Monday, January 21, 2013

Alias: The Frame (3.17)

Okay, Sydney needs to stop crying all over the place. This episode, more than any before it, is driven almost single-handedly by the season three love triangle, Lauren going to extreme measures to keep Vaughn in her pocket, something that leads Syd to once again weep silently in a fetal position on her couch. I get that this probably humanizes her. She's had a traumatic year filled with sudden life changes and the loss of her soulmate, but yeesh what's happened to her? Sydney was once this strong female action hero, somebody who turned her fiancee's bloody murder into the impetus to change the world and bring down a vast criminal organization. Now she's somebody incapable of standing upright without Vaughn motivating her first, every action guided by her lack of a love life. It's all a little embarrassing.

Even worse, there's zero tension anymore, even as far as contrived TV love triangles go. The third party in these deals is always pretty disposable, anyway. They're the newbies, typically another woman, introduced to momentarily split apart the endgame couple, and sooner or later the man will come to his senses and ditch the new girl in favor of the show's main protagonist. If that wasn't clear enough with Lauren already, the writers have made her this evil enchantress in the last couple of weeks, here manipulating poor, defenseless Vaughn so much that she sacrifices her own father to get his attention, practically every one of her scenes this week ending with Melissa George contorting her face into some evil glare. Again, it's all a little embarrassing.

The revelations about Lauren's family would have probably had a deeper impact if we actually knew any of them prior to this episode. Because we discover Peggy Lipton is a crazed Covenant murderer just like her daughter one scene after we first meet her, it only feels like another strange plot detour, and not something actively planned in advance. I guess I'm just not feeling this story anymore.

Things are even more lacking on the Rambaldi front. Djimon Hounsou's Covenant heavy has been pulled out of cold storage and is in pursuit of a map thingy which should hopefully lead to the key which opens the Rambaldi box. Ugh. There are a lot of transitions here. Syd and Vaughn try and hunt it down, Djimon kicks butt and steals the disc-key thing and everybody's left looking confused. Oh, and Sloane is being executed soon, as Lauren's fakery has linked him to the CIA mole, too.

The Frame is fun whenever Jack is on-screen and trying to expose Lauren, but the rest is either too annoying or too vacuous to work at all. It's probably the weakest Alias episode so far. C-

Guest stars
Djimon Hounsou (Kazari Bomani); Peggy Lipton (Olivia Reed); Raymon J. Barry (Senator George Reed); Stephen Spinella (Mr. Kishell)
Writer Crystal Nix Hines Director Max Mayer

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