Alias S02E01: I hate it when they make me see the shrink at my office.

OK! For anyone who doesn’t remember, here is where we are: Will has been humbled, Vaughn has probably been drowned, Sydney has been taken captive, and Sydney’s mom has turned out to be pretty much the opposite of dead-for-20-years.

 

S02E01 Recap

For some reason, we begin with an all-new backstory-explaining opener – by Weiss! Remember Weiss? I guess they figured last season we had too much of a woman being allowed to tell her own story, better get a man to tell it.

But then we pick up where we left off, with Sydney tied to a chair and pouting, “Mom?!” as Lena Olin steps out of the shadows and instantly makes the show 10 times better than it has any right to be.

 

“You must have known this day would come.” Well, we did, Irina, but Sydney can't follow clues.

“You must have known this day would come.” Well, we did, Irina, but Sydney can’t follow clues.

 

They chat a bit, Sydney sasses her mom in a moment that I feel like I would love if I were reading it – “You must tell me who you’re working for.” “Or what, I’m grounded?” – but on this show just comes across as yet still even more Sydney whining when things don’t go her way. So Irina shoots Sydney in the shoulder for her back-sass and I am like MARRY ME IRINA DEREVKO YOU ARE THE MOST GLORIOUS FUCKING THING!

Then we cut to Sydney in therapy and it’s like oh, great, we’re gonna tell this one in flashback.

Sydney wants to be out helping search for Vaughn, but thirtysomething therapist tells her that everyone else is doing that, so she needs to sit there and talk about her feelings under direct CIA orders, and I wonder, does coerced therapy ever really help? There is, like, an entire fucking genre of filmed entertainment telling us that it does, but I just don’t really buy it, no matter how great Timothy Hutton is.

Sydney narrates her escape from her mother because I guess we couldn’t just watch her escaping and know what happened. It really takes away from what would otherwise be a pretty badass escape scene.

In the flashback, we see Sydney contact Jack once she’s escaped & explain she’s going back for Vaughn. Jack’s with a bloodied and just-rescued Will, who asks, “Who’s Vaughn?” and we see the real reason for Sydney to go to therapy – because heaven forfend the people just tuning in for the first time be asked to catch the fuck up on their own. Nope, gotta waste entire whole episodes recapping previous episodes. This fucking show is like the Golden Girls of spy shows sometimes, I swear.

But here’s my real problem with them making Sydney go to therapy for all this recapping. Did you see the thing I just wrote about how Will asks who Vaughn is? Yeah, Will. is. right. the fuck. there. AND DOESN’T KNOW ANY OF THIS SHIT! So, why not have Jack and/or Sydney explaining it all to Will? If you want to bring in a character to be the Exposition Receiver, then Will is the perfect choice for that. His life is at this very moment being ruined by Sydney’s entire backstory and he doesn’t really understand the depth of it yet, so when he asks who Vaughn is, then fucking tell him who Vaughn is, don’t just use that as an excuse to cut to the lady from thirtysomething who is married to the producer. Gah!

Anyways, flashback-Sydney can’t find Vaughn and is forced to retreat to the meet-up point with her dad. Jack bandages her wounds and they try to piece together what just happened. And we have another moment where Will becomes the perfect person for them to explain season 1 to, but the show just ignores it and has Sydney and Jack talk to each other like Will isn’t even there.

 

Francie calls Sydney, who has never adequately explained to me why she keeps her personal cell phone turned on at all times when she is on her super secret spy missions, and tells her that there’s a story on the news about Will and SD-6 and how Will has gone missing. So, Jack & Sydney have to tell him the truth. Except of course what we get to see is Sydney telling the CIA therapist about how she and Jack told Will the truth. But we all already know that truth because it happened on the show, so I’m just gonna move on.

 

When they all get back to LA, we find out that while they were in Taipei, Dixon turned Sydney in to Sloane over the whole Freelancer thing. Sydney and Jack had prepared for this on the plane, and Jack decided he would tell Sloane that he gave Sydney the Freelancer codename as a “paternal instinct” but that of course he is loyal to SD-6. Sydney asks “What about Will?” and Jack looks straight at him and says, “You’re gonna have a hard time.” And I clap and maybe even squeal a little every time I hear that line.

But Sydney’s therapist isn’t interested in the “hard time” Will was going to have after pretty much accidentally stumbling on a world-wide secret organization of evil fake spies or how Sydney and her dad managed to outsmart the leader of that organization and make him believe they were both loyal to him so he wouldn’t murder both their faces even though he has been given every reason several times now to believe that they are disloyal. No, what she wants is for Sydney to say something about her mother, and if I had popcorn this is when I would be throwing it at my TV. “What is there to say?” Sydney asks, and we find out the answer is every single fucking thing we just spent half a season learning about Derevko, which, again, I’m not gonna recap because I am not JJ Abrams and so I trust that if you don’t know what I’m talking about you’ll either pick up enough for it to make sense or you’ll go look it up.

 

Sydney gets sent to crash a party at some bad guy’s house in France, which seems to be SD-6’s preferred method for her to infiltrate the enemy’s operations but then I guess they have kind of limited their own options by insisting on giving her almost entirely makeup-based spy gear. Anyway, they chose the location well because at the party Sydney sees a bad guy from Taipei and follows him into the basement and it turns out to be Khasinau’s torturesurgery lair because apparently he’s a creepy torturesurgeon too? Sure. OK. He seems like he has time for that. Anyhoo, Vaughn’s the next one to get his chest cut open.

 

While explaining how she saved Vaughn (it involves the predictable adrenaline shot to the chest and also entirely too little of shirtless Michael Vartan), Sydney gets all defensive in therapy about how she and Vaughn have a professional relationship, there’s nothing going on between them, blah blah blah, and her therapist is all “Oh, I wasn’t insinuating that! Goodness no! I just was wondering how Will is doing! I mean, why would you even think I was assuming there was an inappropriate relationship between you and Vaughn? Silly girl!” EXCEPT THAT SHE WAS THE ONE VAUGHN WAS FORCED TO SEE WHEN MINIMOOSE TURNED HIM IN FOR HIS INAPPROPRIATE FEELINGS FOR SYDNEY LIKE 3 WEEKS AGO!!! And basically therapists who fuck with their patients in this way are assholes who should not be allowed to talk to people in any capacity let alone a professional one.

 

Regardless of whether the therapist cares, we find out what Jack meant by a hard time when he turns Will into a fake drug addict so that he can be exposed as a fraud, losing him his job and discrediting him as a reporter, so that no one will believe what he wrote about SD-6.

 

The CIA goes after Khasinau but Irina’s already there with a sniper rifle. We find out that Sydney can run thru a hail of bullets (being shot at her by someone who has very recently shown she has no problems with shooting Sydney) and emerge unscathed but Weiss can’t hide from one behind a big fuck-off car, so he totally gets shot in the neck and I’m guessing at this point Greg Grunberg was regretting telling his neighbor “sure, I’ll do a little guest spot on your show, why not, you probably won’t just treat me like something between an extra and a piece of scenery for 3.5 seasons until you realize I can act, it sounds like fun!”

Sydney tracks down Khasinau* and has him held at gunpoint when Derevko shows up. Derevko shoots Khasinau over Sydney’s shoulder and then gives her this cute little smile and OH MAN NEW FAVORITE CHARACTER TIME.

 

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 9.47.27 PM

(Oh shit but I forgot to tell you, when Derevko first shows up, we get a Sydney Reaction Pout!)

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 9.47.00 PM

“Ugh, MOM, I am TRYING to kill your old KGB boss/current evil secret fake spy underling, DO YOU MIND?!”

 

Derevko gets away, life goes on, and then Sydney speaks at Emily’s funeral. I didn’t cover this last time but last we saw Emily she was telling Sloane she forgave him and drinking a glass of wine we had earlier seen him lacing with some sort of drug. So, now we can assume he killed her to secure his place in the Alliance but Sydney is still going to attend the funeral and speak and pretend like everything’s OK because if she doesn’t have at least 5 different parent figures to spread out her whiny, pouty, neediness among at any given time, she might be in trouble, and so she’s willing to overlook Sloane killing A LOT of people she cares about in order to hold on to her tragic little worldview. And I know I go on about Sydney’s parent issues, but seriously her entire eulogy for Emily basically boils down to “My mom died. My dad was emotionally distant. I have no idea what to do without a parent figure. Emily said the vaguest polite thing to me shortly after we met for the first time, and suddenly she was my new mom. Now my new mom is dead and I am rudderless.” And I tell you this, if anyone had the goddamn nerve to eulogize me like that, they would get the fuck haunted out of them so fast.

After the funeral, Jack tells Sydney that Derevko has turned herself in to the CIA – just like Sydney did in the pilot! It’s like JJ Abrams has exactly half the ideas needed to make a season of television, so he just cycles each of the characters through them in turn, hoping we won’t notice he’s recycling his old gags as long as it’s a different actor this time. But I’m off topic. The point is, this is what does Sydney in. After all the I AM FINE, THERAPIST, REALLY, we got for this entire episode, Sydney shows up at the therapist’s door in tears because her mommy turned herself in to the CIA. Knowing she’s alive, finding out what she did to your father and his colleagues and your bestfriendworkhusbandcreepyparentsurrogatecrush’s father, having her shoot you, watching her kill a man right in front of you, none of that’s a problem. She turned herself in and wants to cooperate? Sydney turns into a pile of tears.

Ugh, this show sometimes. I can’t.

 

Yay-Boo Analysis

Yay!

Boo!

Jack: “What happened to the guy who shot you?”

Sydney:“There was no guy. It was Mom.”

Will: “Excuse me, did you just say you were shot by your mother?”

Jack: “Sit down!”

I should have had Tippin killed months ago.”

Isn’t Smashmouth supposed to be playing when Sydney crashes the party? No Smashmouth is a total yay in my book.

Ugh, Michael Vartan and his “acting.” He can’t even make me believe he’s incoherent.

And the old adrenaline in the chest trick

He made reference to something called ‘The Bible.’” “What is it?” “A book.” NO DOY JACK

Why does Vaughn always try to get Sydney to go on a date with him the instant they’re in another country like that changes anything?

Will is just happy to be alive. When Sydney asks him if her makeup covers her bruises, he says, “This is your life, huh?” with so much sympathy and then whispers “no bruises” when Francie walks in so she won’t hear him.

 

Total These Episodes: 4 Yays & 4 Boos.

Total So Far: 92 Yays & 76 Boos.

 

 

*Guess where. No, seriously, guess! Did you guess “an empty warehouse”? WHOA BUT SERIOUSLY HOW DID YOU KNOW?

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