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Season 2 "How's that for a spin?"

Discussion in 'Alias' started by Alias_zerosum, Jan 15, 2003.

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  1. Alias_zerosum

    Alias_zerosum Reviewer

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2002
    “The Getaway” 01/12/03

    “How’s that for a spin?”

    THINGS THAT WORKED:

    -A Man and a Woman

    “I am your ally. Never question that.” (episode 02.04)

    But, standing in front of Vaughn in Mikro Self-Storage, Sydney is beset with doubt and distrust.

    “It was a judgment call.”
    “It’s a judgment call you’ve been making for the past three months.”

    Sydney had an image of this man, a conception of a friend whom she could trust unconditionally, with whom she could share an openness impossible with almost everyone else. She had to believe that she knew him, that she could tell him anything and trust him with the weight of her life. And she did know him and she DOES know him, but every time she turns to look at him, she is disillusioned. She sees the reminder of the context of his life, a part of him that she fears is foreign to her.

    “Involving you had no upside.”
    “There is no upside to keeping me informed? You didn’t tell me about Manolo or that you had discussions with my mother. You didn’t even tell me you were seeing Alice again.”

    “Wait. What is this about?”

    “This is about me being too old to be coddled.”
    “Your life is complicated, Sydney. Forgive me for trying to make any easier.”
    “I don’t need you for that.”

    Yes, she wants him as her comfort, but not if it requires that he shield her from the truth. Sometimes, protection is a form of deception, and she feels he should know her better than to think that she would passively allow him to make her decisions for her. Sydney is her own woman. She neither needs nor desires the charity of others. For the entirety of her life, she has made her own way. All she seeks are moments of honesty and the fact that Vaughn is withholding information of personal significance threatens the sanctity of their friendship just as much as the instability caused by her own romantic ambiguity. Intimate intent aside, he has promised her his alliance. She will not let him retreat into the protocol of the professional, now.
    So, Vaughn, with Weiss on point, plunges full force ahead...

    “Listen, uh, do you want to go to dinner?”

    ...with a myriad of impulsive rationalizations...

    “We’ve been to restaurants and sat near each other, we’ve met in parks and convenience stores, and all of them in LA, where we were much more likely to be seen. Two things. One, I think it’s not that great a risk and, two, I am hungry. I’m starving. I mean we’re gonna be together anyway. Why can’t we be eating? Aren’t you hungry?”

    ...and Sydney, inspired by Vaughn’s gusto and swayed by his determined pleading, accepts. He IS the unattainable life that she cannot have until her work is completed, but he stands before her and does what he has always done: he offers her the hope that she may one day find a place to call home, that maybe she can have a tiny piece of it now.

    “Let’s do it.”

    Jennifer Garner and Michael Vartan were incredible. They were so full of nervous energy, perfectly filling the silence with awkward stolen glances. Everything, from their initial, stilted dialogue to the way their increasingly heated gazes slowly lured the two together, was laden with a mounting tension. These characters have chosen to consciously alter their dynamic, to take their chemistry out of context and hold it up to the template of normalcy. Their conversations tend toward the seemingly mundane: nicknames, hobbies, pets, and past; all to make up for the daily rituals and routine interactions that they are not able to enact, the details they don’t get to know about each other.
    The brazen gesture of the inn-key causes a moment of embarrassed shock that is truly classic, complete with long pauses and mischievous insinuation.

    “Did you ask him to do that?”
    “There are so many issues with this I don’t know where to begin.”
    “Hold on a second. I think we should have an open mind about this.”
    “An open mind?”
    “It would be rude to overlook such a generous offer without proper consideration.”
    “I wouldn’t dream of it. But there are clearly issues.”
    “Yes. I don’t disagree.”

    Given the key, given the illusion of a moment of freedom, Sydney and Vaughn make the conscious decision to put themselves before their job. They make the choice to explore a developing intimacy, to forsake the rules of handler and asset for those of a man and a woman. Interrupted by the abnormality of their lives, however, it becomes painfully clear that the consequences of their continued advances may be more severe than they are willing to shoulder.
    Back in Mikro Self-Storage, the two regroup. But the truth is, they have yet to find the balance between the personal and the professional. They have yet to draw the lines that will define their relationship, one that can never be, despite their best intentions, normal or straightforward or easy.


    -Lock and Key

    Overshadowed by illicit excursions and the threat of exposure and subsequent assassination, the magnitude of Jack and Irina’s interaction is strangely subtle. In an exchange oddly similar to Vaughn and Sydney’s, Jack dares Irina to engage with him, to be his partner.

    “Then if you’re not here to say goodbye, why did you bring this to me?”
    “I need someone to brainstorm with.”
    “Surely the CIA has teams that specialize in these matters: forensics, profilers.” “Yes. They do.”

    In his wife’s presence, Jack transforms. His face, usually taut with gravity, softens, becomes almost playful. Positioned across from one another in Irina’s cell, pouring over documents together, sharing a quick meal of take-out, the two establish a natural give and take. Tie loosened, Jack loses his self-consciousness in the sharpness of their discourse. Sitting together, working as peers, they trade and build on ideas with the ease of old companions.
    Jack Bristow collaborating with his enemy and Sydney Bristow fraternizing with her coworker, the two couples spend the night illicitly trying to fashion a future for themselves. Jack Bristow is asking Irina Derevko for her help. And she gives it freely, even offering a painful truth that, in the end, is Jack’s escape. She saves his life.

    “Thank you for everything.”
    “There’s one thing that strikes me as odd.”
    “Yes, me too.”
    “You said Sloane requested Kane to investigate.”
    “The one person who had an apparent motive for blackmail.”
    “Someone easy to frame.”
    “Interesting theory.”
    “Or not.”

    What a strangely intimate moment they share, exchanging sly looks of suspicion. Jack and Irina’s relationship is clouded by their mastery of manipulation. Their motives are unclear and their intentions are unknown. So, why the sudden willingness to cultivate a dialogue?


    -Smoke and Mirrors

    Sloane is a better human and a better spy than we gave him credit for. Here was this man who, for all intents and purposes, was the villain, was a “bad guy.” But, slowly, we began to glimpse pieces of his nature that were incongruous with the image of heartlessness that had been constructed by instinctive polarization: his love for his wife, his loyalty to his friends, his growing conscience. Without question, he was a man with faults, a man corrupted by violence and deceit. But, with the love of his wife in his eyes, his redemption seemed possible, seemed just within reach.
    In Emily’s absence, we believed he had succumbed to the foreseen darkness and we grieved his fall. All hope that Sloane had somehow spared his wife seemed lost in the tangled complexity of her death’s aftermath. But, with a compassion that seemed entirely lacking from Sloane’s demeanor last episode, he began to rebuild our trust in his humanity with the soft sincerity of his message to Jack.

    “Stay safe, Jack. Good luck.”

    As Sloane lifts his friend out of Ariana’s reach and leans him on his shoulder, Jack’s voice carries over into the next scene, where he and Irina contemplate the convenience of Ms. Kane’s guilt.
    Sloane’s getaway was the cleanest of them all. As he treads across the wide expanse of the beach, dressed in the immaculate inverse of his confessional attire, our faith in his humanity returns. In the end, he comes away with his love intact, his cash untraceable, and his privacy restored. The absolute devotion in Sloane’s eyes as he embraces his wife and calms her fears is remarkable.
    But do the transgressions made in order to secure his wife a future damage the purity of their love? Maybe so. But, done in her name or done in her absence, the atrocities of which Sloane is capable are only pardonable because of Emily’s continued forgiveness. She is the symbol of his deliverance.

    We are left in awe by Sloane’s unfailing ingenuity, Jeff Pinkner’s wonderfully scripted revelations, the Alias writer’s adamant distrust of human polarity, and Ron Rifkin’s moving interpretation of all of the above.


    -“How ‘bout some sugar?”

    Having been a major absence in Season 2, Greg Grunberg has not received our full admiration as of yet. But, rest assured: we are thrilled that he is back, humor intact. Though we were mildly disconcerted by his lecture on near death experiences to the recently recovered Vaughn, this is one of the most entertaining friendships on the show. Weiss has a lighthearted sincerity and warm sarcasm that was the perfect counter for Vaughn’s edgy apprehension last season. But he was also an important voice of reason, keeping him in check, sometimes with cutting truths: “Trust is a tricky thing.” (episode 01.22)
    Welcome back Weiss.


    -Effect

    This was an amazingly directed, smoothly edited piece of work. There was Jack’s silhouetted struggle in the movie house, orchestrated to the exaggerated score of the film, the gray ambient glow the only light to his Oswald-like pilgrimage.
    With Sydney’s instinctual assault, glass shattering over silence, she and Vaughn fly toward refuge, arriving in the heavy shadows of the French alley, their street fight tinted red. There was Vaughn’s fluid arc from heel to neck with blade in hand and the swift interplay of their bodies as they move together and apart.
    Slowed to the pace of Jack’s steady voice, Ariana’s silent fury is strangely elegant, her entire body alive with outrage.


    -Echo

    Two men meeting their wives in secrecy, women living on borrowed time. Three couples learning to connect and reconnect, rendezvous forbidden. One pair before betrayal, two pairs behind. One man already forgiven and one man yet to forgive. Love will tear them apart and violence put them back together. Six people on a getaway to and from their getaways.


    DETAILS WE APPRECIATED:

    -“Dad! Get in!” For those of us familiar with the pilot, the role-reversal in the reprise of one of its most classic scenes was hysterical.

    -Amy Irving was not listed in the opening credits, an omission we completely respect.

    -It’s fantastic that Ariana Kane got caught with her pants down in the end. Faye Dunaway did a great job. Ms. Kane was truly a coven unto herself.

    -You’ve got to love the way the camera scans up Sydney’s red fishnet stockings, the way the music punctuates every shoulder-thrusting step. Between her accent and her purple coiffure, Jennifer Garner was virtually unrecognizable. The contrast between her punk rock persona and Sydney’s next-door neighbor charm was just spectacular. Nice mission.

    -It’s fun to watch the lines between fiction and reality blur, characters often taking on attributes of their real life counterparts. Pool? Good touch.

    -The relationships on this show kill us every time. No matter how briefly viewed, they come off so incredibly real and with such a depth of history. It still surprises us when we get to see the other half of Sydney, the part that can be intimate, that already has an emotional rescue. Merrin Dungey had such a great spark of energy as Francie gives Sydney a bit of attitude and orders her off the couch.

    -We have the nagging suspicion that someone on the Alias staff just simply couldn’t resist closing on Emily’s missing digit. To tell you the truth, we don’t know if we could have either.


    ETC.

    -Congratulations to Victor Garber on his Golden Satellite for Best Supporting Actor.

    -No hay coincidentes en el mundo de Alias.


    Cero y E.
    (alias_zerosum@yahoo.com)
     
  2. verdantheart

    verdantheart Guest

    Beautiful, as always! Thanks for bringing out the dynamics of the three couples.
     
  3. Jolthompson

    Jolthompson Scout

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2002
    Location:
    Arizona
    That was GREAT! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!
     
  4. Viogirl13

    Viogirl13 Rocket Ranger

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    Awesome review and analysis!
     
  5. ready_steady_go

    ready_steady_go Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2003
    honest to god zerosum, you may be my new favorite person.. that was brilliant.
     
  6. vaughnmyangel

    vaughnmyangel Rocket Ranger

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2003
    I really liked this weeks episode and analysis. I think Vaughn acts a lot like a parent who wants to protect their child from the world and doesn't realize that maybe they are already grown up. From his point of view he is just trying to help and getting it thrown in his face but from Sydney's point of view she doesn't feel like she is being treated with responsibility. Weiss even says that sydney "is a big girl now" reminding vaughn to be a bit less protective. On the lines of Emily. Emily is like sloane's guardian angel and she brings out the true compassion in him. After all sloane is only human and we sometimes find it hard to see how he can be so heartless. But he had a plan and now we see how he saved emily and emily saved hi,
     
  7. Jonathan

    Jonathan The Architect

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2002
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Excellent, as always.

    I always love to read your analysis. Keep up the good work!
     
  8. mdw

    mdw Rocket Ranger

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Location:
    Missouri
    Brilliantly written. Great job!
     
  9. The Kate Vartan

    The Kate Vartan Rocket Ranger

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2002
    Location:
    California
    Was it just me or did the guys that Ariana Kane hired have access to Echelon? I just looked back on a Higher Echelon and in the very beginning when Sydney is describing it, the same footage of the people's faces flashing across the screen was there. Just wondering!
     
  10. aliasbabe48

    aliasbabe48 Rocket Ranger

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2002
    that was really good! thanx for spending al that time posting that for us! i appreciate it!!! again thanx!
     
  11. Azhria Lilu

    Azhria Lilu Rocket Ranger

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2002
    Location:
    Derbyshire, UK
    Same. It often explains things that I didn't understand or didn't think of :D

    As always, great great job!
     
  12. Flames24

    Flames24 Rocket Ranger

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2002
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    [N]orth [C]arolina aka NASCAR Country
    Great review! It's always good to look at things in another dimension.
     
  13. Intel

    Intel Rocket Ranger

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2003
    Location:
    Australia
    Maybe he was simply trying to access the Echelon system, but wasn't able to.

    And that review was great stuff! A few things that I hadn't thought of :)
     
  14. Caro

    Caro Rocket Ranger

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2003
    Location:
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    awesome review! great job (y)
     

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