Alias Review: The Two

Well, Alias’s third season started last night, and it’s off to a good start. I love this show.

Cast

Jennifer Garner….Agent Sydney A. Bristow
Ron Rifkin….Arvin Sloane
Michael Vartan….Michael C. Vaughn
Carl Lumbly….Director Marcus R. Dixon
Kevin Weisman….Agent Marshall J. Flinkman
Victor Garber….Agent Jonathan ‘Jack’ Donahue Bristow

Original Airdate

September 28, 2003

Synopsis

Continuing from the moment last season’s finale wrapped up, they explain (some of) what the hell is really going on. A lot of moments echo previous seasons, in
particular the series premiere. Turns out she really HAS been missing for two
years, Vaughn really did get married, and she’s really pissed about it all. Her
father’s in jail (and they’re going to be keeping him, they say). She fakes
some intel to gain their trust and gets sent on a mission – the mission goes
horribly wrong, she’s panicked and leaves to go get help from Sloane. Sloane
has a full pardon from the U.S. and just happens to know she’s coming and what
she wants to know. He swears he’s reformed and she doesn’t believe him –
neither do we. She gets the McGuffin back from the bad guys and threatens to
destroy it if they don’t release her dad. They do (what amazes me is that they
give him his job back as well). End of show. There are other things going
on, but I’ve got to give you a reason to watch it in re-runs or on TiVo, right?

High Point

Even though it felt almost exactly like the end of the premiere, the point where
Syd holds a blowtorch to the chip they want. Actually – the high point was
Dixon’s line halfway through that standoff “She will destroy that chip.”

Low Point

Victor Garber going from Enemy of the State to Trusted CIA Agent in three days.
I know they did it for plot reasons, but they handle this sort of thing well
enough that they could have made him an independent force convincingly.

The Review

The originality was pretty high for a plot like this. They took a lot
of unexpected returns. When Syd was convinced that something was wrong and
she was being lied to about her absence, I was sure she was right. It’s just
how these shows normally work. I *hate* that, but it’s true. So I was pleased
(and surprised) when it didn’t. On the other hand, it’s the same plotline of
“people you’re working for don’t trust you, go do something big for them so
they’ll have to” coupled with clearing the slate of bad guys and bringing in
another interchangeable bad guy conglomerate – the “Covenant”. These guys seem
really dangerous, but then so do everyone else when they’re first introduced.
All in all, originality gets a 4/6.

Alias effects tend to be inconsistent, but the ones on this ep. were pretty
good. Granted, they weren’t spectacular, but the script didn’t call for that.
The effects are a solid 5/6.

The story was engrossing as always. They give you *just* enough
information to keep you hooked. On the other hand, the stories are becoming
more and more unbelievable. I don’t really have a problem with that, but I
do hope they reign it back in. Since, however, there’s no flow category
for TV shows, and the flow is one of the best parts of the show – I nearly
scream in frustration at the end of every episode, wanting to see what comes
next – I’ll have to give story a 6/6.

The acting is, as always, excellent. Victor Garber is an amazing actor, and
Sloane genuinely scares the hell out of me. I’d absolutely watch this show
even if Jennifer Garner’s character were killed off. And you HAVE to love
Marshall. He’s the best Geek on television. And this season he gets to
be a daddy! Acting gets a 5/6.

My emotional response is really high – I can’t even begin to describe
how I feel at the end of the show – this is the ONLY show I sit and wait for
the “scenes from next week’s episode” spot. I get so engrossed and so
frustrated when they cut you off at a critical moment. This episode was
pretty much par for the course. Emotional Response gets a 5/6.

The production values are good. It’s nice to see that their budget
hasn’t been cut – or if it has, they’ve done well with working around it. I
don’t think it was, though, considering how popular this show became over the
last season. The production gets a 4/6.

Overall this episode was a good example of the series, which is a
great series in general. I give it a 5/6.

In Total, “The Two” gets a 34/42. I love this show.

7 replies on “Alias Review: The Two”

  1. nf0 says:

    Great
    I was really excited about the season 3 kick off, unsure where things were going after the season 2 finale.

    I think they did a great job. Once again lots of action and plot twists and at the end of an hour you wonder where the time went.

  2. mbourgon says:

    Dammit! I missed it!
    Here’s hoping it’ll be posted on ABM tonight.

  3. is says:

    excellent!!
    Man… the news about Sloane had me thinkin like Syd. Can’t blame her. The way of getting Jack out of prison was very unbelievable. Just cuz you acted in your own best interest doesn’t make you a great CIA agent. I’m suprised that he (the NSC guy) didn’t let Jack out and then arrest Syd for being AWOL.

    The biggest unbelievable thing was the pathetic “message” embedded in the Rambaldi device… after all that, I just couldn’t believe a genius would go thru all that to encode a simple 5 letter word. It makes me even more suspicious of Sloane.

    Ths show rocks. It simply rocks. Even with a few small holes it is still the best show I’ve seen in a long time.

    • hitch says:

      Re: excellent!!

      Man… the news about Sloane had me thinkin like Syd. Can’t blame her. The way of getting Jack out of prison was very unbelievable. Just cuz you acted in your own best interest doesn’t make you a great CIA agent. I’m suprised that he (the NSC guy) didn’t let Jack out and then arrest Syd for being AWOL.

      The biggest unbelievable thing was the pathetic “message” embedded in the Rambaldi device… after all that, I just couldn’t believe a genius would go thru all that to encode a simple 5 letter word. It makes me even more suspicious of Sloane.

      Ths show rocks. It simply rocks. Even with a few small holes it is still the best show I’ve seen in a long time.

      There is NO chance that the message was just “Peace”. Considering some of the moments from the last ep., there had to have been a lot more – it’s concievable that the “spoken” or “language” portion was “peace”, but there’s got to be more. if sloane’s reading of a scroll ranks with the events beginning the last major world wars, something very terrible is going on with him indeed.

  4. gemseele says:

    weak closure
    I don’t know if I missed something in last season but I found it quite rude to spend a whole season building up a Rambaldi device only to have it explained away in a 5 minute conversation claiming all that work resulted in a simple message. For the moment, I’m just happy that Alias is still on the air but I suppose I’ll just have to trust that they do more with this in the future.

    • Babbster says:

      Re: weak closure
      You don’t have to trust – just believe/know. There’s no doubt at all that the Rambaldi plotline isn’t over. Particularly since (spoiler-type speculation ahead) Sydney probably bore a child sometime during her two-year absence, right after her mother told her that it was indeed Syd’s face that Rambaldi drew.

      I think putting the over-arching story on hold (or at least in the background) for a while is probably a smart move. After the Alliance/SD6 was disbanded, they needed to have an evil organization again, as opposed to the one diabolical villain – though Sloane is without question an excellent villain.

  5. Sarumitai says:

    2 Years Married?
    Isn’t two years a little quick to be married? Maybe I am missing something or it’s a cover that comes out later, but if I lost someone, it would be more than two years before I started to DATE again, much less get married.

    I thought her going off on Vaughn was a little much. Yea she’s angry, but she seemed to go a little too far.

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