Alias S01E20: He’s so cute I’m thinking about jamming this pen in my eye.

Oh, people. Something amazing happened this week! I watched the last 3 episodes of season 1 and remembered why I fell in love with this show in the first place. In fact, I got so distracted at points by how into it I was that I forgot to take notes, and I ended up watching these episodes twice to make sure I documented everything properly. It felt so good to just watch the show and enjoy it, and I don’t think it would have been so lovely if I hadn’t just spent all this time breaking down all the stupid in the previous 19 episodes. (Don’t worry. There’s still stupid in these episodes, it’s just more the gloriously fun kind than the “sure, yeah, Quentin Tarantino can act” kind.)

But before I talk about how much I love these episodes, I’m going to complain about the last one a little more. Specifically, the fight between Sydney and Noah where he falls on his knife. The more I think about this, the more I think, why didn’t Noah just take his fucking mask off when he and Sydney were fighting? ‘Cause, I mean, that would have ended it right there. It’s just the 2 of them at this point, since he’s killed everyone else in the place, so he’s not risking too much by revealing his identity. We see during the fight that he isn’t willing to hurt her, so the fight – a fight which would really have to continue until one of them is dead, given that one of them is an assassin – continuing until one of them dies is really the easy way out, if you ask me. (OhgodyesIknow I am criticizing the makers of Alias for taking the easy way out on something. Let’s just pretend I didn’t just say that and move on.) Anyway, my point is, after he has her pinned down on the counter and he has a chance to cut her throat but doesn’t, the logical next thing is for him to step back, take off his mask, and say, “Whoa, babe, hey, let’s talk about this,” before Sydney has a chance to push him onto his knife. He could still disappear after that, because maybe it could turn out that “oh and he’s an assassin” is where Sydney draws her moral relationship deal-breaker line, which we’ve already seen is way past “oh and he stole a ton of cash from the Russian mob” but whatever. Nothing else had to change in the plot if he revealed himself. Noah revealing his identity to Sydney doesn’t do anything to prevent Peter Berg from not joining the cast as Sydney’s new-old boyfriend spy AND it would have saved us yet another (though admittedly fantastic) Sydney-and-her-dead-boyfriend reaction pout, which – especially considering what’s going to happen at the end of the season finale – we’re kind of overloaded with here.

But anyway. Onward! We’ve got A LOT to get through.

S01E20 Recap

We begin with pouting. Sydney is super sad over killing her boyfriend and also suuuuuuper conflicted, what with the wanting to find her mom and Sloane being the only one who will help but finding her mom means finding Khasinau, which would be a good thing for Sloane, and does she really want to bring Sloane to justice for killing Danny or does she just want revenge at this point, etc., etc. Vaughn’s pretty much no help, but he does this charmingly quasi-abusive thing – which he will do more than once before the season’s out, by the way – where instead of recognizing that Sydney is upset over having caused the death of her second boyfriend in less than a year, he just keeps telling her, “Noah Hicks was an assassin. He was a bad guy. He would have killed you.” And it’s hard not to hear an unspoken, “I’m a good guy. Me. MEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!” there, too.

Will gets a call from the brooch-voice insisting that he continue work on the SD-6 story. He’s too scared after being kidnapped and he refuses to help any further. The brooch-voice tells him it was Jack who kidnapped him.

At Sydney’s apartment, Francie makes an exterminator appointment for a time when she is working because she just assumes that Sydney – about whom her main complaint is that she’s always away working – will be home, then gets mad when Sydney says she has to work. I hate Francie.

Will stays for the appointment because I guess Francie lives there now since she broke up with Charlie but Will doesn’t but we wouldn’t want to build any extra sets so that our characters could hang out places other than Sydney’s kitchen (see also: Sydney and Jack always have their secret double-agent talks right smack dab in the middle o’ SD-6) because that would cut into the wig budget, so. Anyway, while the exterminator’s there, Will figures out that the brooch-voice wasn’t lying about Jack when he goes digging through Sydney’s “plastic wrap, markers and pictures of my dad” drawer, which: OK, sure. Fine.

Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 8.02.04 AM

But also:


Over at the SD-6-run hospital, Emily tells Sydney she knows the truth about SD-6. Or, what she thinks is the truth, because I guess after working at the State Department and being married to a legit CIA agent, she naturally figures it’s perfectly OK that her husband would fake-retire from the CIA and then lie to her for decades about fake-running a fake-bank. In any case, she’s sure it’s safe to talk openly about it with Sydney and that she’s not being recorded and basically speaking her own death sentence because why else would it have been kept a secret from her for all these years? But Amy Irving is SO GOOD on this show, you guys. Really. This show got actors way out of its league, for reals.

Will decides to confront Jack about the whole kidnapping-him-and-threatening-his-friends thing, which seems like an example of extreme(ly characteristic) Will stupidity, but when the moment comes he actually sort of goes into hurt-kitten mode and asks Jack for help in bringing down the brooch-voice. And I’m all, wait. Is Will getting smart? What is happening here? He even gives his SD-6 story to a friend at the paper and makes her promise that if he disappears she’ll publish it.

Jack figures if the brooch-voice knows he was the one who kidnapped Will, then it must be someone inside the CIA. He goes to Devlin with a request to investigate Minimoose but Devlin has about had it up to here with Jack suddenly for some reason and so he’s all, “What, that new guy no one’s ever heard of before that just showed up a few weeks ago, knows everything about you and is super suspicious of and inexplicably hateful towards Sydney? He seems nice!” So, Jack just sidesteps Devlin to help Will out on his own. He tells Will he works in intelligence and that he wants him to tell the brooch-voice he’s back on the story and that he knows about something called “The Circumference.”

Sydney’s sick of waiting around for Khasinau to just show up so she designs a mission to draw him out and gets Vaughn to convince Devlin to go along with it. She knows Khasinau wants the vial of liquid that will reveal the ink in Rambaldi’s precious little blank pages. Problem is, Khasinau thinks that SD-6 still has the ink, since QT’s unwelcome intrusion into the show was thwarted. In fact, the CIA has it, but in any case they need to come up with a believable reason someone might have an authentic vial of the stuff that didn’t come out of SD-6’s vault. They’re going to fake a robbery at a museum known to have Rambaldi artifacts and then send out false information that there was another vial of the Rambaldi stuff there. Vaughn finally gets to go on a mission, you guys! Instead of standing around in a suit in the chain-link fence room or standing around his CIA office in a suit, which so far has seemed to be the limit of his job skills, he gets to go undercover as…a guy standing around in a suit! Also he gets to pretend to be French! Which…Michael Vartan actually is, so I guess that’s not a stretch either. Oh, that poor, pretty man. This show worked his acting ability to the absolute brink.

Fucker looks goooooood in a suit, though.


Or out of a suit.


Or with a dog.


Or wait, what was my point again?


So, yeah, anyway, Sydney and Vaughn finish their mission and start spreading the word that there’s another vial of Rambaldi juice out there. They’ve been very smart and blocked any communications equipment at SD-6 that might allow Sloane to find out about this, but they didn’t count on the possibility that Sloane had tapped into James Bond’s phone and can now listen in on communications between him and Khasinau. Sloane hears about the new vial as well, and hears that Sark will be meeting with some mysterious strangers to get it, and sends Dixon off to intercept the whole deal. Too bad Sydney’s on vacation, or she’d totally be going with him!

And then…well. Sydney wears brownface for the meeting with Sark, and the show comes up with reasons for it but I don’t care. I’m going to refer you to TV Tropes for an intro on this subject should you need it, and then accept that I am not qualified to speak authoritatively about it beyond acknowledging that it is problematic as hell and that there had to be a better way to send Sydney on this mission and keep Dixon from recognizing her.

So, Sydney’s mission goes terribly wrong in many ways. First, Sark challenges her to a dance-off fight to prove she is who she says she is. Dixon shows up, thinks the woman making the deal looks awfully familiar, and injures Sydney in a fight. Sark runs and Vaughn goes after him, captures him and takes the vial back, but SD-6 manages to grab Sark while Vaughn is distracted saving Sydney (shocker!). So, at the end of the day, SD-6 has Sark and Sydney has a gash on her arm she’s going to have a hard time explaining to Dixon once she’s back from “vacation.”


Yay-Boo Analysis



clipboard fight!

Again, show, plastic explosives aren’t that sensitive. Watch some Mythbusters.

Jack just plain cops to all the shady stuff he’s done lately to protect Sydney from the CIA when Devlin confronts him about it. Yes, I held a gun to Minimoose’s head and threatened FBI agents to free Sydney, and I’ll do it all again if I have to. DON’T TEST ME, BUDDY! I love Jack.

FOCUS! Mr. Tippin.”

Brownface. Seriously.

Total These Episodes: 3 Yays & 2 Boos. That seems low, but (1) this is just one episode and (2) I actually love these episodes so much that I felt like true Yay! column would have just basically been a transcript, so I’m only going for the highlights. I’m a bit worried about how this will skew the final results, but we’ll deal with that later if we need to.

Total So Far: 73 Yays & 70 Boos.


2 thoughts on “Alias S01E20: He’s so cute I’m thinking about jamming this pen in my eye.

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