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Season 2 "An Impossible Situation"

Discussion in 'Alias' started by Alias_zerosum, Mar 17, 2003.

  1. Alias_zerosum

    Alias_zerosum Reviewer

    Dec 9, 2002
    “Truth Takes Time” 03/16/03

    “An impossible situation.”


    -A windswept field

    When we look upon the people and the icons of our past, which we, in our innocence, held in exaltation, we are sometimes struck by a moment of regret, when we see them for what they truly are, all their flaws and human imperfections peeking through. And when those betrayed expectations destroy our hope, it is sometimes easier to mourn an absence, to nurture an untainted memory, than to live in the presence of a dismantled ideal. But, sitting in her mother’s empty cell, such an escape is impossible for Sydney. Disillusioned by Irina’s very survival, twice destroyed by the loss of her mother, she feels the bitterness of every loving gesture turned hollow by abandonment. “She was never my mother.” And though she accepts the earrings, she denies Irina her maternity, instead turning once again to Emily, another mother resurrected and returned.
    “She’ll only talk to you.” In Laura Bristow’s wake, Emily was Sydney’s shelter, her promise of a future free of pretense. She stood, undistorted by the corruption of the world in which she lived, her innocence somehow undiluted by the transgressions done in her name. It was only when her life had twice been claimed, once by her body and once by a body of men, that she finally acquiesced to the deception she had so long evaded. Even then she returns to Sydney, an eidolon of her mother. Even then she leaves her, another hesitant ally of a daughter’s enemy.
    Both women run, fleeing the retribution of Sydney’s broken trust. Driven by an insatiable resolve, Sydney turns her weapon on Irina, pulls the trigger, lost to the shock of the brutal reflex. But, as Sydney fires the mimic shot, her mother’s wound returned, Emily falls as Irina’s effigy, plays the role a final time, at last yielding to a defied mortality. It is with heartbreaking disbelief that Sydney kneels beside her friend, bows beneath the weight of a great sorrow. There was such power to the receding image of Emily’s body laid out in the windswept field, the solemn approach of her witnesses, the silent anguish. Such an extraordinary woman and such a piercing loss, Sydney’s prophetess transformed into a martyr of all causes but her own.
    And yet we end on an echoed promise. With half a life already scripted and only half a life to mend the damage done, Irina begs of her daughter an undeserved patience, leaving her with but a trace of hope with which to continue. “Truth takes time.”


    We find ourselves unnaturally fascinated and enthralled with the back-story of the show’s first-generation spies. Each time we gain some glimpse into their pasts, we cannot help but desire to know them more fully, to understand every facet of their history. This past is so delicately etched, the present constructed so precariously atop so many unspoken truths. So much hinges on small secrets and secret motives.

    “I’ll be in Tuscany. With Emily.”
    “How is she?”
    “She’s in remission. The hard part for her now is missing the people she had to leave behind. Especially Sydney. You know how much we loved her. As if she were our own.”
    “Excuse us. --- I see through you. You must know that.”
    “This is who I am.”
    “You may need to think of yourself as an honorable husband, a father figure. But I don’t. I will never see that man in you. Which, frankly, is why we have this agreement.”
    “You need to get some rest.”
    “Never talk to me about your love for Sydney again.”
    “Get some rest.”

    We cannot remember a time when the present seemed so richly ambiguous, when it was so clear that the true story rests in the twisting intersections of private lives and professional agendas. The questions linger, what did people know and when? Every secret hints at the existence of another. If Sloane withheld from Jack Irina’s artful flight, if Jack withheld from Sydney the falsehoods of her past, if Irina hid herself for two decades of design, what is the sum total of deception, what do people know that they hid, are hiding, or are keeping from us? What was the nuance of these people’s interactions? How deeply did they understand the workings of their neighbors? What bargains did they strike with one another? What debts are there still to repay?
    Sloane and Irina’s dialogue alludes to a set of relationships that speaks of ownership and bitterness and dominance. Sitting across from one another on the plane, trading cheerful platitudes before their y0ung liaison, their conversation quickly turns sour as Sloane interjects with poorly masked insinuations. It is a card he played many times last season, his claim on Sydney’s welfare, his role as her protector and her mentor. And yet again with are left with nothing more than those intimations, which are so carefully obscure that they hold both absolute honesty and complete manipulation in their utterance.

    -A second chance

    “Don’t treat me like a fool. Stop telling me that the deception is all over.”

    Even as she is overwhelmed by anger, her patience worn, Emily still asserts her husband’s humanness. She humbles him. Her love demands that he acknowledge his own transience, that he respect that he is but a man, another human being responsible for the way he touches others’ lives. She lowers him from his self-constructed epic pedestal, faces him as a peer, more his equal than any other. And in her devotion, she tries to save him from himself.

    “He rationalizes what he’s done. He says he’s doing it for us. For me. But even if I believed him, I won’t be the excuse for his crimes. I won’t live with that on my conscience. I’ll help you bring him in. But I need you to guarantee me something.”
    “That he won’t get the death penalty.”

    It is so tragic that she should have to come to her husband’s enemy and beg for his life. The request is so powerful and human and awful in its simplicity. There is such an enormity to his sins and yet something so personal, so private in her appeal. But though she takes that initial step, standing before the man she loves, she can go no further.

    “Arvin, I'm here to say goodbye.”
    “Emily, do you remember how it felt when I found you on the beach and I told you that it was over?”
    “All that matters is this.”
    “What we have, between us.”
    “Just stop...”
    “That no one else is a part of.”
    “Oh, God, please. Just stop. The CIA's been listening. They're here.”

    Sloane is silenced. He feels the twinge of his wife’s betrayal, flinches at her confession.

    “Doesn't matter. All I need to know right now is if you want to come with me.”
    “Come with you?”
    “If you don't want to, I'll understand, but Emily, please, you have to make your mind up right now.”

    There is a permanence to their commitment, a constancy to their love that cannot be negotiated. He was willing to sacrifice his quest for her and she cannot deny him.

    “Yes. I will.”

    Emily’s role captured a vast emotional honesty. She possessed both a sense of justice and an inescapable vulnerability. She was both imperfect and exceptional. And though we mourned her death long ago, the purity she lent this universe with her presence will linger in her absence.

    -Rotunda Politics

    “It was my call to let her out and I stand by that decision, but you blindsided me, you son of a -----! And your pretense of an apology doesn't do either of us any good.”
    “I'll be equally blunt. From the moment Irina Derevko walked in this door, you ordered Sydney to deal with her, over my objections, with absolute disregard for her emotional well-being.”
    “That was my prerogative, and I stand by that call.”
    “With that said, it's not my intention to replace you. As soon as I'm satisfied that Derevko can never harm my daughter again, you'll have your title back.”

    With total disregard for the bureaucratic workings of the Agency, Jack played Kendall and usurped his jurisdiction. He used his own suspicions about Irina to position himself as the head of the Joint Task Force, letting Kendall take the fall for the err in judgment. Jack has long allowed Kendall to maintain the semblance of control why he orchestrated operations from the background. Kendall, in turn, has been quite patient with Jack’s underhanded manipulations, content to wear the title if not the authority. But with this latest act of mutiny, the two men at last collide.
    As they each struggle to take charge of the Stuttgart mission, their facade of civility quickly deteriorates under the friction of their conflicting priorities. The underlying antagonism of their relationship has at last revealed itself and the sharp, fast paced bitterness of their discourse is somehow oddly satisfying. These two men have reason to dislike on another other.


    -Ensemble. Jack, Irina, Sloane, Emily, Sydney, Vaughn, Sark, Dixon, Marshall, Will, Kendall, and Francie’s mimic. We’re not entirely sure how this many characters were incorporated so meaningfully into a single episode. What a spectacular script and impressive cast.

    -Sydney’s abrupt gunfire, which cut across Sloane and Emily’s affection in Tuscany, was truly shocking. The disorientation caused by the lack of transition, the contraposition of the pair’s gentleness and Sydney’s cold fury was disturbing, as though her shots were intended for them.

    -“Because it’s the weirdest thing of all time.” We appreciate that Francie’s mimic, though slowly growing more comfortable in her role, is maintaining the bizarreness inherent in her ploy. The flaws in her deception ensure that our characters do not lose their integrity. Chatting over dinner, it’s clear that they are unnerved. This scene really WAS the weirdest thing of all time.

    -The final (and initial) face-off at Sloane’s Tuscan Villa was absolutely amazing. It was truly a battle of desperation, a struggle of flight and pursuit. The direction was just incredible, so intense in its perspectives and movement and pacing. Set against the immense spread of the land, the frantic motion conjured by the helicopter’s whirling blades makes the scene perfectly overbearing, deafening in the vibrancy of its aesthetics.

    Zero and E.

    Though we do not have sufficient time to reply to all responses, we want to make it clear that we read EVERY message directed to us and greatly appreciate the feedback we have received. Also, please feel free to e-mail us at alias_zerosum@yahoo.com with any questions or comments. We will try our best to reply to all mail sent directly to this account. As a little side note, thanks to all of you who have written to us recently. We’re terribly behind in our correspondence, but we plan to catch up with mail by the end of this week.
  2. Azhria Lilu

    Azhria Lilu Rocket Ranger

    Nov 18, 2002
    Derbyshire, UK
    As always, great review :)
  3. Jonathan

    Jonathan The Architect

    Nov 24, 2002
    San Jose, CA
    You always are so poetic with your language. Bravo.
  4. alias8000

    alias8000 Rocket Ranger

    May 26, 2003
    this is a great review, as charlie said.
  5. Vaughn_Lovah

    Vaughn_Lovah Vaughn's Chin Fondler

    Feb 27, 2003
    my mama
    Wow, I agree with Jonathan. Absolutly great.

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