Alias S01E21-22: Joey. Where did you learn that word?

So. Jack is coaching Will to try to draw out the brooch-voice, both to get Will out of trouble and to figure out who at the CIA is trying to expose his and Sydney’s status as double agents. Dixon has just fought and injured Sydney-in-disguise while she was making a deal with Sark, who got away but then Vaughn caught him but then Vaughn got distracted and Sark got captured by SD-6. Sloane’s wife, Emily, has revealed to Sydney that she knows her husband never got out of the intelligence game, which has put SD-6’s “kill all who know the truth about SD-6 but aren’t part of it” squad on her trail. Francie is off in her own little world somewhere being terrible and has done nothing of consequence in like so many episodes it’s not even a thing anymore.


S01E21-22 Recap

Sloane interrogates Sark and it is lovely. I can’t even describe how lovely, but what happens is Sloane explains very calmly that Sark is going to lead SD-6 to Khasinau and then they seal the deal over a decidedly oddly drunk glass of wine.

Will gets contacted by the brooch-voice and told to go to Paris to be questioned on what he knows about The Circumference.

Sydney – coincidentally enough – is sent to Paris to steal Khasinau’s blank Rambaldi page. The mission is successful because she’s Sydney so I won’t go into that. What I want to focus on here is what happens with Will. Because what happens here with Will is very, very important and I love it so much and so we are going to talk about it.

Jack accompanies Will to Paris. He gives him something to take that will counteract the effects of the Sodium Pentothal he knows his interrogators will give him. The interrogators turn out to be Khasinau’s men and they bring Will to the same nightclub where Sark is helping Sydney get closer to Khasinau. Sydney sees Will being pretty much dragged into a secret back room and goes after him. Will’s all drugged up and scared and not really able to pay attention and he can’t tell them anything about The Circumference because he doesn’t actually know anything about it. Sydney breaks in and saves him from certain torture and probable death, and his reaction when he looks up and sees who just saved his ass (it’s at about 0:20 here) is very possibly my favorite moment in the entire series.

The only way out is back through the bar. Sydney has to drag Will out – sometimes literally grabbing him by the shirt and pulling him because he can’t even move – while fighting off bad guys.


C'mon, load.

C’mon, load.


My favorite thing about this scene is how it’s filmed sort from Will’s point of view. We’ve seen Sydney do stunts like this a million times, but Will never has, so in this scene we see Sydney as Will is seeing her – as this super total badass surprise. She’s running across the tables to launch herself into the air and spin-kick a gun out of a bad guy’s hand before he can shoot Will in the head, and it’s shot from below and in slow-mo as drugged-up Will looks up in shock to see her flying towards him. She’s disarming a guy, then flinging him down a staircase, then she’s already halfway out the front door before he’s even at the bottom, all while Will makes these doofy WHUT faces and tries not to pass out.

This glorification of Sydney isn’t just a stylistic thing for the scene, either. We’re actually witnessing Will learn a lesson here, people. Maybe his first one ever? After Jack gets Will out of Paris and into a CIA safehouse, Sydney confides in Vaughn (and no, I don’t know why she keeps confiding in Vaughn who is no help whatsoever) that she’s worried Will will hate her, that she’ll lose one of her only friends (and no, I don’t know why she keeps thinking Will is her friend) now that he knows the truth about her, that he’ll see her as a stranger. And really I’d be fine with that. It would be a shitty way for Will to react to this situation, but we have been given no reason to expect Will not to react in shitty ways. But it’s not what happens.

What happens is Sydney visits Will in the safehouse, gives him a well deserved I told you not to pursue this story, and tells him that Danny was killed because she told him the truth about herself and that she wishes she could tell him the truth because she’s sure he has questions, but she can’t. And Will – the same Will who, every time Sydney can’t explain something about herself pushes and pushes and pushes for an explanation until even Francie tells him to shut up, the same Will who dug and dug and dug into Danny’s death despite numerous people telling him multiple times to stop, until it literally gets him tortured – that Will tells her that on the plane back from Paris he just thought about how hard her life must be because she has this secret she has to keep from everyone and that he just wants to be her friend because he loves her and he will never ask her anything because he gets it now. And that’s why I think of Will’s season 1 arc as Will Goes To Nice Guy Reform School. And, even though he’s learned his lesson, he’s still going to get tortured more before the season ends! Finally we can just sit back and enjoy Will! Also because we get to see him in his underwear for a bit in this one.

Jack explains to Sydney what he’s been doing with Will, trying to draw out this mysterious CIA agent who has it in for SD-6. She tells him there were no intelligence officers in that nightclub, it was all Khasinau’s men. Jack then figures that he and Sydney specifically are the target of all this stuff as opposed to just exposing SD-6 in general.


Meanwhile, Dixon is getting suspicious of Sydney. He thought the woman in Denpasar looked familiar, he’s noticed that Sydney has a “hiking” injury in the same place he injured the woman in Denpasar, and he’s started having flashbacks to when he was shot and Sydney radioed for help and identified herself as “Freelancer,” which was not her SD-6 code name. But also the code name thing is pretty inconsistent, don’t you think? Like sometimes she has one and sometimes she doesn’t but then on any given mission she’ll end up running down a hallway shouting “DIXON! DIXON! DIXOOOOOONNNNNN!!!” into her earpiece. So, why with the code names in the first place? Does Dixon not get one?

Sloane reveals to the SD-6 team that even though Sark slipped away after the Paris meeting, the wine they had shared earlier had a radioactive isotope in it. SD-6 is tracking Sark right this minute courtesy of the isotope in his blood and as soon as his plane lands they’ll have him back in custody. Except when they get to the…empty warehouse, maybe? Idunno, every building they ever go to looks like an empty warehouse to me…all they find is medical equipment and evidence that Sark has had a transfusion. A transfusion to literally replace all of his blood, I guess? And it was done so quickly that by the time the SD-6 team shows up there’s just no trace of Sark or any of The Man’s people, and I mean it must have taken a few people to pull this one off? And how did they know they’d need to have blood ready? And where did they get the blood? Do they run all their secret operations out of a blood donation van too? Is the entire blood donation system worldwide just a front for intelligence agencies? And if they knew that far in advance, why didn’t they just do this in Paris so it looked to SD-6 like he disappeared after the nightclub instead of at least giving them a good starting point for their search by clearly showing where he landed after he left Paris? And I just don’t buy the whole transfusion thing in any way at all is what I’m saying.


But. Now that Sark is free and can’t be tracked, his first order of business is to kidnap Will! He takes down the CIA team guarding Will, then shoots him point-blank with a tranquilizer gun, prompting my husband to comment how fun it is “watching your favorite character shoot your least favorite character.” It’s true. I could watch Sark shoot Will all day.

Since SD-6 found out Emily knows at least something about what Sloane really does, Sloane has been trying to negotiate with the Alliance to save her life. She’s dying of cancer in an SD-6 hospital, he tells them, there’s no danger of her doing anything to harm the agency before she dies in a few weeks. They’re willing to accept this argument at first, but then Emily’s latest round of tests reveals not how many days she has left to live but that she is in remission. Since she’s going to survive her cancer, Sloane will need to kill her. If he does this it will secure him a place in the Alliance, which is a little short on members these days since Sloane killed his old friend and then the Alliance found out the James Bond tricked him into it. And if he kills her and gets his place in the Alliance, that means he gets his war with Khasinau. Sloane has some decisions to make, folks.


Once she’s out of the hospital, Sloane tells Emily the truth. Two things about this scene: One, there was the right music on the Netflix version! Yay! Even though it’s Natalie Merchant whose music I really fucking hate most of the time, I’ve always like this particular song over this particular scene. And two, it’s entirely without dialog. We see Sloane talking to Emily, we know what he’s saying, we see her reaction, but it’s essentially a pantomime, and it’s really amazing. I know I keep saying it, but the acting on this show you guys! It’s also amazing to me how this show manages to show us so much about Sloane’s emotional pain and really flesh him out and still never makes us sympathize with him. It’s almost like the writers could actually write when they felt like it!



Now that Sark has Will again, Sydney & Jack need to get the page Sydney stole from Khasinau back from SD-6 and the vial from the CIA to give to Khasinau in exchange for Will. Sydney takes the SD-6 job and Jack breaks in to the CIA. Dixon follows Sydney and watches her steal the page from SD-6. He confronts her but she can’t convince him he hasn’t just watched her betray the government and he’s probably gonna report her for this.


Due to Jack’s suspicions regarding Minimoose, he has advised Sydney not to talk to anyone about their efforts to get Will back. She actually listened to him for once, which is shocking, and has not told Vaughn anything. It weirded Vaughn out how she WASN’T pacing and scheming and demanding that he help her find Will, and he starts to suspect she wasn’t being honest with him. He talks to Weiss about it, and Weiss is basically done with Vaughn’s disregard of rules where Sydney’s concerned and turns him in to Devlin. Devlin calls a meeting which includes Minimoose because why not, and Vaughn is forced to admit that he thinks Sydney is probably going after Will outside of the CIA or SD-6 and that Jack is probably helping her. Devlin calls Jack just as he’s finished robbing the CIA and tries to get him to back off, telling him that Minimoose has lots of excellent points about why Jack’s been acting so out of line lately, like why is he just telling civilian reporters about The Circumference, for example?


Now. Minimoose is not supposed to know about The Circumference, because even though he and Devlin seem to be total besties and he’s got some kind of auditing power over Vaughn’s work, he’s still pretty low-level? I guess? But, yeah, he’s not supposed to know about it and Devlin, who runs the fucking CIA, isn’t perceptive enough to have picked up on that, but Jack is, so now Jack knows that Minimoose has been the turkey all along, so to speak, and I’m going to refer you to Youtube for what happens next, because it is genuinely one of my favorite scenes in the entire series and I could basically watch Joey Slotnik get shot in the neck forever, and yeah spoiler warning and whatever, but just watch it is what I’m saying.


Also, one of the best parts of that scene is that we find out Jack has a secret torture storage unit! I mean, I never assumed he didn’t, but it’s just nice to have confirmation. And the other best thing is how Jack takes a moment to compose himself before shooting Minimoose in the neck. It’s not an “I lost control” moment, it’s a “you endangered my daughter’s life and I am very calm in my certainty that that makes me mad enough to shoot you in the neck in my secret torture storage unit” moment. Have I talked about how much I love Jack? Because so fucking much is how much I love Jack.

In other news, Will is being tortured by the creepy dentist from the pilot! They do the usual teeth-pulling stuff but that doesn’t work, so the creepy dentist gives him a truth serum which leaves 1 in 5 men paralyzed. While it’s lovely to see Will being tortured, he does get in a good moment when he grabs the syringe and jams it in the creepy dentist while shouting “ONE IN FIVE!” (Well, that’s how I choose to remember it, at least. He actually shouts “ONE IN FIVE, YOU LITTLE BITCH!” but we all just have to pretend some things never happened to get through the day sometimes, you know?)


This all takes so long that Will’s friend from the paper goes to Litvack with the secret story and Litvack decides to go to press with it.


Before making the trade to rescue Will, Sydney and Jack use the ink-appeary stuff on the page so they know what Khasinau wants, and it’s a schematic of the device Sydney stole from Taipei in the first episode. So, wait, how did those guys build it if they couldn’t read the page before? Or is this supposed to just be the instructions for using it, and the schematic for building it was always available? What is even Rambaldi’s problem with all the secrecy and the party tricks I don’t even.
But Jack meets with Sark and trades the now visible page for Will. Awkward hugs! And Will officially graduates from Nice Guy Reform School!


This show is like the king of awkward hugs.

This show is like the king of awkward hugs.


Meanwhile, Sydney and Vaughn – who has decided for reasons I can really get behind for once, because they are not about wanting to get into Sydney’s pants, that it’s more important to him to help Sydney on this mission than to just blindly follow the rules and be a company man – need to destroy the new device that Khasinau has built. This shouldn’t be a problem because as we learned in the pilot it’s “the size of a shoe” but it would appear that was a prototype because this one is actually, um, super huge. And Sydney remembers how when you switch this thing off the red spinny ball part turns into water, so that means a lot of water here, and we get an intriguing new twist on the Patented Bristow Family Pout when Sydney sees the device – the Oh Shit Poutstare.


Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 9.54.08 AM


But she is Sydney, so she destroys it and it floods the whole place, leading to this particularly awesome moment of Sydney staying just ahead of this wall of rushing water, running full speed down a hallway towards Vaughn, pointing and shouting GO GO GO!!!! (or, well, she would be shouting if we could hear her over J J Abrams’ Casio, but at least it’s not “No Man’s Woman” again but I digress) while Vaughn just stares at her like “huh? wha? I don’t…”


Also you don't notice until you start taking screenshots but this show was basically just not even lit at all.

Also you don’t notice until you start taking screenshots but this show was basically just not even lit at all.


Aaaannnnd he gets caught behind a locked door and as far as we can tell drowns while Sydney is so distracted trying to save him that she gets captured by The Man. And Sydney makes terrible. decisions. when it comes to men.


But anyways, that’s not even the best thing! No, even after Will getting tortured! and Minimoose getting shot in the neck! and Vaughn maybe drowning! there is still yet even one more additional thing that is really the best thing! Because captured-Sydney meets with Khasinau and she’s so ready to interrogate The Man (even though Khasinau is the one who has her tied to a chair, but whatevs)…except it turns out that Khasinau is not The Man. And then we get to learn who The Man is and while it may not be a surprise to anyone who has been following the foreshadowing (Sydney has not been following the foreshadowing), the moment Sydney looks up at the mysterious figure in the shadows and says ”… Mom?!” we get this:


Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 10.05.50 AM


Look at that glorious pout! You guys, it’s what we’ve been building towards all season! It is the ULTIMATE POUT!


Oh, man. I’m tired after all that pouting. Really I gotta go take a rest. Let’s do the Yay-Boos and then get ready for season 2, people, because with Sydney’s mom back in town, the pouts are gonna get overfuckingwhelming.



Yay-Boo Analysis



Like a truth serum? They’re gonna give me that?” “I would.”

I love how on the nightclub mission, Sydney can sing, but she can’t SING. I like that they didn’t dub in some super-slick trained singing voice for that.

The way Dixon doesn’t unclench his fist after he punches a guy out.

I’m not going to trivialize your relationship with her by calling it a crush.” Fuck yeah Weiss!

If that sounds selfish to you, I was hoping to retire fully vested.” Seriously fuck yeah Weiss!

The right music for once!

every single thing Carl Lumbly does or says in the finale

the Abrams eps always have Sydney in her undies

Minimoose gets shot in the head!

And Jack had a minute to calm down and really think about it before he pulled that trigger!


ooooooho yessssssssss Jack-Sark showdown

You should read Tippin’s stuff. It’s not so bad.”

I don’t like Vaughn’s weird attachment to Sydney but I do like his reasoning behind defying his agency to help her on a personal mission.

Vaughn’s little smile when Jack says he respects him fro the risk he’s taking for Sydney

I also like Will fighting back

but I could live without him calling creepy dentist a “little bitch”


Total These Episodes: 15 Yays & 2 Boos.

Total So Far: 88 Yays & 72 Boos.


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