Boo!

I like Sydney’s habit of nervous-talking just before she gets tortured. She always holds up to the torture like a champ, but first there’s all the “w-w-w-w-w-wait!” and, I don’t know, I find it charming, I guess.

Sydney finally yells at Will for his relentless hatred of her job!

Jack don’t blink when he lies. Oh, no.

Neither your experience nor your intelligence gives you the right to question a single thing I do.” Alternate show concept #4 that I would watch the hell out of: the Jack-dresses-down-Vaughn-for-an-hour-every-week show.

Vaughn gives Sydney a picture frame and the first thing she does is look for a picture of her mom to put in it. GOD, SYDNEY, COULD YOU HAVE SLIGHTLY MORE OBVIOUS PARENT ISSUES AND COULD THEY BE A LITTLE MORE LINKED TO YOUR ROMANTIC LIFE? ‘CAUSE IT’S NOT CREEPY AT ALL, SERIOUSLY.

Why didn’t you say something [about SD-6 being evil when they first recruited me or any other time in the last 7 years]?” Excellent point, Sydney! Let’s have more interactions with your dad like this and less of the pouty, whiny stuff, please.

Seriously, Sloane? You’re just gonna let Jack, who’s just gotten back from a trip, sit there with a bullet wound and a torn up face, while you say “we may never know” who killed Hassan? You actually think your staff is as stupid as they really are, don’t you?

Oh, god, stop saying “mysterious package.” I can’t stand it.

No one can rewind a tape to exactly the moment they need on the first try like that.

 

Total These Episodes: 6 Yays & 3 Boos — look at that! I loved this one twice as much as  I hated it!

Total So Far: 41 Yays & 45 Boos

Also, in keeping an eye out for the lack of a threat of rape, which we talked about a bit last time, I did notice there were some rapey moments in this one, but still nothing near the level I’ve come to expect from your average piece of entertainment. One of the bad guys licks Sydney’s face while she’s posing as a dancer auditioning at his club. However, the show does acknowledge how gross this is by letting Sydney be clearly upset about it. Then Vaughn tries to threaten Hassan with “you’re totally getting’ raped in prison, dude, unless you cooperate and I send you to the nice prison where they don’t rape people.” Which I suppose could be attributed to the fact that Vaughn is supposed to be not great at his job and prone to saying/doing the wrong things, but really just comes across as lazy writing to me. I don’t necessarily have an opinion on these 2 scenes, but I want to make sure I acknowledge whenever something like this happens.

 

But seriously, you guys, I’m kind of excited. We’re really starting to get into the stuff I’m pretty sure I love about this show. Shit is about to get so ridiculous you just don’t even know. The best characters are coming up soon. Sark will be here soon! SARK!! SARK IS THE BEST CHARACTER!!!

 

But I’m also less than excited, because first we have sit through the Quentin Tarantino 2-parter. Which overall is not terrible, but he is. Quentin Tarantino is just so terrible when he tries to act. And he’s far from not-terrible in all the other ways, too, but I’m going to stick to the ways he’s terrible on Alias. I’m not looking forward to the next 2 episodes, is what I’m saying.

I just need to remember that Sark is on his way. SARK IS ON HIS WAY!!!!

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Alias S01E07-09: Rachel ALWAYS cries!

Imagine that you haven’t eaten in a while. Your blood sugar’s pretty low, you’re getting a little shaky. And maybe you haven’t slept quite enough the last few nights. Imagine how easily and perhaps even extremely you would react to emotionally stimulating events. I know when I get like that, it’s very easy for me to go from THIS IS THE FUNNIEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN to OH GOD WHY DOES EVERYTHING END, THE WORLD IS AN ENDLESS CHAIN OF HORRORS in about 10 seconds. That’s basically Sydney Bristow.

She’s supposed to be this super-capable spy who holds it together even when staring straight into the eyes of the man who killed her fiancé or lying to her very best friends about what she does and where she goes. One would expect a fairly even level of displayed emotion from her regardless of what she really feels. Look at Jack. Jack can have a flashback/hallucination about his former wife and his daughter finding out the truth about her – which is a pretty nasty truth and something he’s spent 20 years trying to ensure Sydney will never find out – while he’s in the chair for a psych evaluation by the evil organization he’s secretly trying to destroy from within, and the only outward reaction he has is to ask to step out into the hall for a sec. Sydney, on the other hand, might start out all stoic but all someone has to do is say, “Hey, remember how your mom’s dead? And your dad’s a jerk? Yeah,” and she will fucking lose it.

I wonder if this is due to the fact that there’s a different writing staff on every episode. Then again, I have been complaining about how Sydney is always flying halfway around the world, doing some pretty intense work wherever she lands, then immediately flying back to L.A. to be emotionally abused by those closest to her, so maybe her not-quite-controlled emotions are just the only evidence of the extreme stresses she’s under at all times every day? Who knows. It’s probably just because women be cryin’.

S01E07-09 Recap

Trapped in the K-Directorate-run psych hospital, having just discovered her SD-6 partner with his throat slit and hearing the bad guys coming for her, Sydney makes all the faces – ALL OF THEM! It’s like the face equivalent of the costumes and stunts; once they knew how much Jennifer Garner could do, they made her do all of it at once. I’m not saying it doesn’t work. This show would have bombed so hard if it weren’t for Jennifer Garner. She is never less than completely dedicated to whatever foolishness the script asks of her.

Sydney gets captured and tortured for information. I was excited to get to this scene because I think it gives us a good opportunity to start exploring something allisor brought up in the comments on the pilot episode. Sydney is regularly tortured, beaten up, or threatened, and most often it’s by men. Bad men. Mean men. But there’s never a threat of rape (that I can remember, at least; we will soooooooo be going over it if that does happen, no worries). The closest I can think of is the weird/gross “I’m going to force you to drink this champagne I also drank as some sort of substitute/revenge for you never going out with me” thing from the Quentin Tarantino episode. (Which, are we surprised that the rapiest the show ever gets is when QT shows up? No. No, we are not.) I’m keeping allisor’s words in mind as I go through the show, and watching this scene again, I was struck by the fact that they change Sydney into a hospital gown and put her in a tub full of water to torture her, and somehow the gown does not become see-through. It’s not even really that short. We have a woman laid out on her back, wearing one rather flimsy garment, chained up, and soaking wet, and there’s no objectification happening. This is an aspect to the show I never picked up on until allisor pointed it out, and I think it’s really going to gain the show some Yays.

Sloane tells Jack that Sydney’s been caught. Vaughn arranges a secret meeting with Jack to inform him as well. Vaughn wants to pull her out, but Jack says no, Sydney wouldn’t want to risk revealing her true allegiances to SD-6. This is basically the same thing Vaughn has been telling Sydney whenever she starts feeling like Dixon should know the truth, but in that case the potential for Sydney to someday sleep with Vaughn wasn’t at stake, so we can see why he feels differently about things now. Jack also takes the opportunity to tell Vaughn he knows Vaughn took his file and basically he’s in charge of, like, everything, and Vaughn needs to stop thinking he’s so special and smart and also Sydney doesn’t even like-like him, so there. And I love Jack, is what I’m saying.

Meanwhile, in Bucharest, Sydney and the K-Directorate guys work out a deal. They both need the location where John Hannah buried someone he was sent to kill, whose DNA is the only way to decipher a code. Sydney’s the only one who knows how to get this information out of his head. K-Directorate lets her go if she can get the location by evening, but John Hannah won’t trust her, because he recognizes her and thinks she’s part of whatever group gave him his horrible nightmares of killing people. He’s also started to suspect that the dreams he’s having are actually memories and that he has killed people, so he wants to stay locked up to protect others. Not that this desire has stopped him from beating Sydney up every time she comes close. Anyway. She tells him he is actually remembering things, they’re not dreams, and in his next dream he remembers why Sydney seems so familiar – he saw her picture at Danny’s apartment the night he murdered Danny.

Back in L.A., Will’s still mad Litvack won’t just let him do whatever he wants. Eloise Kurtz has been found dead and Will believes her murder is linked to Danny’s. Litvack makes some very good points about journalists being discredited when they rush to press with gut feelings and weird coincidences, but Will doesn’t listen because she’s only been doing this for most of his life.

A few episodes back, Marshall found a leak where the CIA had tapped into the network. Sloane has someone working on finding a mole at SD-6 and he tells Marshall that the leak was a test that he passed. Marshall seems a bit suspicious that they would test by leaking real files over an unsecured connection, but he buys Sloane’s explanation eventually, because, after all, one of the advantages of having a staff who thinks they work for the CIA is that you’re gonna hire a lot of people who can be convinced of unbelievable things easily.

Eventually John Hannah does help Sydney escape and gives her the location of the body. Once they get to a place where they can stop and contact SD-6, he tells her all about the things he’s been remembering and she is so sympathetic and calm, telling him it’s not his fault. Then he tells her he was the one who killed Danny and her hair-trigger emotional system kicks in and she runs through the forest sobbing, but don’t worry, she comes back in 5 minutes later and she’s pretty much fine.

When Sydney finally gets home – after, you know, being captured by the enemy and tortured – and walks into her home, where Francie does not live, Francie’s first words are “Where the hell have you been? I called you 3 times!” I’m just skipping this because Francie is horrible and I hate her.

The dead guy’s DNA leads SD-6 to a Rambaldi artifact being studied at Oxford. Sydney and Dixon are sent to confiscate it during a fancy party, and you know how when someone’s using Bluetooth they just look like they’re talking to themselves in public and it attracts more attention than if they just used a cell phone? Yeah, that’s how I feel when I see them talking into their earpieces in the middle of a crowded room. Also, Anna is already at the fancy party flirting her ass off with old professor guys to try to get the artifact before Sydney. Sigh.

Will finally convinces Litvack there’s enough of a story to go with on the Danny-Eloise Kurtz murders, but when she tells him this he says he doesn’t want to do it because Sydney will find out. He keeps digging up info, of course, he just doesn’t want to publish it because Sydney will get mad and there go his chances. We get some of the truth about Eloise Kurtz when we learn Jack sent her to distract Will, but Sloane found out and had her killed. Sloane orders Jack to get the Will situation under control or kill him, and I’m all, “KILL HIM! KILL HIM!” but Jack decides to just start messing with him instead, which is actually better. We also learn that Jack chose Eloise Kurtz because she had the highest rating as a field agent from the psych evaluation guy? She was nervous and weird and took her own car to meet with Will. Is the psych evaluation guy slipping or are potential recruits getting smarter about what is and is not the actual CIA?

Sydney stops by the college for beg for more time and better grades from her teacher. Now, I am partway through an Associate’s from a community college, so I basically know nothing about how education works. I ask you, friends with Master’s degrees: do you get this many chances to fuck up, this many extensions and favors? Do you only ever have 1 teacher? Because Sydney only ever has 1 teacher aside from the old guy who was just in the pilot. And, given the time frame we’re working with, I would assume this is all still one semester and she should still have that teacher from the pilot? She had midterms in the pilot and now it’s Thanksgiving. Maybe the first guy died and Other Teacher Guy took over and that’s why he’s going so easy on everybody? I don’t know, I’m drifting off the point, but I guess the college stuff is just another way Sydney’s life makes no sense to me and I really wish J J Abrams hadn’t needed to just keep hammering in the “What If Felicity Was A Spy??????!!!!!” concept.

But, yeah, so Sydney’s sent to Italy to get a Rambaldi clock fixed and it turns out when you stick the thingy she got from the church in Spain into the clock you get magic! She and Dixon are sent to a mountain to find more magic. Anna shows up, throws Sydney off a ladder and shoots Dixon. Sydney, who for some reason has a special phone from the CIA that she can use on this mission but has no exit/extraction strategy in place with SD-6 should things go wrong, calls the CIA to rescue Dixon. She fakes a cover story for Sloane, but Dixon isn’t actually stupid even when he’s bleeding out, and he hears her contact the CIA.

Sydney tells Will and Francie that she and Dixon were injured in a bank robbery. Will acts like a total douche, demanding details from Sydney because her story doesn’t make sense to him. Francie – FOR FUCKING ONCE, THANK YOU!!!!!!! – tells him to shut his useless mouth. Then he’s all, “Uh, yeah, Sydney, thank…um, god? yeah…you’re alright and stuff,” because he’s disgusting.

Sydney is sent to spy on Hassan from a few episodes ago. Sloane orders a hit on her while she’s on her mission. Vaughn goes into Sydney-savior mode, but Jack figures out that the hit was a bluff that only the CIA saw and orders Vaughn to call off the extraction team. Vaughn doesn’t want to listen, because he is a child. And Jack’s all, “Remember how your dad was a CIA agent who got killed, Vaughn? Ya know who’s still the fuck alive, buddy? SO MAYBE LISTEN?” Or not really, but he still wins and proves his point. The extraction team is ordered to stand down, the hit does not go through, and Sydney has just proved her loyalty to SD-6, or at least a bunch of men who care about nothing but Sydney have proved it.

Even so, Marshall detects Sydney’s CIA communicator signal on her next mission and turns her in to the guy who’s looking for the mole and keeps telling Sloane it’s Sydney but Sloane won’t listen. This time he kind of has to, so he has Sydney taken into custody.

Yay-Boo Analysis

Yay!

Boo!

Jack oh so politely calling Vaughn just as stupid as he is

the unsexy bathtub torture scene

Sydney & her stupid emotions

Francie & her stupid neediness

semi-public proposals are bad too

I love how awkward it gets when Jack shows up at Thanksgiving.

Litvack is awesome, even if she’s unnecessary.

They reused a bag-dropping scene; some of us pay attention to this show, you know!

more sexy Anna

More Sydney being genuinely nice to everyone – sympathizing with John Hannah even after he tells her about Danny, telling Will his date is cute, her reaction to Vaughn saying he broke up with Alice, she’s even nice to her dad for once and brings him Thanksgiving leftovers.

Sydney proves she’s being followed because there’s no signal in the parking garage – the same parking garage where she tricked a bad guy by getting Francie to call her cell in the pilot. Jesus fuck, writers, watch your own damn show sometimes! (Also, 8 episodes in and they’re recycling gags as well as footage?)

I do love watching Sydney stare down Sloane.

And I do have a fondness for Marshall saying he’ll use “the maximum amount of brevity possible.”

ballpoint pen spy signal scrambler!

Why did Sydney get CIA training on fooling a lie detector? Shouldn’t SD-6 have done that first?

You know, I bet if I had a job that sent me on 7 trips a month, my friends would be super pumped I got to see so much of the world instead of whining all the time. Except maybe they’d actually be asking whether I was sick of San Diego yet.

Oh, god, Sydney has too much blood to the “emotional part” of her brain. Women!

Rambaldi stuff makes you live forever!

And they’re recycling gags from before the show – this time it’s Anna’s team who kills a guy with a sniper rifle as soon as Sydney gets the info.

Sydney finds the secret KGB codes because lemonade and candles. Women!

Sydney does the opening-her-shirt-to-show-she-was-wearing-a-vest-thing. I hate that thing.

Why am I even talking to you?” That is basically the only way to deal with Vaughn.

spy spray!

Total These Episodes: 11 Yays & 12 Boos. Hrmm, it’s a close one.

Total So Far: 35 Yays & 42 Boos

Alias S01E06: Nooooo, they’re not very nice people.

Finally, we get to an episode that the Yay-Boo Analysis tells me I really like!

My main thoughts about this episode don’t really have much to do with the episode, though. I’ve mostly been thinking about how season 1 has a lot of unnecessary characters. I mean, I think Sydney’s entire personal life is unnecessary, but really it’s Anna and Charlie that bug me. And Will’s boss and assistant, if I’m being honest. I get that the show wants us to care about Sydney’s personal life, so we have to put up with Will and Francie. But what purpose does Francie having a secretive, possibly cheating boyfriend serve? Why do we need to know the woman who runs the newspaper Will works at? Sydney never interacts with Litvack that I can remember, and she has maybe 2 scenes with Charlie. It’s like there’s this whole cast of tertiary characters that just exist to give Sydney’s friends someone to whine to Sydney about, so they can then feel unsupported by Sydney when she has to run off to Moscow—I mean, San Diego—mid-conversation. How much more cool spy shit could we have gotten if they hadn’t dragged out the, “Is Charlie cheating? Or does he just not want to be a lawyer? Or, you know, why can’t it be both? Yeah, let’s do both!” thing for most of the season. And as for Anna, well, is there a reason Sydney needs an arch-nemesis from before the show started? She has one the moment the show starts, in Sloane. Sloane is Sydney’s arch-nemesis because once he kills Danny, Sydney has a motivation and a goal. Before Sloane killed Danny, Sydney was just another agent, thinking she was doing something good for the country, sure, but basically just paying her bills until she graduated and could finally…teach? I think? Pre-show Sydney doesn’t seem like a character that would have had that singular a focus or that strong a belief in her spy work that there could have been a competing agent that just got to her that much. As ‘Bean pointed out in the comments a few posts back, Anna’s real purpose seems to be so the show can have a counter-Sydney, someone who will do all the dirty, not-appropriate-for-a-lady-of-Sydney’s-character sort of things the writers felt like cooking up, and that’s pretty gross.

(Also, Sydney’s thought all along, and is supposed to act like she still thinks, that SD-6 is the good guys, right? And SD-6 is supposed to act like the good guys, right? But, Anna works with the bad guys, so why is Sydney’s goal or assignment never to bring Anna in? A couple episodes ago, she managed to win the fight and get Anna into handcuffs, but then she just left her in a church in Spain. I swear, sometimes it’s like the show can’t even remember what its characters are and are not supposed to know or think.)

The other thing I’ve been thinking about a lot is all the alternate reality versions of this show that might have been so much better than the one we got. I’ve come up with 3 so far:

  • Jack gets to Danny in time and the rest of the show is Danny & Sydney on the run
  • Charlie’s seeming pointlessness is revealed to have been a cover for his real job as a K-Directorate agent. Mid-way through season 1 he gets so sick of trying to play nice and normal in his private life that he poisons the tequila at one of their softly-lit, twinkly-piano-accompanied board game nights. Finally free of all his boring-ass whiny friends, he turns his focus to work and becomes the world’s greatest traveling singing spy-lawyer.
  • Jack is the agency’s best strategist. Dixon is their best field agent, a master of disguises and general bad-assery. Sydney is the muscle, running up guys to kick ’em in the face while Dixon creates a clever distraction. Also she is not allowed to speak because every word out of her mouth is some stupid whiny bullshit. Jack does the opening narration, which ends with, “On every mission, I put my life in the hands of a woman I barely know…my daughter!” (DUN DUN DUUUUUNNNNNN!)

All of these shows would be amazing and I would watch them. Tell me I’m wrong.

S01E06 Recap

On the personal life side, Francie hasn’t talked to Charlie in…weeks, maybe?…but she’s worried that when she meets him for coffee today HE is going to break up with HER. I’m pretty sure one person refusing to see or speak to the other for this long a period of time means either that they have already initiated the breaking up process, or that the other person gets to do the breakup without any right to complaint or worrying on the first person’s part, but what do I know. Logic works differently in the Aliasverse.

Anyway, it turns out that Charlie’s big secret is that he wants to be a singer, not a lawyer. The woman Francie saw him with was his piano player. Instead of being relieved that her boyfriend isn’t cheating on her, or remorseful over how she’s been behaving lately, Francie decides to go full-on pessimistic, declaring that because she’s never heard Charlie sing, of course he must be terrible and now she’s going to have to have a singer boyfriend who can’t even sing, gawd! *eyeroll* (Idunno, um…maybe he never told you his secret because you’re the most suspicious, unsupportive, incommunicative partner FUCKING EVER, Francie! Perhaps?)

Now, here’s a case where I think making us deal with Sydney’s personal life does actually have the effect of painting Sydney in a positive light. Sydney’s friends complain constantly that her job is a problem for them, that she’s never around, that she doesn’t give them enough of herself. But all we ever see when Sydney is not spying is Sydney working out with Will, or telling Francie before anybody else that Danny proposed, or helping Francie do things that no one should do to their partner, or forgiving Will repeatedly for him being such an intrusive ass. Basically, we only ever see Sydney being either a spy or an excellent friend, and this is still not good enough for the friends she has because her friends are terrible people. We see Sydney being a great friend to Charlie in this episode, even though we haven’t gotten the impression so far that she’s terribly close to Charlie. When Charlie walks out on stage, the whole place goes silent and Francie has an expression that can only be interpreted as “I am about to be so embarrassed because my boyfriend has no talent and because of that I hate him and everybody else on the planet, and why hasn’t the stage caught fire yet? I AM GIVING IT MY FIRE-EYES!” There’s sort of an awkward moment, but Sydney shouts out, “Woo! Charlie” and claps, and it breaks the mood and Charlie is able to sing. Sydney may be a stupid spy and a petulant daughter, but she is a really excellent friend. And she’s stuck with an agency that puts huge amounts of faith in her, parents/parent figures that sacrifice everything to make her happy, and friends that treat her like shit because they don’t think she does enough for them.

Charlie sings The John Hiatt Song* and he’s really quite good. Not that Francie loses the hate-face, no. Because that would make Francie maybe not such a terrible person, and SPOILER ALERT that is never going to happen.

Will Tippin, Boy Reporter, is hot on the trail of Lady Who Says She Was Sleeping With Danny But Actually Seems Mysterious & Liar-y. Will traces her social security number and license plate because he will have the truth, dammit. And it’s really lovely how Will never bothers to take what any woman says to him at face value. I mean, let’s review, shall we?

Litvack: Will, I’ve told you not to investigate this. You’re not a crime reporter.

Will: Yeah, but pleeeeeeease??????

(Will continues to investigate Danny’s death.)

Sydney: Will, listen to me. I need you to stop investigating Danny’s death and just get over it.

Will: OK, Syd.

(Will continues to investigate Danny’s death.)

Francie: Will, stop it. Sydney is going to kill you when she finds out you’re still doing this.

Will: You’re right, Francie. I’ll stop.

(Will continues to investigate Danny’s death.) (Also he calls Francie an idiot, because he’s basically the sweetest guy ever.)

Kate Jones: I was having an affair with Danny and I was going to go on vacation with him, but he never showed.

Will: LIAR! Your social security number is a fake!

Kate Jones: See ya! And also, leave me alone now!

(Will does not leave her alone.)

Knock, knock.

Kate Jones: Who’s there?

Will: It’s me, Will, and I know you’re not Kate Jones, you’re really Eloise Kurtz and I am soooo onto you, lady, you just don’t even realize.

Kate Jones Who Is Really Eloise Kurtz: OK, then, here, have a face full of pepper spray.

Will: Ahhhhhh! My eyes!!!!!! MYYYYYY EYYYYYYYYES!!!!

(Will continues to investigate Danny’s death and try to dig up dirt on Kate Jones/Eloise Kurtz.)

Yeah.

On the spy side of things, Sydney has convinced herself that Jack was a double agent for the KGB 20 years ago. She figures out that the FBI agent who investigated him was the man who died in the car crash that also killed her mother. As Jack was driving that day, Sydney assumes that Jack was trying to outrun the FBI agent and therefore it’s his fault her mother died and so now she really extra hates him forever, OK?

Sydney, who, for a spy, is particularly bad at this secrecy thing, visits the FBI agent’s widow to ask a bunch of questions about his secret work. She goes in all, “Yeah, he totally investigated my dad and so I want to know everything about him!” which doesn’t really seem like a safe plan to me, but what do I know. The widow, at least, knows exactly how to deal when you have a big mean jerk in the family: she speaks dismissively of her late husband and can’t quite remember where she put that picture of him, but she is super pumped about her new boyfriend, who’s apparently the best. Sydney should make this lady her new surrogate parent if she knows what’s good for her, but SPOILER ALERT Sydney does not know what’s good for her. Ever.

Later, Sydney has to go undercover in some sort of horror movie-themed psych hospital in Bucharest to get a former agent to give her information that’s locked in his brain and can only be accessed when she quotes John Donne at him. He checked himself into this terrifying institution pretty much as a direct result of having been an agent with a mind programmed to kill at the sound of classic poems, so Sydney’s attempt to get the info doesn’t go over too well, as you might have guessed. (And she might have, if she were capable of predicting the consequences of her actions, but.) That’s not the worst of her concerns, though, because, oops!, this place is run by K-Directorate, and now she is going to be stuck here forever!

Yay-Boo Analysis

Yay!

Boo!

I’m gonna go change. I feel a binge coming on!” Ha, ha, ladies are always eating when they’re stressed, and that might make them fat, right, so therefore: stretchy pants!

Why DOESN’T Charlie want to break up with Francie? Francie is terrible to him.

You couldn’t possibly understand…” God, Sydney, we know you’re the ONLY ONE with problems and the ONLY ONE that matters, OK? You can shut up about that stuff sometimes and try to make people think you’re less of an asshole.

Dixon can be a total badass while standing still & smoking a cigar.

spy glasses!

spy gymnastics!

spies programmed with secret phrases like they got hypnotized at a party!

John Hannah!

Another wrong music cue? I feel like the funeral scene soundtrack should be that hymn that’s set to “Finlandia.” That could be another funeral, though. Lots of people on this show die (OR DO THEY???????).

Sydney can outrun any bad guy, even in a straight jacket! Seriously, if this were just the show where she’s the muscle & someone else got to be the main character, it would be so much better.

Total This Episode: 6 Yays & 4 Boos

Total So Far: 24 Yays & 30 Boos

Things are starting to even out, folks. Expect the Yays to go up steadily as Will continues his decline into total disgusting jerkness. I say bring on more costumes and spy gadgets and let’s jump right into Will ruining his entire life forever!

*True story: I once saw John Hiatt in concert. All he did was sing “Have A Little Faith In Me” 16 times. Then he said, “Good-night, NH, we love you,” and took a nap on the stage.**

**True story: That is not a (completely) true story. But this one totally is: The guy in front of us – I like to remember him with feathered hair and a bomber jacket with an eagle airbrushed on the back, but my husband tells me it was a Harley-Davidson tee and a backwards baseball cap, which definitely seems more like an outfit I would try not to remember – was rocking out HARD all night, entirely out of proportion with what was happening on the stage. At one point he hooted, “John Hiatt is KICKIN’ ASS tonight!”*** and then engaged in some fairly serious headbanging, probably to “Drive South.”

***True story: John Hiatt was not kicking ass that night. He basically took a nap on the stage.