Before the Lost finale madness starts (oh, this should be good), I have been arm-twisted by Taylor (who could totally take me in a fight) into opening a comments thread here about the Alias finale as well. Now, I have had a tragic falling-out with the show this season, but I know a lot of folks out there still watch it, so consider the comments open for bizness! (If freakgirl or J.Go want to replace this with a real recap, I am all for that, yo.)
(And feel free to unleash the spoilers--heck, even I'm curious about how they wrapped things up and what the prospects for next year's allegedly final season look like.)
Taylor, you better be one of the first few comments...
The second half of last night�s J.J. Abrams double-feature was a mixed bag for me. Don�t get me wrong�my love for Alias and its characters is still going strong. But this new direction for the show makes me all funny-feeling, and not in that good way. Doesn�t it seem like the show is going to be much more episodic, with less emphasis on the loooooooong story arcs to reward the serious viewer? I mean, would it have killed someone to just mutter �Rambaldi� last night? Also, I had to laugh at the almost over-the-top �Hey! Let�s reassemble the dream team from season one!� plot. I�m glad to see everyone there and accounted for (though I hope they drag in good ol� Weiss at some point), but it was all so quick and pat (Sydney�s trust issues with Sloane aside) that it didn't ring very true (and this is on a show where I already suspend a lot of disbelief). It�s early, though, and I don�t want to jump to too many conclusions about a show I love so dearly and am so emotionally invested in, so I�m willing to give it several episodes before I start re-evaluating it in my head.
Enough griping from me�there was still plenty of good stuff: wigs, chases, awesome fight scenes, an interesting villain (I was sad that he had to go�I wanted him to stick around), and MARSHALL MARSHALL MARSHALL. So awesome. Best line of the whole night�Marshall, when the hood was removed from his head and sees the rest of the team bathed in white light: �Am I dead?�
I�m really interested to know what other folks thought�longtime viewers as well as newbies who may have been giving it a try for the first time.
Does anyone want to try and convince me that I shouldn't be disappointed and angry about the beyond-lackluster season finale of Alias? "Oh no, Sydney--you were never supposed to read that document!" THAT is the mind-blowing season-ending cliff-hanger? I've anticipated farts that had a more entertaining payoff. J.J., you let me down (and I know you didn't even write the episode, but still...)
Who else is pissed off? Comments, please.
I had a mild panic attack when I saw that Alias wasn't on the ABC primetime schedule for fall 2004. Then I saw a post on 6togo that explained it--apparently, the Alias season will start in January of 2005, so that the new episodes can run every week with no interruptions. Shouldn't that be explained somewhere on the ABC site? I mean, my psyche is fragile enough as it is without contemplating a Marshall-free world.
So what do you guys think of this programming strategy? I hate waiting so long for a resolution to what is sure to be another nerve-wracking finale...but I love the idea of uninterrupted series goodness. If it's done right, think of the momentum the season 4 story arc will be able build up! Delayed gratification...delayed gratification...
Maybe it's just me, but the previews for next week's episode of Alias look kinda lame. I don't know--maybe it's the focus on the two "special guest stars" (Isabella Rosselini and Vivica A. Fox) that made me a little worried.
Luckily, even if it is a little weak next Sunday, we can coast on the memories of last night's terrific episode. I spent about 15 minutes of a faculty meeting this morning writing out an elaborate 7-part prose summary for Davis, who missed it (he's TiVo-less and I feel sorry for him). You haven't touched geekdom until you've written, "And then they used the liquid from The Hourglass to fuel a Rambaldi machine that produced a brainwave pattern on a scroll, which they then used to track down The Passenger with a DOD satellite capable of remote encephalography"--and sneakily passed it across a table, 7th-grade-study-hall-stizz.
My only complaint would be about the real lack of exposition for Nadia (The Passenger herself!)--it was hard to be too worried for her at the end of the episode, because her intentions/loyalties/history were all still cloudy. And she's working for Argentina? Did I hear that right?
Loved the two double-crosses of the night and the elimination of all doubt that Lauren is pure evil and must be destroyed. I hope the finale is everything I want it to be--Jennifer Garner promised another mind-blower on The View the other day, so I'm expecting major majorness from Mr. Abrams in a couple of weeks.
Update: Cool! Kim at fresh hell linked to this article about the writers of the show, which explains why there's so much vagueness in some episodes (writers drop names and terms and then figure them out later on) and why some storylines don't seem to have a real "flow" to them (the writers just change them around on the fly). The article uses last night's episode as its main example, which makes it even more fun to read.
Better late than never--I was reminded that I hadn't written any kind of Alias recap/ review/ whatever when I heard a few of my students talking about Sunday's episode ("The Hourglass"). Let me tell you--it made me feel really good about America's future to hear folks in my English class discussing what The Passenger's role will be over the last three episodes of the season. (If you read last week's semi-spoilerish "Season Finales" piece in EW, I think you can make a pretty good guess as to what it's going to come down to.)
Anyway, it was another great episode--the revelation of The Passenger's identity (Syd's half-sister), Vaughn and Lauren doin' it "on the air," Sydney taking on the entire security force at the club when Marshall couldn't get the alarm system neutralized, the sheer evil of Lauren's psycho mother (how amazing would a "Sexy Action Mom Showdown" between Lena Olin and Peggy Lipton be?), and--in one of the best moments of the freaking season--Sloane's "execution." Genius. (Although I have to say that my first thought was that he's totally unkillable anyway, thanks to the regular injections of the green Rambaldi goo, right? Somebody help me out with this.)
Next week: Vaughn gets tortured by Sark and Lauren. Too much HOTTNESS in one room!
Well, you can weigh in on the two most important issues from last night's Alias (the Sydney-with-bangs controversy and the utter oh-so-rightness of Vaughn in his gothpunk regalia) simply by checking out J. Go's post below. But there were some non-grooming issues we had to grapple with last night as well.
First off, I love that the show is amassing a giant vocabulary of vague nouns that we fans can use in our discussions to completely alienate the non-watchers. "So, do you think The Telling is going to be used by The Covenant to find The Passenger before The Trust steps in?"
Speaking of, could Irena really be The Passenger? What does that name even mean? When we thought it was a bio-weapon, it made sense (it was "riding" inside a human form, perhaps), but now I don't get it. I know that Lena Olin is slated to make one final appearance on the show, so perhaps we're getting ready for her big finish. Truth be told, right now it's hard to focus on anything but my own burning hatred for Lauren and my desire to see Michael pull the rug (note my clever rug/ wig allusion) out from under her. My hat's off to JJ Abrams for resolving the whole nasty Lauren scenario (and by "scenario," I mean "the fact that she even exists") in the best possible way--make her evil and utterly hissable, and suddenly we actually enjoy seeing her onscreen. All in all, a great episode, and there is some definite momentum building for what could be a great season finale.
And yes, Sark remains the hottness (even without mascara and a lip ring), but I might have to deduct one "t" for the hair growing out. Dude could pull off a buzz-cut like nobody else. If Sydney keeps her bangs and he lets his hair get longer, it's going to start looking like Alias: The High School Years.
I'm not going to post a full-on Alias thing, because that's Max's domain. No one can comment better than he. However, I just have to say: Michael Vartan looked uber hot in Berlin during last night's ep. Give a clean-cut spy some hair dye, mascara and a fake piercing, and life is very good.
Even though there is no new episode of Alias to look forward tonight (I'm not complaining, as I love The Ten Commandments--"The Hebrews cannot make bricks without straw!"), Sydney fans can take solace in the news that it looks like season four of the show is pretty much a sure thing.
If E! Online is correct (and aren't they always?), we may get to see Lena Olin on Alias at least one more time. I hope this is true, if only to see her walk in and tell Sloane, "You are so NOT my baby's daddy!"
Does anyone have a theory about why Alias pulled the whole "same event from different perspectives" trick with the narrative last night? I admit that it was intriguing in places (such as the explanation for the Vancouver computer guy's freak-out with the gun), but was the Rashomon vibe it absolutely necessary? I think the big moment of suspense (the potential revelation of Lauren under the mask) would have come off just as well without all of the gimmicks. Maybe I'm just being crotchety, though ("In my day, the story went from A to B without all of these newfangled MTV storytelling ways").
I'm sure Max is thrilled. TNT will begin airing Alias five days a week, starting fall 2005 (corrected). Interesting article, because TNT apparently picked up the series for less than it paid for Angel. No respect.
I'm not thrilled about only getting new episodes of Alias every three weeks or so, but I guess I should be happy that it's on the air at all (I have serious concerns about the likelihood of a fourth season, but that's for another post).
Last night's episode was another corker--isn't it so much easier (and more fun) to hate Lauren now that she's officially bad? And I'm not convinced that she and Sark--have we always known his first name was Julian?--aren't somehow related (maybe that's why JJ Abrams wouldn't let them do the deed, though they sure got that "sex look" in their eyes when they were killing somebody, tag-team stizz).
Marshall's nuptials were nice, though a little too slapsticky for me, given that Sydney and Vaughn were pretty much seconds away from death. And did ABC really have to go and blow the "we all knew it but didn't want to say anything" surprise about Sloane and Sydney in the freaking preview?
Overall, though, there were enough good things to make me happy--and if a season four really happens (dear God...I don't ask much of thee, but...), setting Lauren and Sark up as co-"Big Bads" is a pretty exciting scenario.