Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Alias: Dead Drop (2.4)

Jack Bristow has always been driven by impulse, very much a man moving at the beat of his own drum and orchestrating events in his own private ways. It's always somehow connected to Sydney, though, every one of his decisions designed to protect her best interests. But here we arrive at Dead Drop, a masterful exploration into emotional complexity, in which we witness Jack resorting to extreme methods to distance his daughter from Irina. Again, it’s a decision motivated for Sydney's welfare, but it's hard to entirely support him... right? Irina is an awful, awful person, but there does appear to be something compassionate there, and a real desire to connect with her daughter.

Then again, and I'm fully prepared to repeat this every damn week, she shot her last month! It's important to respect that people's motivations fluctuate when put in extreme situations, but it would be foolish for Sydney to entirely buy into what her mother is selling. Again, though, you can understand why she would want to. Irina represents the possibility of childhood regression, the ability to suddenly become the person taken care of by another, instead of being a double agent with so much bullet-ridden responsibility. Irina is an escape from that persona, as dangerous as it could be in the long-run.

Dead Drop brilliantly explores that dynamic, forcing you to stay neutral as you weigh up everybody's actions. Jack is a desperate man, and resorted to elaborate schemes and bomb-planting in order to do what he believed to be right. You can't hate him for it. It's just all-round tragic, a relationship that has gradually evolved over time into something so positive and heartfelt, once again becoming fractured by lies and duplicities.

I've only just realized that I haven't talked at all about Mr. Sark since he first appeared and, considering he's now a regular, it's mighty overdue. There's a moment this week in which he again faces off against Sydney, this time offering her the chance to work with him. Her snarky response: "You're cute, but I'll pass". There's actually this hot chemistry between the two of them, or at least that's something I choose to see (heh), these two ridiculously resourceful operatives with wildly different ideologies who are always on each others tail. I've always liked that stock character, Anna being the show's first incarnation of an 'evil Syd doppelganger', but there's something especially fun about Sydney always running into this calculating Brit with a death stare. I wasn't hugely enamored with Will's subplot with the 'conspiracy nut' SD-6 test, feeling it was a little on-the-nose in its approach, but I guess it was necessary to really get Sloane off his back. Alternatively, the 'zombie Emily' saga continues to intrigue. It's already pretty fun and head-screwy, and a strong narrative detour that provides Sloane with some vulnerability for once.

Dead Drop finally cements the Bristow family dynamic as the show's new trademark. It's a story that has totally anchored this season so far, and a sign of a series that's appropriately evolving with time, focusing on complex character interaction rather than showy action stunts. A

Guest stars
Terry O'Quinn (Kendall); Marisol Nichols (Rebecca Martinez); Daniel Faraldo (Manolo de Souza); Patricia Wettig (Dr. Judy Barnett)
Writer Jesse Alexander Director Guy Norman Bee


  1. Max, the rating for this one is wrong either here or on Alias main page.

  2. Fixed now. Thanks for alerting me.