Sunday, November 25, 2012

Alias: A Free Agent (2.15)

After last week's false start, this is Alias pushing forward with its new identity. A Free Agent instantly re-positions the ensemble cast, Sydney and Vaughn now partners both out in the field and between the sheets, Sloane the globe-trotting villain bouncing from scheme to scheme, Sark his lackey and Francie a clone. I can't help but feel the show has lost a little something in this restructuring, notably how Syd's strength has been diminished slightly by having a dude tag along with her on missions, but it's neat seeing Alias move forward, regardless of the sometimes awkward returns. One major distinction involves Sydney and Sloane being outwardly hostile towards each other for a change, both now so removed from their false identities that they can be as volatile as they'd like. It's something new.

Marshall and Dixon are the MVPs here, Marshall easily folding into the real CIA and impressing his colleagues with his skills, Kendall assuming the "shut up already and get to the point" role that Sloane perfected for so many years. But Dixon is more troubling, still shaken by the fact that he'd been lied to for so long. His scenes are emotionally draining, telling his wife all about his double life and having her react understandably devastated. I'm glad they're exploring a story like this, not only to give Carl Lumbly some decent material, but also because it allows characters to react like ordinary people would react to mass betrayal.

There's also follow-through on Sydney's education (remember that?), her graduation making her think about whether she even wants to work for the CIA anymore. She was pushed into a corner when it came to SD-6, but now she's at a point where she doesn't need to do it anymore. Naturally she begins to realize that she can't abandon her responsibilities while Sloane is still out there, but I loved the scene she shared with Irina, Syd aware that leaving the CIA would halt her relationship with her mom, and Irina telling her that she shouldn't at all be a factor in her decision. I continue to like where this story is going.

Sloane's scheme this week saw the return of Rambaldi, but the story went down generic avenues with Sydney and Vaughn playing a game of elaborate catch-up, following Sloane from place to place and hoping to rescue a kidnapped mathematician and his family. I'm not sure the mathematician's role justified the hiring of Christian Slater, but I'm assuming he'll get more to do in the coming weeks.

So this is fine. It's still at something of a mid-season slump, despite the show's recent decision to shake so much up, but certain stories are interesting enough to carry things. We need more Jack and Irina, though. Jack, in particular, has been pretty inactive for a while. B-

Guest stars
Christian Slater (Neil Caplan); Terry O'Quinn (Kendall); Yvonne Farrow (Diane Dixon); Lindsey Ginter (Mr. Jones); Michael Enright (Antonyn Vasilly)
Writers Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman-Counter Director Alex Kurtzman-Counter

1 comment:

  1. A Free Agent is my second favorite episode this season, my first fave is Second Double and my third fave is The Passage 2.