Sunday, December 2, 2012

Alias: Truth Takes Time (2.18)

Alias continues to be in a league of its own when it comes to building layer upon layer throughout its tight ensemble cast. It's never been more apparent than in Truth Takes Time, which takes Irina's elaborate complexity and shares it out through several other characters. I complained a couple of weeks ago that Sloane's agenda was becoming a little muddled, but this episode firmly set it back on track, at the same time as it did restore his moral ambiguity. Irina, Sydney and Emily are also allowed incredible emotional shading this week, each character granted a new sense of direction. This is another spectacular episode.

Of course, it's easy to see the unexpected parallels between Syd and Emily. Both characters found themselves wrapped up in worlds that they didn't sign up for, and both were willing to give a second chance to the ones that they love, despite the crimes they had perpetrated. Sydney initially can't believe that Emily would forgive her husband for everything that he's done and further be with him, until she starts to see how closely they're linked -- Syd having come around to her mother's mode of thinking, forming a close bond despite her horrifying past and the fallout that's still present to this day.

But it all comes down to a sense of weakness. While Sydney brushes off any indication that Irina is still on her side, Emily backs down from her original position of betraying her husband, and decides to run away with him anyway. Inevitably, this only leads to her demise. What's funny is that Sloane is far less ambiguous than Irina. Irina spends the episode making her true allegiances clear. She calls out Sydney's name and in the process saves her from the bomb that she had planted, and tells Sloane to never discuss his so-called love for her daughter. But Sydney is still steadfast in seeing her as the enemy, while Emily is turned around by her husband via a couple of romantic lines about how much she means to him.

While Sloane is nowhere near as complex as Irina, I loved that he got out of those familiar super-villain trappings that plagued him several episodes ago. It seems like he's still driven by his love for Emily, desperate to discover Rambaldi's method of immortality in order to stop his wife succumbing to cancer once again. It doesn't at all excuse the awful events he's been responsible for, but it once again returns him to the damaged, ruthless mastermind powered by his heart's desires, and not merely because he wants to be all evil or whatever. It's such a radical feeling that he's willing to abandon Rambaldi for the sake of his wife's happiness. But that too is short-lived, Emily's accidental death presumably about to push him into a whole new area of arch villainy. But that'll work, too... to an extent. Sloane doesn't work too well when he isn't motivated by Emily, and if it takes her demise to evolve his character, then I have no problem there.

Truth Takes Time is a wonderful depiction of a relatively ordinary character finding herself in extraordinary circumstances, and how feelings of betrayal can sometimes only lead to tragedy and further loss. This is an incredibly layered script, characters being motivated by lingering feelings of love and trust, and the emotional fallout that leaves everything scattered to the wind. It's Alias season two at its very best. A+

Guest stars
Terry O'Quinn (Kendall); Christopher Curry (Heinz Brucker); Amy Irving (Emily Sloane)
Writer J.R. Orci Director Nelson McCormick

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