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Issue 29

Discussion in 'The Alias Newsletter' started by Azhria Lilu, Dec 7, 2002.

  1. Azhria Lilu

    Azhria Lilu Rocket Ranger

    Nov 18, 2002
    Derbyshire, UK
    The Alias Newsletter - Issue 29

    Better late than never, Wednesday, October 23, 2002

    In this issue:
    1. Latest Episode: Dead Drop
    2. Next Episode: The Indicator
    3. Jennifer Garner’s Bra on eBay
    4. Alias is fourth in its timeslot
    5. Quotes from “Dead Drop”
    6. Dead Drop – What worked? What didn’t?
    7. Music from “Dead Drop”
    8. More news
    9. Affiliates
    10. Final Thoughts

    1: Latest Episode: Dead Drop
    ABC Summary:

    As Sydney struggles underwater, she takes the gun of a drowned henchman
    and fires through the ice. Dixon helps pull her through.

    At the SD-6 offices, Sydney tells Sloane that although Sark got away
    with the music box, it was corroded anyway. Sloane wonders why Rambaldi
    place the artifact in ice. Later at the CIA, Kendall refuses Jack's wish
    to have Irina removed. When Sydney confronts Jack, he says he worries
    about the emotional aspects of their dialogue and warns Sydney that she
    wants a mother.

    Sloane tells Jack about the mysterious phone call from the B&B and has
    Dixon investigate. He also says that SD-6 retrieved the corroded music
    box from Sark's safe house in the Falkland Islands, where they also
    found a man named Klaus Richter, who was seriously ill from a serum that
    Sark had administered. Jack interrogates Richter and learns that he had
    designed a map to lead Irina to The Bible, which he had hidden in a
    remote location. The map, we learn, is hidden in a 1st edition of War
    and Peace in a Moscow military library.

    To prevent Sydney from seeing Irina, Jack gives Sydney a fake map which
    will lead SD-6 to the Sunken Forest — before she's given the SD-6
    mission and the CIA counter-mission. Sydney says all she wants out of
    Irina is enough info to bring down SD-6 and get her out of the spy game.

    2: Cipher
    Sydney discovers a terrifying secret when she's sent on a case to track
    down a new generation of weapons. Meanwhile, Vaughn suspects Jack of
    setting up Sydney's mother to take a fall, Sloane tells Jack the truth
    about Emily's death, and Will lends a hand to Francie during the grand
    opening of her restaurant.

    3: Jennifer Garner’s Bra on eBay
    It's for a good cause (Breast Cancer). Article:

    Go bid: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewI...&item=970908831

    4: Alias is fourth in its timeslot
    Because of baseball, Alias was 4th in its timeslot. However, Alias made
    improvements in some other categories.

    5: Quotes from “Dead Drop”
    “Everything you said was right. And I’m so stupid. And I’m sorry Dad.
    I’m sorry that I doubted you. I’m sorry dad.” - Sydney

    “She lied to me” – Sydney

    “Sark is like the good looking guy in high school who knows how good he
    looks and won’t take no for an answer” - Sydney

    Irina: How do you say thank you to the woman who killed your father?
    Vaughn: You don’t.

    “You’re cute but I’ll pass” – Sydney to Sark

    “I’m your ally. Never question that.” - Vaughn

    “Noting that woman says can be taken at face value.” - Jack

    “What I see you doing is making the same mistakes I made with that
    woman” – Jack

    Will: Good guys or bad guys?
    Sydney: Neither. My father.

    Therapist: Is there any chance that all she wants is forgiveness?
    Jack: No.

    6: Dead Drop – What worked? What didn’t?

    This is a Zero Sum Review by Zero and E. This is very long.


    -The tragedy of illusions
    Alias' story is the story of human imperfection. It is about deceit,
    self-deception, and misguided ambition. It is about losing identity;
    burying selfhood beneath the masks we appropriate to survive. It is
    about the painful truths we find on the journey to self- discovery. In
    this episode we have seen the reemergence of this underlying sentiment
    as a forward force. The entire hour was laden with a placid sorrow that
    tinted everything with the familiar shadow of grief. It was damn moving.


    "Good guys or bad guys?"
    "Neither. It's my father."

    Sydney said it best. He is neither intrinsically good nor inherently
    evil. Instead, he is a flawed man with good intentions and too much
    power at his disposal. Jack's fear that Sydney does not need him as
    desperately as he needs her drives him to risk it all: her life, her
    trust, her love. But there is an innocence to his selfishness that is
    heartbreaking. And though he has resources that others do not, his
    actions are essentially the actions of anyone haunted by such

    After all, he is just a man.

    Jack, once stoic, is losing his ability to handle himself in a
    professional manner. He is failing compartmentalize his emotions, and
    his cards are showing. Jack is falling apart. Though there was always
    that explosive element just beneath the surface, there is a sort of
    desperation and fear that now drives his anger. In an early scene in the
    CIA Rotunda, Jack loses all composure, admonishing Vaughn with a cruel
    and tactless allusion.

    His session with Dr. Barnett further emphasizes his growing
    vulnerability. For the first time, he blatantly makes an emotional
    declaration and is, shockingly, on the verge of allowing his feelings to
    overwhelm him.

    "Sometimes a man gets carried away ... Much too blind to see the damage
    he's done sometimes a man must awake to find that really, he has no one"
    (Jeff Buckley, Ep 1.19)

    It has never been in question: Jack is a flawed man. Even as he
    attempted to mend the damage done and prove himself worthy of Sydney's
    trust, there were times when his fatherly devotion led to morally
    ambiguous decisions. A daughter is every father's weakness.

    It is overwhelmingly tragic to see Jack revert to his manipulative
    instincts, to watch these faults erase his cultivated selflessness, to
    witness him take what is essentially the easy way out. He set her up to
    take the fall so he could catch her. In the end, he needed a Sydney Hug
    more than she needed the Dad Hug. Jack stood before her, watching his
    daughter break down, as she asked for his forgiveness and looked to him
    for support. It was exactly what he yearned for, but it wasn't what he
    needed. The truth will eventually surface and we will be farther than
    ever from true reconciliation. Quite a powerful moment.

    Movement toward a physical reunion has been building since the pilot.
    This was not it. The brilliance of this moment stems from its
    anticipation: a carefully scripted promise of hope transformed into the
    startling contrast of grief. The writers knew the implications behind
    this first embrace and, instead of presenting it as expected, they
    removed it from its context with all its weight intact, and chose to use
    it to maintain and amplify the complexity of Jack and Sydney's evolving

    -Sydney's masquerade
    At the end of last season and at the beginning of this one, Sydney's
    will to uphold an illusion of friendship with Sloane was waning. In
    "Cipher" she once again picked up her performance, somehow summoning
    enough empathy to produce the words "It's not your fault." During "Dead
    Drop", however, we see the return of this pretense, but it has taken on
    a feeling of total fraudulence. The conversation following Sydney's
    return from Siberia is consciously performative on both sides. They
    speak with a saccharine facetiousness that alludes to the unspoken
    battle of wits waged by the two characters.

    Sydney does not have the resolve to play the same game with her parents.
    She is now doing favors for her mother and the ground rules she so
    firmly established in "Trust Me" are already disintegrating. She is
    continually putting her life in her mother's hands and is gradually
    becoming less and less hesitant to do so. With Jack, the story is
    different. They have developed a relationship in which she feels
    comfortable speaking with him on a more genuine level.

    "We have both been betrayed by this woman. The difference between you
    and me is that I'm willing to squeeze her for everything she's got to
    take down the enemy. ANYTHING to get me the hell out of this life as
    soon as possible. Anything."

    Though Sydney is honest with her father, she is not necessarily honest
    with herself.

    "Sydney, she's someone you've idealized for almost twenty years. You
    didn't learn about her history with the KGB until recently."
    "What does that matter?"
    "That you've wanted a mother, YOUR mother, all your life. And now here
    she is."

    -Family interplay
    The intercutting between Jack's session with Dr. Barnett and Sydney's
    meeting with her mother was impressively executed. As Jack confesses his
    fear that his relationship with his daughter is deteriorating, we cut to
    the visible development of a bond between Irina and Sydney. The shift
    from Irina's casual enthusiasm and Jack's reserved anguish is telling,
    and the even larger contrast between Jack's tear-filled eyes and the
    smile spreading on Sydney's face as she leaves the holding cell is
    simply striking.

    -Vaughn as Sydney's partner
    In the field: Vaughn's position has changed. His initial role was to
    supply a rational perspective and provide protection from a distance. So
    when he would accompany her into the field, it was always a novelty.
    Now, however, in the new task force under direction of Assistant
    Director Kendall, he has become Dixon's CIA equivalent as Sydney's full
    In her life:

    "I'm your ally. Never question that."

    -Sark- Picture perfect
    Despite Irina's warnings, Sark has yet to take any of the numerous
    opportunities he has had to kill Sydney Bristow. In fact, he has
    extended an offer of alliance, having often voiced his admiration of her
    skill. On top of this, he seems to be leaving her breadcrumbs. After
    taking a quick look at the map (an indication that our dear friend, Mr.
    Sark, has a bit of a photographic memory) he deliberately replaces the
    card for Sydney to retrieve. Sark is not careless. He is a calculating
    and meticulous spy. The implications behind this decision are immense.


    -Will's Sacrifices
    By de-emphasizing the magnitude of the sacrifices Will has made, his
    scenes fail to convey the internal strength that he is calling on to
    cope with this burden. Will is demonstrating enormous courage and poise.
    Despite numerous opportunities, he has not succumbed to the temptation
    of renewing his personal and public credibility. We love the humor with
    which Will handles his predicament, but we would also like for some of
    the weightier aspects of his decisions to come into play.

    For most shows, acquiring details about upcoming episodes is a
    challenge. Alias is about espionage, so, yes, there will naturally be an
    abnormally large pool of individuals dedicated to exposing such
    information. Nonetheless, it seems like it ought to be a wee bit more
    difficult. In fact, we've discovered that it's actually become a
    challenge to AVOID foreknowledge. Not only do trailers and promotional
    photos divulge key plot points, but the official synopses are
    unnecessarily revealing and script pages can be often be found online.
    We fully approve of making such information accessible when it is
    discovered, but the casual viewer should not be inundated with premature
    revelations and those actively searching should have to search harder.


    -"Because of you, the CIA scored a real victory" We seem to recall a
    very similar speech in the SD-6 lot when Sydney was losing faith in the
    feasibility of her goals.

    -Both Jack and Sloane embrace Sydney in this episode. We find the
    parallel fascinating. As she is held by these two men, who have betrayed
    her in different ways, it brings to mind the thematic question "are
    those things you could ever forgive?"

    -SD-6's test of Will provided the necessary clarification concerning his
    status as a threat. Now that he's been cleared, he has the freedom to
    move on with what is left of his normal life.

    -Will relayed his cover story phenomenally. It was entirely convincing
    and contained more truth than lie.

    -Sloane, much like Francie and Sydney, has difficulty parting with his
    rings. The writers draw such fascinating human parallels on this show.

    -Sydney's mad dash through the FAPSI Headquarters is the first hallway
    scene of the season.

    -Music. The final montage of scenes was beautifully underscored by a
    song that wholly captured the moment's tragedy.


    -Sark and Sloane- interesting choice for Sark to use Arvin's full name.
    Also, Sloane seems to be able to keep fairly strict tabs on someone who
    is clearly a talented spy. There is a strange underlying tone whenever
    one of these two men mentions the other. Implications?

    -We'd just quickly like to mention that the cast is somehow becoming
    more and more impressive as a collection of actors. They really are
    extraordinary at portraying both their individual characters as well as
    the group's complex dynamics.

    That was the bread, here's the (LONG) CIRCUS:

    Internal Awareness

    It's that line they walk, that finely tuned balance between realism and
    absurdity. The Alias characters are in a constant state of dreaming,
    real people thrown into a surreal situation. They have to be aware of
    their reality and our reality simultaneously, just as we are dually
    positioned spectators, suspending our disbelief only so far. And though
    they are constantly nagged by the reins of authenticity, the alarm clock
    must never go off, they must never fully awaken to the true absurdity of
    their lives, or we too will awaken from their dream.
    Internal awareness is rarely utilized to its full extent in episodic
    television and is far from being a recognized standard. The Alias
    Universe, stepping from the confines of convention as usual, utilizes
    interior consciousness as a mode of self-exploration and self-definition
    on two distinct narrative planes. First, within the show's diegesis (the
    entirety of its literary universe) the characters are cognizant of their
    personal dimensionality and are constantly redefining the precepts of
    their universe by reacting to aggravations to internal logic. Second,
    the show exhibits extensive textual reflexivity both in motif repetition
    and narrative progression.

    The premise of this show, by definition, lies outside the experience and
    plausibility of the vast majority of viewers. This is, in fact, one of
    its strongest draws: the complexity of plot, the vibrant aesthetics, and
    the unbridled physical energy are fundamentally intriguing. It is the
    characters, though, who anchor the audience to this fantasy, instilling
    validity and credibility into what would otherwise be an estranged
    action sequence. And while sympathy alone might be enough to captivate,
    the Alias writing staff has instead chosen to construct viewer EMPATHY
    by creating characters that are as much an audience to their own story
    as we are. When we are on the verge of disbelief, sure that some anomaly
    cannot reasonably go unnoticed, more often than not, a character shares
    our concern and asks our question for us. Just a sampling:

    Conduct kept in check:
    - When Jack is losing all perspective, when his concern for Sydney is
    beginning to affect his professional integrity, when we are left asking
    just how much more he can get away with, both Sloane and Devlin step in:

    "This is becoming familiar, Jack. Your coming to me, requesting special
    consideration for the men in Sydney's life."

    "I want you to stop. I hear your concerns and I will choose how to
    respond to them myself. You're a good agent, Jack, but lately, I find
    your methods reprehensible. If I hear of one more instance of you acting
    off book, you're done."

    - Vaughn's judgment is similarly clouded by his affection for Sydney,
    and Weiss is there to keep him in line.

    "But whatever it is, it's starting to affect me and if that sounds
    selfish to you, I was hoping to retire fully vested. I know you
    genuinely care for her. I do, too. But there is a line that we have been
    sworn not to cross. We're about a mile past that."

    Friends don't let friends...:
    - Naturally, we were skeptical of Sydney's ability to conceal the
    duplicity of her life so seamlessly, simultaneously pursuing a graduate
    education, a rigorous full-time career, and all the while maintaining a
    normal social and personal identity. But the truth is, a charade of this
    magnitude can NEVER be flawless, and her friends began to question the
    irregularities of her life as much as we did.

    "You know, this IS Joey's Pizza. Want to hear our specials?"

    "It doesn't make any sense any more. Nobody works as hard as you do. I
    mean, it's not like you're a brain surgeon, you get called in the middle
    of the night to save a life. These are bankruptcies. How much are they
    paying you to live like this?"

    Character limitations:
    - Yes, they seem like superheroes, but they have limits and are fully
    aware of them.

    "Well, I figured it out. I was just never very good at Morse code."

    "This is a charge of C-4. I can tell, because it says 'C-4' everywhere."

    "But the truth is, it affects me. Never knowing who to trust, learning
    to expect betrayal, plotting in secrecy and hatred and anger. It's
    becoming a part of me. I am becoming what I despise."

    Our rules/Their rules:
    - Vaughn, though extensively trained in field protocol, is not a field
    agent. So, when his role in the show required that his character
    accompany Sydney on a mission and step outside his literary confines,
    Vaughn gets Devlin's, and therefore our, permission.

    "We? You're proposing to go with her?"
    "I -- I know I'm not a field agent, but SD-6 isn't in on this and Agent
    Bristow will need backup. She trusts me."

    Each time a character speaks as the voice of the audience, it justifies
    our belief and renews our trust in their world, reestablishing the
    intersection between our lives and theirs. It borders on dramatic irony,
    but by allowing the characters to embody our concerns, we are
    vicariously implicated in the fantasy.

    Similarly, the writers keep us entangled in the thematic literary
    subtext of the show through echoed symbolism and reflexive narratives.
    Sometimes they are clever details thrown into the mix, subtly reminding
    us of where we began and how far we have traveled. It is the renewal of
    red, the return to Taipei, the resurrection of the circumference. It is
    the circular narrative, which finds Jack once again behind the wheel of
    a car, bearing unexpected revelations. It is Sydney once again
    confronted with a parent she does not know. It is the fire extinguisher,
    an ever- present icon of Sydney's ingenuity and the show's continuity, a
    seemingly unfailing aid until, impossibly, it fails her.
    Sometimes it is the show turned inward on itself, toying with
    meta-metaphors, playing games with its own texture. There is no better
    illustration of this than Page 47, episode 15 of the first season, in
    which every secret life and every tortured lie collides. Let's set
    scene: Sydney has been invited to a dinner at Arvin Sloane's house. In
    attendance are Sydney, Jack, Will, Sloane, and Emily.

    Sydney - Working as spy for Sloane, unbeknownst Will. Working as a
    double agent for the CIA, unbeknownst to Sloane, using her dying friend
    Emily as a means of procuring an artifact in her employer's possession.

    Jack - Also working for and against Sloane. But to further complicate
    things, he has to share the dinner table with Will, whom he has recently
    kidnapped without ANYONE'S knowledge.

    Sloane - The murderer of Sydney's fiancé, lying to his wife about his
    life in espionage and continuing an unnecessary pretense about SD-6 with

    Will - Concealing from Sydney that he is in hot pursuit of any links to
    SD-6, he is completely unaware that he is surrounded by the very people
    for whom he is searching and, furthermore is in the presence of his

    Emily - Unbeknownst to even the VIEWERS, she is far more informed of
    everyone's duality than her guests comprehend.

    So, with all these characters united, awkward conversation ensues. To
    the dismay of her company, Emily begins to relate an article of Will's
    that encapsulates the absurdity of the encounter, brilliantly
    emphasizing that behind this seemingly domestic scene there lies a web
    of skewed and convoluted relationships of which no one character is
    fully cognizant. The article itself is a meta- discourse on the themes
    and dynamics currently in play. Sloane's own wife unwittingly condemns
    her husband's very way of life.

    EMILY: Their boss was a monster.
    WILL: He was the devil. He was literally the devil.
    SLOANE: How's that?

    And here it comes.......

    EMILY: Well, if you spoke out against him, if you tried to leave, he'd
    have you killed. Now the other workers, they didn't know what they could
    do, but Luis Maroma could read. And he started to teach the others to
    read and he would find articles in the newspaper that they were wrapping
    the fruit in. Articles that taught them about their rights and what was
    right and wrong. Eventually, he led a revolt against this guy. I'm going
    to cry again, just talking about it.
    WILL: What was amazing was this man had no future. I mean, he was caught
    in a horrible position, working for the worst person in the world. But
    he was resourceful and he was smart and today he's going to college.
    EMILY: And the monster he worked for is in prison, rotting where he

    Take a step back. It takes tremendous attention and dedication to write
    with such consistent awareness of the dynamics and implications of one's
    own text. It is difficult enough to successfully convey these elements,
    let alone reference them. What do we gain from this conscious internal
    awareness? We are allowed to stand within the borders of a
    self-contained, self-explained landscape, walking that line between
    realism and absurdity without losing our integrity as viewers.


    Though we do not have sufficient to 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_z-@yahoo.com with any questions or comments.
    We will try our best to reply to all mail sent directly to this account.

    Zero and E.

    7: Music from “Dead Drop”

    Artist: The Innocence Mission
    Song: "Oh Do Not Fly Away"
    Label: W.A.R.? Records

    Artist: Michelle Featherstone
    Song: "Stay"
    Label: Into A Cloud

    8: More news

    For more news, be sure to visit AllAlias.com – http://allalias.com

    And be sure to click here to rate us:

    9: Affiliates
    We currently have 14 affiliates and more are being added all the time.

    Browse current affiliates or apply to become one:

    10: Final Thoughts

    Be sure to click here to vote for us:

    Thanks for reading!




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