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Season 2 "Spelunking on the CIA network."

Discussion in 'Alias' started by Alias_zerosum, Apr 1, 2003.

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  1. Alias_zerosum

    Alias_zerosum Reviewer

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2002
    “Endgame” 03/30/03

    “Spelunking on the CIA network.”

    THINGS THAT WORKED:

    -Do-It-Yourself Spy Kit™ (just add Shelf-Paper)

    Sydney’s Rite-Aid-escapade was outstanding. Everything, from her casual stroll down the aisles, chatting offhandedly with Vaughn as she loads her basket with self-styled spy-goods to her animated ruse regarding a West Virginian sisterhood, was fun and clever and intense. But, more importantly, it was Sydney taking charge of her life, throwing a bit of her red-haired recklessness back into her step.
    From the onset, this mission was hers and hers alone. Hindered by her father’s newfound authority, she dodges his scrutiny with artful skill. As she approaches Elsa Caplan, stands before her mother’s forsaken cell, Sydney is once again her own woman, disregarding father and country, determined to prevent another ruined life. What began as a desperation to regain her mother’s trail transforms into something far more compelling and compassionate and admirable.
    The effect of Sydney’s voice drowned out by her own directed monologue, the relay of inscrutably set expressions as the two women conspire in code, and the tense moment of hesitation as Sydney stalls for Elsa’s tapped communication were fantastic. Jack watches and listens, but cannot see or hear his daughter’s ploy.
    And the indescribable irony of seeing our well-seasoned, world-traveling, polyglottic intelligence officer stop by the local drugstore and traipse out in full-fledged sorority-girl splendor was simply hysterical. There was something so pleasing about seeing her amass the components of her disguise from everyday products, watching her construct her persona piece by piece with Martha-Stewart-style craftiness. And don’t think for one second that we’re not trekking over to our local Rite Aid next chance we get.
    There was a joyful absurdity to her two solo missions that has been lacking in recent excursions. The bar scene at the wonderfully Russian, preposterously Western 8-Second Stable was tops. The rowdy gusto of the club’s music, Sydney’s bewildered acceptance of the establishment’s standing challenge, and the sheer jubilance of the bar’s patrons as they cheer her on in jeans and leather boots created such a terrific atmosphere. The staging and cinematography nicely emphasized the understated ridiculousness of the scene, disorienting at times and firmly pointed at others. And everything was perfectly punctuated, perfectly summed up by the simple, flippant toss of her contact’s glass.


    -The Middle Drawer (add 1 sack of Clothes)

    There was something so sweet about Sydney’s gesture, the way she casually offers Vaughn a piece of her home, the innocent nonchalance with which she hides her uncertainty and the slow-spreading smile that creeps across Vaughn’s face as he realizes what she’s saying. They have expressed their affection for one another in countless simple ways, but the barriers that once separated them are still a source of friction, and the immeasurable complexity of the lives they led before their paths became inextricably intertwined continues to circumscribe their willingness and ability to share themselves entirely. Though Vaughn was prepared to offer Sydney free access to his home, he was not yet able to allow her full admittance into his life. His failed intentions made it clear that, though circumstances threw them into a union already heavy with expectation, their alliance is plagued by the obstacles that burden every new relationship.
    But it is also punctuated by the giddy elation of small achievements, of small steps forward. And really, that is what makes their relationship fresh, what makes every tiny interaction so uniquely pleasing and new. They are now struggling to construct a life together, to build a space for themselves between the professional and the personal. We suspect that they will meet resistance both from within and without, but the loaded simplicity of what Sydney offers this episode, the unspoken implication that the future could hold more for them, is such an important reminder that they are still discovering one another, that their evolution did not cease with the fall of SD-6.


    -“She’s not the first.”

    The scene between Tracy Lynn Middendorf and Victor Garber was absolutely phenomenal. The power of their performances, the rising intensity as Elsa defies Jack and Jack defies the image of his wife, was stunning in a way that left us deeply affected by their heartbreak. Jack’s confrontation bears the markings of an anger no longer containable by stoicism. His fear for his daughter’s well-being has resurfaced and intensified with the disappearance of Irina and the evasions of Sloane, and the presence of this woman, this cruel reminder of his past, only serves to aggravate his latent emotions. Approaching Elsa, patronizing her in her native tongue, Jack becomes unable to refrain from speaking all those bitter words with which, twice over, he must have craved to assail Irina.

    “It started as a job, a duty to your country. But it required you to prostitute yourself. It was a small price to pay for serving the motherland. At first everything went as planned. Then--surely an accident--you got pregnant. You considered terminating the pregnancy but, selfishly, you didn't. You hoped, somehow, that becoming a mother would redeem you, would absolve your guilt.”
    “You're wrong.”
    “But you continued to lie and deceive both your husband and your son.”
    “I am not Irina Derevko!”
    “I probably care more about your son than you do!”
    “That is not true!”
    “If I have my way, you're never going to see your son again.”
    “Don't you dare take my son away from me! Don't you take my son away!”

    Though Jack predicted Irina’s flight, his loss is still manifest. He seems all too willing to threaten those around him with what they fear the most, which is a cruel and desperate hand to play. But as Elsa’s anguish overflows, as her tormented sincerity proves the honesty of her love, Jack is silenced, horrified by what he has done.


    -Dixon and Diane

    The scenes between Dixon and Diane were incredibly poignant.

    “When you first told me the truth, I said I didn’t know who you were. I was wrong. I just didn't know what you did. I have always known who you are. You are the most decent man I know.”

    Dixon watched one woman recede into the rain and another engulfed by fire, Emily lost to a battlefield’s single, errant bullet and Diane, his wife, lost in a moment of peace, victim to a furious retribution. To watch the innocence leeched from such a life is truly tragic. Dixon has always been the symbol of honor, of steadfast integrity in the face of corruption. And though it has often haunted him, he has always sought to live up to the principles of his morality, has always struggled against betraying that which he believes to be true. With his doubts regarding Sydney, his reservations concerning Sark, his heartbreak from the truth of SD-6, and his need to mend his love, Dixon has proven his worth as a man not simply through the decisions he has made but through the care with which he has made them.


    DETAILS WE APPRECIATED (add 12 cups shredded bits of Our Admiration):

    -It seems as though we ought to grow weary of praising the sharpness of writing for this show, but we figured we’re allowed to indulge, since this episode was penned by a first-time Alias scribe. Sean Gerace’s script was wonderfully impressive. He can certainly turn on a dime with the rest of ‘em. He crafted some truly piercing scenes, as well as some spectacularly timed humor.

    -It seems as though we ought to grow weary of praising the sharpness of directing for this show, but we figured we’re allowed to indulge... since this is our review. We loved the two rooftop scenes in Spain, with Sydney’s silhouette preceding her through the smoke, and the camera’s circling confusion as Vaughn whips around in search of Sark. Another solid episode by Director Perry Lang.

    -“Unless you want to kidnap a smarter genius than me... it’s gonna be a little while.” And, despite some stiff competition from Mr. Bristow, Neil Caplan wins for Best Sarcasm.

    -“Dad, we have to get ahead of them.” We were thrilled to see Sydney working toward an achievable goal this episode, acting instead reacting. Recently, she has been moving toward an end that, if reached, would leave her marred by her success. She has been seeking blood that we fear to see on her hands. What differentiates this hunt from the quest for SD-6’s downfall is that, before, every acquired bit of intel brought us closer to a distant aim and in that perpetual continuum we hung on every victory. This manhunt, however, is win or lose, yes or no, with no forward motion but another chance to chase. And while the pursuits are as highly involving as ever, it was great to live a small triumph once again.

    -“If we end up sharing a cell in federal prison, I’m not giving you a drawer.” We loved how Weiss zeroed in on the drawer runner. Much like at the end of last season, he seems to be growing wary of the lines Vaughn is willing to walk.

    -Again with the absurdly talented guest stars. It is truly a feat to hold one’s own in a cast composed of such incredible players, and both Tracy Lynn Middendorf and Christian Slater were exceptional. Their boy was also a lovely excuse for some more recreational red.

    -“Let’s get lunch or something... at the CIA... lunch... place.” There’s something so great about Marshall taking the extra step to make Will’s acquaintance. Like Sydney and Dixon, Will seems to have a patience for Marshall’s awkwardness that other do not. The two of them share a common down-to-earth flavor and, if Will ever gets over his bewilderment at Marshall’s bumbling affability, we hope that they do have lunch sometime. We’d like to hear some cafeteria gossip.

    -“Who are you anyway?” After having shared a filial glass of wine with Khasinau in Paris, after tagging along with Sloane, becoming his henchman, after dropping not-so-subtle insinuations that his relationship with Irina extends deeper than employer and courier, that is precisely our question. A young man with such power clearly has a past worth examining. But, as always, we discover more questions than answers. Left in England, another child raised on self-sufficiency, Sark isn’t kidding about ambition. If lack is the ultimate motivator, what was “That which I never had”?

    -Will has sprung another leak at the CIA. Guess it’s just that time of year again.

    -It was interesting to learn that Irina Derevko is a household name among household spies. Also of note is that, when Sydney gave her name to Elsa several episodes ago, she was revealing far more of her identity than was evident at the time.

    -“This is 8 Second Stable. Everybody has ridden bull for eight seconds.” We want to shake the hand of the man or woman who decided it would be a good idea for Sydney to visit one of Russia’s world-famous Cowboy Bars. Next time we journey to the Motherland, we’ll be sure to stop by.

    -To: X? T-C Residents
    From: ZeroSum <alias_zerosum@yahoo.com>
    Subject: Cipher-text Recipe

    You’ve got the ingredients. Let us know when it’s finished cooking. We think it smells delicious.


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

    Azalea Azy in Wonderland

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Location:
    the Ozarks
    I hadn't even thought of that! It's weird how new episodes make things from earlier episodes have a new relevance. I'm glad I record all of them now.

    Great review, as always!! Your in-depth analysis never, and I mean NEVER, fails to astonish me! :D
     
  3. Azhria Lilu

    Azhria Lilu Rocket Ranger

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2002
    Location:
    Derbyshire, UK
    Weiss is so funny :)

    As always, great review :) (y)
     
  4. kylo4

    kylo4 Rocket Ranger

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2003
    Location:
    Canada
    All I can say is GREAT REVIEW!
     
  5. nancee

    nancee Rocket Ranger

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2003
    Location:
    from da hood
    whats spleunking?
     
  6. Azhria Lilu

    Azhria Lilu Rocket Ranger

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2002
    Location:
    Derbyshire, UK
    Dictionary.com:

    spe·lunk·er
    One who explores caves chiefly as a hobby; a caver.
     
  7. mountaineer5

    mountaineer5 Rocket Ranger

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2003
    gotta love weiss and marshall. i hope marshall will get some more air time, bc we've been missing his hilarious comments recently as many CIA people do not appreciate them.
     
  8. Scarlet Crystal

    Scarlet Crystal Bibbity Rabbity

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2002
    Location:
    Narnia
    ah, comic relief!
     

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