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Season 2 "A Necessary Step"

Discussion in 'Alias' started by Alias_zerosum, Apr 30, 2003.

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  1. Alias_zerosum

    Alias_zerosum Reviewer

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2002
    “Countdown” 4/27/03

    “A Necessary Step”

    THINGS THAT WORKED:

    -Court Marshall

    “To tell you the truth, I'm exhausted by the world. Everything -- the evil and the rage and the darkness. And the last thing I need is some fifteenth century dork telling me I got a day and a half to live.”
    “I understand. I mean, like, I have so much left to do.”
    “Right! ...Are you gay?”
    “Why, is there someone you wanted to set me up with?”
    “No, it's just every cute guy that I meet turns out to be gay.”
    “Oh.”
    “I'm not stupid. I mean, I'm in Mensa--“
    “Hold on -- not gay. I-I mean, I like men in a kind of manly friendly sort of way-- “
    “How about sushi? Because when we're done with this job, after thirty-six hours -- of course, assuming we're all still here -- would you maybe... you wanna get some sushi?”

    Though we miss Marshall’s gadgetry, this was just unbelievably fun to watch. Amanda Foreman’s Carrie Bowman was the perfect counterpart to Marshall’s unfettered sincerity. She’s maybe just a little more forthright and a little less nervous, but she’s got an easy candidness and a humor in her eyes that make her incredibly appealing. And, when she scoots her chair over to Marshall’s desk and he pulls back, pleased but surprised, they share such a warm moment of resonance as they draw one another closer with the animated conspiracy of their dialogue. They took such pleasure in the simple act of conversing and, for once, Marshall had the audience he deserves.


    -The Kingdom’s Prophet

    The fall of an era is the culmination of thousand misplayed hands, a thousand small coincidences. A Minister of Finance mistakes a nuanced warning for an innocent exchange of banter. Twenty-three days later, seven young men take their places on a crowded street. The entourage passes. The first man freezes. The entourage continues and the second man proceeds. He strikes his explosive against a lamppost before taking aim. Hearing the clang of the struck pole, one man calls for the car to stop, but the driver, seeing something hurtling toward them, steps on the accelerator. Archduke Ferdinand, the intended target, also perceives the attack, and raises his hands in defense. The bomb hits his arm. Bouncing off the Duke, rolling across the car’s folded top, it falls into the street where it detonates. Undeterred, both officials and assassins continue with their day. And now it’s just a matter of wrong turns. From Apple Quay onto Franz Joseph Street, it becomes clear there’s been a miscommunication. The man responsible for coordinating the day’s events had been injured in the first attack. And so, as the Duke’s car pulls to a stop outside of Moritz Schiller’s storefront, preparing to turn back, Gavrilo Princip, who had stopped for a sandwich on the way to his secondary position, discovers a strange opportunity before him. He stands a mere five feet away from the Archduke. He fires twice and a fragile world falls to pieces.
    For thirty years, Sloane has been sustained by false promises and dead-end dreams. And, as his mouth turns sour from the dissatisfaction and disgust of a misspent vengeance, he returns to the gate of ivory, seeking deliverance or conclusion or truth. As Sloane takes the cleric’s gift, the bells announce the hour of yet another changing of the guards. The world turns its head and history bends under the weight of a single man’s providence.
    Elsewhere, there is the heavy sigh of ignorant relief. But, Rambaldi is never wrong. Somewhere in Nepal, a man is tracing the twists and turns of the last three decades of his life. He exchanged all knew for the costly promises of Rambaldi’s puzzle, his closest friend recruiting the man who would one day kill his wife and his best agent laboring constantly against him, weaving SD-6’s work by day, undoing it by night. It is only when the costs surmount that he returns to the source and demands his dues. Prompted by the machinations of a desperate few, Sloane has unwittingly played into the prophet’s hand.
    And tomorrow the sky will fall.


    -Bending in the wind

    “As soon as I left the building, I knew it was a mistake.”
    “Oh, Dixon...”
    “But it was too late.”
    “Oh, my God...”
    “The results were already cataloged.”
    “Oh, Dixon, you shouldn't have done that.”
    “Sloane murdered my wife. I have to make him pay for that.”
    “I've been called in to talk to Barnett.”
    “You can't tell her.”
    “Dixon...”
    “If they find out I doctored my test I'll never work for the government again. How will I take care of my kids? Sydney, I don't know how to do this without Diane.”

    Carl Lumbly, as he has proven on countless occasions since the fall of SD-6, is a phenomenal actor. He brings both a passion and a compassion to the role, conveying an emotional honesty that is as unique to Dixon as his friendship with Sydney. As disconcerting as it was to watch him wrestle with his own integrity, it felt right to see him struggle with his loss and watch him heal, if only just a bit.


    -Better than ice cream

    We’ve said before how much we respect the maturity with which Sydney and Vaughn’s relationship has been handled, the agency with which their characters have been permitted to explore each other. Though difficult moments surface from time to time, though Vaughn hesitates at the mention of Danny and Sydney flinches at every implication of a compromised independence, they are a couple who genuinely care for one another. We appreciate that larger issues have taken root, that Sydney might have something to learn about herself from Vaughn, that they might learn from one another. But, especially, we loved the hopeful ending. We loved the way Vaughn looked her, his hesitation etched across his face, how Sydney seemed to hang upon his silence, how he glanced away, and then, with a softened expression, forgave her with a wordless offering.


    THINGS THAT DIDN’T WORK:

    -Regardless of her presence or absence in this episode, the dearth of verbal references to Irina was frustrating. She has been such an integral part of Sydney and Jack’s life, working so hard to cultivate the semblance of a relationship with both her husband and her daughter. So, to see her absence left unnamed and unexplored seemed an incredible waste. Last episode, Jack expressed an anger toward Irina more personal than we have ever seen. Two episodes ago, Sydney shot her mother at point blank range. Both have lost what they feared to love, but we were only privy to a single dialogue concerning Irina’s flight. Why this sudden rift? Why so little conversation? With dinner plans still pending, how will they move forward when they lack even a friction to justify their distance?

    -Something about the pacing and the energy of this episode lacked the urgency appropriate for an impending apocalypse. Dixon’s scenes were fully charged and full of consequence, but the other countdowns seemed somewhat anemic in comparison. Also, Nepal was perhaps the first location that felt unnatural both visually and narratively. It just didn’t feel right.


    DETAILS WE APPRECIATED:

    -It’s good to have mentors.... and it’s even better to dress like them. Here’s to Sloane’s impeccably professional fashion sense and Sark’s uncanny mimicry.

    -Pinkner writes a fantastic Marshall. We liked that Marshall’s “The what-could-he-possibly-have-been-smoking element” was so reminiscent of Will’s “The Hell-hath-no-fury department.” (episode 02.16). Perhaps the CIA can look into consolidating some of these auxiliary components into something of a Joint-Task-Force.

    -“da Vinci in his PRIME”? When was Rambaldi... NOT da Vinci... in... his... PRIME?

    -We always enjoy our visits to Dr. Barnett. Patricia Wettig makes a frighteningly convincing therapist.

    -Diane’s memorial service was perfectly underscored by Lizzie West’s “Prayer”. It was really a beautiful scene.

    -We’re not entirely sure what to make of the parallels that seem to crop up between seasons 1 and 2. Episode 20 of last year featured some familiar elements: archaically equipped fight scenes, a near-death experience involving Dixon, and a lesson well learned about the fruitlessness of revenge.

    -The club in Guadalajara was aptly titled “Apocalypsis”... another seedy Triad hotspot?

    -“Old seer, you know that already; why seek to lead me astray with questions? You know already how all this while I have stayed a prisoner in this island, unable to contrive deliverance and eating my heart away.”


    Zero and E.
    (alias_zerosum@yahoo.com)
     
  2. Flames24

    Flames24 Rocket Ranger

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2002
    Location:
    [N]orth [C]arolina aka NASCAR Country
    That was a great review. It makes me think of the episode in another dimension.
     
  3. verdantheart

    verdantheart Guest

    I'm surprised you didn't mention the fact that Jack recruited Dixon yet Dixon never mentioned that to Sydney. They never explained how Sydney was left in the dark about Jack's involvement in SD-6 if there were agents there who were recruited by him. Otherwise, excellent, as always.
    :confused:
     
  4. newfan

    newfan Captain

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2003
    Excellent review. I am fairly new to the show. Didn't watch it last season at all. I have a question. Why was it not possible for Irina to have any contact with Sydney all those years after she disappeared? Was she jailed all that time?
     
  5. Azhria Lilu

    Azhria Lilu Rocket Ranger

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2002
    Location:
    Derbyshire, UK
    Sydney thought she was dead. But I guess Irina could have made contact with her.
     
  6. alterego

    alterego Rocket Ranger

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2003
    Location:
    Western Australia
    oh,really good review
     

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