Alias S02E13: I’m very excited we’re going to have all the sex.

So! Sark has joined SD-6, Weiss is back from getting shot in the neck, Sydney and Vaughn are starting to be about 2% less vague in their admitting-we-like-each-other, Sloane has disappeared to the secret island where his wife isn’t really dead, and it’s halfway through the season, so it’s time for JJ Abrams to show up, put Sydney in her underwear and change everything you thought you knew about where this show was going.

S02E13 Recap

We open with a ridiculously long scene about how well Sydney wears lingerie, and then of course we cut to 24 hours earlier.

Now that Sloane has disappeared, Rutger Hauer has been put in place as the new head of SD-6. Kendall orders Jack and Sydney to immediately become super-besties with him, because that won’t look suspicious at all. Sydney actually tries it! And Rutger Hauer’s all “yeah yeah whatever could you please just recap your backstory for the new viewers and then get out of my office?”

Sark lets slip to Sydney that there’s a secret server no one knows about that runs all the SD cells. She takes this to the CIA and they just sort of immediately figure out where it is even though even Jack never knew about it until 10 minutes ago. Anyways, it’s on a plane with like 1 guy whose job it is to live with it on the plane and so Sydney has to pose as one of the escorts he is supplied with twice weekly as apparently his main motivation for keeping this ridiculous job and sometimes I feel like a lot of JJ Abrams’ sensibilities didn’t develop further even as he himself aged beyond jr. high.

So Sydney gets on the plane and we catch up to the opening Victoria’s Secret ad and Sydney does the most minimal amount of sexytime spy stuff that the show will let her I mean she straddles the guy for half a second and doesn’t even get her arms all the way around him and Anna Espinoza flat-out fucked guys for information but it’s OK we don’t really need to rehash that.

Sydney finds out where the server is and then knocks the guy unconscious. She gets what she needs off the server and then goes after the server guy’s bodyguard. I guess the plan was that she would incapacitate both of them and the pilot wouldn’t notice and then when the plane landed to refuel she’d just waltz back off? Or was she going to incapacitate the pilot and land the plane herself? Why was the plane going to land at all? They said it only ever landed to refuel and that the guy was supplied with a new woman twice a week, which led me to believe they refuel twice a week and that’s when the ladies switch out? If the whole point of putting the server on a plane is to keep it secure then why land so much? Why land at all? Why not just do the Air Force One thing and refuel mid-air? Why do I bother, none of it matters, Sydney gets into a fight with the bodyguard and then with the server guy himself when he regains consciousness because she didn’t tie him up or anything, and then she shoots out the door of the plane, grabs a parachute and gets home that way.

(Vaughn and Weiss are watching all of this through her earring cameras – because girl – and when Sydney lets herself get sucked out of the plane and parachutes to safety, Weiss just sits back and says, “She’s all yours.” Because apparently this whole time Sydney has just been, Idunno, auditioning for the part of literally just anybody’s girlfriend and that was the moment Weiss decided she was too much of a handful for him? Which isn’t a vibe we have ever gotten from Weiss previously? And it could be viewed as a joke if this show didn’t insist on only letting the men in her life make decisions for and about Sydney?)

Will and Francie make out while making lobster for dinner one night and I mean they literally have just had live lobsters in their hands and then they make out and it’s so gross. Then they tell Sydney about it and Sydney wants to know what it all means and Will’s like I don’t even know it was just a thing. These scenes are complete wastes of air time.

Back at the actual fucking plot of this show, Jack needs to get a code from SD-6 to match one from the files they pulled off the sex plane server to prove this is all real, but Rutger Hauer has found evidence that Sloane knew Jack and Sydney were double agents. He takes Jack into custody but Jack is able to warn Sydney. Sydney tells Will to get Francie out of town and then she enlists Dixon’s help to get the code since she can’t go back to SD-6 herself.

THE SCENE WHERE SHE TELLS DIXON THE TRUTH ABOUT SD-6 AND ASKS FOR HIS HELP IS FUCKING AMAZING AND THEY SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO MAKE TV WITHOUT CARL LUMBLY

Dixon is seriously fucked up to find out his entire career has been a lie and that lie has been willingly perpetrated to his face by his partner. But he gets the code and he gets it to Sydney and then he calls his wife to say he loves her and he doesn’t know when he’ll be home.

Now the CIA, along with a million other intelligence agencies, can move in and take down all the SD cells. Sydney is literally the only woman on the “take down SD-6 team.” And it’s not a small team. And we get several angles and a nice wide shot of the whole team just to be sure.

So, they take over SD-6 and as soon as they’re inside Sydney heads straight to rescue her dad. Which, OK, fine. She has the personal connection and motivation and it makes sense that she would go do that. But it also means she misses the main “taking over SD-6” action because she’s running after her daddy. She bursts into the room where Rutger Hauer’s holding Jack just in time to shoot him as he is about to kill Jack. So, we finally get a confirmed Sydney kill, and it’s in defense of her daddy.

But I don’t want to dwell on the negatives. Because I really do love this episode. I think JJ Abrams is the last person in the world who should have been allowed to write Alias but the acting in this one is pretty great and stuff is actually happening for once, and two last things that happen on this episode are just so amazing that I’m willing to let some stupidity pass.

First, Sydney and Vaughn realize that with SD-6 destroyed they can FINALLY get together. And I mean that exactly the instant the last SD-6 agent is led out the door, they just straight-up start making out in the middle of the ruins of SD-6 while Weiss tries desperately to get their attention.

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 4.17.12 PM

It’s one of the most ridiculous things they’ve ever done and I love every single second of it.

Also, my runner-up title for this post was “Well, we made out for 10 minutes and now we’re talking to our friends about it, so I guess this is eighth grade.”

But then! Oh, then! Then the BEST thing happens!

So, it turns out that Sloane was behind this all along and wanted Sark to leak the info about the server so that the CIA would bring down the Alliance. He tells Sark to put the “new asset” in play for “phase 2” and we cut to Francie on the phone with Sark. Wha-wha-whaaat? Has Francie gone evil? Been evil this whole time?

NOPE THIS FRANCIE IS SOME KIND OF EVIL TWIN AND REAL FRANCIE IS DEAD IN THE CORNER!

God, I love it when Francie dies. I wish they’d done it in a way that left us with fewer Francies than we had before, but I’ll take what I can get when it comes to Sydney’s friends getting shot in the head.

Also, great job getting Francie out of town, Will! You really came through on that one!

Anyway. We’ll move on to the yay-boos but all the sexist bullshit in the episode reminds me that soon we need to talk about Leverage and its treatment of women and its ideas about how to easily signal an evil character to the audience in contrast with how Alias handles this stuff. I have Many Thoughts about this.

Yay-Boo Analysis

Yay!

Boo!

What. was wrong. with the black one? Do you think it’s comfortable wearing clothes like this?” It’s like for 1 second JJ Abrams lets Sydney address him directly.
Computer security sex plane.
We see Sydney kick the plane guard’s ass and then we have to go back and watch the scene again so we can see Vaughn coaching her through it because it’s not like Sydney knows how to fight or anything.
She’s all yours.”
FUCK. YEAH. CARL. LUMBLY.
Dixon protects Marshall when shit starts going down.
RUBBLE MAKEOUTS
What the fuck even are these glasses Sloane is wearing?

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 4.34.22 PM

FRANCIE! IS! DEAD!
Will’s still alive and now we’ll have to deal with “evil Francie” tho.

Total This Episode: 5 Yays & 5 Boos.

Total So Far: 106 Yays & 92 Boos.

 

Now I need a little break before I continue, because up next is the Ethan Hawke episode, and once I watch that I’m gonna have to rewatch the Before trilogy. Also the next one has Olivia d’Abo and so there is probably going to have to be a little tangent about how on The Wonder Years she totally married Ross Geller.

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Alias S02E03-12: I wish I could, but I don’t want to.

OK, so it has been a while, but I have a really, really good reason: I don’t actually give even the tiniest fuck about anything that happens in the first half of season 2. Also the end of the fall semester was tough and then my husband and I watched “Agent Carter” and then we finally got around to “Scandal” which took over my entire life and when you have actual good TV shows consuming your every waking thought it is way harder to go back to The Bristow Family Pout Hour with anything approaching enthusiasm.

I do, however – assuming I’m remembering things correctly – give a few fucks about the second half of season 2. So, with that in my mind I decided to just plow through the first half and get it all out of the way in 1 post. Full disclosure: I mostly accomplished this by letting it play in the background while I did a lot of unpacking and cleaning and organizing in the kitchen, so this is going to be a pretty high-level overview since there wasn’t a whole lot happening that was compelling enough to make me stop and actually watch for a minute.

S02E03-12 Recap

Let’s recap by character.

Sark

These episodes have Sark fighting Sydney, then teaming up with her to kill Sloane, then it turns out he was just tricking her to get to Sloane, and then he joins SD-6. I’m on board with all of this. The world just plain needs more Sark in it, and anything that teaches Sydney how bad she is at deciding who to trust is a plus for me.

Sydney-Jack-Irina

There is so much whiny back-and-forth in these episodes that I just want to slap everybody. Sydney is willing to trust Irina’s intel because it has not been wrong yet and the more she gives them good stuff the more trustworthy she seems. Even Vaughn is on board with this plan, and maybe if a guy tells you he’s willing to trust the woman who killed his father that should lend his recommendation some weight. Jack is still really not over the whole thing, though, and as we’ve covered already Jack is actually the emotional mess of a parent that Sydney gets all her bad-choice-making from, so he just flips out every few minutes for like 9 episodes straight. At one point he frames Irina for trying to kill Sydney and Kendall pretty much immediately sentences her to death. That all gets resolved through a lot of Sydney running up to authority figures and whining but my daaaaaaaaad! or but my mommmmmmmm! which I’m sure happens all the time in the real world when the CIA is trying to have a terrorist executed.

There is some good stuff in the episodes where the 3 of them have to go on a mission together, though. They have to break into a base that Irina is intimately familiar with, so she is released to Jack’s custody and of course things go wrong and they end up fighting side-by-side and Irina earns a little bit of Jack’s trust. There’s a really good scene on a train where they’re passing a bottle of liquor back and forth and Jack starts reminiscing about the time he almost burnt the house down through drunk toast making and they laugh and it’s lovely and then Jack realizes what he’s doing and it gets awkward and Victor Garber is just wonderful, really.

This is literally the best thing that happens in this entire run of episodes, though:

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 12.22.30 PM

Sloane

Sloane confides in Jack that he killed Emily to get into the Alliance and now it turns out someone got to Emily first and kept her alive, tried to blackmail him, and then killed her anyway. Faye Dunaway comes in as some sort of SD-whatever investigator to find the blackmailer. She goes after Jack and by extension Sydney for a few episodes but it turns out she was really the blackmailer. Except then it also turns out that it was really Sloane framing her and he never really killed Emily he just sent her off to an island somewhere. Then he goes to see some tech guy somewhere that he apparently hired months ago before all of this started to make him a special ring that blocks the tracking device the Alliance planted into his neck so that he can go be on the island with Emily.

So…if he had successfully “killed” Emily in the first place and he was already planning to get this special ring, then…what the fuck was that whole thing in the middle with Faye Dunaway? Why did he need to do any of that? This fucking show.

Sydney-Vaughn

Anyways. These episodes are just overflowing with will they/won’t they tension! And mission objectives that could be mistaken for really bad flirting. (“When the mission is over, make sure you’re holding the gyroscope.”) Also at one point Vaughn almost dies from the bleeding fingernails disease you apparently catch from the red spinny ball thing. At one point Sydney tells Francie about this guy from work she has a crush on. “He smart and he’s funny and he’s so cute” and she’s 1/3 right. I hate these 2 right now, and I need them to start fucking so I can get on with my life.

I think that’s it?

Oh, no, wait. We also find out that Jack ran super secret mind control exercises on Sydney when she was 6 to basically ensure that she would grow up to be a superspy. The whole program that Jack designed for doing this to kids is what Irina was sent to steal from him. Sydney gets mad and pouts all over everything when she finds this out.

Also Marshall gets to go on a mission!

Yay-Boo Analysis

Yay!

Boo!

They’re on a mission in Siberia, where it’s so cold the ice will freeze over in 4 seconds if they fall through it, but Sydney’s in just a headband and Sark shows up with nothing on his head at all. Sydney spends something like a minute under water but is doing absolutely fine…until she comes this close to rescuing herself and then she’s suddenly blue and shivering and weak so that Dixon can save her.
I’m so stupid.” Yes, Sydney. Very good. Glad you’ve caught up to the rest of us.

Isn’t anesthesia dosed by weight? How could they know everyone in the operating room would pass out at exactly the same moment and no one would have a chance to send for help?

The last “soundtrack telling me what to feel” lyrics I need to hear over a Sydney-Vaughn scene are “Slumber, my darling/Thy mother is near.” I am so fucking over this show’s parent issues.

I’m definitely on Sydney’s side in the whole “Dude, seriously shut the fuck up about your girlfriend, I don’t even care how much you need to unburden your soul about this” scene tho.

Bristow family machine gun adventure!

Every scene with Irina in her cell is the best. She’s always coiled on the floor and there’s this sort of caged animal vibe to it.

Did Vaughn just not notice that Minimoose had disappeared? Is he actually surprised that Jack killed him?

I like the scene of Sydney rescuing Jack in the parking garage, even though it’s only there because JJ Abrams can’t do anything but rewrite old scenes he’s already written.

THREE TIMES WE HAVE TO SEE SLOANE AS GOOD AS NAKED IN THESE EPISODES! THREEEEEEEEE TIIIIIIIIIIIIIMMMMMMMMMMESSSSSSSSS WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?????????

If Vaughn’s only move is to ask Sydney out literally every time they leave the country together, how did he ever get a girlfriend that lives in the same city as he does?

I don’t buy the “Faye Dunaway was this close to torturing Jack for the truth” scene one little bit. Jack went to SD-6 knowing he would likely be captured and questioned, and we know that Jack has a supply of something that counters the effects of Sodium Pentothal, so.

I like the “Marshall’s first mission” arc and how it completes the circle for creepy dentist from the pilot.

Total These Episodes: 6 Yays & 4 Boos.

Total So Far: 101 Yays & 87 Boos.

 

Oof. OK, so, I did that. Here’s hoping the rest of the season actually works out the way I remember. I know there’s at least 1 event in the next episode or 2 that is one of my absolute favorite things that ever ever happens ever. I am not going to say what it is now, but we will talk about it at GREAT LENGTH soon!